If you want to heat your home effectively and save money whilst doing it, then you want your stove to run as economically as possible. It doesn’t matter if you have a brand spanking new or a ruffled old home stove, there are a few things you can do to make sure you’re getting the most from your fuel.

Dry Wood

It may seem obvious, but this is the most fundamental thing to get right when burning wood. There is a reason we recommend burning properly dried wood; because green wood contains around 50% water. That means for every kg of green wood you burn, you are effectively adding 500ml of water. Not only will you lose a lot of heat energy boiling this water away, rather than heating your home, it is incredibly hard to light in the first place.

How To Properly Dry Wood

  • You can find green wood and dry it yourself, but bear in mind, this may be the cheapest option, but it will also take a long time. Logs will need a minimum of one summer drying somewhere sheltered, preferably two.
  • Good suppliers are in good supply today. Check online for your local wood and coal merchant. The logs they supply are certified, kiln or air dried and are ready to burn straight away.
  • Kiln dried logs or briquettes can also be bought from garages and supermarkets.

Air Management

Air is the invisible ingredient that is key to a good fire. Primary air feeds the bed of the fire whilst secondary air feeds the flames above it. Nearly all the energy from wood comes from burning gases released when it is heated.

Never completely close the secondary air vent on your stove as it’s the easiest way to create soot and tar and completely coat the glass front with gunk. Always keep the stove door closed as having it open will cripple your stoves efficiency and allow all the warm air to escape up the chimney.

When you are burning wood in your home stove or fireplace, it is important that you are burning the right wood. But what constitutes as the right type of wood?

To get the most out of your stove you need to be burning firewood that is properly sourced and dried. But why is it so important to burn dry wood?

We use home stoves to produce heat for our home. The more efficient that fire is, the easier and quicker it is to heat each room and the more money you can save in the long run. Consider the heat energy created by the fire – when we burn dry wood, the energy is focused on creating heat, which in turn, heats our home.

When you are burning wet wood, a lot of the energy is focused on boiling the water in the wood, energy that is unable to escape as heat. Many people question whether we should be burning dry wood because of the speed in which it burns, with some stating that it burns too fast. But on the contrary, quicker burning logs are a much more efficient use of the heat energy generated.

Those who burn wood at home must ask themselves the question of how much it costs to buy the amount of wood that is required to make it through winter. If you take moisture content in mind, consider the burn value of a stack of wet logs versus a stack of the same type of wood that has been kiln dried. The wood that has been properly dried has much more value compared to the wet logs. The wet logs are heavier, sure, but the quality drastically reduces the heat output. Wet wood also has poor combustion, increasing smoke production as well as tars and creosotes that can damage your flue.

Firewood supply is still very much a ‘cottage’ industry and local firewood and coal merchants are definitely recommended as the best way to source your home fuel. It is a great rural industry that provides work for many.

Our energy consumption can end up costing us hundreds of pounds a year, but do you know how much energy you use to heat your home?

Some homes can use around 20,000 kWh a year, whilst others may be using more like 10,000 kWh. Although many people have a rough idea how much they spend on fuel bills each year, not many know how much energy they use specifically for heating their home.

Knowing the answer is the first step in helping homeowners reduce the cost of their heating bills.

Measuring Energy Usage To Heat Your Home

A typical home can use anywhere between 5,000 kWh and 30,000 kWh of energy a year for heating purposes.

Heating varies; some use natural gas, oil, electricity or something else. No matter which fuel type you use, you can measure the usage through energy meters and energy bills. If you use one fuel for heating and nothing else, then your annual usage of that fuel is the number you’re looking for.

Those who use electricity and gas to heat their home, also tend to use the fuel for other purposes such as cooking, water heating, lighting and appliances. To account for this, you can take advantage of the fact that heating in the UK is seasonal.

If a home uses electricity for all its energy needs, and uses around 16,000 kWh a year for everything, and if we know that over 6 months when the house isn’t heated it uses 3,00 kWh for everything except heating, we can roughly assume that the same is used over the winter months for these same things. So, over a year, non-heating demands account for 6,000 kWh, and the remaining 10,000 kWh will be used for heating.

For some people in certain locations, heating bills can be balanced by using a home stove that burns smokeless coal. This can help reduce the overall yearly energy bills.

We hate to break it to you all, but summer is well and truly over. The grey mist is descending all over the UK, the shorts have been tucked to the back of the wardrobe and the beer gardens are reminiscent of The Specials ‘Ghost Town’.

But it isn’t all doom and gloom, autumn is here! The red leaves are falling, and even though it is colder, home is feeling a little cosier, especially when the fireplaces are lit.

We understand that fireplaces are our home centrepieces and living room focal point, so it makes sense to give it a make over to suit the season.  To add some character and flair to your fireplace this autumn, here are some top tips:

Mother Nature

Nothing encompasses the persona of mother nature more than autumn, nature goes through its most dramatic change from summer to the fall season, and these dried flowers, fallen leaves, branches and autumn vegetables like pumpkins can all be beautiful additions to your mantel. Seasonal colours and hues, like orange, brown, burnt amber and cranberry are warming and cosy colours that make your living room a den.

