Why Is Your Firewood Smoldering And Not Burning Properly?

Firewood Smoldering And Not Burning

One of the most annoying and puzzling feelings can be when you try to light a fire in your fireplace but the logs are just not burning properly. It seems like such a waste of time and energy, especially if you don’t know the possible reasons behind it. Let’s take a look at what you can do in this situation and the possible reasons why your wood isn’t catching fire.

Some of the most common reasons for firewood to not burn properly include the quality of the firewood itself, it can be rotten, wet, or not seasoned properly. Not enough airflow to the fire can also be another reason which can devoid it of the oxygen. Another issue can be with the fireplace itself, some of the parts might have been damaged.

Reasons why your firewood is not burning properly

There can be a lot of reasons behind the firewood not catching fire properly, to fix this issue, it is important for you to understand what the reasons might be.

The first issue deals with the quality of the firewood itself. If your firewood is not properly seasoned or if it is full of moisture, or if the wood pieces are rotten, then the fire will have a really tough time getting started.

If the quality of the fuel, which in this case is the firewood is not up to par, then it won’t be able to generate as much heat and might also not properly catch fire.

The other reason why your wood won’t burn in the fire pit may be the way you built the fire. The firewood might have been stacked too closely or kindling might not have been used in the beginning. Both of these things can cause the firewood to not burn properly. If they are stacked too closely to one another, then there won’t be enough airflow between the wood and there won’t be enough oxygen available for a good fire.

Or without kindling, the firestarter may not have been able to light the logs on fire properly.

The other problem can be with the settings of the fireplace itself. It is possible that the vents might have been closed or opened too little for enough oxygen to be supplied to the fire. If this is the case, no matter how much you try to light the logs on fire, they will always keep smoldering.

The damper might be closed which won’t let the gases inside the fireplace escape through the chimney, this in turn will also prevent new oxygen from entering the fireplace.

Recommended reading: Wood Burning Stove Problems and Solutions

What can you do to troubleshoot the issue?

Firewood burning

Go through the list of possible reasons once and try to think of the issue you are facing. Check up on the quality of the firewood you are using and try to think about how you stacked them during the beginning. If the problem is the latter then using a long stick, move around some logs inside the fireplace to create more ventilation between them.

If the firewood is too cold or moist, you will have to either dry up the remaining wood before putting it in or let all the moisture evaporate inside the fireplace, but in this case, you won’t be able to get a good fire.

Check the settings of your fireplace as well. See if the air vents or the damper are opened to the right amount or not. Once this is done, try to light another firestarter and stoke the fire once more.

If any of the components of the fireplace is faulty or broken, you will have to call a professional to get it fixed.

There can also be an issue with your chimney, get your chimney cleaned and try warming it up externally or before lighting the fire to clear it from any cold air. If there is a cold air build-up in the chimney then the hot air won’t be able to escape from the fireplace and in turn won’t be able to provide any oxygen to the fire.


You should first try to get your chimney cleaned and make sure that the vents are fully open and start the draft before lighting the fire. Also, make sure that you are using properly seasoned firewood. These steps would ensure that you are using proper fuel and providing enough oxygen to the fire.

Scroll to Top