Can you use coal in your wood-burning stove?

With energy prices increasing across the UK, many households are considering solid fuels as another way to supplement their home heating. Coal and logs are both exceptional options for home fuel, however, the stoves built to burn them aren’t necessarily interchangeable. For example, log burners, sometimes called wood-burning stoves are not compatible with coal.

The reason for this is related to the different ways that wood and coal burn best and how the devices dedicated to using them are designed to work. Read on to learn more.

How wood burning stoves work

Wood burners are designed for the sole purpose of burning logs. To create a fire of any kind, you need fuel, heat, and oxygen. Wood always burns more efficiently when the air it requires enters from above the fire. As a result, wood-burning stoves have design features that enable air to flow above where the wood is burning.

Log burners commonly have controllable air vents located below. However, the air never feeds directly beneath the burning wood. Instead, the stove’s airflow is diverted around the log burner allowing it to enter above the fire. Wood burning stoves also have vents located at the back. These ensure even more air is fed in right above the fire within.

Logs burn best when they are sitting on a burnt wood that has become ash. Wood burners are designed with flat bottomed bases that allow ash to build up to facilitate this.

Understanding how coal burns

Unlike wood, coal needs airflow below the fire. Coal-burning stoves have a grate for fuel to sit on that allows air to get beneath. As we mentioned earlier, in log burners, the air is directed above the fire to suit wood but makes them unfit for coal fires. The flat base of wood burners that allows ash to build up also impedes any airflow reaching coals where they require it most.

If you wish to burn coal and logs always select a multi-fuel stove.

Looking for coal and logs in London?

At London Gases, we supply both coal and logs to London residents. Regardless of the fuel your stove requires contact us today to stock up.