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Using an original 1930s fireplace for an open fire

(32 Posts)
Palomb Sun 13-Mar-16 21:03:06

We have in the process of buying an 1930s house with all original features intact - including the tiled fireplaces. Ideally we were hoping to be able to have a log burner but to do that we'd have to rip out one of the fireplaces which I don't think I could bring myself to do.

What would we need to do it use the fireplace? I know we'd need to have the chimney swept but what do we burn? Wood Or coal? What happens when you want to go to be but the fire is still smouldering? Do you just leave it and trip off to bed or douse it with water? Are there any insurance implications?

I've only ever lived in new house. Can you tell? ! blush

YokoUhOh Sun 13-Mar-16 21:05:45

My parents burn logs in theirs. I don't think they did anything to it but best get someone to check it's safe/unblocked first!

Floggingmolly Sun 13-Mar-16 21:06:00

You can burn whatever you choose, really. And the fire can be left to burn itself out, don't go near it with water hmm. Just stick a fire guard in front.

YokoUhOh Sun 13-Mar-16 21:06:36

The fire goes out of its own accord, it's very gentle. No need to get the hose out last thing at night.

Palomb Sun 13-Mar-16 21:09:14

Is there no difference between wood and coal at all?

Palomb Sun 13-Mar-16 21:10:40

Was that a stupid question [cringe]

TheGonnagle Sun 13-Mar-16 21:12:07

You need to check the flue is sound and get it swept. Call a sweep and get it checked over then it should be swept every Autumn if you're using it, nobody wants a chimney fire.
We burn a mix of wood and anthracite on ours, coal is cheap but makes an un believable amount of dust.
It will go out overnight unless you bank it up, then ours can usually be perked up in the morning. Over Christmas it didn't go out between Christmas Eve and New Years Day.
Enjoy - I would much rather have our fire than a log burner!

Floggingmolly Sun 13-Mar-16 21:12:40

Wood may be cheaper, not sure.

hesterton Sun 13-Mar-16 21:12:43

Get a certified chimney sweep to check the flue - s/he'll let you know if it's safe to light a fire. 30s fireplaces are usually fairly small so coal and smaller logs are best. If you have small children you need a safety fire guard that hooks onto the wall and even then, don't leave them alone. Otherwise a normal fireguard which should always be in place if noone is in the room - even for a few minutes.

You will need kindling and logs and some coal (smokeless if you're in a city). The coal helps to get the fire nice and hot at the start and you can top it up with logs. If the logs don't burn well, it often means they aren't seasoned (they need to be left for a year or so after being felled to dry, otherwise they're known as 'green'. )

An open fire is dirty, in many ways a waste of heat as so much disappears up the chimney but... so lovely to have. We're curled up by ours now, doubly welcome as the heating is broken!

TheGonnagle Sun 13-Mar-16 21:12:56

It costs a lot more to burn anthracite than logs as well. And the logs look pretty.

hesterton Sun 13-Mar-16 21:16:34

We're in Zone 2 in London and get away with burning Kent logs. I ordered two huge loads, deliver in massive sacks by a crane attachment on a lorry for about £280 - that was 2 years ago. We're about 2 thirds through them now!

IrenetheQuaint Sun 13-Mar-16 21:16:56

I was in your situation and fitted a small 4kw stove that fits within the tiled surround. It's still easier and more efficient than my previous open fire and I don't have to worry about sparks setting the carpet alight.

hesterton Sun 13-Mar-16 21:17:24

It took me hours to carry them through our terraced house to stack in the back.

Palomb Sun 13-Mar-16 21:20:28

Logs do look pretty and I love the smell of woodsmoke! Gonnagle I feel quite festive thinking about your fire alight all over Christmas 🎄 I'm pleased to hear you can leave them safely

Palomb Sun 13-Mar-16 21:24:35

irene do you have a link to the one you fitted? Our potential crossing fingers, prays and hopes!! houses fireplaces are very small. I don't think I've seen a LB that would fit so I'd love to see if you've found one!

hesterton I bet it did! Not bad if you only need to do it every 3 years though 😄

MrsMogginsMinge Sun 13-Mar-16 21:34:59

A Salamander Hobbit stove might fit? It's dinky but effective, apparently. I love our wood burning stove and it's loads more practical than an open fire.

Palomb Sun 13-Mar-16 21:42:59

Thank you smile I'll have a Google.

wowfudge Sun 13-Mar-16 21:46:03

You need to check what you are permitted to burn in the area. In some areas it is smokeless fuels only. The council website will tell you.

Palomb Sun 13-Mar-16 21:57:08

Ah so it is smokeless apparently but some "burners and stoves" are exempted.

Will have to investigate further.

IrenetheQuaint Sun 13-Mar-16 22:19:44

Yes, mine is a Hobbit. It's v cute.

IrenetheQuaint Sun 13-Mar-16 22:20:43

... And Defra approved so you can burn wood in it as well as smokeless fuel (I use a mix).

MrsMogginsMinge Sun 13-Mar-16 22:22:27

You just need to get a stove that's 'DEFRA approved' and you can burn wood in it if you want.

PigletJohn Mon 14-Mar-16 00:14:41

Logs have the advantage of bringing an interesting variety of wildlife into your living room. The smallest is woodworm, but I expect the big spiders eat some of them.

Palomb Mon 14-Mar-16 06:24:05

I've got two cats. Spiders don't last long in my house grin

whiteagle Mon 14-Mar-16 06:42:08

On another note - is it a nice 30s fireplace - not all original features are worth keeping imo! There is a reason a lot of the 30s stuff was ripped out, whilst it may be original, some of it was gastly and this is from someone who lives in a 30s house!

If you want a stove you will need one suitable for smokeless areas - so Defra approved- most stove web sites have this as a check box. I recomnend a multi fuel one as you can burn wood or smokeless coal (which can be left unattended for hours)..
Once you get the house best best is to get a fitter round for a quote - it will be free and you can see what your options are or take a photo of the fireplace into a large fireplace store and get their advice.

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