Having a fireplace in your home can be a great advantage.
There are some really great benefits to using it to warm the home and to create a cozy evening.
The most important thing to remember about fireplaces is safety.
Safety is paramount because many issues can happen when fireplaces are not used properly.
We have some great information for you about both wood and coal burning fireplaces to make sure that you operate them safely.
Can You Burn Wood in a Coal Fireplace?
It is possible to burn wood as well as coal in most coal fireplaces.
However, you cannot burn coal in a wood fireplace.
Coal and wood fireplaces are quite similar except that, under the coal fireplace, there is an area where the burned coal will fall, and it also allows for air circulation to help fuel the fire.
This air can also help a wood fire burn, but it is not quite as necessary.
If you don’t have this area for the coal to fall off, you can’t have a coal fire.
This means that trying to burn coal in your wood fireplace is going to cause problems and be dangerous as well.
What Is a Coal Fireplace?
If you don’t have an older home, chances are you may have never seen a coal fireplace before.
These types of fireplaces are becoming rarer because people enjoy a wood fireplace in their homes a bit more.
However, years ago, coal fireplaces were very efficient at heating a home.
Most coal fireplaces were built in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
They are typically quite small, but they have some depth to them.
You will notice that they are going to look much smaller than a fireplace that is built in a modern home.
The best thing about a coal fireplace is that it will generate a lot of heat with a very small amount of coal.
This helped to make heating a home a bit more affordable for people during that time.
If you are living in an older home that was considered a more premium home at the time, you may notice that it has multiple coal fireplaces.
This was the primary way of heating the home, and before central heating, this was the general idea of central heat.
There was still heat as people moved from one room of the house to another.
Most coal fireplaces also have some kind of a door that will close them off when they are not in use.
This helped during times of the year when a fire was not necessary to keep the home warm, but the air circulating in and out of the fireplace was also not necessary.
Fires burn at different heat depending on the type of fuel that they have in them.
A coal fire typically burns quite a bit hotter than a wood fire.
As far as heat is concerned, your coal fireplace will be able to accommodate the heat from the wood.
Is My Coal Fireplace Safe to Use?
In order to determine if your coal fireplace is safe to use, you are going to have to contact a chimney sweep.
A chimney sweep will come to your home and inspect the fireplace to see if it is going to work for either coal or wood.
Chimney sweeps have tools that allow them to look into the chimney and decide whether or not it is suitable for use.
If your house is more than 80 or 100 years old, chances are the chimney is not lined.
It is no longer legal to have a chimney that is not lined.
However, if you have an older home, it was up to code at the time, and it is not as if you are going to have to remove the chimney.
Simply pay attention to the fact that these chimneys are potentially not as safe, and you can make some determinations about what will be the best path for you moving forward.
A chimney without a liner has a much higher potential for a leak.
These leaks mean that the smoke within the chimney can leak back into other areas of the home.
If this happens, it is a very real possibility that you could have a fire.
You will have to be aware of the potential for carbon monoxide problems as well.
Fireplaces without the proper ventilation often cause issues with carbon monoxide, and this can be deadly for people.
The best thing to do is to ask the chimney sweep about the cost of installing a liner in your chimney.
Can an Old Coal Fireplace Be Lined?
If you have an old coal fireplace and find out that it is not lined, you may have the option of having it lined.
Depending on what you are going to use the fireplace for, you are going to have to pay a good amount for the lining.
The lining of the fireplace, after it has already been installed, is going to cost a lot of money.
When fireplaces are lined when they are built, the pricing can be a bit more affordable.
You can expect that you will pay anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000 to have your fireplace lined properly.
Of course, the issue with this is that your home probably has more than one coal fireplace.
When you add up all of these costs, the price can get a bit extreme.
The good news is that there are some options you can consider that will help you deal with this problem in other ways.
Alternative Options to Lining an Old Coal Fireplace
If you find that the price to add a liner to your chimney is too expensive, there is another option that you can consider.
One of the easiest and simplest things to do is to have an electric fireplace installed.
Although this is probably not going to be the same as far as the experience is concerned, you are still going to get some heat and the ambiance of a fire.
Even better, you will likely save quite a bit of money.
The pricing on the electric fireplaces is far more affordable than having to replace the lining and then get the proper setup to burn wood or coal again.
You can find a local fireplace company that will help you install an electric fireplace into the exact location where your current fireplace is.
Disadvantages of Using Wood in a Coal Fireplace
If you find out that it is indeed safe to use your coal fireplace to burn wood, you will still have to decide whether or not this is the right option for you.
There are some major disadvantages to using wood in a coal fireplace, and the first is the size.
The majority of coal fireplaces are very small.
This means that, for some of these fireplaces, the wood is not even going to fit inside.
You may have to chop wood into much smaller pieces just to get it fit inside the fireplace.
Wood that is in smaller pieces like this is going to burn very quickly.
You will have to babysit this fire and have to keep adding more wood to keep it going.
This becomes a bit annoying.
A fireplace is a nice feature to have, but you will not want to have to sit there and babysit it the entire time you are watching your fire.
There is not much that can be done to expand the size of the coal fireplace, so you will be stuck in this situation.
If you think that you are going to have the occasional fire, then the size may not be an issue for you.
You should listen to the chimney sweep who recommends that your fireplace be lined before use.
If you do not follow these recommendations, you are putting your home and your family at risk.
This means that you should not burn either coal or wood in a fireplace that is not correctly set up.
How Can You Tell If You Can Burn Wood in Your Fireplace?
Prior to starting a fire in your home, you will need to make sure that the fireplace is capable of handling the fire you start.
If you don’t do a bit of investigative work before starting the fire, you will end up with a major problem on your hands.
The best way to ensure that you can burn wood in your fireplace is to have a fireplace company come over and do a full inspection.
This will help to make sure that you are safe when starting a fire.
If you don’t want to have a chimney sweep or fireplace specialist come to your home, then there are a few signs that you can look for.
For starters, you must make sure that there is no insert in the fireplace.
If there is something in the fireplace currently that looks like a fake log, then there is also most likely an igniter.
This will be used to start your gas fire.
Gas fireplaces and wood fireplaces are not the same things.
You cannot burn wood in a gas fireplace.
Some fireplaces are just for decoration, and they are made to potentially put an electric log in place.
You will know that your fireplace is for decorative purposes if you have no chimney or if you look and see that there is nowhere for smoke to escape should you start a fire.
If a fire is burning in a home, the smoke needs a way to escape and get outside.
The chimney will have an opening near the bottom, called a flue, which can be opened for the times when you have a fire and closed for the times when you don’t.
This needs to be in place in order to start a wood burning fire in your home.
If you have never had experience with a fireplace before, you should take this slowly.
There is no reason to start a massive bonfire in your home only to find out your fireplace is not capable of handling it.
In addition, certain types of wood are going to burn hotter than other types, so make sure that you are aware of the type of wood you are burning in your fireplace.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of what to do with a coal fireplace.
The fireplace can be an excellent feature for a home, but it can also be quite dangerous.
Having your fireplace inspected often will help make sure that you are keeping your home and your family safe.
Always remember that, while some coal fireplaces can burn wood, wood fireplaces are never designed to burn coal.
These facts will help to make sure that the proper fire safety precautions are taken.