Coal & Smokeless Fuel Q & A

Q: Why is house coal being banned in England?

A: House coal is being banned by the government in order to combat air pollution.

Q: When will house coal be banned?

A: The sale of house coal will be phased out as of 1st May 2021, then will be banned comepletely by 1st May 2023.

Q: Can I still purchase house coal between 1st May 2021 and 1st May 2023?

A: Yes, but you won't be able to purchase from outlets such as supermarkets, garages or garden centres. Only from Approved Coal Merchants like us, and they will have to be in open 25kg bags or in open 50kg sacks tipped out into your shed or bunker.

Q: Unsealed 25kg bags are too inconvenient and I don't have a shed or bunker. What are my options?

A: We can provide a bulk bag free of charge to tip 50kg open sacks into. Feel free to request it with your order.

Q: Why do Approved Coal Merchants get a two-year extension?

A: This gives coal merchants the chance to clear their stocks and to give regular house coal users the chance to gradually switch to approved smokeless fuels.

Q: Will it be against the law to burn house coal after 1st May 2023?

A: There has been no legislation placed on burning house coal after 1st May 2023 as long as you are not in a smoke control area.

Q: How do I know if I am in a Smoke Control Area?

A: You can view a list which shows the status of local authorities with respect to smoke control areasBreckland, South Norfolk and Mid Suffolk have not declared any smoke control areas.

Q: What are Smokeless Fuels?

A: Smokeless fuels are mostly a type of manufactured solid fuel (Anthracite is a natural smokeless fuel) which gives off minimal amounts of smoke compared to traditional house coal. They are also adaptable for use with various appliances.

Q: Where are your smokeless fuels from?

A: We always source the best available British fuels, and always look to cater for all budgets. Anthracite is from Wales, Homeflame & Maxibrite are from South Wales, Newburn is from Teeside and Homefire Ovals, Ecoal 50, Taybrite and Phurnacite are all from North Lincolnshire.

Q: Which smokeless fuel should I switch to on an open fire?

A: Homeflame, Newburn, Homefire Ovals and Ecoal 50 are all suitable for open fires.

Q: How much coal/smokeless fuel will I need to order?

A. This will vary greatly and depend on a number of factors -

- The size of your property and how well insulated it is.
- The efficiency of your appliance, how you use it and how often you use it.
- The efficiency of your smokeless fuel type.
- The weather.

For occasional use (1-2 fires a month) - 250kg worth will see you through the year.

For one fire a week - a plastic bunker quantity (7 open sacks) or 15 pre-packed bags will likely be a sufficient supply to see you through the year.

For use as a booster for seasoned firewood in multi-fuel stoves - half a tonne (500kg) should be a sufficient supply to see you through the year.

For 2-3 fires a week - a tonne worth (1000kg) will definitely see you through the year.

For regular use (a fire every night from October to April) - you will likely use up to two tonnes (2000kg) worth.

Q: Which smokeless fuel should I burn in a closed appliance?

A: It depends on the type of appliance you own, and your own preference. You should always use fuels recommeneded by the stove manufacturer but if you're not sure, we have an Appliance & Fuel Guide which describes each appliance and lists the ideal fuels to use.

Q: Does the size of smokeless fuel matter?

A: It depends on visual appeal. Larger sized briquettes such as Newburn and Homefire Ovals give a more authentic look for an open fire or a stove with glass on the door, there are larger gaps for better air flow. A smaller sized briquette of similar quality however, will last a touch longer because of smaller air gaps.

Q: Which smokeless fuel is best for overnight slumber?

A: Homefire Ovals, Ecoal 50 and Phurnacite will still have a red glow in the morning and will recover with ease once you reapply. Taybrite also won't be out in the morning, and is a more affordable option if overnight slumber is your main objective. Anthracite also has a long burn time, and will definitely slumber overnight in a cooker.

Newburn, Homeflame and Maxibrite will slumber overnight in a modern appliance. If your appliance is over ten years old we recommend applying some ash or coal dust before bed time if you're looking for a prolonged overnight slumber with these fuels.

Q: How should I store my coal/smokeless fuel? 

A: If you order it loose then ideally in a bunker or in a dry corner of your shed. If you order in pre-packed bags store them either in a garage/shed or under tarpaulin. Store away from prolonged spells of direct sunlight as this will cause the bags to become brittle. If you open a bag at least a day or two before use this should give your coal/smokeless fuel sufficient enough time to get the air to be dry enough for your fire.

Q: Could I mix different types of coal/smokeless fuel?

A: Yes absolutely. In 25kg pre-packed bags you can mix what works best for you. If you order loose for your shed or bunker you can request to have these mixed - we will tip them out evenly. Popular mixtures include house coal doubles/house coal trebles, Newburn/house coal and Newburn/Anthracite. Feel free to experiment!

Q: Why are some of your smokeless fuels not available to order loose in traditional 50kg sacks?

A: Because Homefire Ovals, Ecoal 50, Maxibrite and Phurnacite are supplied to us already pre-packed. However, we can still empty these loose into your shed or bunker if you prefer.

Q: Wet bagged smokeless fuel? Can I still burn it?

A: Whilst we make every effort to ensure that no rainwater gets into our pre-packed smokeless fuel products, this may occasionally happen. We advise you not to burn smokeless fuel when it is wet. However, its quality will not be affected and it soon dries out, airflow is the key! If you require your smokeless fuel to be bone dry then you could use a couple of buckets in a rotation system to help give them the air to dry. Alternatively, you could open a pre-packed bag a few days before use to air it. You could also open the lid of your bunker ajar for air. They dry out quite quickly in the sun too!

Q: Do you do quantity discounts?

A: Yes, we do quantity discounts for 250kg worth of coal/smokeless fuel. We offer a further reduction for half a tonne (500kg) and an even further reduction for a tonne (1000kg) worth. You'll save a considerable amount of money in the long run if you order as much as what you can store off us compared to making multiple trips to a garden centre or supermarket for an expensive bag!

Q: Do you do summer prices?

A: Yes, we offer summer quantity discounts on the sale of our coal & smokeless fuels from 1st June 1st October. We will deliver your discounted order during the first week of October at the latest as long as you've placed your order before the end of September. You will save a noticeable amount compared to placing multiple small orders in the winter time. Stock up big in the summer time and save money!

When placing an order online during the summer prices season, if you click on a product then view Quantity Discounts you will see that 250kg worth will see a significant reduction, as will 500kg and 1000kg loads.

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