Tips plus video on how to build a cozy wood fire this winter.

Most of our properties have air-tight, fireplace inserts, or freestanding wood stoves, providing cozy and efficient heat for the properties during our rainy off-season, October through April. The air-tight fireplaces are an alternative way to heat the properties saving on electric usage. Plus, with the right fire, an efficient burn then spews less smoke outside, making for better air quality.

For our October through April guests* ~ Watch our How to Build a Fire video for tips on how to burn efficiently and make the most of your wood allotment.
*no wood burning is allowed May through September.

  • Lazy Bowen Hideaway - fireplace insert
  • The Lazy B Waterfront Suite - freestanding wood stove 
  • Eastman Waterfront Cottage - freestanding wood stove
  • Eastman Waterfront Retreat - fireplace insert

    Since most of our guests come from the city (me included), most will benefit from the tips below on building an efficient fire. The goal is to have it burn at the right temperature, not too hot and not too cold..... “just right,” says Goldilocks. A too-hot fire will send the heat up the flue and burn the firewood too quickly. A fire too cool will smoke, leaving creosote in the chimney and pollute the surrounding air. 

    The fireplace inserts are an efficient way to heat the house, supplementing the electric baseboard heaters. In fact, the new Lazy Bowen Hideaway insert reduced electricity usage by 25%. 

    STEP 1: Open the damper wide open. The above picture is the Hideaway insert. Other damper controls will vary. 

    STEP 2: Starting with the first fire, light the newspaper, and let it flame up. This will warm the flue and help get a good draft for your fire.  Watch for it to start to burn the kindling and then the larger wood below. 

    STEP 3: Once you see that the larger pieces of wood have a good burn, start to slide the damper control toward the closed position. You want to restrict the airflow into the insert to create a hot and slow burn.   

    STEP 4: When you have a good hot coal base, and your smaller pieces of wood have burned down, add another large piece of wood to the fire. Each log will last about 2-3 hours when burned properly.  

    Always secure the door in the closed position.

    NOTE: MY EXPERIENCE IS THAT THE DAMPER OPENING IS OPTIMAL WHEN IT IS SLID JUST TO THE RIGHT OF CENTER.   The goal is to have hot red embers with blue flames on the logs, as pictured above.

    THE FIRE IS TOO HOT WHEN THERE IS A LOT OF YELLOW FLAMES— You do not want yellow flames. The wood will burn too quickly, which isn’t efficient. Slide the damper control toward the closed position to restrict the air flow, and then monitor the fire.  

    TOO SMOKIE—this means the damper is too closed, and the fire isn’t getting enough air. Inch the damper control back toward the open position in small increments to add more air to the fire.

    There is a fine line to balance the efficient burn of your cozy fire.