Coal is known as a non-renewable source of fuel which means that our supply of it is limited and it will eventually run out. Due to this, scientists and expert are looking for alternative and eco-friendly alternatives for when the big day arrives in the distant future. With this said, it is interesting to find out where exactly coal came from and why we have only just discovered its abilities in the past couple centuries. Here is how coal was made…

Coal was formed millions of years ago back when the entire planet was covered in swampy forests and the environment looked completely different to what it does now. In these swamps many plants would grow. As life dictates however, some of these plants died and they would fall into the swamps, with new plants taking their places. After a long time, the swamp water became full of thicker layers of rotting plant matter.

The process of this took thousands of years and eventually the surface of the planet changed, and the water disappeared. Despite this, the repetitive cycle of plant growth, death and decay continued and as it happened more and more layers were formed on top of one another after millions of years. The weight of this, however, meant that a lot of heat and pressure allowed for chemical and physical changes to take place to the material. For example, the oxygen was forced out of the plant layers and a rich deposit of carbon was left. This eventually became the coal we know and use today.

As the plant matter that was placed under pressure was formed million of years ago at different intervals of time, coal can be separated into three different types depending on the value of chemicals that are present in the material.

For example, lignite is the lowest rank which means that is has the lowest amount of carbon in it. Bituminous is the next rank of coal and is often called soft coal. It contains a high amount of sulphur however is used to generate electricity, concrete, food and even cars. Finally, anthracite is at the top of the coal rank which means that it has the highest carbon content out of all of them. It is characterised by is deep black and almost metallic glossy texture. This is the type of coal that is typically used to heat homes because it can burn for longer periods of times and gives off less soot.

The world of coal is quite an interesting one. After all, many people presume that coal is one single rock and that our supply of it is unlimited when it is in fact the opposite that is true.

Our range of coal here at Pearson Fuels is the best of the best, which is why we are known as the best coal merchants around! To find out more information about this interesting fossil fuel, get in contact with a member of the team today!

Trying to burn freshly cut wood can be a nightmare. This is because it retains a lot of water, so even lighting it can be very difficult. If you do manage to light it, wet wood gives off much less heat, dies quickly, and creates a lot more smoke.

Although drying wood is a long process and requires serious forward planning, once you’ve cut and stacked your wood, time will do the rest for you.

Here is our handy guide to chopping wood:

It doesn’t matter whether you’re buying or cutting your own firewood – both should be done no less than 6 months before you plan to burn it. If you’re looking to burn the wood around the start of Autumn, cut or buy your wood around Spring time.

Collecting wood a year in advance will ensure it is definitely dry come time to burn. If you live in wet areas, remember that moist climates can affect the speed of drying.


Most wood you buy will already be split, but if you’re doing it yourself, choose a spacious area to wield a saw or axe without obstruction.

Keep your area clear of children and pets, and check behind you before each swing.

It is always best practice to favour level ground over an uneven surface for your chopping block.


You want to cut your logs to the specific dimensions of your furnace or fireplace. Take the dimensions of where you’re going to burn the logs and subtract three inches (7.6cm) from either the length or width, depending on how you insert the wood.

Mark where to cut on each log and then use your saw or axe to divide them into equal rounds. For those who live in a wet climate, cutting smaller rounds will mean they dry faster. Having uniform lengths of wood makes stacking much easier.


With your chopping block on level ground, set a round on top with the cut side facing up. Saw or chop the round into halves from the top down, repeating as needed with each subsequent half until they are of the desired size.

Even if your fire or furnace will fit a whole round, it is best to cut them anyway as bark seals moisture and makes it more difficult to dry.

Remember: the smaller the pieces, the quicker they will dry.

All types of wood and coal burning house fires pose a risk if you have small children. If you’re planning on lighting the fire it is best to know how to keep your family safe, what to set up in order to avoid burns and what to do to avoid any fires getting out of hand.

