How to Heat With Coal Stoves


Coal- and wood-fired stoves were the standard methods of heating until the early 20th century, when other methods were put into place. These stoves take longer to heat up but are quite efficient for such a simple device. Though most homes today are heated though means of electric- or gas-powered heaters, some homeowners prefer to heat their home with a coal stove. A coal stove can be an efficient heat source for a smaller home, and coal is less expensive to use than cords of wood.To use a coal stove efficiently, you must first learn how to start the stove and determine which kind of coal fuel you'll need to use.

  • Choose which type of coal to use for your stove. Coal comes in pea or pellet size, and nut size. Pellet or pea size coal is about the size of a quarter or half dollar. Nut size coal can be as small as a golf ball or as big as a baseball. The larger pieces of coal take longer to heat up and burn much hotter than the smaller sizes. If you have a large room to heat, use large coal.

  • Place kindling in the stove kindling tray. This is the bottom tray of the stove just above the bottom vent. Light the kindling and wait for a fire to begin burning. You can use newspaper or sticks as kindling.

  • Place a scoop of coal into the coal tray and keep adding kindling to the kindling tray so the fire stays lit. This will heat up the coal in about 20 minutes.

  • Stoke the coal with a poker and turn the red-hot coals over onto the black coals every half hour. Wait until all the coals are burning red hot, then add a small scoop of coals on top. You should do this once every hour. Don't completely cover up the red coals or you may snuff them out. Just add a few to increase or maintain heat.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never leave the home with a coal stove burning. This may cause a house fire.

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  • Photo Credit Old Stove and Antique Chair image by bawinner from
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