How to Burn Coal in a Fireplace?

General topics about using bituminous coal for residential and commercial heating. Pros, cons, and where to get it.
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Stoker6268
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Post Sat. Aug. 08, 2009 9:24 pm

Hello. Not that new to anthracite, but never had any experience with soft coal. I was just wondering how to go about burning coal in a grate in a fireplace. I have seen it on tv overseas mostly, but was wondering how to do it? First, is Lignite and Bituminous the same thing? If not which one is for a fireplace burn? I know I cant get Bituminous in CT. How about Lignite? Do they both really gunk up your chimney with soot and tar? I burn mostly wood in my fireplace and anthracite in my stove, but the thought of an occasional coal fire in the fireplace seems nice.
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coaledsweat
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Post Sun. Aug. 09, 2009 8:16 am

Stoker6268 wrote:I was just wondering how to go about burning coal in a grate in a fireplace. I have seen it on tv overseas mostly, but was wondering how to do it? First, is Lignite and Bituminous the same thing? If not which one is for a fireplace burn? I know I cant get Bituminous in CT. How about Lignite? Do they both really gunk up your chimney with soot and tar? I burn mostly wood in my fireplace and anthracite in my stove, but the thought of an occasional coal fire in the fireplace seems nice.
Lignite is very soft coal, between bituminous and peat sort of. The only coal that can be sold in CT is anthracite, this is due to the sulfur content limit imposed by CT-DEP. Canal coal can burn freely in a fireplace, it lights almost instantly without the problems faced with other coals. It produces wonderful colors and plenty of smoke. It also smells pretty bad so you want to make sure you have a good draft if you burn it in a fireplace.
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Berlin
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Post Fri. Aug. 28, 2009 3:02 am

you won't find Lignite anywhere on the east coast. it's not really found east of the mississippi. you may be able to find bituminous in connecticut. blacksmiths associations will have stockpiles or access; you will probably pay a premium. If you ever feel like taking a trip out to western pa you can pick up as much as you want for very little $$; right now as low as 55/ton. most places will sell you as much or as little as you want, they just weigh your vehicle in and weigh it out. basically to have that english/scottish coal fire ambiance you will simply have to find a "coal grate" - one with finer holes in it and start a small wood fire than add coal, a few chunks at a time. the grate will need to be elevated more than a wood fire, about 6" min from the bottom of the hearth. and you will need to poke down to the bottom of the coal bed periodically to drop the ash since it won't have the shaker grates like most in europe do. if you would like to do this I can put you in touch w/ some suppliers of coal that burns suitably in open fires. btw. the connecticut dep thing is not an issue for the small coal user/consumer, it is directed at large coal consumers (powerplants etc.) and does not prevent bituminous, even eastern bituminous from being sold in conn. there is a sizable minority of eastern coals avaliable w/ a sulfur content lower than one percent that are bituminous.
Burning western Pennsylvania Bituminous in WNY using model 77 stoker furnace. BITUMINOUS equiptment: 2 hand fired stoves of my own design, Many Combustioneer Model 77 stokers, stokermatic furnace, Many Will-Burt stokers, & and Two Iron firemen.

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kevmark58
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Post Thu. Nov. 12, 2009 12:57 pm

I have a victorian home from 1893 with intact coal burning fireplace grates / dampers and doors. I have a natural gas simulated coal burning fireplace in the kitchen. I want to use the fireplaces with open coal fires during the holidays and would like to know how to proceed. I also don't know where to find coal in Michigan close to the Saginaw-Bay City- Midland area. Should I just scout the railroad tracks where the coal trains head to the power company?

What about starting one and keeping it going? Coal types and how to distinguish one from the other?

Any help would be terrific.

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Berlin
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Post Thu. Nov. 12, 2009 1:04 pm

those coal fireplaces were designed for bituminous coal. to get it going, build a small hot wood fire and begin placing large pieces of coal in a "pile" around the existing fire until you have a "heap" of coal; it will smoke much untill the coal begins to ignite, this process will take about 20 minuites.

