A lot of people have this doubt about whether they can use coal in the fireplace. Most people who are not experienced with handling fires will not see a difference between the two and end up using coal in a wood-burning fireplace. Let’s take a look at how we can safely use coal in the fireplace?
There are some wood-burning fireplaces that can be used with coal after making some changes to them like including more vents, metal grate, and ash pan. But consult a professional before making these changes as not all fireplaces can be converted. Burning coal otherwise can damage your fireplace.
Can I Burn Coal In The Fireplace?
This question depends largely on the type of fireplace you have. Some fireplaces are strictly, gas-driven or wood powered and they cannot be converted to burn coal. Burning coal in these fireplaces rather than firewood will not only damage the fireplace but will also be dangerous for your house and fireplace.
Coal-powered fireplaces need to have certain components so that they can handle coal. For example, coal needs a supply of air from the bottom and not the top. You will also need a grate that can support hotter burning coal pieces.
On top of this, you also need better ventilation to handle the carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide which are produced excessively when coal is burning. It is also recommended to install a CO detector in your house if you decide to burn coal.
You will have to check with the manufacturer of your fireplace about whether your model can be converted to burn coal or not. Make sure to consult with a professional.
What Are The Health And Environmental Effects Of Burning Coal In The Fireplace?
Like any other carbon-based object, burning coal even in the correct fireplace will produce smoke that will have carbon dioxide, monoxide, soot particles, and other pollutants. But you will have to be extra careful with coal because even when there are no visible flames, it can keep smoldering for hours, producing excessive amounts of carbon monoxide.
Not only is the gas colorless, but it is also odorless and if left undetected can suffocate the people living in the house.
Can You Convert a Wood Powered Fireplace To Be Able To Burn Coal?
Yes, you can! But not all models can be transformed so you should consult with the manufacturer once before attempting it. You will need to get a ‘Multi-fuel conversion kit’ from your manufacturer which will include a metal grate, ash pan, extra air vents, and in some cases, a CO detector.
The metal grate is used to lift the coal pieces in the fireplace so that some extra ventilation can be supplied from the bottom. Along with this, the ash pan is used below this grate so that the ash doesn’t block the air vents. The extra air vent is also used below the coals to increase the airflow.
The CO detector is used to monitor any alarming rise in the gas levels of your room. It is highly recommended that you use this.
What Will Happen if You Put Coal in A Wood Burning Fireplace?
The first effect is that the coal wouldn’t burn as effectively, there will be incomplete and slow combustion which will not generate as much heat. Second, the metal grates of a wood-burning fireplace might not be able to sustain the heat generated from burning coal which might lead to some warping.
On top of this, incomplete coal combustion will lead to much higher levels of carbon monoxide and dioxide in the air, and without proper ventilation can even suffocate the people in the room.
What Type of Coal and From Where Should You Buy From
The recommended type of coal is either hardwood coal or anthracite, they produce the least amount of oils and burn the most easily without much smoke. You can usually buy coal from the closest hardware or construction stores. you can also check the local grill or barbeque place if you are in a pinch.
You should only burn coal in your fireplace if it can be converted to handle coal as a fuel and after making the necessary changes. Otherwise burning coal can damage your fireplace or even your house while causing health issues and excess smoke.
I am the guy behind Theyardable.com. I grew up on a homestead and I am here to share the knowledge I have and things I learn while living in the countryside.