As the mercury starts to drop and the air feels a little bit crispier, you might be in the mood for cosier nights in. Nothing helps you inject a bit of ‘Hygge’ in your home faster than a well-stocked, well-functioning fireplace.
We’ve put together some ideas for making this prime spot in your home, a gathering place the whole family will love.
Before You Light Up - Safety First
If your fireplace has been out of service for the last 6 months, you may want to check that it is in safe working order first. Here are some the things to check off your winter prep list.
Clear your fireplace of any old bits of rubbish or debris that may have deposited there over summer and are unsuitable for burning.
- Check your fireplace areas and structure for damage - consider checking the lining for cracks, loose bricks, deterioration or missing mortar.
- As an added precaution you may want to check your smoke and carbon monoxide fire alarms. Ensure the batteries are replaced or sufficiently charged, as you prepare to light up in the coming season.
Chimney Chim Chim Cheree!
Don’t forget your chimney is integral to your fireplace! You should also check this structure on a regular basis like once a year at a minimum.
- Make sure your chimney is properly capped in order to keep birds, rain, squirrels, rodents, vegetation and other debris from entering, clogging it up or nesting. Our Chimney/Crow Guard With Rain Cover would be a suitable option.
- If you already have one, check your existing cap for damage or missing parts.
- Is your chimney securely attached to your house and structurally sound? This includes checking for water damage.
- Enlist the help of a qualified Chimney Sweep or clean it yourself if you have the right know-how to remove ordinary soot. It is necessary to prevent a dangerous buildup of soot which can lead to fires. If you have heavy creosote buildup, you must call in a pro.
- Check all gaskets, flues and seals for fractures or leaks.
Which Fuel To Choose For Your Fire?
There’s more than one way to fuel your fire and more than one way to store it. Fuel options range from traditional wood to new eco-friendly styles if your fireplace isn’t a gas-fueled or electric fire.
Whichever type of fuel you choose, make sure you stock up in advance. You’ll be especially grateful if you stocked up during a freak snowstorm when driving conditions are less than ideal.
Options For Fireplace Fuel Include:
Kiln Dried Logs come in a variety of wood sources and pack sizes ranging from 10kg bags to Mesh Bags, all the way up to pallets. It all depends on how much storage space you have. Of course buying in bulk is your long term route to cost savings but you do need to have a dry spot for storage on your premises. Firewood that is kiln-dried produces clean burning, and easy-to-light wood that will create an even-burning fire.
- If you are using a gas powered fireplace or an external gas powered heater, you can stock up on Calor Gas in butane, propane or patio Gas cylinders in a variety of sizes.
Propane Gas Cylinders are ideal for use with a variety of applications including cookers, gas fires and large gas BBQs and can also be used with gas powered tumble dryers. These should be kept outdoors.
- Bord na Mona Peat Briquettes might be on the way out but for now peat briquettes may still be found for a limited period.
- They have however developed a range of renewable home heating products to replace traditional peat briquettes. These products are 100% natural, sourced from sustainable, managed woodlands and are suitable for a variety of uses, from open fires and stoves to garden chimineas.
- Looking for more environmentally friendly fuel alternatives? Consider The Homefire ecoal50 - It comes in 40kg packs. This fuel has high heat output, long burning times and generates 80% less smoke & 40% less C02 than house coal!
- If you are using coal there are several options:
- The CPL Polish Coal range (available in 40kg bags) has a high heat output with low ash output - performing as a longer burning coal. This fuel is particularly ideal for open fires.
- Homefire Stoveheat Premium Coal - this comes in 40kg packs and gives off a high heat output and low ash output too. This long lasting smokeless coal is ideal for glass fronted stoves, room heaters, boilers & cookers.
- The Homefire Supertherm Coal is also available in 40kg packs as an easy-to-light fuel with high heat output & low ash output as well. This is also a smokeless, long-lasting fuel with consistency perfect for fireplaces.
Wood Logs are also a great contemporary sustainable fuel option. They are suitable for all Stoves, Open Fires, and Chimineas as well. Their low ash content means less cleaning, and more toasty evenings by the fire.
- Flamers Premium & Shimada Woodlogs are a fantastic smokeless fuel choice that give high heat FAST! These are completely natural products with no additives or binders.
- Megatherm Fire Logs come in 10kg packs and are suitable for wood stoves, open fires and log burners too. These are produced from waste Beech sawdust and are classed as a smokeless fuel with less than 1% ash. Each pack contains 6 logs.
- If you have a wood pellet stove you may want to stock up on this eco-friendly solution: Green Wood Pellets. These are grown & produced in Ireland and a more economical & energy efficient means of heating your home. These wood pellets are Irish Equine Centre tested suited for stable bedding.
Get A Firestarter!
Stock up on fire starters and fire logs too - a fast efficient way to get your fire going in jiffy.