Here is a supplier of good bituminous coals near you:
**Broken Link(s) Removed** - I highly reccomend using the "kentucky chunk coal" for open fireplace use.

btw, welcome to the forum :)
Burning western Pennsylvania Bituminous in WNY using model 77 stoker furnace. BITUMINOUS equiptment: 2 hand fired stoves of my own design, Many Combustioneer Model 77 stokers, stokermatic furnace, Many Will-Burt stokers, & and Two Iron firemen.

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LsFarm
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Post Sun. Nov. 15, 2009 11:43 pm

I would highly recommend trying out your bituminous burning experiment well before the holidays.. just to make sure that you have enough chimney draft, and that the coal from Flint is not too obnoxious to burn in an open fireplace. The smell of a high sulphur coal fire, even with a good draft will make your holiday guests think your house has a bad case of flatulence.

Let us know how it works out..

Greg L

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Burning Pea/Buckwheat through an antique stoker [semi retired SSboiler],
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bksaun
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Post Sun. Dec. 06, 2009 3:06 pm

Mine is burning great,

I borrowed an old fashioned coal gate from my neigbor, I am burning Ky stoker Bituminous in it and to say the least it is working great! Last year I tried to burn it with my wood grate and I could not get the bed deep enough. This makes all the difference.

BK
"Corn Stoves", It is morally wrong to burn something you can make into Whiskey!

BK

bksaun
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Post Wed. Dec. 23, 2009 1:06 pm

Here are some pictures, the grate makes all the difference, borrowed it from my neigbor, she is a good cook too!
Attachments
Coal Fireplace 001.jpg
Coal Fireplace 002.jpg
Coal Fireplace 003.jpg
"Corn Stoves", It is morally wrong to burn something you can make into Whiskey!

BK


bksaun
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Post Wed. Dec. 23, 2009 1:07 pm

Few more, warm in here!
Attachments
Coal Fireplace 004.jpg
Coal Fireplace 005.jpg
Coal Fireplace 006.jpg
"Corn Stoves", It is morally wrong to burn something you can make into Whiskey!

BK

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rockwood
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Post Wed. Dec. 23, 2009 3:39 pm

Nice photos, good enough to be Christmas cards or Postcards. :)
Just don't let too much ash build up under the grate causing it to overheat and you'll be good to go.
Nothing better than an open fire of soft coal. ;)
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Madhatter
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Post Fri. Dec. 25, 2009 12:12 am

Wow. How long will it burn for? Looks nice.

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jeromemsn
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Post Fri. Dec. 25, 2009 1:17 am

That is just amazing! I would not of imagined it would be so colorful. It doesn't even seem like there is a lot of coal on the grate. Is it a lot of work? Temperamental? I would of thought that just like anthracite you would of had to close off all the air except for the bottom. Very nice! Thanks teacher :)
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bksaun
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Location: Hustonville, Ky

Post Fri. Dec. 25, 2009 8:55 am

No trouble, real easy,start a wood fire and dump some coal on, after it catches dump on some more to fill the grate, holds over night, then throw a little wood on and then coal again, and off it goes. The bottom of the grate has a hinged bottom to dump the ashes.

I tried to burn the coal on my wood grate last year and it worked so so. The deep coal grate makes all the difference, and I am burning small stoker coal too, might do even better with larger stuff.

Bk
"Corn Stoves", It is morally wrong to burn something you can make into Whiskey!

BK

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Stephen in Soky
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Post Fri. Dec. 25, 2009 10:21 am

I grew up with an open coal grate in my bedroom. Although it wasn't needed for heat, it was a treat to get to have a coal fire to sleep with. I recall watching the flames & reflections around the room until I could no longer stay awake.

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lowfog01
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Post Fri. Dec. 25, 2009 10:51 am

How cool is this! Before I do a Google search to find a fireplace coal grate does anyone know where I can find one? I think this would be perfect for the little used fireplace in my husband's study. That's a cold room because it's sort of removed from the rest of the house so the heat from the Mark II doesn't reach it. The room isn't large enough handle the BTUs of even a small stove. We could do a coal fire just when he's down there. Even if we lost a significant amount of heat up the chimney the room would still be warm enough to use in the winter. Thanks, Lisa
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