Tips for using smokeless fuel on your stove

The Heat Installer team are often out and about in Greater Manchester fitting the ever-popular multi-fuel stoves.  The multi-fuel stove as the name suggests, allow home owners to burn coal as well as wood.

As a general rule, you are not advised to burn house coal on a stove. This is because it burns at a very high temperature and will not only blacken the glass on the stove, but could, in the longer term, damage it. It often has a high petroleum content and so will burn out stove baffles and ruin the firebricks. This type of coal is usually only allowed on open fires in areas where there are no smoke control areas.

Don’t mix the fuels

Another very important note is that smokeless coal and wood logs should never be burned at the same time. Problems occur because in order to burn wood relies on air from above, while coal relies on the air from below the grate – that makes the combustion process highly inefficient.

In addition, wood will always contain some moisture and this mixes with the sulphur which is present in smokeless coal to form an acid which is hugely damaging to the stainless-steel liners in the stove which will shorten their life.

Keep the smokeless coal dry

While the importance of keeping wood dry and free from moisture is often discussed, we don’t hear about the importance of keeping coal dry.  However, it is just as important to keep your smokeless fuel dry because not only does damp fuel burn badly, but it is also damaging to the liner and will eventually lead to a horrible sludge forming.

Our grandparents were well aware of this which is why most homes in Greater Manchester had a ‘coal hole’ to store and keep the fuel dry.  Today, it’s also a good idea to a dry storage space for your coal and you should empty the bags of coal into it so that it has time to dry off from sitting in a damp merchants yard.

Turning the heat down

If your stove makes the room feel too hot, you can’t really turn it down as you can on a gas or electric fire.  Playing around with the stove’s air controls just releases more smoke into the environment and so rather than trying to manage this via the stove, it’s easier to just open a door or window.

The great thing about burning smokeless fuel rather than wood on your multi fuel stove is that it is cheaper than wood and easier to manage once lit. Remember, it is vital to ensure you follow the manufacturers advice when it comes to which fuels you are allowed to burn on your stove.