Bord na Mona are a sustainable source of most fuel products for your fireplace and also provide a pack of 30 firelighters as well as Firelogs which are odourless & easy to light and contain Irish peat that has the ability to light all smokeless fuels.
- The Bord Na Mona Firelog is Ireland's first and best firelog, burning up to 2 hours and it is perfect for a quick glowing fire. Ideally use it in tandem with Bord Na Mona Briquettes or coal.
- You’ll also need to stock up on Kindling: an easy to use, fast solution to get your fire blazing in no time at all!
- Stow away twigs and branches you’ve harvested from your own property and drying these for recycling as kindling.
You can also source kindling in bags and sacks for example Flamers Kiln-Dried Fire Kindling which is suitable for use in all Stoves, Open Fires, and Chimineas. Kiln Dried Firewood burns cleaner, hotter and more efficiently than standard firewood, as it has a moisture content below 20%.
Time For A Fireplace Accessory Makeover?
Did you know that adding a fireplace to your home boosts its value? Especially in a temperate climate like ours.
There are fireplace accessories that can complement and enhance the interior aesthetic or vernacular style of your home too; be it classical, rustic or contemporary.
If your fireplace components are wearing down it's also worth replacing them
You can source Fireplace Grates in a variety of sizes. You can find a premium quality grate in our Essentials Range of string and sturdy fireside accessories available in 14 Inch 16 Inch and 18 Inch.
You can also get a premium Cast Iron grate in a variety of sizes too.
Make sure you have a stable and heat resistant Fireside Screen to protect your flooring, furniture and family from sparks, embers and accidental fires. Make sure yours is made of a material that is suitable for all coal & wood burning fires.
Fire guards/Fire Screens are an essential safety accessory for every home with a fireplace as it prevents young children & pets getting too close to the fire.
- Some come in compact foldable styles that hide away when not in use.
- There are also styles in rectangular or curved shapes to suit the aesthetic and size of your fireplace area.
- If you have a hot stove and small children go for a Stove Nursery Guard to prevent accidental burns. These also come in a variety of sizes and extendable options.
Fireplace Companion Accessories Sets
There are a variety of options and styles when it comes to the classic combo of poker, tongs, brush and spade/shovel companion accessories for your fireplace.
You could go vintage and antique in all brass and copper. Or go uber contemporary in steel and matt black finishes.
Fireplace Fuel Storage Options
Fuel Storage doesn’t always have to be messy or unsightly and there are dry efficient options for storing your fuel in a shed or garden whilst keeping it dry.
- If using Coal, you can use Coal bunkers in 150kg / 300kg / 600 kg versions depending on the size of you. These products are strong and durable, suitable for any home that requires weatherproof storage for solid fuel. The materials used require no maintenance required as it will not rot or rust. Perfect for other forms of solid fuel as well.
It’s easy to keep the fuel stowed tidily in your living room with the right accessories.
- A Steel Coal bucket with a lid can be used for a variety of fuels. The Essentials PVC Coal Bucket finished in black matt, makes carrying and storing fuel easier. It has a streamlined minimalist style.
- A black Coal Chute is an alternative with no lid. Coal chutes makes carrying and storing fuel easier with an angled top that makes pouring fuel on your fire much more simpler.
- Storage options can come in a more antique or vintage style like the Celtic Antique Brass Bucket, or Celtic Antique Brass Coal Chute.
- A sturdy Briquette Holder is a great alternative. Our Essential Briquette Holder for example has an appropriate rectangular minimalist style and is designed to hold a bale of briquettes at a time. Get one with a metal handle for added portability.
- If logs are your thing - you’ll need a log holder, bucket or log basket
- Our Black & Nickel Signature Log Carrier comes in a stylish black and nickel finish. It also makes carrying logs and solid fuels to the fire much easier and has a very minimalist contemporary black finish
- Consider a contemporary style Log Bucket finished in leather lookalike materials for an earthier natural aesthetic. Our Contemporary Log Carrier is made from PU tan leather. There are also styles in Black PVC.
- For an even earthier cosier look - you can use a variety of Wicker Log Basket Try and get them with a ready-made linen lining to prevent wood chips or wood dust from leaking into your living room floor.
Don’t Be A Cinderella - Use Kit That Keeps Ash At Bay
If you’re pressed for time and have more than one fireplace, consider a purpose-built Ash Vacuum cleaner that is designed for cleaning cold ashes from fireplaces & wood stoves. The 1200 watt, 25L Ash Vac for example has an indicator and a HEPA filter system to prevent any dust or ash from getting into the motor.
Alternatively there are simple heat resistant brush and pan or brush and shovel sets you can use to clean up hot ash. Normal moulded plastic will not do.
Fireplace Accessory Checklist:
Here’s a handy checklist for viewing our online catalogue
Stop by our Heating and Fuels section to view the range of styles, options and brands available
Why not tell us on Facebook and Instagram and share your gorgeous fireplace set ups.