How do I make a fire burn overnight in a wood-burning furnace?

Written by ruth o'neil
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Many people are making the switch from electric or gas heat to wood heat. Wood heat is much less expensive than gas or electric, although it does take more work. Wood heat feels warmer than electric heat, except at night, when the fire dies down and your house can feel quite cool. There are techniques you can use to make sure that you have a slow-burning fire all night long that keeps your home at a reasonable temperature. A slow-burning fire all night also leaves you with some hot coals to get your fire going in the morning.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Poker
  • Wood

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  1. 1

    Allow the fire that is in your wood furnace to burn down quite a bit before you load it with wood before bed.

  2. 2

    Disperse the coals on the floor of the furnace to make sure that there is good coverage to help the fire burn evenly. Use the poker to spread the coals around.

  3. 3

    Place several logs on top of the coals. Make sure the logs fit together fairly tightly. Leave only 1/4 to 1/2 inch between the logs. Use a hard wood, such as oak or maple, which takes longer to burn than softer wood.

  4. 4

    Stack as many more pieces of wood on top of the logs as you can fit in the furnace. Encourage the fire to burn slowly by tightly packing these logs as well. Close the doors to the furnace.

  5. 5

    Follow your normal bedtime routine. Check the furnace once more before going to bed. Open the furnace doors to make sure the fire is burning. Close the doors.

  6. 6

    Close the vents almost all the way. Leave about a 1/4-inch opening to allow for the flow of air, which is necessary for to keep the wood burning overnight.

Tips and warnings

  • To help keep your fire burning and keep your home warm during cold winter nights, stay up just a little bit later, maybe an hour, before loading the wood and going to bed.
  • If you have unsplit logs that will fit into your wood-burning furnace, save these for use at night or when you will be away from home for a longer period of time. These burn slower than split logs and will last a little longer.
  • Do not close the vents on your wood-burning furnace all the way. This prevents air from circulating and will smother the fire.

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