Follow these handy tips to keep your children safe around your home fires:

  • Keep a window open slightly whilst the fire is burning, this will keep air circulating around the room and prevent any overheating.
  • Always check the flue or damper is open before you start your fire. Ensuring it is open will draw smoke out of the house. Do not close it until the fires embers have stopped smouldering.
  • Use well aged, dry wood. Wet or green wood will create a lot of smoke and will cause a build up of soot in your chimney. Dry wood burns evenly and produces much less smoke.
  • Use smaller pieces of wood as they burn faster and release less smoke.
  • Always clean out old ashes from the grate before starting a new fire. A thick layer of ash can not only restrict the air flow and make a fire difficult to light, but can also produce a lot of smoke.
  • Make sure the area around the fireplace is kept clear of any objects that are flammable. Furniture, curtains, newspapers, books and children’s toys can catch fire if left too close, and plastic items can melt under the intense heat.
  • Never leave your fireplace unattended, especially if you have children in the house. Ensure it is completely out before going to bed or leaving the house. Try and avoid lighting it if you know you will need to leave the house at any point and there is no one to tend to the fire.
  • Place a safety screen around your fire so children wont accidentally burn themselves on the hot glass or metal.
  • Make sure all your fireplace tools and accessories are out of reach of small children. Also, make sure all matches and lighters are stored well out of harms reach.
  • Always keep a fire extinguisher on hand in case of an emergency.
  • Communicate with children from an early age, the dangers of fires.

Next time you visit your local coal merchants, you can ask them for more information on child safety around home wood and coal burners.


As well as adding a cosy aesthetic to your home, chimneys and fireplaces are also highly functional ways to heat your home. They add character and warmth to your home, but if they are not looked after, there are a number of potential issues that could arise. Here are some of the most common issues people with chimneys and fireplaces have:


Creosote is a black or dark brown tar that builds up on the inside of the chimney when you burn wood or coal. There are several forms of creosote, all of them can be harmful to your chimney. When they build up to dangerous levels they can cause fires in the chimney breast; in fact, many house fires every year are caused because of dirty chimneys.

The creosote prevents proper ventilation so harmful fumes can invade the home, causing carbon monoxide poisoning.

Having your chimney regularly cleaned by a professional will prevent creosote from building up and creating dangerous, flammable deposits.


It isn’t juts creosote that can cause a blockage. If a fireplace hasn’t been used in a long time, it can become blocked by bird’s nests, leaves and other debris, even neglected masonry can fall into a chimney and cause a blockage.

Chimneys should be inspected regularly to check for blockages, which should be removed by professional chimney technicians.

Cracks In The Flue

If your chimney flue is constructed of clay tile instead of stainless steel then over time, the extreme heat can cause a lot of stress on the material. It is important to get your chimney inspected annually to check if any damage has occurred in the flue. If it is damaged, a fire should not be used as the heat can reach combustible parts of the home and start a fire, as well as releasing harmful gases into the home.

Most coal merchants provide services for checking your fireplace and chimney as well as professional cleaning services.

The United Kingdom is an industrial state which relies heavily on the use of coal and other types of fuel. In fact, during the industrial revolution the increase in coal consumption rose by a staggering 80%. Nowadays, we tend to use the fossil fuel in order to generate electricity and for more basic means such as heating our homes through a fireplace however this looks like it could be about to change.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has caused for a ban of fireplaces and wood burning stoves and whilst the confirmation of whether this would incorporate the whole of the UK or just London alone is still unknown, the response has been rather negative. Here is all you need to know…

It is no secret that burning fuels like coal and wood release harmful gases into our atmosphere however it cannot be ignored that the simple fossil fuel provides a very efficient solution to our need for power and electricity. Without it we would struggle. The Mayor however has decided that we need to improve the quality of the air we breathe and has suggest that a ban on fireplaces and wood burners is the way to do it.

Unfortunately a large chunk of the population rely on these appliances in order to stay warm during the winter and as you may expect, the response hasn’t been welcoming. One Facebook user commented that “London traffic fumes are far more invasive to asthmatics than any open fire or wood burner will ever be” whilst another asked “I thought bad air quality was a part and parcel of living in a big city?”.

An article published in the British Medical Journal was the cause of the suggestion from Khan, which stated that burning wood creates 2.4 times more pollution that motor vehicles, reportedly causing 37,800 early deaths in 2012. Thankfully we can rest assured for some time as the proposal is scheduled for 2025 where the idea of having small zones may be introduced in order to reduce wood burning stove pollution. Experts say that the ban would be at least 6 years away since it would require a legislation from the government.

Here at Pearson Fuels, we do not ignore the effects that coal and wood burning has on our atmosphere. After all, everything comes with a downside which is why we all have to make sure that we are sensible with our usage. Our range of high quality fuels include smokeless coal which is much safer for the environment and also burns warmer too! Get in contact today to find out more information!

