Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a by-product of burning solid fuel: it is invisible, and odourless, and it can kill.

Although it normally passes harmlessly out of our chimney when we burn solid fuel in a stove or open fireplace, if a chimney is blocked or becomes faulty, then Carbon Monoxide can enter our home and become a real problem.

Faulty central heating systems and gas appliances such as electrical fires and ovens can also leak CO into our home, so what can be done to prevent leaks and help keep ourselves safe?

Symptoms

Because we can’t see, taste or smell CO, how do we know when a leak has happened? Carbon Monoxide is a killer, so it is important to be able to identify the warning symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning quickly. The 6 signs of potential poisoning you should look out for are:

  1. Headaches
  2. Dizziness
  3. Nausea
  4. Breathlessness
  5. Collapse
  6. Loss of consciousness

If you suspect that there has been a carbon monoxide leak, and someone is suffering from the affects, what are the steps that should be taken?

  • Firstly, you should get fresh air immediately. Open all doors and windows, turn off all gas appliances and leave the house.
  • Once you are out of the house it is important you seek medical attention immediately. CO poisoning can be detected by a blood or breath test which can be carried out by a trained health professional.
  • Before you return to your home you will need to have it thoroughly checked by a professional engineer to make sure the leak has been fixed and the home is safe to return to.

Protecting against Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

How do you stop something you can’t see, hear or smell? To prevent Carbon monoxide poisoning from happening it is important that you follow these steps:

  • Have your chimney swept regularly
  • Have a ventilation system fitted above your fire
  • Use registered installers for any solid fuel appliance
  • Fit an audible Carbon Monoxide detector in your property
  • Inspect your central heating systems and gas appliances yearly for any leakages or damage.
  • Use smokeless coals and never leave appliances burning if you leave the home or overnight.

If you often buy smokeless fuels, then you have probably noticed the sheer amount of size options available across different stores. Does the size of the briquette have such a dramatic effect on the performance of the fire, or is it simply a marketing scheme to make it seem as though there is more choice?

In actual fact, the size of the briquettes you burn actually make a huge difference to the resulting fire. Larger briquettes not only give a more authentic look to your fire – if aesthetics are important to you – they also allow for better air flow in your fire thanks to the larger gaps between the briquettes. With increased airflow you will notice larger and better flames in your stove.

If you have an open fire or a glass fronted stove then large briquettes are your best option. They will create a more balanced heat output and will create more of a picturesque fire in your grate.

Small briquettes sacrifice the visual appeal in place of a higher heat output and a much longer fire life. Their small size is deceiving as they are more densely packed into a tighter firebed, restricting airflow so that they burn with a much more intense glow, radiating heat for up to 18 hours.

If you have a closed appliance where a visual fire isn’t necessary, then smaller briquettes are your best option for a more economical heat output.

Mid-sized briquettes are the perfect compromise between visual appearance and the extended fire life that strikes between smaller and large briquettes. These are the recommended smokeless fuel for all appliance types as well as open fires as they provide a great visual flame, yet they are economical with their heat output and burn time.

Home fireplaces are the perfect addition to our homes in winter and to our gardens in the summer evenings where we can sit around them and enjoy time together with family. Lit fires do pose a danger, however, when it comes to having animals.

Our pets love to lay around the fire too, but owners need to be careful in order to avoid any accidents from happening:

Training

Always teach your pets the boundaries when approaching a lit fire. Most dogs and cats tend to know by instinct not to go too close to fire but curiosity can sometimes get the better of them.

Don’t Play Near Fire

Whilst your animal may know not to go near the fire, sometimes they can inadvertently get too close; wagging tails, long fur, and sensitive paws can all accidentally get caught by the fire if they are playing too close to it. If you are playing with your pets, make sure you do it well away from the fire.

Gates

A great preventative measure for your indoor fireplace is to set up a gate to protect animals, as well as children, from getting too close to your fire. Avoid anything made of glass as animals tend to interact with things they can see their reflections in.

Keep an eye out

Pets can be quick; they can steal food in the blink of an eye and take off with an unattended slipper faster than you can think, so when a fireplace is in use, either indoors or outdoors, make sure you know where your pet is at all times.

It only takes a second for a pet to get too close to the flames. If you have to leave the fire unattended for any time, take the pet with you rather than leave them by themselves.

Contact Pearson Fuels coal merchants for all your fuel needs through winter and summer.

 

Fireplaces have moved away from simply being a functional piece of home heating to being a visual design piece that blends with the rest of our home and even adds to our home’s aesthetic.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular design trends to see how people are making a statement with their fireplaces:

TV or Art Directly Above The Fireplace

2017’s most popular installation request was to have a TV or art piece placed directly above their modern gas fireplace. In the past this type of installation required the inclusion of protective heat barriers, safety clearances and noisy venting fans to prevent damage. Today’s Cool Touch Wall Technology means that you can now hang anything above your fireplace.

