With the British summer in full flow, many of us are spending more and more time outdoors. This naturally leads to a greater number of barbecues, so it is important to know how to use coal fires safely.
Moreover, with the rising costs of other forms of heating, the use of coal fireplaces in homes is on the rise: a summertime switch to coal could become a long-term lifestyle change.
1. Thoroughly check your fireplace before use
One of the most important things to remember when burning coal is to check the fireplace you are using to make sure it has been maintained properly. Many fireplaces have been left neglected, and thus leaks and holes can appear over time that can be potentially dangerous. Therefore, always check your fireplace for signs of damage.
2. Use the correct fireplace
Coal burns at a much higher temperature than wood does, therefore it is essential to ensure that you are burning coal in the right fireplace. Burning coal in an unsuitable fireplace can lead to problems; for example, a fireplace that is designed to be used for wood may not be able to handle the much hotter fire produced by coal, and thus overheating could lead to a dangerous house fire. Moreover, over time, coal burnt in a fireplace not designed for purpose can create cracks and holes, which subsequently can leak carbon monoxide into your house or surrounding environment. Thus, to ensure safety, always use a fireplace designed for coal fires.
3. Maintain a fresh supply of oxygen
Like any fire, a coal fire needs oxygen to burn effectively. When burning coal, it is essential to maintain a fresh supply of oxygen. If a coal fire does not have an adequate supply of oxygen, carbon monoxide begins to build up and can leak out into your home or surrounding environment rather than escaping through the chimney. Using a small opening in a coal fireplace, or ensuring that a coal barbecue is properly ventilated, will help to avoid this problem.
4. When igniting, use the coal sparingly
When burning coal, starting slowly is your best bet. Like any fuel source, coal needs oxygen to get going, and thus dumping many pieces of coal in one go can suffocate the fire. Initially, use some dry wood or paper to begin the fire until you have a bed of glowing embers. Then, begin to add a couple of pieces of coal at a time.
Using a coal fireplace or barbeque can be a cost-effective way to heat your home or cook your summertime food. By following our safety guide, you can ensure that you get the most out of your coal in the safest possible way.