How to light a wood burner

how to light a woodburner

Lighting a log burner isn’t the same as lighting a conventional fireplace. The confined space of the stove can make it a bit tricky, but with our handy tips you will have a cosy fire going in no time.

Firstly, make sure that you are properly prepared and have all the correct materials close at hand. You should never leave the room until the fire has taken, and your wood burner’s door is firmly shut.

What you need to light a wood burner


This is your secret weapon. Made from wood by-product, natural firelighters catch alight easily, are odourless and don’t contain any nasty chemicals. If you don’t have firelighters then pieces of newspaper torn into strips will catch alight easily, but you may need quite a few strips as paper burns quickly.


Kindling consists of small pieces of wood that burn easily. It is used to increase the heat of the fire before adding the main fuel. Kindling should be extremely dry, and it is easier to work with if it is in short evenly-shaped lengths, a bit like over-sized matches.

Kiln dried logs

This will be the main fuel for your fire and you should make sure that you only use high quality wood that has been properly dried and cured. Wood with too much moisture in it will be difficult to light and will generate a lot of black smoke and soot that will quickly cover the glass of your beautiful new wood burner with a sticky black residue. It is therefore best to avoid wood from your garden or those cheap netted bundles for sale at the local petrol station. High quality wood is easier to light, burns hotter, and results in less mess to clean up afterwards.

Matches or a lighter

Of course you need a spark to light your fire. You can use a lighter, but to us nothing beats the sound and smell of a freshly struck match.
When lighting a wood burner you should not use petrol or any other combustible liquid as these are very difficult to control indoors and could cause the fire to spread to surrounding areas.

Five steps to building the perfect fire

1. When lighting a fire, air is your friend. Every wood burner has air vents which should be opened completely before you start. They can then be adjusted once the fire has taken.

2. Build a small pyramid-shaped structure in the middle of the stove using the kindling and a couple of firelighters. Make sure that there is space between the items so that air can get in to feed the fire as it gets going.
3. Light the firelighters with a match and then as the kindling takes hold, partially close the door of the stove leaving a gap of about an inch to let in maximum air. You should not leave the room while the door is open.
4. Once the kindling is burning strongly you can add two or three larger logs, being careful not to smother the fire.
5. You can now shut and secure the door of the wood burner. Once the logs are properly alight you can adjust the air vents to half open or less so that your wood burns for longer. You may need to open them again if the fire dies down, or when adding new logs.

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