How To Light A Log Burner

A wood-burning stove can provide warmth and comfort on cold winter days. However, lighting a wood stove can be intimidating for beginners. This guide will walk you through the steps to safely and effectively light your wood-burning stove.

One of our manufacturers has created a useful video to guide you through how to light and maintain your log burner, and we’ve added further tips below.


1. Safety First

Before we begin, it’s important to note that safety should always be your top priority.

Ensure your stove and chimney are correctly installed and inspected.

2. Gather Materials

To start, gather your materials: firewood, kindling, a firestarter and matches or firelighter. Using dry seasoned wood is essential to prevent excessive smoke and soot buildup in your chimney. You can buy commercial firestarters, but newspaper works well too. You can also purchase extra-long matches for convenience.

3. Check Air Supply

Next, check that your stove’s air supply control is fully open to allow proper airflow. Your stove needs a good amount of oxygen to get going. The log burner’s air supply control is often a lever or a disc, but they all do the same thing – control the amount of air through the stove. Refer to your stove’s instructions to find out how to control the airflow.

4. Build Your Fire

Finally, arrange your firewood inside the stove.

  1. Place two small logs on the grate at the bottom of the stove.
  2. Surround your chosen firestarter with a few smaller pieces of kindling; six to eight pieces are ideal. A pyramid of kindling works well, or some manufacturers recommend a lattice-type structure of two or three sticks high, as shown here.
  3. Ensure enough space around the logs and kindling for air to circulate and that the firestarter will ignite the kindling.

Lighting the Fire

Now it’s time to light the fire.

  1. Using a match or suitable firelighter, light your firestarter, making sure the kindling catches well.
  2. Leave your stove’s door slightly ajar to encourage airflow. This will heat the flue and ensures a clean burn, perfect for a long-lasting fire.
  3. Once the fire is burning steadily, close the door fully and adjust the air supply control to manage the intensity of the fire.

The air supply control regulates the amount of air flowing into the stove, which affects the combustion rate. A closed air supply control will reduce the airflow and slow the fire, while an open air supply control will increase the airflow and speed up the fire.

It’s important to refer to your stove or wood burners’ manual to see if there are any specific instructions about lighting your fire or controlling airflow.

Maintaining the Fire

Keep an eye on the fire as it burns. As the logs burn down, you can add more wood to keep the fire going.

Open your log burners’ door slowly so that pressures can equalise. You shouldn’t open the door if flames are visible; add logs to embers only.

It’s crucial not to overload the stove with too much wood at once, as this can cause the fire to burn too hot and potentially damage the log burner. Refer to your stove or log burner instructions to find its capacity.

When lighting a fire, too much wood can smother it; patience is the key.

When you add a new log, open the air supply control a little to get it burning well, then close it again to your preference to control the burn.


If you encounter any issues when lighting your wood-burning stove, don’t worry!

Common problems include difficulty getting the fire started, excessive smoke, and poor airflow.

Here are some tips for troubleshooting these issues:

  • Difficulty getting the fire started: If you’re having trouble getting the kindling to light, try using smaller pieces of kindling or add more firestarters to help get the fire going. But, again, dry, well-seasoned kindling is essential.
  • Excessive smoke: If you notice a lot of smoke coming from your stove, it could be due to wet or unseasoned wood, a dirty chimney, or a lack of airflow. Ensure your wood is dry and correctly seasoned, regularly clean your chimney, and check that the air supply control is open.
  • Poor airflow: If the fire burns poorly, it could be due to a blocked chimney or a closed air supply control. Ensure your chimney is clear of any obstructions, and check that the air supply control is open to allow proper airflow.

Enjoy Your Fire

Anyone can enjoy a warm and cosy fire with suitable materials and a few simple steps – humans have been doing so for hundreds of thousands of years.

Containing the fire in a wood-burning stove might be a relatively new idea, but it allows you to harness the heat and enjoy a comfortable, controllable fire – and it definitely isn’t complicated!

Remember to prioritise safety, use dry and seasoned wood, and practice makes perfect.

Happy burning!