Here at Pearson Fuels, it is safe to say that coal is our speciality. We know everything there is to know about this fossil fuel that was created millions of years before the dinosaurs were even a thought and now we want to give back some of our knowledge to you. In this blog, we are going to discuss some of the budding issues surrounding the rock…

Why do we still mine coal?

It is no secret that the consumption of coal causes a wide range of different issues and at the top of that list is how the fumes that are given off contribute to global warming. With this said, many people still wonder why coal is used on an everyday basis. This answer to this lies with the cost. Carbon emissions are not taxed which means that coal is a cheap way of generating electricity and since coal is available in abundance, it remains one of the most used sources available.

How else is coal used?

Since it is so widely available, the use of coal is not only reserved for power plants. In fact, there are two kinds; steam coal which is used for electricity and metallurgical coal which is used to process metals like steel. In addition to this, many homeowners use coal as a source of heat in their home.

What is clean coal?

As the emissions that regular coal give off are harmful, many governments have been working towards creating clean coal technologies. This broad term refers to a variety of different ways in which coal is burned and processed in order reduce the pollutants that are able to enter the atmosphere.

Learning new information is always exciting and the team here at Pearson Fuels love sharing our knowledge with readers and potential clients. As the best coal merchants around, we are the best people to turn to if you’ve got a coal related question or query that this discussion blog hasn’t provided an answer to. For more information, get in contact with member of the team today!

If you burn wood and coal in a home fire regularly, you can end up with a lot of waste ash. After you have removed the ash from the grate and cooled it in a storage bin, there are a number of options available to you. Whilst most people just throw their ash away, there are actually some practical alternatives:


After a forest fire, soil becomes highly nutritious and new plants are able to grow. This is because ash contains high levels of nutrients that are beneficial to plant life, in the right amounts. Wood ash is great for the ground, so mix layers of wood ash into your compost heap. Coal ash is not so beneficial due to carcinogens, so don’t include it in your compost.


Ash can be used to clean the grease from pots and pans when you’re camping. Some people use the ashes neat, rubbing them onto the pots and pans and cleaning off with water. For those stubborn stains, soak in a mixture of ash and water for a few hours.

You can make a thick paste with ash and water to make a great cleaning option if there is no hot water available.

Icy Paths

Sprinkling ashes on to icy ground makes for a more surefooted journey across icy paths. Make sure you only use ash from wood burning, as it is better for the ground when the ice has melted.


You can build up a garden path by sprinkling layers of ash on the ground. Over time, the ash will be trodden into the ground, gradually building up a pathway.

Slugs and Snails

Ash works as a great deterrent to pests. Build up little walls of ashes between your vegetables and around plants to keep them from destroying your hard work in the garden.

Instead of just throwing away your wood or smokeless coal ash next time, try some of these top recycling tips.

Carbon monoxide is an incredibly dangerous gas that can be caused by a range of different appliances within the home. In fact, it is so harmful that all households must have a carbon monoxide detector installed by law in order to warn the inhabitants that the gas is present. With this said, it is very rare that the alarm will ever go off, especially if you pay attention to the maintenance your appliances. If your detector does happen go off however it can be a worrying occasion and very few people actually know what to do. In order to keep families safe, the team here at Pearson Sweep are going to give you the lowdown on the correct protocol to follow…

  1. Open all the doors and windows

If you detector goes off it means that the level of carbon monoxide has reached a certain percentage and one of the first things that you should do is open all the doors and windows in order to try and remove it from the atmosphere.

  1. Turn off all fuel

Once you have ventilated the home to the best of your ability it is time to make the property safe. Since carbon monoxide is flammable you should turn off your boilers and fires so that there is no further risk.

  1. Do not switch on any lights, smoke or strike any matches

Since the gas is incredibly flammable it means that simple things could cause a fire. Of course, this is a very low risk and rarely happens however until the property has been serviced by a professional you should avoid doing anything that could lead to a fire such as smoking, lighting matches and even flipping switches.

  1. Evacuate and call the professionals

Carbon monoxide is extremely dangerous to our health and since the gas is odourless it can take some time until people notice it is even present. Once you have completed the above steps you should leave the property and call the relevant professionals. It is also important that you visit your GP to ensure that you don’t have carbon monoxide poisoning too.

