Starting a coal fire

Operating a coal burning system effectively requires learned skills and practice. 

Before starting your fire make sure you have the following key materials:

1. Firelighters
2. Dry Kindling
3. Solid Fuel (Coal or variant)
4. Matches or Fire Lighting tool


Identify where the combustion air enters the firebox and open the vent: Most modern fireplaces and stoves with glass doors are designed with the air entering either through a narrow panel above or below the glass door(s). This air is called "air wash" and flows across the glass to the front of the fire because it is cooler, denser and heavier than combustible gases. If your stove doesn't have a glass air wash system it will have an inlet near the bottom of the firebox - usually near the loading door. If your firebox has a specialised air inlet system then double check the instructions that accompanied the unit.

Empty out the ash: Clear out most of the excess ash from the firebox, you can leave some in but make sure the remaining ash doesn't compromise the air flow. 

Lighting your coal fire:

Using fire starters: place two firelighters in the middle of the grate.  Next build a small tower of kindling ensuring there are clear air gaps between each piece.  Light the firelighters and place more kindling on top of the tower.  Immediately add a generous amount of coal to the fire. Close the fuel burner door and adjust the air controls to manage the air to feed the fuel.  Ideally the fuel burner window will be filled with flames but not enough to go up the chimney.  Manage the airflow to achieve the scale of fire that you want.