I never use firestarters. I tie several newspaper notes (better than crumpled paper) and use about a half dozen or so pieces of kindling (mill ends of 2x4's etc, split into small pieces perhaps 4 to 6 inches long). Never have a problem starting a fire. Overnight burns have been easy for me. I make sure I have a fairly good bed of coals, and hot box/chimney. I do this by making sure I have a good fire going maybe 2 hours prior to loading for the night. I rake the coals towards the front, almost exposing the bottom of the insert at the back of the box. I place a large split (maybe 8 inches diameter, 20 inches long) along the back. Make sure this back split is a good coaling wood like oak, hard maple or cherry. I place a smaller split (half the diameter of the back split) along the front, almost against the back split, this will be on top of the coals. I then put a 4 to 6 inch round on top of these. Let the front split start charring, get some flame going, close the air to about half. Then I take the dog out, come back in about 5 to 10 minutes, and close the air down almost to close. Everytime I do this, I get good warmth all night and 7 hours later have enough coals to restart. I rake the coals front, shovel out some ash from the back. Add a few small splits to the back, put some kindling on the coals and a few small (1 to 2 inch) rounds or splits over the kindling. Total process takes me less than 5 minutes. Crack the door on the stove for a few minutes to really get the air moving. Flames start, close the door and within 30 minutes the blower kicks on. The Rockland is a great unit. We are very pleased with the choice of this unit.