Case Studies

We hope you enjoy reading and find the information useful.

The Kerbside Pallet Case Study

Jonny the builder had placed an order for a reasonably priced tonne worth (40 x 25kg) of Newburn smokeless coal from a national coal company. A couple of days after he placed his order he then got a call from his boss assigning him to cover a site in London, which meant he had to stay away from home for the whole of the working week. In the meantime, his Newburn smokeless coal delivery had arrived in his absence, but it was left on a pallet by the kerbside near his address – leaving it vulnerable to theft!

At the end of the working week it was time for Jonny to return home. Traffic on the M25 was horrendous, then there was more terrible traffic on the A11 near the Barton Mills roundabout – a brutal five hour journey! Jonny was not in the best of moods on his return home, his mood was soured further when he saw that some rascal had stolen a couple of bags of his Newburn from the pallet left by the kerbside outside the driveway of his address. Jonny was in no mood to lug coal about in the dark after this double whammy, but given the way it was so vulnerably left he felt as though he had no choice!

Half an hour later his work putting his smokeless coal away in his shed was done, but he was far from happy!

In the morning, he rang the phone number of his coal supplier to complain about the way his smokeless coal was so vulnerably left on a pallet outside his address, but they accepted no responsibility, reminding Jonny of the terms and conditions before he placed his order. “That's terrible customer service! I'm never ordering off you again!” Jonny hung up in disgust before they could answer.

A few months later it was time for Jonny to place another order for smokeless coal with a new provider. After searching online for a few local coal suppliers he decided to place an order with Larkins Fuel Merchants after he saw that they will stack 25kg pre-packed bags where required.

He got a call off Larkins Fuel Merchants the following afternoon to arrange delivery. “That's great that you're able to stack the pre-packed bags in my shed, come at whichever time is convenient and I'll leave my shed unlocked. If you can just lock the shed after you when you're done that will be great,” said Jonny. "Yes I will do that for you. Thank you very much for your order,” said Martin on the other end of the line.

The following day on his return from work, Jonny checked his shed and was very happy to see that his 25kg pre-packed smokeless was stacked neatly. "Great service from Larkins, now I never need to worry about kerbside pallet deliveries ever again!"

The Unseasoned Firewood Case Study

Just over a year ago, Bill had a couple of dangerous oak trees cut down after they were damaged during a storm. He decided to split the oak wood himself for firewood to be seasoned for use three years down the line.

Back in present times. Some heavy December ‘Beast from the East’ snowfall in rural Norfolk had made road conditions very difficult and furthermore, it was absolutely freezing inside his home! Unfortunately, Bill had ran out of firewood, plus he was unable to venture to the local garden centre to fetch some more due to snow drifts making the roads out of his village impassable. "Never mind, I’ll just use some of last year’s oak. It can't hurt, surely!"

However, this unseasoned oak firewood didn’t burn very well at all! There was very little heat output and plenty of smoke! But given the desperate snow drift situation he figured this was better than nothing. He persevered all evening, but the fact was, this really wasn’t much better than nothing!

Biting the bullet, he searched for local firewood suppliers and decided to place an order for a 1.2m3 bulk bag of kiln dried wood off Larkins Fuel Merchants after he read about the heat output that they gave compared to seasoned firewood. Larkins told Bill that his bulk bag will be with him as soon as one of the roads into the village was passable.

Bill's situation was getting desperate! He had ran out of oil also, so he couldn’t use the oil central heating system either. With no other option, he decided to carry on burning his unseasoned oak firewood which burnt very poorly and made Bill vulnerable to carbon monoxide poisoning and a chimney fire! An expensive chimney sweep appointment was inevitable either way!

Within the next few days when the roads gradually cleared, it was time for Bill's bulk bag of kiln dried logs to arrive. Thankfully, the worst case scenario with his chimney and carbon monoxide didn’t happen! Martin arrived with Bill's bulk load of firewood.

"You life saver! I am so glad to see you!” Bill said to Martin. “Happy to be of service, and happy that the roads are finally clearer!” Replied Martin. Bill explained his situation with his unseasoned oak firewood and how he used to purchase his firewood.

"A bulk bag of our kiln dried firewood will represent far better value for money than making multiple trips to the garden centre for seasoned firewood of okay quality. In fact, you’re actually spending more of your hard earned money on two or three bags at a time than you would for a similar quantity of our kiln dried logs, and that is before you factor in vehicle running costs!” Martin told Bill. "I never looked at it like that before, trouble is, I really am not that good at planning ahead,” replied Bill.

"Tell you what, if you really like our kiln dried logs, which I am confident that you will then how about you place another order with us when you're down to two weeks worth of logs? That way, you’ll never have to worry about planning ahead with your firewood ever again! That’s a great batch of oak firewood you’ve got there, but you really shouldn’t touch that for at least another couple of years,” advised Martin. "Okay, you’ve got it! Thank you,” replied Bill. "You’re welcome. Thank you, take care and see you soon."

