PalletPaddy's Essentials

Your Fuel: Choose and use. Wisely.

  Even without fancy reports like this, we could have told you that The Type of Solid fuel does matter: It is worth checking the instructions of your appliance or do a bit of research (and by research we mean: ask our Paddy) before you start to experiment. The right type of fuel will perform better on the appliance that it was designed to burn on.
Also, many consider factors other than financial efficiency like: aesthetics, comfort, health benefits and ease.

  Avoid False Economy: With better quality, there will be less ash and the calorific value (heat content) of the fuel will be higher. So you might be surprised to find that, in the long-run, choosing premium results in lower cost and less maintenance and effort.

  Solid fuels need to be Burned Dry : Only burn wood which is as dry as possible, which means it has been well seasoned to reduce the overall moisture content. This is an environmentally friendly fuel being carbon neutral because it removes as much carbon dioxide from the environment whilst it grows as is emitted when it is burnt. If your wood is wet, you will waste heat that could have gone to heat your room by turning the moisture into steam. 
Another reason to use dry fuel and wood to reduce emission of smoke and other gases.
Be careful to store your solid fuels away from moisture, and check the integrity of the packaging when you purchase.

  Keep in mind that Coal and Wood go through Different burning processes: With wood you can add a little fuel at a time, every couple hours. With coal, you get it burning well, then control heat output by adjusting the air inlet. Coal needs air underneath it as well, which is is why you need a grate to lift it.

  Topping the coal with a sturdy Log is not just for ambient photos: Due to the lower heat content, you may find a mixture of Housecoal and Wood will generatemore heat and last longer.This is because the ash from the coal makes a perfect ash bed for burning wood. 

Your Equipment: Maintain and exploit

  Bringing fireback: When did the fireplace stop being just decorative and started being functional? When it got: a Fireback, Doors and a Damper.
The two key improvements are: 1) reducing the amount of already-heated room air lost up the chimney and 2) directing more heat from the fire out into the room
Modern solid fuels appliances like stoves and roomheaters come with all the enhancements (and a manual), but if you want to improve the energy efficiency of your open fire you might want to consider investing in some details and get acquainted with :  heat-circulating grate to ventilate the heated air efficiently, chimney pillow to seal the chimney, furnace blower for circulation of heat

  Turn removing Ashes should into a Routine: If an appliance is fitted with firebars, don’t allow the ash to build up and touch them - they will overheat and burn away. Use the riddling device and a poker to clear ash and clinker that collects above the firebars. The appliance will not operate efficiently if the grate is clogged.

  Never open the bottom ash door and leave the main firedoor closed - the intensity of the fire will soon cause damage. Some modern appliances have an interlocking arrangement to prevent this happening.

  The Chimney sweep is Not only for Luck: The main chimney flue should be swept at least once a year. Flue pipes which connect an appliance to the main flue should also be cleaned.

  Go for 'Link Up': An open fire or room heater fitted with a back boiler can be linked to an open-vented existing (non-condensing) heating system. The real advantage of link up is its flexibility. Whilst you are enjoying the comfort of your solid fuel fire, it can take over automatically, all or part of the heating load at no extra cost. It can be installed to link either the hot water only or the hot water and radiators.

Your fire skills: Work them out, show them off

  It’s in the air: The air openings on your fire doors allow you to control the intensity of the fire by adjusting the oxygen flow. They make the difference between a roaring fire and a slow-burning one.

  When you start a fire, kindling is your friend, especially with coal, as it is harder to light than wood. Leftover bits and pieces might do but Avoid these, especially if you have a sealed chimney:

§  Household  rubbish or cardboard. Plastics, foam and the colored ink on magazines, boxes, and wrappers produce harmful chemicals when burned. They may also damage your wood-burning appliance.

§  Coated, painted, or pressure-treated wood. It releases toxic chemicals when burned.

§  Ocean  driftwood, plywood, particle board, or any wood with glue on or in it. They all release toxic chemicals when burned.

§  Wet, rotted, diseased, or moldy wood.

  Fire Building:

§  Start with a big fire: Place the highest part of the fuel should in the center of the fire box. Build the coal into a conical arrangement. A good fire will heat up the iron stove or fireback, which will then keep releasing heat.

§  Banking a Coal Fire: A fire should be banked for extended operation without tending, such as overnight. This is accomplished by heaping the fuel along the sides and back of the fire box so that the fire gradually burns through the fuel. The layer of ash from the initial fire will help reduce its intensity.

§  Reviving a Coal Fire: Remember the good old-fashioned bellows? To revive a fire that has almost gone out, the essence is to increase the draft. Place a thin layer of new coal over the entire fire but don’t shake the fire grates yet. It may cause the live coals to drop through the grates. Once the fresh layer of coal has ignited you can shake the grates carefully and refuel as usual.

  The morning coal: If you had House Coal burning overnight, don’t hurry to throw all the residue away. Use a poker carefully to separate the unburned coal from the ashes. It can make a good start for your next fire. 

  Beauty on the Fire: Throw olive leaves, cinnamon or vanilla shavings onto the fire it will throw out a delightful scent, adding the smell to your living room. 
Forget the fire not, during the warm season. You can also use your fireplace as a home for potpourri, incense or candles, or as a growing area for plants and herbs by filling the fireplace with potted plants.
Keep the fireplace a focal point of your room by decorating it.