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Best way to get a coal/anthracite fire started?
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# 1
Serendipity phoenix
Old 20-03-2008, 9:01 PM
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Default Best way to get a coal/anthracite fire started?

This sounds a very silly question
But we have a wood burner/multi fuel stove

Our heating oil has run out and we cant afford to buy more right now, so our only source of heat is the burner in the front room(for the whole house
+ no hot water)

When we were using logs, we could get it started with fire lighters no problem, but today after using the last of the coal last night, we have bought bags of anthracite (having been told it is better than coal) and I really hate the smell of coal, plus finds it affects asthma, but we cant get the stuff lit!

We have now used two boxes of fire lighters and been trying for a few hours - it will not burn
we had trouble with the coal, but at least it would burn eventually, this just wont!
We know the chimney was cleaned last September, the stove has been cleaned out, i make newspaper knots, and we adjust the flew like it says too,but the firelighters will just burn without lighting the anthracite! but any tips on how you start yours? please!:confused:
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# 2
Cardew
Old 20-03-2008, 10:30 PM
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I have an electric firelighter.

They are like a BIG hairdryer which you point at the coal and after a few minutes it bursts into flames - great for barbeques as well.

A pal does exactly the same thing with an electric paint stripper. You just point the nozzle at the coal and again after a few minutes - bingo.
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# 3
dekh
Old 21-03-2008, 6:06 PM
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You could try a firelighter and half a dozen sticks of kindling, that might get you going.

Wouldn't have bought Anthracite for multifuel burner though.

CPLdistribution only recommend home fire and supertherme (which I use coz it's the cheapest).

Anthracite could be unsuitable which might be part of the problem.

Last edited by dekh; 21-03-2008 at 6:57 PM.
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# 4
owned by 2 Siamese
Old 23-03-2008, 3:05 PM
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Not sure if this might help - when you burn wood you normally have the 'top' air vent open and the botton one closed (on a multifuel stove) - when burning coal (or similar solid fuel) close the top vent half way - and open the bottom vent fully. When 'alight' close the bottom vent gradually (fairly low)

As per previous post we use logs and CPL supatherm - can reccommend - we keep the stove in all night (and morning) with the supatherm. Doesnt give out as much heat as logs but maintains a nice warm stove.

In terms of lighting - with the coal, clear out the debris from the bottom of the stove (riddle well!) make sure ashpan is empty - it will fill nearly hourly when burning coal as opposed to wood, plently of kindling (no coal yet) get the whole lot blazing (warms chimney and improved draw then add small amounts of coal in the 'hot spots' - then after about 5 mins add a deep covering (must be deep to burn efficiently) If you look on the CPL websitr there are quite detailed instructions.

Just make sure your multifurl stove is multifuel - some require extra fittings (riddle bars) check the instructions - if it isnt - or doesnt have the right 'bits' you will not succeed!
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# 5
A. Badger
Old 30-03-2008, 10:44 PM
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Having struggled with several solid fuel boilers, woodburners and multi-fuel stoves over the years, I have finally found the answer and it is the product Cardew refers to, above.

It's called a Grenadier and it's exactly what he says - like a giant electric hairdrier. I saw one at a friend's house a few years ago, found their website and recoiled at the price (over 100, the last time I looked). But last autumn I cracked, bought one and have never looked back since.

In fact, if you have to buy kindling (as I have had to do) the 100 + isn't so bad and the ease with which it lights fires (including barbecues and bonfires) is more than worth the cost!

Their web address seems to be www.grenadier.co.uk

Naturally, I'm not connected with them in any way - I'm just a very satisfied customer.

Hope that helps!
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# 6
Cardew
Old 30-03-2008, 10:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. Badger View Post
Having struggled with several solid fuel boilers, woodburners and multi-fuel stoves over the years, I have finally found the answer and it is the product Cardew refers to, above.

It's called a Grenadier and it's exactly what he says - like a giant electric hairdrier. I saw one at a friend's house a few years ago, found their website and recoiled at the price (over 100, the last time I looked). But last autumn I cracked, bought one and have never looked back since.

In fact, if you have to buy kindling (as I have had to do) the 100 + isn't so bad and the ease with which it lights fires (including barbecues and bonfires) is more than worth the cost!

Their web address seems to be www.grenadier.co.uk

Naturally, I'm not connected with them in any way - I'm just a very satisfied customer.

Hope that helps!
The one I have is the 1960's version of the Grenadier but is called a 'Best matchless firelighter' It belonged to my Mother in law and is over 40 years old and still going strong. She told me it cost 7!!!