Harvest

Autumn is associated with harvest season, and because of this it is the perfect time to use seasonally-themed accents for your fireplace. Straw and hay, as well as rope accents help conjure harvest time feels. Always be careful with materials that are flammable and never place them close to the fire itself; faux hay and straw accessories are available that will be much safer for your home.

Spooky

The best part of autumn is Halloween. Decorating your fireplace with bats, black cats, spiders and witches’ broom is great way to decorate your fireplace in a fun way that kids – and big kids – will love. Don’t forget to add a pumpkin that you can cut out yourself.

Autumn is the time to get our grates ready for some fire, so make sure you are well stocked with smokeless coal and imported firewood ready to get you through winter.

Water leaks are one of the most destructive things that can happen to your chimney and stove. The masonry which makes up a chimney is made of various materials, all of which are adversely affected by water.

A chimney’s design protects it from the damaging effects of water, from the top down. The cap, the crown and flashing all help to protect from water penetration, but they all need to be in good shape to do that.

Faulty Cap

To protect water, debris and small animals from entering the top of the flue, a chimney cap is installed. When a cap becomes damaged over time, or is dislodged by high winds or animal tampering, it allows water to flow directly into the chimney flue. Once water penetrates the system, all kinds of damage can occur.

Worn Down Crown

Mortar crowns are designed to the specific specifications of each chimney. They should slant away from the flue, be at least 4 inches at its thinnest, and have an overhang of at least 2 inches. If your crown is poorly constructed it will sustain damage quicker; even well-made crowns are susceptible to the pressure of the sun’s rays and temperature fluctuations. If they crack, water can collect in these spaces, moving further and further into the system.

Damaged Flashing

Flashing is made up of multiple layers of metal sheeting specifically placed to prevent the penetration of water, specifically where the chimney intersects with the roof. It takes an experienced technician to install the flashing correctly, taking the slant and roofing material into consideration. Poor flashing is generally the first thing to be checked in the event of water leaks.

Visit Pearson Fuels coal merchants today for all your home fuel needs.

Smokeless fuel is a necessity for homeowners who live in smoke free areas and wish to burn fuel in a home stove or open fireplace.

Whilst smokeless fuels can be found naturally in the form of anthracite, most of the ones you will find in the local garage, supermarket or coal merchants will be manufactured. Anthracite is used as the main ingredient in smokeless fuels; it is a hard, shiny form of fuel that burns with maximum efficiency and a glowing flame and naturally contains a very high carbon content, sometimes as high as 97%, which means it contains fewer volatile materials and doesn’t give off any thick acrid smoke when it is burned.

Manufactured smokeless fuels use anthracite as it’s base because of the qualities it demonstrates.

How is it made into the smokeless fuel we buy?

To manufacture smokeless coal, firstly, the naturally occurring anthracite is ground down into powder before being re-formed into briquettes of even form by combining the powder with a smokeless binding agent such as starch or molasses. These formed briquettes are more versatile than natural anthracite as they can be used in many different appliances, including multi-fuel stoves, room heaters and open indoor/outdoor fires.

Smokeless fuels were developed to combat air pollution in heavily populated areas. Whist most home heating is now done with a central gas heating system, many homes still adopt a fireplace to heat their home, to save money or simply for a more decorative feel. Smokeless fuel became popular after the 1956 Clean Air Act; an act brought about after the ‘Great Smog’ of London in 1952.

All smokeless fuels have to conform to the standards set out in this, and subsequent acts, to produce less than 5g of smoke per hour of burning. When this fuel is burnt it produces less emissions and compared to normal coal they produce up to 20% less carbon dioxide. Smokeless fuel can be found at your local coal merchants.

Multi-fuel and wood burning stoves are the two main home stoves on today’s market. Both have their benefits, but the all-important question is – which one is better?

When most people think of a home stove they tend to think of a wood burner. But having a multi-fuel stove also allows you to burn other types as fuel as well. It is estimated that 59% of stove owners opt for wood burners, with 41% having a multi-fuel option.

We have compiled a guide for each type, so you can decide which one will be the perfect option for you.

Brands

Today’s market has an abundance of stove brands to choose from in a variety of different designs. From traditional designs to more sleek, modern styles, you can have it in any colour you can imagine, and in any style to suit your home décor.

Multi-Fuel and Wood

Multi-fuel stoves get their name because they are able to burn wood, smokeless fuel and coal. There are differences in the way these different fuels burn so it is important you don’t try and burn any fuels in a stove that are not specifically listed as a burnable fuel for your stove.

To burn efficiently, coal needs air to reach it from below, which multi-fuel stoves produce via a grate for the fuel to sit on. Some also have a riding plate that allows you to remove any ash that builds up and allow even more air to enter underneath.

Wood burns best when sitting on a bed of ash with air circulating around the top and sides. As they burn differently, a multi-fuel stove may not be optimised for burning both types of fuel in the most effective way. When deciding on which stove is best for you it is wise to work out which type of fuel you will want to burn, and which fuel you have the best access to.

