Fuel Storage

Keep it Dry

We suggest that you have two coal bunkers, fill both in the summer when fuel is cheap, and then if two are not enough to see you through the winter, as soon as the first one is empty, fill it so that the coal has a chance to dry before being used. If you buy coal in plastic sacks, bear in mind that sometimes it can be wet. You MUST get it out of the plastic and dry it or else it will cause problems and energy wastage.

This is because wet or even damp fuel can hold a lot of water.

How to Store Wood

Wood is best stored out of the rain, and off the floor.

If it touches the floor, moisture will wick into it, and the logs at the bottom can be surprisingly damp. An old pallet, (cut in half lengthways if space is a problem) is an excellent way of keeping the wood off the ground and well aired.

If you have to store it outside, cover it with a water proof sheet so that the rain is kept off and the air can circulate well.

Risks of Drying Logs Next to the Stove

In the house, storing logs can dry them out well, but resist the temptation to put them too close to the fire/stove.

While this works well, it also carries the risk of them igniting and causing a fire. This risk is particularly high if you are in the habit of taking cold, half burned logs out of the stove/fireplace and putting them in the log basket.

Logs will ignite spontaneously at Fahrenheit 451 (thank you Ray Bradbury) which is the equivalent of about 230 Centigrade. A charred log, however, will ignite spontaneously at half that, (at about Fahrenheit 250). Please bear in mind that water boils at just 212 F (100 Centigrade).

The Real Cost of Damp Fuel

1) Put a cup of water (a log can easily hold this much) into a sauce pan and put it on to boil.

2) Time how long it takes to come to the boil, and then without altering the flame, see how long the water takes to boil away completely.

This represents the energy phase to change the water from liquid to gas, and it’s a lot. So, if you burn a damp log, an awful lot of the energy from the other logs will go to removing the water, and all that energy is not available to warm the room. Almost always, people who complain that their fuel doesn’t give them a hot fire, are burning damp fuel.

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