They are simply amazing and can be used as a bellows to get a 'dead' fire going again as well.
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# 7
preston99
Old 31-03-2008, 12:21 PM
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Crumpled newspaper then a layer of kindling then coal then light the newspaper. The key is to somehow get air to run through the layers bottom to top.
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# 8
lottie78
Old 15-04-2008, 4:48 PM
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All the tips above seem more suited to normal house coal than anthracite which is just really really really hard to get started! As I type I am trying to get a fire lit in my stove and it's touch and go just with anthracite. The best suggestion I have is to go out and get a bag of normal coal, use this to start the fire (just a small amount - you don't need a mountain of the stuff) then you can add anthracite to that when it's going (this never fails for me).

I may be wrong, but I thought anthracite was just the right stuff for stove use - when I got mine the instructions said not to use normal bituminous coal (too tarry), but as I said, I can't get the fire light without it!

Good luck.
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# 9
bargainbird
Old 15-04-2008, 4:50 PM
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I use scrunched up newspaper, with kindling on top, when it goes whooooooosh whack on the coal........... never fails

i can t get on with firelighters.....

Good luck
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# 10
mute_posting
Old 15-04-2008, 5:04 PM
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Firelighters, Electric! you bunch of cheats

twisted and scrunched up newspaper, covered by a lattice of kindling (stacked kind of jenga style but with bigger gaps) then a couple of small logs and finally coal.

The paper lights the kindling, the kindling burns long enough to get the logs to catch, the logs burn long enough to get enough heat into the coal to fire that up.



MP
:confused: I have a poll / discussion on Economy 7 / 10 off-peak usage (as a % or total) and ways to improve it but I'm not allowed to link to it so have a look on the gas/elec forum if you would like to vote or discuss.
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# 11
Swan
Old 15-04-2008, 5:09 PM
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perhaps you've got too much draught going while the lighters are doing their stuff & they're burning out before the fuel's getting the chance to catch?

I used to have a Rayburn & when I'd no papers & kindling, would put the lit lighters in the bottom then quickly add a light covering of fuel, then fully close the flue & the air inlet, leave it for exactly 11 minutes then open everything wide to let the air rush through, let it get well lit, then top up
dare try any variation of that & it would sulk all day :rolleyes:

I'm not saying precisely that method would work for you, but solid fuel stoves are notoriously temperamental beasts & it can take a bit of trial & error till you find what suits yours best
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# 12
Cardew
Old 15-04-2008, 6:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mute_posting View Post
Firelighters, Electric! you bunch of cheats

twisted and scrunched up newspaper, covered by a lattice of kindling (stacked kind of jenga style but with bigger gaps) then a couple of small logs and finally coal.

The paper lights the kindling, the kindling burns long enough to get the logs to catch, the logs burn long enough to get enough heat into the coal to fire that up.



MP
Your method is exactly the way they did it in Victorian times.

They also used all sorts of gas mantles for lighting; then they 'discovered' electric lights!!

I have an open fire which I use occasionally, I can lay it with logs or coal and at a couple minutes notice use the electric lighter to get it going. Clean, no fuss, no bother.

Once you have used one, you would never go back to the paper/sticks routine; unless you are the sort of person who likes gas lighting!!
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# 13
Serendipity phoenix
Old 15-04-2008, 10:42 PM
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We have actually decided to cheat completely.....and (after alot of saving) are moving!

My husband and I find the old asthma goes bonkers when using any form of coal! and after suffering in this old falling apart house for six months we are going back to modern!

I will miss burning logs on the open fire, but hope to console myself with a burner in the garden in autumn!
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# 14
carfail
Old 15-04-2008, 10:55 PM
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I use an old video on top of paper and sticks,then fling the coal on top, works everytime. the videocase is then used next time. its the only way i can get mine on with anthracite
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# 15
A. Badger
Old 15-04-2008, 11:57 PM
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I agree with Cardew. I can't see any benefit to making a process needlessly difficult and electric firelighters do the job quickly and efficiently.

I'd even venture to suggest more cheaply, too. Where I live, I have to buy kindling and it's remarkably expensive! I reckon my Grenadier, costly as it was, will end-up saving me money.
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# 16
nelly
Old 16-04-2008, 12:00 AM
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hand grenade
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# 17
mute_posting
Old 16-04-2008, 12:08 AM
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lol

well kindling and logs were free where we used to live so we mainly burnt wood, but if my folks were flush we'd buy a delivery of coal (which meant not having to constantly fill the log basket) meaning I didn't have to spend my weekends chopping logs (and old pallets for kindling)!

