Using a Coal Fireplace Properly

A coal fireplace is making a comeback into the lives of many people who are trying to cope with the rising costs to heat their homes. Heating oil has gone through the roof during the last year and now heating homes with wood is also getting expensive. Some of the other heating sources, such as wood pellets, and even corn burning stoves have risen in costs. Coal fireplaces, cost less to heat your homes because coal can burn longer than any other source. This eases your heating bill as you do not have to add fuel to the fireplace as often.

Some Dangers
Although coal does produce less smoke than burning wood, there are some dangers to a coal fireplace. Coal, when burned, will give off carbon monoxide, which can be poisonous. It is still possible to avoid the poisoning, though, when taking the right precautions to burn coal in a coal fireplace.

Burning Coal Safely
With any type of heating source there are going to be some dangers in burning the fuel source. One of the main reasons is that the maintenance of the fireplace has not been kept up. Leaks in smoke, sparks, and chemicals can happen when the fireplace is not maintained properly. Coal fireplaces are like any other fireplace and can heat your home safely when it is needed.

Use the Right Fireplace
Coal burns much hotter than wood does. Trying to put coal into a wood fireplace insert, or wood burning stove will lead to problems very quickly. A coal fireplace must be used if you are planning to use, or are currently using, coal for heat.

Keep Coal Supplied with Fresh Oxygen

Use a small opening, cast iron gate in front of the coal fireplace. Coal needs oxygen in order to burn efficiently. When it doesn't get the oxygen it needs it begins to get a build of carbon monoxide which can then escape into the home instead of out the chimney.

Use Only a Few Pieces of Coal at a Time When Igniting
When burning coal it is best to get it started slowly. Use some dry wood and paper to get the fire started initially. Continue to add small pieces of wood a little at a time until you have a glowing hot bed of embers at the bottom of the fireplace. Once that happens, you can begin to add a few pieces of coal at a time.

Since coal needs a lot of oxygen to get going, and continue burning, if you add too much coal all at once can smother the fire making it harder to burn and keep the fire burning.

Heating your home with coal fireplace can be an inexpensive means of heating your home, and can be made safe, if you follow the correct procedures to burning coal.