Balance

As TV’s are getting larger and lighter each year, having yours hung above your fireplace can create an unbalanced perspective over a small fireplace. To correct this, you can either opt for a larger fireplace or a smaller TV; Larger fireplaces may fit your budget but not your home and having a fireplace too big for a room will produce too much heat to bare. The best solution is to shift focus back from your television to your fireplace with extended view panels.

Extended View Panels

Blended seamlessly with your fireplace the extended viewing panels create visual balance and amplify flames for maximum impact. They sit flush to the wall and are made from reflective black glass so they can easily stretch out the visual perspective of your fireplace so it matches the width of your TV or art work.

Frameless Fireplaces

Many modern designs make use of frameless, clean linear lines and an uninterrupted fire view. You can finish them with any material which is why they are so loved by designers trying to create a unique aesthetic for the living room.

Visit Pearson fuels for all your smokeless coal and imported firewood needs.

For those debating whether to install a fireplace in their home, the most common question they have to ask themselves is which type of fuel they want to burn.

With a multi-fuel stove that problem is solved. These stove types allow you to burn a number of different fuel types in the same fireplace without the need for any changes or alterations in-between burns.

And that isn’t the only positive of having a multi-fuel stove installed, they also have a whole host of other benefits:

  1. Disaster Proof

If you should ever experience a power cut, your multi-fuel stove will still be able to create a toasty fire to keep you and your family warm until the heating can come back on.

  1. Fuel Choice

You can burn a variety of different fuels in your stove to suit your needs and preferences. Logs, smokeless coal and eco-friendly solid fuels all vary in price at different times, so you don’t have to be dependent on the price of a power company.

  1. Efficient

Solid fuels burn at a very high temperature and for a very long time making them one of the most efficient ways of heating our home. A living room fireplace can heat the rooms surrounding and those above your living room too.

  1. Condensation

Solid fuel heating can significantly reduce the amount of condensation which can cause damp and mould in our homes.

  1. Ventilation

Chimneys constantly pull fresh air through the house, removing any polluted air.

  1. Rising Energy Costs

Energy companies can charge whatever they like to supply energy to your home whilst fuel companies strive to keep costs low and as fair as possible.

  1. Smokeless Zone Safe

There are a variety of smokeless coals and other fuels you can use so you can still have a roaring fire in smoke control areas.

  1. Off the grid

If you live in rural areas it can be difficult to access a gas main line. Multi-fuel stoves provide a great alternative that cuts out the hassle of getting your home connected.

In the UK most who own a fireplace only use it for a few months each year. As the weather gets warmer the fireplace becomes an after thought as the warmer weather means our central heating and coal or wood burning fire aren’t required to heat our homes.

Whilst most people are guilty of the thinking that through the summer months the fire becomes ‘out of sight out of mind’, even though it is unused, there are things you need to do to make sure the stove is safe to use when autumn time rolls around again.

Open fireplaces that burn solid fuel need to have their grates and fireboxes cleaned thoroughly before they are left for the summer. Vacuum or use a dustpan to sweep all the ashes up and be sure to remove any creosote or soot built up on the walls or firebricks lining the firebox and lower parts of the chimney you can access.

Use a torch and handheld mirror to clear away the soot from the hard to reach areas and always wear gloves and a face mask when carrying out this work to help protect your skin and lungs from any ash dust or soot. Investing in safety glasses is also important to protect your eyes.

Check the firebricks for cracks and signs of damage. Small cracks can easily be repaired with fire cement and are best dealt with quickly, so they don’t develop into a much more serious problem. More significant damage can mean you will need to replace the entire fire brick, which is a more expensive and time-consuming option.

Plug gaps between the fireback and fire surround with fireproof rope or string to allow for the natural expansion and contraction between the two surfaces.

Properly cleaning and maintaining your fireplace in the downtime months will mean you won’t encounter any problems when it comes to relighting your fires. For coal merchants in Stockport contact Pearson Fuels today.

 

Outdoor firepits can really transform an outdoor space into somewhere everyone wants to spend time. In summer it is nice for cooking on and sitting round into the night; at other times of the year it also makes a nice gathering point for you and guests.

They provide warmth, spark creativity and discussion, ignite passion and provide a unique focal point for your garden, but if you are thinking of buying one, there are some things to consider:

Style

Styles of fire pits vary from basic metal bowls to elaborate, multi-level units that can be a combination of fire pit and beer cooler. Weighing up your budget alongside what you need is a good way to find that happy medium and provide you with the perfect fire pit.

Laws

Fire pits need to adhere to certain regulations; for example, they can’t be built on covered porches or be used under low branches or in windy areas. Always check with your homeowner’s association or city council for restrictions on outdoor fire pits, fireplaces and the burning of certain fuels.

Fuels

Most fire pits are either wood, propane or gas burning. Propane and gas are much neater than others but won’t provide you with that authentic crackling wood sound and smell. If you burn wood you will have to source and store a moderate stock pile whilst gas and propane are much easier to operate and ignite and you won’t have to deal with large storage spaces.