I had a hard childhood lol
:confused: I have a poll / discussion on Economy 7 / 10 off-peak usage (as a % or total) and ways to improve it but I'm not allowed to link to it so have a look on the gas/elec forum if you would like to vote or discuss.
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# 18
Trythis
Old 01-10-2009, 7:30 PM
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Default Light Anthracite Coal

Anthracite Coal requires a special fixture in the stove that consists of a combustion blower feeding combustion air through holes in a cast iron plate underneath the coal. Anthracite will not burn without a forced and regulated flow of combustion air through it. The coal is pushed over the holes by a motorized feeder that is controlled with a timing mechanism. Depending on the setting, the temperature can be controlled from off through to high. A very low feed rate will bank the glowing coal so that it stays lighted but uses very little coal (banking the coal). The stove described is called a "stoker". A stoker requires "rice" sized Anthracite coal. The stocker feeds from a hopper located outside the stove. The coal is pushed from the bottom of the hopper by a motor driven (timed) mechanism over the combustion plate. When the coal reaches the holes, and only then, will it be able to burn... and it burns very hot since it is almost graphite. As the burning coal is pushed over the plat area with holes, the coal continues to burn and by the time it reaches the end of the plate, the coal is reduced to ash.
Note that rice coal ash gets into the air delivery channel through the holes and, in time, blocks the flow of air from the combustion fan to the holes so make sure the passage is cleaned out otherwise you will be wasting your time trying to get your coal started.
The stoker stove does not require the heavy cast iron body as does a regular coal stove since all of the extremely hot combustion takes place on the cast iron combustion plate. The heat from combustion comes off as radiant heat and heats to steel case, which , in turn radiates heat in the form of ....radiant heat. Radiant heat heats every object it strikes evenly. A convection blower can be used to pick off heated air and blow it into the room. This heat is convection heat and convection heat naturally rises.
Because of the nature of Anthracite, it requires a tremendous amount of heat (plus the air) to get it started. A heat gun will not do it because the air must be sustained continuously.
Here is how you start it. Buy a starter cube. They cost $1.00 each and can be purchased from a coal dealer. It contains magnesium and an oxidizer and has a wick the same as a firecracker. It is essentially a form of Thermite. A small flare shares similar chemistry and temperature. Some forms of Thermite can burn so hot that they can melt steel and weld rails together. A charcoal starter is made from wax and wood with a wax string wick and will absolutely not start Anthracite since it is far too cold to do the job. Forget hair dryers, heat guns, wood and paper.
Now the procedure: Fold a piece of legal paper long ways so that when you are finished you will have a folded paper 1-1/2" by 14. Bring the ends together and overlap them and hold them with a paperclip so that you have a 4" diameter paper circle 1-1/2" high. Shut off the blower that supplies the air coming through the holes. Clear the coal off of the plate with the holes and place the paper ring in the center of the plate area with the holes. Place the starter cube with the wick end up in the center of the circle. Fill the circle with Anthracite so that it covers the starter cube but not the end of the wick. Put additional coal (1" deep) behind the starter circle so that it connects to the feed area coal. If the area behind the starter circle does not contain any coal, the coal fed from the hopper will arrive too late to replace the coal you have started so you will have to start all over again. The coal behind the starter ring will be pushed into the burn area immediately and continue the burn. Place a square of toilet paper over the starter circle and turn on the blower that feeds air into the holes for combustion for a second or two to see if the square is lifted somewhat by the air... the more the better. If it is not, that means there are ashes in the delivery channel. Turn on the feed air blower off but be prepared to turn it on again. With your butane charcoal lighter (dollar store), light the fuse (the blower was turned off because the lighter will not light with the air blowing on it). The fuse will continue to burn in moving air, so turn the combustion blower back on. Shut the door and watch through the glass so that the door can contain the fumes from the starter. Do not open the door or disturb anything on the combustion plate. Adjust the stocker timer so that it is on a low setting. Give it at least 45 minutes for the ignition to spread over the entire holed area of the combustion plate. Good Luck
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# 19
mandragora
Old 01-10-2009, 7:47 PM
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Anthracite will not be good to start a fire with - light one with coal, kindlings and firelighter in the normal way; once it's going, and warmed up, add the anthracite - don't overdo it and smother the fire, just add it a few bits at a time It's great once you have it going though, as it retains its heat, and will stay in all night, meaning you wake up to a lovely warm house. Better in an open fire, perhaps than a stove, though.
Reason for edit? Can spell, can't type!
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