OK you’ve checked that the flue is clear by sweeping. Good dry hardwood will always burn given a chance. Start with a small fire of paper and dry, small kindling to begin the process of heating up the flue. As the flue heats up the up draught will be improved and more oxygen supplied to the fire. If you are using a stove keep the door to the stove very slightly ajar and you will hear as well as see an improved draught. Only add larger logs once the fire is burning really well. It is essential that there is enough draught for the fire and this is improved by sufficient oxygen supply into the room and into the fire. Most stoves have adjustable controls that regulate the flow of air, make sure you are familiar with the operation of them. Once the fire is going, replenish the fuel at regular intervals and slowly reduce the draught in a stove using the controls. Once at optimum temperature the flames in a stove look more like hot gases and this suggests the stove is burning efficiently.
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