How to Burn Coal in a Fireplace

You can't burn coal in just any fireplace; coal requires more careful handling and more exacting ventilation than wood. If you have a working Rumford-style coal fireplace and the right fixtures, you're set. Otherwise, check with an expert to ensure your fireplace is coal-compatible.

Things You'll Need

  • Chunk or pellet anthracite coal
  • Newspaper
  • 6 to 12 pieces of dry kindling wood, 6 to 12 inches long

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Step 1

Open the fireplace damper.

Step 2

Sweep the floor of the firepit completely clean. Crumple one or two sheets of newsprint and tuck them under the grate.

Step 3

Arrange kindling pieces across the grate so they touch each other.

Step 4

Put two to four fist-sized chunks, or 2 cups of pellets, over the kindling, and light the paper.

Step 5

Watch the fire carefully, moving kindling or coal pieces around as needed till the bottom of the coal pieces ignite.

Step 6

Add small amounts of coal to keep the fire going, but do not crowd the grate. Stop adding coal 60 to 90 minutes before you want the fire to extinguish on its own. Leave the damper open to let it burn completely out. Remove ashes and unburned coal only when you know they are completely cold.


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