People who still use coal stoves are a faithful bunch who feel that coal is the way to heat a home especially.
Most people these days won’t experience the warmth of a coal fire.
Those who do use coal may lose access to the coal for a time or want to make a switch to wood, possibly for economic reasons.
Here, you’ll learn what you need to know about coal stoves and wood.
Can You Burn Wood In A Coal Stove?
Yes, you can burn wood in a coal stove.
You can burn chunk wood.
That would be the best choice.
You can also burn coal and wood at the same time.
Make sure you have a good-fitting chimney outlet and that it is never exposed to creosote.
Never use treated wood.
Make sure you know exactly where you got the chunk wood.
Don’t burn anything that has been part of a structure before.
About Anthracite Coal Stoves
Anthracite is a shiny type of coal that is made for a coal stove, not exclusively, but it works best there.
If you burn wood in that type of stove without a grate, it will take more wood than may be worth it to heat a significant space.
With a grate, you will burn about half the wood, so it’s really trial and error.
You can burn coal, wood, and/or corn in this type of stove to increase efficiency.
When you burn both wood and coal, you’ll get a woody aroma and nice heat.
The combination stove would be best for this.
This way, you can use Anthracite and wood together, and as stated, it’s the most efficient choice.
Will A Wood Stove Burn Coal?
Yes, a wood stove can burn coal, but it’s almost not worth the effort.
A coal fire stove is made for heavy-duty coal.
That means the science and the way it heats is not made for a dense substance like coal.
Coal is a thick, dense material that needs a very specific environment.
A wood stove doesn’t provide that in most cases.
If you want to burn wood, stick with a wood-burning stove, a traditional fireplace, or a coal fire stove, and you can’t go wrong.
Plus, you have the luxury of burning both wood and coal or alone.
Are Coal-Burning Stoves Safe?
The first concern on people’s minds about coal-burning is the health hazards that may accompany it.
It’s helpful to know that you’ll always have a waste product emission from a coal-burning stove.
However, if you really are stuck on 100% coal-burning, you will need a chimney.
Even if you burn both wood and coal, you’ll need a way to properly vent the waste product.
According to the National Cancer Institute, there is a link to coal-burning and cancer of the airway.
What Types Of Wood Burns The Best?
There are a few things to know about wood and wood-burning for a coal-burning stove.
Knowing a few simple rules and breaking some myths about wood chemistry as it pertains to burning will make the process more efficient and cost-effective.
The first thing to understand about wood in regard to burning is that at its core, all wood is basically the same.
The density and the moisture content of the particular wood are what counts, not the species or the type.
In terms of saving money, you have to plan a few things well, like looking for the best price and not falling for gimmicks in the wood-burning industry in light of what you just learned about what’s important about the wood and what’s not.
You’ll also have to think through the storage.
How the wood is affected by where you store it and how you treat it is important.
How Do I Store My Wood For My Stove?
As we stated, storing wood takes a bit of organization and planning.
A proper woodshed would do the trick here.
It doesn’t have to be the size of a barn.
That’s an assumption a good number of people make, and then they end up storing it in their garage or inside the home.
According to the experts, only a small amount of wood should ever be stored inside the home and never in a garage or attic.
The moisture, humidity, and wild temperature fluctuations aren’t good for the wood.
What we’re aiming at here is to not have to replace your wood and cause waste.
Wood needs to be covered over the top and stored at least a foot off the ground.
It also needs to be exposed at the sides.
We’re shooting for protection from the elements, yet circulation through the wood.
Now to rate the wood in terms of BTUs per cord.
A cord is four feet wide, four feet high, and eight feet long.
Determine how many cords you’ll burn in a season.
Even a rough estimate will help you tremendously when figuring out how much to buy.
Then, select the wood from the list below.
They are put in order from highest to lowest rating.
You may lose more money and waste more wood the lower you go on the list.
- Hard maple
- Red oak
- Yellow birch
- Yellow pine
- White ash
- White oak
- Soft maple
- Black cherry
- White birch
- Yellow poplar
How Do I Buy Wood For A Coal-Burning Stove?
Since there’s a list of what’s best, most efficient, and cost-effective, you’ll want to get the wood from the right place that will satisfy those requirements on a regular basis.
There are other important things to know before you buy so that you aren’t sitting on cords of wood you can’t use.