Carbon monoxide can be caused by a range of different things within the household, with the most common being gas appliances. With this said, the team here at Pearson Sweep know all too well how easy it can be for the gas to build up when people fail to have their working chimney swept. As the experts in the industry, we want to remind all chimney users how important it is to have their chimney serviced and swept at least once a year. To find out more information, get in contact with the best chimney sweep in Manchester today!

For those with an indoor coal burning fire it can be difficult to find ways to store your coal that avoids making a mess of your house.

Luckily there are a number of solutions for storing your coal, both indoors and outdoors. There are even ways of storing in small spaces if you don’t have much to spare.

Here we are going to take a look at some of the best ways of storing your coal:


Most people prefer to store their coal outside, especially if they have a large supply. Coal can produce a lot of mess and storing outside is the best way to avoid a lot of that mess spreading around the house.

  • Coal bunker: Coal bunkers can be placed around the back or sides of your home. Thanks to modern designs, their appearance won’t ruin the serenity of your garden. Bunkers provide the easiest storage option, constructed from hardy plastics or galvanised steel, they’re easy to assemble, hard wearing, and have a large capacity.
  • Dustbin: Old dustbins or even wheelie bins can be repurposed as a cheap and simple solution to coal storage. If you are using a plastic bin, you can even cut a hole in the bottom of the bin to let the coal flow through, making it easier to collect for your fire.
  • Piles: If you have the space or don’t want to splash out on a bunker or bin, then you can simply pile your coal outside. It isn’t the most attractive option, and it is recommended that you don’t pile the coal any higher than an average person to avoid any collapses.


For those with little room outdoors, coal must be kept inside the home. Even those with outdoor storage will find it easier to keep a smaller store inside the house, this way you don’t have to keep running outside in the cold to top up the fire.

  • Scuttle or Bucket: These provide an easy and attractive way of storing small amounts of coal near your fireplace. Most are designed to be able to tip the coal directly onto the fire to save you getting dirty fingers.
  • Chest or Basket: Keep your coal out if sight with one of these. They allow for more capacity than a scuttle and can be painted to suit your living room.
  • Basement or cellar: If you have the space then make use of it. Cellars are a great way to store coal out of sight whilst remaining easily accessible.
  • Plastic tubs: If you’re on a budget, hardy plastic tubs can be used to store a small amount of coal.

With your smokeless coal stored away you are ready for even the coldest winter.

Having a fire burning at home is the ultimate in Hygge comfort. But getting that fire lit can be a real pain. You may think that getting wood and coal to burn would be a simple process, but in actual fact, it’s never simple.

As it is not so much of a common task in modern life, not many people know the best way to light a fire. Taking some tips from fire lighting experts can make lighting a fire much easier:

  1. Clean Grate

First things first, you want a clean fireplace in which to start building your fire. Old ash and cinders will restrict air flow and make it difficult to get a fire going. Rake out the remains of your last fire, making sure to pick out cinder for re-use. The cinders are the lightweight dark lumps, not the powdery pieces of roasted shale.

  1. The Fires Base

Start your fire off with dry newspaper. Don’t use pages from a glossy magazine, as they will produce a lot of smoke. Screw the paper into rough balls (not too tight) so they still retain a good internal surface area to promote burning.

The paper balls should cover your grate, yet have plenty of space for air flow between them. You will only need one layer to ignite the wood on top; too much paper will clog up the fire-bars and cause stack-collapse problems.

  1. Wooden Layer

You can’t light coal with paper, so you will need to start with wood. Layer smaller pieces of kindling alternately in layers, so it looks like a game of Jenga. Leave plenty of spaces between the wood for air flow.

Choose a mixture of thick and thin wood so that you have a balance of heat-giving easy burners, and thicker pieces that will sustain the fire long enough to light the coal.

  1. Coal layer

Place a pile of coal on top of your wooden stack. Keep the pile central so pieces don’t fall away down the sides. Golf sized pieces of coal will start burning best, then once the fire is burning, you can include the bigger and smaller pieces.

  1. Light Your Fire

Ignite the paper from underneath, in multiple places, to get as much lit as possible. Getting the fire going as quickly as possible is important as the heat needs to reach a level where it will ignite the wood above.

The coal needs time to light, so leave the fire now for around thirty minutes.

Poke the fire at regular intervals to disperse any ash and to break-up the coals. This maintenance will keep the fire burning for as long as possible. If you are using a home fire,  smokeless coal is suggested to reduce the amount of smoke pollution in populated areas.