This is a hot topic at the moment as restrictions on the sale of coal, wet wood and manufactured solid fuels for burning in the home came into force on 1st May 2021. Rest assured, you can still burn a variety of efficient, low-emission fuels to keep your home nice and warm without damaging the environment.
Can I still burn coal?
House coal is now banned from burning in the home in UK law. It is a fossil fuel that when burned releases a lot of particulates into the air and carbon dioxide. Some stove owners may have preferred coal as a cost-effective fuel, however as the UK shuts down its coal industry over these next few years, the price of coal will only rise due to reduced supply.
What about wood?
You can still burn wood, but only if it has been dried appropriately in a kiln and is free of air polluting particulates found in substances such as paint. Wet wood when burned produces a lot of smoke, whereas dry or seasoned wood burns a lot cleaner producing less smoke and a lot less carbon monoxide which is a toxic gas. It is still fine to purchase wet wood, so long as it is sold with advice on how to appropriately dry it if it is intended to be used to heat your home. If you have a lot of wet wood that you can no longer use, contact your local kiln operators, they may trade your wet wood for some dry wood that’s legal and ready to burn cleanly in your home.
What else can I burn?
Multi-fuel stoves are great because of the thick cast iron or steel casing that allows them to withstand very high temperatures and therefore a high variety of fuels. Make sure your stove is DEFRA approved to ensure safe use in your home. Alternative low pollution fuels include briquettes, which are made of crushed paper or wood. Anthacite coal is also an option which is manufactured to burn efficiently and a lot cleaner than common house coal. Charcoal is a carbon neutral option if the wood is harvested locally in a sustainable way as when burned the CO2 is reabsorbed by new growing trees. There are many other speciality fuels manufactured to keep your house warm and eco-friendly so be sure to contact your local supplier to discover your options.