Throw a few chunks of coal in a wood stove?

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belties

Member
Nov 27, 2011
7
Between toasty and warm
My neighbor said he used to do this. He said it kept heat in the stove longer at night. Is there any value in doing this? Is it dangerous? Would it blacken the windows on the doors? Thanks
 

mstoelton

Feeling the Heat
Dec 16, 2013
486
SE michigan
My Clyde specifically says no coal!
 

Jags

Moderate Moderator
Staff member
Aug 2, 2006
18,244
Northern IL
Unless the stove is built for coal or dual fuel - virtually every stove mfg states "Don't".

Coal stoves are designed differently than wood stoves. They bring the air in from underneath the fuel. Wood stoves feed air above the fuel (or in some cases at the fuel). How this will affect a few chunks of coal in a wood stove? Dunno, but you ain't gonna find out in my stove.;)

I am sure there are other reasons, also.
 

Backwoods Savage

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2007
27,811
Michigan
I've heard of some doing it too but most gave it up quickly. It is not a good practice at all. Better is to use a round, perhaps 5-6" diameter and large splits. Also to hold fires at night it helps to have really good hard stuff that is really dry, like oak, hickory, etc. There are several that are good.
 

pen

There are some who call me...mod.
Staff member
Aug 2, 2007
7,958
N.E. Penna
Also, if the chimney is Stainless it had better be made of a blend that is OK to use with coal. For some, the coal can / will damage it.

pen
 

Shmudda

Burning Hunk
Dec 6, 2009
172
Western Pennsylvania
My Grandfather used to do this in his Fisher Papa Bear and it never hurt the thing. He would only throw a couple small chunks about the size of your fist. He would say it burned hotter and the fires would last longer between reloads.

Craig
 

Charles1981

Minister of Fire
Feb 19, 2013
762
Michigan
You probably "can do it" but "should you do it?"... nope. It is a wood burning stove not a coal burning stove unless otherwise specified.
 

xman23

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2008
2,325
Lackawaxen PA
I knew a guy that did it. I think he told me a chunk a night with the wood.... But I never said do it.
 

BrotherBart

Modesterator
Staff member
Yeah the pipe corrosion is he big thing. And if it corrodes pipe and liners, no telling what it would do to the baffle in a EPA cert stove.
 

tarzan

Minister of Fire
Jan 16, 2014
1,552
wv
I've seen it done before. Ironically in a Fisher Papa Bear (Schmuddas post) but I just wouldn't. Well, not now anyway. I've found it costs me less money and grief by not asking something different or MORE out of something than it was designed for.
 
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Free BTUs

Member
Oct 23, 2013
56
SE Mass
Yeah the pipe corrosion is he big thing. And if it corrodes pipe and liners, no telling what it would do to the baffle in a EPA cert stove.

I'm glad this was asked and answered. I have a Coal Chubby in my basement so I have coal on hand. I have thought about thowing a handful of coal in my Regency wood insert to get some extra time and heat out of the overnight burns. Just a handful of coal wouldn't probably cause an overtemp problem, but now I understand how corrosion in the baffle and secondary tubes etc would be a concern. Good to know. Puts a check in the box for "learn something new today".
 
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pen

There are some who call me...mod.
Staff member
Aug 2, 2007
7,958
N.E. Penna
baffle and secondary tubes etc would be a concern.

Yep, that is a concern, but the minor one to me as the baffle and secondary tubes can often be inspected and replaced if necessary.

What bothers me is the concern of what coal could do to weaken a liner that isn't designed to have a unit burning coal attached to it.

I don't know how much coal it would take to deteriorate a liner that wasn't designed to handle it, but the idea of the liner even potentially being compromised just doesn't sit well with me.

pen
 

DanCorcoran

Minister of Fire
Jan 5, 2010
2,205
Richmond, VA
My owner's manual says not to burn corn, coal, saltwater driftwood, treated lumber, kiln-dried dimensional lumber, etc., so I don't. Surprising what you can learn from an owner's manual!
 

ryjen

Burning Hunk
Feb 2, 2014
155
north carolina
there are 2 different coal types. Both burn hotter than wood, but as mentioned above the other issues are far greater. Stay away......stay very far away.
Early buck stoves (26000, 27000, 28000, etc.) can burn wood and coal (but only soft bituminous).
Under current EPA guidelines, its harder to find stoves that will burn both coal and wood. Typically you're burning one or the other.

In the end, its the same as a seatbelt. Can you drive without one? Yes. Should you? No
Your life, insurance, fire protection, etc....you make the call.
 
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Free BTUs

Member
Oct 23, 2013
56
SE Mass
My owner's manual says not to burn corn, coal, saltwater driftwood, treated lumber, kiln-dried dimensional lumber, etc., so I don't. Surprising what you can learn from an owner's manual!


I don't have a cat stove and my owners manual does not mention anything about coal. I have read the manual cover to cover several times. It says not to burn salt drift wood and cautions about the potential for overfiring the stove by burning mill ends, but does not mention coal. It is obvious that you can't load it up with coal like I would my coal chubby because you would overfire it. I was just thinking about a handfull or two of coal to get a longer burn overnight. Was not aware of the corrosion issue. It is not covered in the manual, so it is nice to have a resource like this forum to get helpful information like this.
 
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Jags

Moderate Moderator
Staff member
Aug 2, 2006
18,244
Northern IL
If your stove is not designed to burn coal, I wouldn't suggest burning it.

And if your stack is not qualified for coal burning - don't do it.
 

DanCorcoran

Minister of Fire
Jan 5, 2010
2,205
Richmond, VA
I don't have a cat stove and my owners manual does not mention anything about coal. I have read the manual cover to cover several times. It says not to burn salt drift wood and cautions about the potential for overfiring the stove by burning mill ends, but does not mention coal.

On page 13, your manual says, "Your insert should burn dry, standard firewood only." After that, it specifically mentions salt driftwood, mill ends, and artificial logs because they are types of wood that might be mistaken for firewood. It doesn't mention coal, corn, corn cobs, and other things that are often burned, because they could not be mistaken for "standard firewood". I was somewhat surprised that it didn't mention treated lumber, since that too is wood.
 

Free BTUs

Member
Oct 23, 2013
56
SE Mass
Attached is scan of page 13 of the manual that came with my insert when it was delivered and installed. It does not match what you are referring to, so it looks like you have a different manual. Again, this takes me back to my second post in this thread where I said it is nice to have the resource of this forum so you can get information and experience from everyone here rather than relying only on what you have in front of you or your own past experience.
pg13.jpg
 
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BrotherBart

Modesterator
Staff member
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