1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

Wanna use coal on my fireplace

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by ypark010, Jun 15, 2006.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. ypark010

    ypark010 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2006
    Messages:
    2
    Hi everyone!! I'm a newbee here. I'm happy to have found this place. I am a member of a lot of clubs like car racing and so on, but I couldn't even imagine there were a fireplace forum!!

    Anyway, I love making fire and I'm so lucky to have a fireplace at home. It's just an old style open fireplace built in the house, you know. It's usually for wood burning, but the problem is wood burns up too fast and I would like to burn coal to keep warm cheeper and longer.

    Please advise me. My concerns are more towards safty than ease of burning.

    1. Is coal safe to burn in an open fireplace? I mean, doesn't it product harmful gas like carbon monoxide when it burns? I know that the gas can be fatal if you take enough of it. Some people suggested using soft coal or briquettes but again, do they produce dangerous gas when they burn? I guess I'm concerned because my fireplace has no door or cover. If harmful gas is produced it seems that it will flow right out and inflict damage to people in the area.

    2. I read from this site that it is not easy to burn hard coal in an open fireplace. But is it possible? If possible, any advice?

    It's good that there is a place for me to ask these questions. Thanks to all of you.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2005
    Messages:
    917
    Loc:
    Deltaville,VA
    Using a traditional open fireplace to stay warm is a losing proposition. They are extremely inefficient and big polluters. As a romance tool, they are fantastic. Until you are scantily clad, and the rush of cold air on your backside may put the brakes on.

    Have you considered an insert?
  3. ypark010

    ypark010 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2006
    Messages:
    2
    Well, I haven't considered insert yet. Mine seems to be warming up the room fine as long as the fire is going. It's just that wood burns out too quickly and it's bothersome to add new logs again and again..

    So anyone with the answers for safety issue??
  4. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,255
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    Search the QA and you will see some former answers - http://www.hearth.com/search

    Bottom line, you cannot burn hard coal in an open fireplace - it just won't light and work. Certain soft coals (channel coal) can be used, but they are hard to find and can be dirty.

    Coal must be burned in a small confined area - like an insert or stove, with grates and other features specific to coal burning. If you want to use an open fireplace the best fuel is wood (or gas).

    As far as gases from anything, they should go up the chimney. Any smoke from ANY fuel back in the room will be poison...but that is the idea of a chimney.
  5. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,705
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    The room the fireplace is in warms up. What you don't notice (until the utility bill comes) is that a large amount of other heat from inside your house is also going right up the chimney. Like Sandor said, it's a losing proposition for home heat--your house loses more heat than it gains. With an insert or a wood stove, you retain much of the appeal of a fireplace but burn your wood much more efficiently (read: longer burns and more heat). Plus, the only heat going up the stack is that produced by the fire.
  6. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    For coal to burn air has to be introduced from under it. Coal has a higher sulfer content mixed with water is sulfuric acid, S2S04
    eats clay liners and bricks. Coal also burns hotter than wood. I do not know if you old common fire bricks are designed to withstand that heat. Mentioned here an open fireplace draws in room air for combustion and draft. ITs like having a 3'/3' window open. You may feel warm directly in front of it, but is is taking out heated air from other parts of the home to support combustion.
    Fact open fire places remove much more heat than delivered. Eventually what happens, its drawing in cold out side air threw cracks to replace the combustion air lost up the chimney. This is why others have recomended an insert. You mentioned one reason too much h wood is used to substain a fire, where you have little control . In a stove one can control the burn rate with air and damper adjustments. Thus a long controled burn, producing many time more heat to the living area. There are stoves on the market where you can experience the best of both worlds, closed heat, and the ability to open the door up and enjoy the open flame with a spark screen. I know Vermont casting stoves have this optional spark screen option Many here have actually heated their entire homes with wood stoves. Others noted dramitic reduction of their utility bills.
  7. mlouwho

    mlouwho New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Messages:
    56
    with a wood insert you will use 1/4 the wood you are using now, you should get 8 - 10 hour burn times. A coal insert will burn for 24 hours before yu have to add fuel. Nice even heat. Make sure with either wood or coal insert you add a SS liner to the chimney.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page