Materials

Always choose a material that will age well to extend the life of your investment. Cast aluminium is less likely to rust, whereas copper is highly fashionable but has a tendency to stain.

Cost

You can find a nice safe fire pit model for around £200 but depending on your budget you can go higher or lower than that. More expensive materials will drive up the cost but may save you money in the long run with their durability and easy-to-maintain nature. Deciding on whether you’re going to burn wood, propane or smokeless fuels will also influence the long-term costs.

If your fireplace hasn’t been used for a while it can become the perfect entry point for rodents such as, rats, mice and even squirrels in some cases, to find their way into your home. Houses are well constructed to keep these access points for small animals limited, after all, no one wants rodents making their way into their homes.

Rodents are eager to get inside your home to take advantage of the warmth and the food you have on offer. There are even some flying pests like bats and pigeons that can use your fireplace to build their nests.

Whilst some of these animals will use the fireplace to gain access to your home, some will only enter the fireplace, which can cause a number of problems. A number of chimney fires are started each year when the chimney becomes blocked by bird’s nests, which aren’t cleared out before the fires are lit at the start of winter.

The easiest and most effective way to keep animals out of your chimney is to close your flue after using your fireplace. Closing the flue may seem easy but it is a commonly overlooked task. Having a chimney cap installed will give you added protection if you ever forget to close the flue. Regular maintenance checks should be carried out by a professional throughout the year to ensure there are no cracks in which insects can enter. Opting for a door on the front of your fireplace can help seal off an entry point for insects and pests whilst also ensuring your own pets and children stay safe around the open fire.

Your store of firewood can also be the perfect place for insects to develop colonies. By storing your firewood off the ground, and burning your oldest firewood first, you can keep pests from being able to multiply in your stores.

Contact Pearson Fuels for all your house coal and firewood needs.

Stoves come in two main material types: Steel or Cast Iron. When it comes to choosing the right one for your home, it is best to know the benefits – and the drawbacks – of each one.

Traditionally cast iron was seen as the superior choice due to its high heat retention and durability. But what about steel?

Steel was once seen as inferior to cast iron, but things have changed, and modern designs of stoves match the quality of cast iron. Steel once had the reputation for warping in the presence of extreme heat and cast iron faced its own share of controversy with a reputation for cracking. Let’s take a closer look at the positives and negatives of Cast Iron:

Cast Iron Pros

  • Long Lasting Durability

Contrary to certain rumours, cast iron doesn’t crack or dent. They are durable and strong – and can stand the test of time without any problems. Their surface may lose some of its ‘finishing’ but whilst it may affect the cosmetic appearance of the stove, it has no impact on the quality.

  • Non-Stick Capabilities

One of the outstanding features of cast iron is that it’s non-stick. This means it can be cleaned and maintained easily.

  • Resistance to deformation

Cast Iron is the material of choice for a number of materials used with high temperatures such as cooking and heating. By nature, it is durable enough to prevent deformation under these high temperatures.

Cast Iron Cons

  • Prone to Rusting

Unfortunately, iron is prone to rusting and long-term effects will harm the material. Frequent exposure to moisture will only accelerate the process.

  • Weight

Cast iron is a very heavy material which makes working with it very difficult. All cast iron products have to be handled with care as to not cause any damage.

Always make sure you use certified house fuels such as smokeless coal in your home stove.

When you’re buying a fuel burning stove for your home it is important to weigh up the benefits of both cast iron and steel models. Both materials are used to make stunning stoves and fireplaces that are unique additions to your home and can blend seamlessly with the design of your living space.

There are so many models available in each material that it can be difficult to separate the two types on looks alone. Knowing the differences between the two materials may be key to finding the design that suits your needs:

Cast Iron

These stoves are constructed from a number of individually cast panels that are bolted together. Between the panels will be a fire-resistant cord or fire cement that will prevent any smoke from escaping. Cast iron is never welded together, so in a lot of cases, the legs will have to bolted onto the stove during installation.

Because they are bolted together, cast iron provides a more traditional look because of the patterns, lines and ridges that occur from the type of construction.

Cast Iron stoves are as simple to maintain as any other model. Contrary to some rumours that cast-iron stoves need to be rebuilt every few years, maintenance for steel and cast iron is the same. Fire bricks and fire rope may need changing in the event that they perish.

Steel

The body of a steel stove is made from a single, folded section with the top welded on to make a sealed unit, with the legs welded on to the main body at the factory. Some manufacturers use cast iron doors and internal parts which can be easily moulded to create good grooves for the fire rope, fixing points for glass, and air vents.

Manufacturing techniques usually means steel stoves are more contemporary, but not all are ultra-moderns designs built only for minimalist metropolitan homes, they also look great in classic brick fireplaces.

Cast Iron and Steel stoves are capable of burning wood and smokeless coal to heat your home.