How to light a coal fire

fire is well alight flames glowing

Whichever way you start your coal fire,  you will be amazed by the effect it has on your family as if by magic,long lost pets, children and elusive teenagers will appear and all will be right with the world.

 Starting and maintaining a coal fire can take a little skill and practice but if you follow these simple tips you should soon have your fire blazing.

Coal – The king of fuels, but sadly not very environmentally friendly, coal mainly burns from the bottom up but it also contains coal gas which is released as it burns – producing a very nice flame effect, once the fire is established it responds well to a good stirring with the poker from above, you can also clear the air gaps in the grate from above to liven up the fire, as with smokeless fuel you can place a log on top with the added advantage that this helps ignite the coal gas.

Now that we understand what coal requires we can apply these principles to how the fire is set. As with all fires dry newspaper, dry kindling and dry fuel is essential.

Setting a Coal fire – – First make sure the grate is clear, the ash pan is empty and the chimney has been swept within the last 12 months, remember air from below ?Now place 3 or 4 pieces of kindling left to right on the grate, next scrunch up some dry newspaper, no colour pictures or magazines just plain dry newspaper be generous with the paper and don`t scrunch it too tightly place the paper on top of the grate to the rear of the basket, next at least three handfuls of dry kindling front to back, I cheat and also add a few pieces of Blazers which is a compressed artificial log, now two shovelfuls of coal, place it carefully on the kindling then ignite the newspaper in two or three places, put your fireguard in front of the fireplace opening and go make yourself a nice cup of tea, you can drink your tea in front of the fire and perhaps add a well-seasoned log and another shovel of coal. Once the fire is established you can liven it up with poking from above.Don’t forget to always leave the fireguard in place in front of the fire even if you are only popping out of the room for a brief moment.

Coal-Sweep every three months in use

Smokeless-Sweep every year

Wood-sweep every three months in use

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