Around 77% of people who have a multi-fuel stove only burn wood rather than smokeless coal or other options. But if you are planning to only burn wood then a dedicated log burner may be able to save you money in the long run.

Even though changes are constantly being made to the stove industry: from new safety features to more unique styles, ultimately, a lot of these changes tend to be only minor tweaks and alterations to the current systems.

Most modern-day, wood-burning/multi-fuel stoves are highly efficient, but how much do they differ from their older counterparts?

Built to Last

Often is the case that old houses still have their original stoves that were installed generations ago. Little has changed since they were installed, maybe except for a few minor repairs and some ongoing maintenance. There may be a slight drop in efficiency from their installation date, but the fact remains that they are still going strong decades later: a testament to the craftsmanship of the time.

Why Fix It?

Older wood burning/multifuel stoves can often be a victim of their own success amid calls for a stove scrappage/replacement scheme. But if the old stove you have in your home works perfectly well and distributes enough heat to warm your home, then why replace it?

There is an obvious environmental issue to take into consideration. Older stoves are less efficient and release a greater number of particles into the atmosphere but talk of a scrappage scheme will have to provide very attractive offers to get people to give up a perfectly well-maintained stove that is in great working order, just because it is a little old.

Highest Craftmanship

There is no denying that technology has drastically improved modern stoves over the last 20 years, but the fact the basic shape and style has remained the same suggests that the makers of stoves back in the day knew what they were doing. The durable, cast-iron stove is still a sought-after home commodity today, decades later, and is for all intents and purposes – perfect.

As long as you are using quality fuels from certified coal merchants in order to fuel your stove, there is no reason that age should be an issue. Regularly maintained stoves can last generations.

As the experts in everything coal related, the team here at Pearson Fuels recognise why some people may call us biased when we say that the fossil fuel is the best on the market. Luckily, we have some interesting facts in order to back up our controversial statement. Read on to find out why we believe coal is superior to charcoal and seasoned wood…

Economical

Not only is coal an incredibly cost effective fuel to mine, it is also economical to burn too. After all, it burns brighter and longer than seasoned wood which means that homeowners will see profit in return for their purchase. In fact, many also notice that their electricity bills reduce during the winter season because they are burning coal instead of relying on radiators.

Abundance

Coal is the only fuel that is readily available in abundance which means that consumers should be able to continue purchasing it in steady supply for the foreseeable future. This is beneficial because produce that is low in supply often increases in price in order to compensate and since affordability is an important factor in the success of the coal industry, price hikes would be incredibly damaging.

Heat

Not only does the heat output of coal provide an incredibly aesthetic feature in the home, it is also an effective way to heat your home. After all, it burns much hotter than alternative fuels at a much steadier rate. This means that a 12 hour coal fire will outlast a wood fire without much interference. After all, wood must be regularly attended to in order to make sure the fire isn’t smothering.

Here at Pearson Fuels, we specialise in a wide variety of fireplace and stove friendly fuels. With this said, we like to believe that coal is the reigning supreme when it comes to the consumers favourite. After all, it is available in abundance, provide a cost effective heat output that can actually help lower your bills and burns 20% brighter than wooden alternatives. To find out more information, get in contact  with the best coal merchants around today!

In order for the coal we burn in our homes to get there, it has to undergo a process known as coal mining. In fact, there is an entire industry based around removing the fossil fuel from deep within the earth. Here at Pearson Fuels, we recognise that we talk a lot about coal itself but never about the mining that is carried out in order to recover it. Read on to find out everything you need to know about coal mining…

History

The practice of coal mining can be dated back thousands of years. In fact, historians have found that the Romans would take advantage of the coalfields during Roman Britain and actually used the vast majority of it by the end of the 2nd Century AD. With this said, it was the dawn of the Industrial Revolution during the 18th century that really kick started modern coal mining as we know it today. After all, coal provided the ability to power steam engines and allowed for the development of technology like never before.

Mining Methods

Over time the way we have approached coal mining has changed. In fact, there are a range of different methods that have been implemented, with surface and underground mining being the most common types.  For example, surface mining is used when the coal seams can be found near the top as it is more economically beneficial to extract the coal using open pits. On the other hand, most coal mining is carried out underground and is comprised of five different principal subcategories; longwall mining, continuous mining, blast mining, short-wall mining and retreat mining.

Environmental Impacts

Since coal is located below the surface of the earth, mining can have environmental impacts that have to be taken into consideration. For example, surface mining eradicates vegetation, damages soil and destroys the habits of wildlife whilst underground mining can cause subsidence of the ground above if the tunnels below collapse which can disrupt the flow of natural streams or damage buildings in residential areas.

Although coal burning comes with its negatives, the process of coal mining is one of the most profitable industries on the planet. After all, the fossil fuel is currently available in abundance and statistics show that we have enough to continue supplying power for the next 200 years! If you’re starting to prepare for winter, get in contact with the best coal merchants around today and ask about our range of smokeless fuels and house coals!