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How to Start a Cozy Fire During the Winter Season

You may find that your fire is difficult to light on a winter morning, especially with the recent drop in temperatures and windy conditions. This could be because of a ‘cold plug’ in the flue.

‘Cold Plug’ - an invisible plug of cold air that can form in your chimney.

When the flue gets cold in the winter months, a plug of cold air can form in the chimney. This is more likely to happen overnight when there is a sudden drop in temperature. HETAS, the regulatory body we are registered with, notes that cold plugs are more likely to happen with twin wall installations as the external flue is exposed to colder temperatures than the internal flue. You may also find that a cold plug has formed if the stove is not used regularly.

The pocket of cold air in the flue effectively ‘plugs’ the stove, causing smoke to be pushed back down and into your stove. This can create an excess of smoke in your stove, smothering the flames.


The best way to deal with a cold plug in your flue, or a suspected plug due to weather conditions, is to gently increase the internal temperature of your chimney.

Always make sure that the wood you are burning is dry, with no more than 20% moisture content. Look out for the ‘Ready to Burn’ certification mark.

  • Open the stove door for at least 30 minutes before lighting a new fire, or when the stove is not in use for extended periods.

  • Burn a firelighter in the stove to begin to warm up the flue. We recommend using natural firelighters such as Flamers.

  • Using the ‘top-down method’ to light your fire:

  • Place two small logs across the bottom of the log burner.

  • Place a few pieces of kindling across the two logs.

  • Add additional pieces of kindling at 90 degrees to the layer of logs to create a tent of kindling around the logs.

  • Place a couple of firelighters in the gaps between the kindling.

  • Make sure the air vents on the stove are open fully to maximise airflow to the stove.

  • Light the firelighters and close the door of the appliance.

The top-down method of lighting a fire encourages a more consistent upward flow of warm air through the flue, reducing any cold air pockets in the flue.

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