And with that, Bill never had to worry about burning poorly seasoned firewood ever again. His next chimney sweep appointment will be an expensive one due to the tar and soot which accumulated inside his flue and chimney from burning the poorly seasoned oak firewood but once this is done he won’t have to worry about any further expensive payments to his chimney sweep again either.

The Accidental House Coal Order Case Study

Anna had recently moved into a new build which had an Ecodesign multi-fuel stove pre fitted. Having settled into her new home and with winter not far round the corner, she discovered that Larkins Fuel Merchants offer coal, smokeless fuel and kiln dried logs. With that, she ordered a 1.6m3 bulk bag of kiln dried logs and also ten 25kg bags of house coal.

Upon receiving Anna's order, the Larkins men noticed that Anna lives on a new build estate when they discovered her address. "She's not going to want house coal in a new build, surely?” Martin commented. "I don't think she will, I think she ordered house coal by accident. I’ll give her a call,” replied Nigel.

Nigel explained that house coal can cause long-term damage to a multi-fuel stove and gave Anna the option to change to a smokeless coal alternative. She chose ten 25kg pre-packed bags of Homefire Ovals and they invoiced her the difference.

Anna was impressed. “That's good to hear that Larkins Fuel Merchants look after the long term needs of their customers.

Reminder: House coal is likely to cause long-term damage to multi-fuel stoves. This is because not all multi-fuel stoves  (and especially not Ecodesign multi-fuel stoves) are designed to cope with the volatile emission that house coal generates.

The Imported Kiln Dried Firewood Case Study

Charlotte had recently decided to make the switch from seasoned firewood to kiln dried logs to fuel her wood burner. However, she felt that the crate of kiln dried logs that she ordered had a lot to be desired. Firstly, they were left on a pallet by the kerbside which meant that she needed help from a friend to put them away. Secondly, she felt that although the heat output was an improvement on the seasoned wood, the kiln dried logs still didn’t last that long.

Charlotte decided to ask around to look for an alternative firewood supplier, when another friend recommended Larkins. She looked up Larkins Fuel Merchants online, where she noticed in their Kiln Dried Logs Q & A that she was likely to be burning kiln dried firewood sourced from unsustainable woodland in Eastern Europe. From this point, she wasted no time in ordering a 1.6m3 bulk bag of firewood off them.

Charlotte was present at her home a few days later when Martin arrived to deliver her bulk bag. “I think I previously had a batch of imported firewood,” she told Martin. "Did you get them in a crate?" "Yes." "And did the crate include the Ready to Burn and Grown in Britain tree logos?" "The Ready to Burn logo was etched on the crate, but not the Grown in Britain logo." "Then it will likely have been sourced from thousands of trees cut down in Eastern Europe. They can sell them for a cheaper price because of low labour costs paid out to their workforce. Their kiln dried wood is usually birch or alder wood, which will burn up to 30% faster than our sustainable British sourced kiln dried logs. Furthermore, by purchasing off us you are supporting British forestry and keeping harmful tree pests in Eastern Europe.” Martin informed Charlotte.

"That’s great to hear that the kiln dried logs are sourced from sustainable British woodland,” replied Charlotte. "Yes, whilst you are paying more than what you were for the crate, you won’t be disappointed with the fire life.” "Well thanks very much for your help." "You’re welcome, see you again. Take care."

From this point, Charlotte knew that not only was she getting better value for money with good quality sustainably British sourced firewood, she also knew that she was supporting British forestry.

The Wet Smokeless Coal Case Study

It was a cold January winters day. Liam had purchased a couple of 10kg pre-packed bags of smokeless coal from a nearby supermarket. However, to his disappointment on his return home he discovered that the smokeless coal he had purchased was too wet to burn straight away. In a feeling of despair, he felt as though he was lost for options, but was aware of the existence of Larkins Fuel Merchants having driven past their yard on a few occasions. He gave them a call to arrange a yard collection.

On arrival at the Larkins Fuel Merchants yard he was greeted by Nigel, who told Liam he’ll load the boot of his car with a couple of 25kg pre-packed bags of Newburn. "I bought some damp coal from the supermarket! Will the coal be dry?” Asked Liam. "We keep our pre-packed bags covered up under tarpaulin, so it should be. Whilst we make every effort to ensure that our smokeless coal doesn’t get wet it may occasionally happen. What I would suggest is that you open a pre-pack bag a day or so before use to give the smokeless coal some air, then use a couple of buckets in a rotation system in order to ensure that you always have a shovel load of smokeless coal dry enough to use on your fire,” suggested Nigel. "Oh okay, thanks! I didn’t think of that!" "We could deliver ten bags to your address if it’s of interest to you? You’ll save a significant amount in the long run compared to collecting multiple bags form the supermarket, plus you can have them delivered straight inside your shed or garage or straight to your door." "Yes please that sounds great! I’ll arrange that!” Liam writes down his name, address and phone number for Nigel and places his order.

