How long will a bag of coal last? how to use?

(26 Posts)
OhYouMerryMerryKitten Mon 28-Dec-09 13:41:19

We have an open fire and have always burned logs but with it set to get pretty cold again have thought about coal for extra heat. We've picked up a 20kg to see how it goes but how ling realisitically should it last? Also any tips on how to get the best out of it?

MitchyInge Mon 28-Dec-09 13:46:33

we've been, extravagantly, getting through about 10kg a day in conjunction with logs but it's a big fireplace and our main source of heat

MaryMotherOfCheeses Mon 28-Dec-09 13:47:20

I think I get four fires out of a bag, but I don't know if that's normal. Also I use a mix of coal and logs, with the coal under the logs to provide a base of heat, iyswim.

I don't seem able to start a fire very well without a bit of coal on there. Dont' know why.

beyondfurious Mon 28-Dec-09 13:48:46

how much was the 20kg of coal?

MitchyInge Mon 28-Dec-09 13:49:59

is weird because had this conversation in real life about an hour ago, with someone who v kindly dropped off a load of FREE wood

they don't use coal and were puzzled as to why I do, but like marymotherofcheeses I just don't know how to get a good fire going with logs alone

apart from anything else most of our wood is a bit soggy so I need that red hot base for them to burn nicely

MaryMotherOfCheeses Mon 28-Dec-09 13:51:50

If I don't use coal, I seem to spend about half an hour with newspaper across the opening, trying to get the heat going. If it works at all, that is.

OhYouMerryMerryKitten Mon 28-Dec-09 13:52:19

It was £6.50 I don't think we would switch to it entirely, especially as our logs were free, more of a boost when we really need it. Have had a couple of power cuts recently and lots of brown outs, so its more for that kind of thing really.

So it wouldnt get us very far then? (told you so face at dh)

MitchyInge Mon 28-Dec-09 13:55:12

20kg bags last us 2 days at the moment

usually try to be a bit more frugal but it's not the season for that is it!

OhYouMerryMerryKitten Mon 28-Dec-09 13:56:05

I used to struggle to get our wood fire going but don't have any probs now. I don't sweep the grate before I light it (chimney sweep said that would help) just empty the cinder pan (or whatever its called) then newspaper, kindling and a couple of little logs. gets going well. Wood is a year old though.

So if I'm doing a mix is it better to do a base of coal or just add some lumps onto a fire that is already going?

HeadFairy Mon 28-Dec-09 13:56:47

during the really cold spell with all the snow (down south) we got through 20kg of coal (which cost £11.98 at a garden centre) in three days, but we have a teeny victorian fireplace in our living room. I tend to do coal only fires as they give out more heat and our boiler just doesn't have much oomph.

MaryMotherOfCheeses Mon 28-Dec-09 13:56:48

Oooh how d'you get free logs? envy

REally really must get some ordered, we're spending a fortune on the bags from the supermarket.

OhYouMerryMerryKitten Mon 28-Dec-09 13:57:13

2 days? oh dear. I'd best do some research into prices a bit.

MaryMotherOfCheeses Mon 28-Dec-09 13:58:51

I just add a layer of coal across the kindling, then light the paper. Then put logs on when the kindling is well alight.

MitchyInge Mon 28-Dec-09 14:00:11

our fireplace is a huge sooty hole in the wall though, with a big grate - it's nearly 5kg just to cover the bottom with a single layer of coal

I never really clean it out blush just put paper, kindling maybe some firelighters then coal, light then add wood, and top up with coal and wood throughout evening

OhYouMerryMerryKitten Mon 28-Dec-09 14:01:24

free logs was from local school. They had felled loads of pine trees. I asked the caretaker if we could have them. We took bootloads of tree trunks home. It was in that ultra cold weather last winter and I was like a woman possessed, gathering and sawing (by hand!) Has paid off masses this winter!

Got some very large tree trunk bits given to us as well but we don't seem to be able to split them, despite me having bought a maul and studued you tube videos of how to do it very carefully.

MitchyInge Mon 28-Dec-09 14:02:04

free logs are via cosmic ordering

or, this is how the cosmos did it via me:

see a man cutting some at farm, ask if there are any spare, get given a generous amount there and then only to be pleasantly surprised a couple of days later when he shows up with whole discovery load for you

OhYouMerryMerryKitten Mon 28-Dec-09 14:03:02

ok, that sounds doable might try it tonight to see how it goes, don't want to be stuck with a powercut or something and trying it for the first time in the pitch black. That would strain our marriage somewhat!

OhYouMerryMerryKitten Mon 28-Dec-09 14:03:41

MI - what a lovely man!!!

MitchyInge Mon 28-Dec-09 14:20:32

cosmos always does that whenever pessimism looms, he stacked them nicely for us too

back to coal thing tho, recently have been experimenting with that smokeless solid fuel stuff - get it all going with normal, cheaper coal, then add the smokeless stuff

it really chucks the heat out and lasts AGES so suspect is worth the extra £££ but found it hard to get it going from scratch

unfortunately no nearby garages seem to have had deliveries of it lately

OhYouMerryMerryKitten Mon 28-Dec-09 15:14:19

I saw some of that but wasn't sure about it so didn't pick any up.

emsyj Mon 28-Dec-09 16:47:01

Do you not have a coal man? We have a coal bunker (just from the local hardware shop, cost about £30) and the coal man comes and fills it - it takes about half a ton - and it's MUCH cheaper than buying bags of coal from the garage/garden centre. We have a garage full of seasoned logs too, but coal gives out so much more heat we've been using coal the last few days. We'd be bankrupt if we used the little bags!

MitchyInge Mon 28-Dec-09 16:56:19

I know there is no pleasing some people but is SO hard to leave the house now that have 6 logs blazing on a big pile of hot coals

far too cosy

only have to take a dog to next village and poss. collect Indian takeaway, not like I have to swim the channel naked or crawl to London across broken glass or something

catinthehat2 Mon 28-Dec-09 17:19:53

Chimneysweep told me to be wary of pine/leylandii wood as it has a lot of tar content which can stick in the chimney and catch fire if it gets really bad. I've not needed to check this out to see if he was being an old woman or not, and I'm sure the odd leylandii binge won't hurt, but maybe be a bit careful?

OhYouMerryMerryKitten Mon 28-Dec-09 18:41:00

grin emsy, the irony is that in redoing our garden this summer we actually got rid of our big old concrete coal bunker (which we were using as a compost bin) not sure we would ever go over to properly using coal just cos we seem to do ok for wood.

cat - around here all the local woods are evergreens, so its what we use, well seasoned though. sweep says our chimney is ok.

emsyj Tue 29-Dec-09 17:18:04

We used to be 'coal only' as we had an open fire, hence using the coal merchant, now we have (in a different house) a multi-fuel stove, so we are now mostly a log household too. Must say though, have been using quite a lot of coal the last few weeks with it being so cold - we stoke up the stove before bed and keep it ticking over at night - the cats are beside themselves and haven't moved from their blankets other than to eat in weeks!!! grin The coal makes a difference in the very coldest weeks.

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