Coal fire (by )

One of the definite plusses of living in a proper village is that we have a local blacksmith.

Now, our house has a dual-fuel burner that, with a grate in, can burn coal, or without the grate is for wood. Sadly, the grate was a molten blob; it looked like somebody had tried to light a fire with liquid oxygen...

So we took it up to said blacksmith, who for a mere twenty pounds made it as good as new. We were given a bag of coal as a thank-you present from somebody, so using my military surplus trenching tool as an ash shovel and a pair of spoons as impromptu tongs, we've had coal fire for two days in a row now.

Why coal, you may ask, when we can go and pick up free firewood from the grounds? Well, the rate we get through wood makes it look doubtful we could manage purely on gathered wood, plus it saves a lot of time to not have to gather and chop the wood. We still need wood to get the fire started, so it's not like the wood will go to waste; but rather than buying extra wood, as we were, we'll spend less buying coal and take up less space storing it.

Indeed, we've used barely the top quarter of a small sack of coal so far; in the same time, we'd have burned up a fair pile of logs, involving more work feeding them in regularly, and more heat lost to evaporating the water in the wood. And I grew up with coal; it's familiar to me, and I find it easy to regulate.

However, when I went outside just now to put things on the compost heap, I realised that our house now has whiffs of the smell of coal smoke around it - smells that fondly remind me of visiting Wales!


  • By becca, Fri 13th Jan 2006 @ 11:20 am

    hehe! Sounds good. Coal has a higher heat:amount used ratio than wood. So is much better. Sounds lovely and cosy - i'm jealous!

  • By ella, Tue 17th Jan 2006 @ 1:43 pm

    Coal burns longer than wood. We used to leave a dying coal fire on in my house and it would keep the house warm through the night (through the wonder of a central chimney). One thing to be aware of though, too much coal dust up your chimney and it can catch fire! We had to call out a chimney sweep and there aren't amny of those left (specially in a coal-free area! The coal was black market coal).

  • By Derek, Mon 23rd Jan 2006 @ 3:17 am

    My main problem with coal is the ash. You end up with as much ash (volume wise) as you started with coal. The neighbors have a lovely hill next to their house that's basically ash from the last 30 years.

    On the opposite end is my new pellet stove (backing up the main wood stove). I've burned a couple of tons of pellets so far, and the cardboard box sized ash bin is a little over half full. If it also burnt corn, and didn't need electricity, it would be perfect.

  • By Florence, Tue 24th Jan 2006 @ 10:09 am

    Sounds rather cosy guys! Ash can be very useful around the garden to stop weeds growing, fertilise the soil AND keep mice looks like you can start the production line anytime soon 😉

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