Liam now knows that not only does he know how to have an efficient rotation system to keep his smokeless coal dry, he is now also saving a considerable amount of money by placing a quantity discount order of smokeless coal instead of making multiple trips to the supermarket.

The Smokey Firepit Case Study

It was a glorious mid-June Tuesday evening. Nikki had arranged to invite her inner circle of friends round for an outdoor dinner party. After sunset it was time for Nikki to get her firepit going, after half an hour the flames of her firepit were burning bright with the glorious orange dusk skies in the background and Nikki and her friends were having a great time chatting away, drinking wine and gazing into the flames of the firepit.

However, Nikki suddenly realised that she had ran out of firewood to put on the firepit. She didn’t despair, she still had some Larkins coal left over from winter time so she decided to add a small scuttle worth of house coal on the firepit. To her dismay, the house coal caused the firepit to smoke excessively very quickly! This lead to a firepit faux pas and they scarpered indoors for over an hour till the fumes from the firepit calmed down.

Although Nikki and her friends still enjoyed themselves indoors, she was quite upset that they missed out on an hour worth of gazing at the glorious mid-June dusk skies. She was determined never to make this mistake again so the following day she arranged to call at the Larkins Fuel Merchants yard to collect some kiln dried firewood and she explained to Martin what had happened.

"Ah yes, house coal will cause a firepit to smoke very quickly. I highly recommend Flaming Logs firewood; these are perfect for firepits. If you’re planning on inviting your friends round again then to keep the smoke down I’ll also load you with some small bags of Premier Logs for a longer lasting burn,” explained Martin. “Shall I load you with five of each? "Yes please that sounds great,” replied Nikki. "I hope you have a good time, this heatwave is likely to carry on for a few more days. It’ll be another glorious evening! Enjoy!" "Thanks, will do!"

A couple of evenings later it was Friday evening and Nikki invited her friends round again, this time they had a wonderful evening of chatting, drinking wine, dancing, gazing into the firepit, gazing into the orange dusk skies followed by some star gazing in front of the firepit.

Never again will Nikki apply house coal or poorly seasoned firewood to smoke out her firepit!

The Smokeless Coal in a Wood Burner Case Study

George had recently moved from Norwich into a cottage in rural Norfolk. Red leaves were actively falling off the trees to indicate that it was going to be a chilly autumn evening, this meant it was time for George to go and buy some fuel for what he assumed was his multi-fuel stove. His previous home in Norwich had a multi-fuel stove, and with the stove in his cottage being similar in appearance to the multi-fuel stove in his old home he expected the same again. He set off to run a few errands, and collected a couple of bags of smokeless fuel from the garden centre.

George then attempted to light his fire, but the smokeless coal couldn't get going. He had opened up the vent below his stove but his smokeless coal still couldn’t quite get going as efficiently as he would’ve liked. He managed to get his fire going eventually but the smokeless which he bought didn’t burn efficiently. “Why is this not burning well? Maybe a local coal merchant may have the answers."

George found Larkins Fuel Merchants and gave them a call to explain to Martin what had happened. Judging by the way George was describing his fuel and appliance, Martin could suspect what had happened. "What type of stove do you have? Is it a multi-fuel stove or a wood burner?" "I'm not sure, my appliance in my last home was definitely a multi-fuel stove." "Okay, does your stove have a grate? Or a flat bed?" "It looks like my stove has a flat bed."

"Ah I see the problem. You’ve tried to burn smokeless coal in a wood burner. Smokeless fuel is reliant on air from below, whilst firewood is reliant on air from above. As a wood burner has no grate, smokeless coal won’t burn efficiently,” added Martin. "Oh, I see. Thank you for your info." "You’re welcome. If it’s of interest to you I have just the right type of kiln dried firewood for you. Our British kiln dried logs are very easy to light and will get your cottage nice and warm in no time. For best value, I highly recommend a bulk bag, available in 1.2m3 and 1.6m3 sizes. Would you like to order one?" "That sounds great, yes please. I’ll go for the 1.2m3 bulk bag."

After this experience, George can now tell the difference between a multi-fuel stove and a wood burner. But more importantly, the fact that only firewood will burn efficiently in a wood burner.

Reminder: Coal and smokeless fuel are not suitable for a wood burner, they will not burn efficiently. A wood burner should only ever be used to burn wood. If you're not sure, check inside. If it has a flat bed with no grate then you definitely have a wood burner.

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