The coal mining industry has been around since Roman Britain, however there have been several changes since then. In fact, the entire process once relied on the labour of children as young as 5 years old despite being one of the most dangerous employment options of the early 20th century.

As the best suppliers of coal around, the team here at Pearson Fuels have decided to look into the biggest coal mines in the world and find out a little bit of information about them…

North Antelope Rochelle, USA

Located in Wyoming, this North Antelope Rochelle coal mine is the largest coal mine in the world by reserve. It is owned by a company named Peabody Energy and is made up of two separate mines which opened in 1983 and 1985 respectively and in 1999, they were combined. Experts estimate that the mine contains 2.3 billion tonnes of minable coal and it is also thought to produce the cleanest coal.

Hei Dai Gou, China

As an open pit coal mine that is located in the Zhungeer coal field of China, the Hei Dai Gou coal mine is the third largest coal mine in the world by reverse and is estimated to contain around 1.5 billion tonnes of recoverable coal. It is owned by the Shenhau Group and has been operating since 1999. Interestingly, this coal mine was the first to use AC Powered Walking Dragline technology.

Peak Downs, Australia

This Australian coal mine comes in sixth places in the order of largest coal mines by reserve and is estimated to contain around 1 billion tonnes of salvageable coal. In fact, it is one of seven mines that are owned by the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance and is an open-cut mine that started production back in 1972.

The coal mining industry is one the most successful and profitable industries around. In fact, the government predicts that at the current rate of mining, our supply of coal could last for just under 150 years. After all, it is important to remember that the fossil fuel is a non-renewable source that will eventually run out. As the best coal merchants around, the team here at Pearson Fuels are always on hand to answer any questions or queries you may have! Get in contact today to find out more information!

As one of the most popular fuels on the market, it is important to source your firewood correctly or else you can end up spending a lot of money on something that you cannot even use. Here at Pearson Fuels, we consider ourselves the experts in the industry and in this blog we are going to go over everything you need to know about seasoned firewood…

What is it?

Seasoned firewood is the name that is given to wood that has been chopped, stack and allowed to dry via exposure from the elements for 6-12 months. This lengthy process is what makes seasoned wood different from fresh wood as it helps reduce the water content from 40-50% down to 10-20%, which helps a fire burn more efficiently.

Characteristics

There are many ways to tell if your firewood has been seasoned when you know what particular characteristics you are looking for:

  • Appearance: Seasoned wood is generally darker at the ends and will have clear splits due to the lack of moisture where as fresh wood is smooth and may even feel damp.
  • Sound: If you hit two fresh logs of wood together, they will make a deep ‘thud’ sounds whereas the result of the same movement with seasoned logs results in a hollow ‘clunk’ noise instead.
  • Weight: Due to the high levels of moisture, it is a no brainer that fresh firewood is considerably heavier than seasoned firewood.

Storing

If you want to season your own firewood then preparation is key. After all, the entire process can take up to a year and there is no magic button to speed it up. The logs should be placed on a rack that is above the ground as this will keep insects at bay and there should be a waterproof roof in order to prevent rain or snow moisture from increasing the seasoning length.

Whilst we are known for our role as coal merchants, the team here at Pearson Fuels are also familiar with firewood and kiln dried logs too. After all, we believe that is important to cater to as many clients as possible and we recognise that not every customer is going to use coal as their number one choice for fuel. In fact, all of our imported firewood comes from Latvia and Lithuania, which are two countries known for their heavily dense forests. To find out more information, get in contact with a member of the team today!

With more and more people looking to alternative ways to heat their home and their water, we get asked a lot of questions about what the best alternative option is.

Outdoor wood boiler

Although fairly rare in the UK, some people in harder to reach areas make great use of outdoor wood boilers. You can load them with large firewood, circumventing the need for cutting larger pieces into smaller quarters that other stoves demand.

The size of the firewood you can load into an outdoor boiler differs between models, but you can generally expect to be able to load larger firewood than normal.

By being outdoors, all of the waste associated with firewood is kept out of your home. When you heat your home with a wood burning stove, every time you go outside to bring firewood inside, pieces of bark, dust and possibly creepy crawlies will fall onto your floor. The ash from the fire itself also accumulates after your fire has burned down, which you will have to spend time cleaning up.

Even by storing firewood in your house, you don’t instantly put it in your stove, meaning any insects such as termites can live in your stockpile, find their way into the rest of your home, and cause expensive damage to the infrastructure of the building.

With the fire not actually being inside your house it is much safer in the event that anything goes wrong. If anything serious goes wrong with the unit then the fire will most likely catch on the boiler and not spread to your home.

A good home temperature is easy to maintain with an outdoor wood boiler as they come equipped with a thermostat. Heating your hoe this way will prevent the air from becoming dry and won’t cause any toxic fumes and smoke to be released into your home as you would with a stove.

Always source your firewood and coal from a certified coal merchants in Stockport.

To ensure that all coal suppliers adhered to high standards of quality, the Coal Trade Code was established in 1962. The code set the standards that all coal suppliers must adhere to, to be acknowledged as a bona-fide, certified coal merchant.

To be a certified coal merchant, a supplier must have the best quality coal available, must prepare and deliver the fuel to a high standard, adhere to strict Weight & Measures legislation, be able to offer advice on a number of different appliances, fuel types and safety and thoroughly investigate any customer complaints.

As there are legal controls that dictate the selling and delivery of solid fuels, it is important that you source your home coal from a certified merchant. But what are the guidelines that they must follow?

Weight

Solid fuel must always be sold by specific weight in kilograms. The scales that they use to weigh the fuel must be accurate, of an approved construction for retail sale use, and have a certain required markings and stamps on them.

Delivery

Fuel merchants either respond to specific orders from consumers or operate standard delivery rounds to regular customers. The fuel they sell must be sold in sacks of 25kg or multiples of 50kg; if they are delivering more than 110kg to one individual consumer, the buyer must be given a delivery note before the fuel can be unloaded.

The delivery note must contain:

  • Merchant’s name and address
  • Consumer’s name and address
  • Type of Fuel
  • Total net weight
  • Net weight in each sack
  • Number of sacks

The coal merchant’s delivery vehicle is required to display their name and address as well as a notice that states ‘all open sacks on this vehicle contain either 25kg or 50kg’.

Quality and Safety

Industry standards are put in place to ensure the quality of solid fuels, and experts can examine fuels and make sure that any descriptive terms applied are accurate. You can refer to the Solid Fuel Association (SFA) website for a number of documents on solid fuel.

If you are looking for a coal merchants in Stockport, then look no further than Pearson Fuels.

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.