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Can You Burn Coal in a Wood Stove?

Can I burn coal in my wood stove is an understandable question to ask if you’re not too familiar with such stoves or fireplaces. One quick look through the internet shows that there are lots of people who are confused about this, so here’s our quick answer.

Can you burn coal in a wood stove? You can try but we wouldn’t recommend it. Burning coal in a wood stove is not a good idea.

Why you shouldn’t burn coal in a wood stove?

Aside from the obvious “the clue is in the name” joke, the simple explanation is that coal and wood burn in different ways. Wood needs to burn on a flat bed of ash with sufficient access to air from above the wood.

Coal, on the other hand, needs air from both above and below the coal to burn well. This means that the coal needs to be raised on a grate to allow for the additional airflow.

How to burn coal in a wood stove?

There are certain multi-fuel stoves on the market that can burn both wood and coal by having an additional kit of grates and ash beds that are factory-fitted to the stove.

If you don’t want to get a multi-level stove and you want to retrofit your wood-burning stove to burn coal you’ll need to get such a kit for coal burning that would work with your stove. This option wouldn’t be as effective as getting a specialized coal-burning or a multi-fuel stove, however, and since this is a long-term investment we’d recommend getting a new stove altogether.

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