The magic of natural heat: how a wood-burning fireplace works


Wood-burning fireplaces have been a source of warmth and a gathering place in homes for centuries. The cosy feeling of a crackling fire and the natural warmth it provides are incomparable. However, behind that apparent simplicity and charm lies an ingenious process of operation that is fundamental to the experience and efficiency of any fireplace.

The purpose of a wood-burning fireplace is to provide heat through the combustion of wood, where an initial heat source is first ignited at the base of the fireplace which heats up and releases flammable gases. The combustion process releases a large amount of energy in the form of heat. This heat radiates from the flames and spreads throughout the room providing heating.

The operation of the chimney is a negative pressure system, which means that cold air enters and, as it heats up, rises in a fluid manner. Gases and smoke are expelled to the outside through the chimney flue, and this process is under the control of the flue. The flue is an essential component that manages the expulsion of smoke to the outside, preventing backdrafts and ensuring that it does not return to our home.

The magic of natural heat: how a wood-burning fireplace works

What is needed?

The first thing to bear in mind is that for a fireplace to work properly it needs to be clean and the correct wood needs to be used. Firewood should have a low moisture content, ideally around 20%.

Draft and ventilation control

Proper draught and ventilation are essential to maintain a healthy fire. Draft refers to the airflow through the chimney. You can adjust the draught by opening or closing the fireplace damper or by using the air damper on the stove or fireplace. Insufficient draught can cause smoke in the room, while excessive draught can accelerate the burning of wood.

Correct installation

If the installation is carried out properly, your new device will operate at its maximum capacity with minimum consumption, and you will also have the peace of mind of having a guarantee and security at all times. It is always recommended that you call a qualified installer to carry out the installation.

Tips for good functioning

To ensure its proper functioning and safety, it is important to follow some guidelines.

  1. The smoke outlet should be as straight as possible so that the smoke can be evacuated without problems.
  2. The flue should protrude from the roof by approximately 50 to 60 cm.
  3. The easiest way to light a chimney is with firelighters, but it is also possible to light it without firelighters.
  4. Use an extractor fan if necessary.
  5. Use suitable tools: Use a poker and tongs to handle the wood and keep the fire burning safely.
  6. Avoid burning non-recommended materials: Do not burn plastic, cardboard, shiny paper, chemicals or other materials that may emit toxic or harmful substances.
  7. Control the amount of wood: Do not overload the fireplace with wood, as this can hinder air circulation and reduce combustion efficiency.
  8. It is essential that the connections between the different parts of the chimney do not present any type of narrowing, step or internal obstruction. In addition, it is essential that the materials used are of high quality, resistant and refractory to prevent corrosion.

funcionamiento de una chimenea


Wood-burning fireplaces are safe if they are maintained daily during the period of use. In addition, the human flue should be cleaned using preferably a chimney sweep once or twice a year.

Wood-burning fireplaces are a wonderful source of heat and a focal point in many homes. Understanding how they work and maintaining them properly ensures a warm and cosy atmosphere. Enjoy the magic of the natural warmth that a wood-burning fireplace can bring to your home during cold winter nights – nothing beats the beauty and warmth of a crackling fire!

Have you found this article useful? Take a look at our blog and find solutions and recommendations to help you with your fireplace or wood stove.

If you still haven’t got your fireplace or wood stove for this winter… what are you waiting for? Visit our online store of Panadero wood stoves.

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