Yes, it’s a lot to deal with now, but you can get the hang of it in one season, as long as you get to know who you are buying from and have recourse with that company or person, should the wood be no good!
- Word of Mouth: Asking around to your neighbors, friends, and family is one good way to be certain you’re getting decent, usable, and efficient wood.
- Reviews: Everyone, even the smallest businesses, has reviews. See what people are saying.
- Neighborhood Apps: Apps like the one called “Nextdoor” aren’t just for spying on the neighbors. They’re for connecting with the people around you to get recommendations from them on where you find reputable companies.
- Test the Wood: No, don’t burn it at the shop! You should test it to see if it’s seasoned. When it’s seasoned, that means it’s dry and ready. When it’s got too much moisture, then you’ll have to spend a lot of time drying it out prior to use. Bang two pieces together. If it sounds hollow, it’s good, and if it clunks with a dense sounding thud, then it’s a dud.
- Never Order Online: Never order wood online unless it’s an emergency and you’ll be left freezing in a blizzard if you don’t. When you arrive at the store, remember what a cord is according to the measurements we gave you: four feet tall, four feet wide, and eight feet long. That’s a tightly packed cord. Look for that, too. You don’t want loosey-goosey wood that looks the part but isn’t. Never take their word for it if it’s not stacked.
- Buy Pre-Split Wood: You’ll want to make sure your wood is in chunks that are ready to go as soon as you get it home. You shouldn’t have to split your own wood. That’s a service you’re paying for.
- Buy Out of Season: In the spring, firewood is the cheapest.
- Control the Seasoning Process: The seasoning process is something you can control if you stack your wood yourself.
Can I Use Wood Sold In The Grocery And Homewares Stores?
There is firewood that is sold at grocery stores and homewares and DIY shops.
This wood is called Kiln Dried Wood.
This is good wood.
It’s seasoned, and you can tell by all the signs we discussed before as well as looking for the cracks on the ends of the logs.
These are properly dried and seasoned.
You can use them in the fireplace or the coal or wood-burning stoves as soon as you get home.
The only drawback is you’ll get a bundle of wood and not much else.
You’ll spend a lot of money to heat a home for a week or less.
This is hardly worth it if it’s your main source of heating.
For fun and to watch the flames, it works, but that’s all it’s good for.
There also should be a USDA stamp on it.
What Other Types Of Processed Wood Sources Can I Use?
There are several ways to get wood for a small wood or coal-burning stove.
Most processed wood sources made for these stoves are safe.
However, any wax wood, which is wood that is bound in wax, is not at all safe for any stove.
One of the best and most efficient types of wood is sawdust wood.
The BTUs are high, and the moisture point is low.
This is the perfect environment for efficient heat.
Those are loosely pressed sawdust logs.
There are also heat-pressed sawdust logs.
They are made from reclaimed hardwood sawdust.
Can I Use Firewood From My Local Forest?
This is a good idea, again, if you don’t need an entire season’s worth.
Even if you have a whole forest as far as you can see, self-harvesting is not easy.
Not only is it simply a lot of work, but there are rules and things to look at that people aren’t always aware of, even those who live in the country and live off the land.
Let’s look at this a little more in-depth because there may be more people doing this to get wood in their coal or wood-burning stoves than other methods.
Firewood can be found anywhere, even on the side of the road.
However, let’s start with cutting it off trees.
The first thing you need to understand is that there are cutting laws and permits you need to get from the forestry department or the department of agriculture.
If you’re caught cutting branches from random trees in the forest or at the side of the road or taking it from the side of the street, it can be considered a federal crime.
Please call these departments and follow the protocol as it’s set out.
It’s just not worth the hassle, and you’ll never get enough of the right wood for your wood or coal-burning stove.
The second thing that you need to do is have the ability to identify and locate the right wood for your wood stove.
There is a list in this article of the wood from highest to lowest quality for wood stoves.
You’ll have to learn what the indigenous trees are and which ones have the ability to be seasoned and burned the way you need them to.
One good rule of thumb is to know that softwood has a lower BTU capacity.
Therefore, it will burn less efficiently and cost you more in time and energy to self-harvest.
A hardwood has a higher BTU capacity and will burn just fine in a wood or coal-burning stove.
In conclusion, you can burn wood in a coal-burning stove, but it may mean a lot more work and expense.
Experiment safely and choose wisely.