Some people prefer having a coal burning stove compared to a wood burning stove. This is because coal burning stoves radiate heat, they burn cleanly, and there is no creosote buildup. They are also relatively cheaper than heating with oil or wood. However, coal is not for everyone. There are some disadvantages to having a coal burning stove. They can require a lot of maintenance and may not ignite at times. Consider both the advantages and disadvantages of coal burning stoves before deciding whether to purchase one.
When coal burns, the smoke can contain sulfur and other hazardous materials that can create corrosion. Purchase a brand name quality coal burning stove that includes a warranty. Clean the chimney every spring, as corrosion can occur during the summer. Some chimney sweepers deposit baking soda into the chimney to neutralize the acids.
Learning to ignite and burn the coal can be a frustrating process, especially if you don't have previous experience. Because of the difficulty of starting a coal burning stove, most stoves will have to run fully once they have started. This means increased and frequent use of coal. Once the the fire is ignited, it will also take some time for the stove to warm up the room.
Coal burning stoves require a lot of maintenance and cleanup. Shake down the ashes twice daily from the ash pan and empty them once per day. This is the normal maintenance for a coal burning stove, but each one is different. This is not an optional chore, it's required. Put the cooled ashes in a safe place for local trash pickup after they have had several days to cool. Every six weeks, shut down the coal burning stove to remove the burned heaps of coal that build up. This buildup can block airflow and fires from starting. Lastly, Hepa filters will prevent coal ash from spreading throughout your home, although they won't eliminate the problem.
- Photo Credit wood burning stove image by Paula Gent from Fotolia.com