Can You Burn Coal in a Wood Burning Stove- Here’s What You Need to Know

Yes, you can burn coal in a wood-burning stove, though it’s essential to follow guidelines for safety and efficiency. Many modern wood stoves are designed to accommodate coal burning as well.

These stoves typically have a grate or adjustable setting to allow for proper airflow when burning coal. Before using coal in a wood stove, consult the manufacturer’s recommendations and guidelines to ensure safe operation. By using coal in your wood stove, you can benefit from a more extended burning time and higher heat output compared to wood alone.

Understanding the proper techniques for burning coal in a wood stove can enhance your heating experience and help you make the most out of your appliance.

Can You Burn Coal In A Wood Burning Stove?

Can You Burn Coal in a Wood Burning Stove?

Wood burning stoves are designed for burning wood, but some models can also safely burn coal.

Burning coal can provide longer burn times and more consistent heat output compared to wood.

  • Check if your wood burning stove is approved for burning coal.
  • Ensure proper ventilation to prevent carbon monoxide buildup.
  • Clean your stove regularly to avoid creosote buildup from burning coal.
  • Be mindful of the environmental impact of burning coal.

Types Of Fuel For Wood Burning Stoves

Wood burning stoves are typically designed to burn wood, but some models can also burn coal. It is important to check the manufacturer’s guidelines before attempting to burn coal in a wood burning stove to ensure compatibility and safe operation.

Additionally, using the right type of coal is essential to prevent damage to the stove and ensure efficient combustion.

Wood burning stoves are versatile heating appliances that can burn various types of fuel. Understanding the different options can help you choose the best fuel for your wood burning stove.

Wood Logs

Wood logs are the most traditional and commonly used fuel for wood burning stoves. They provide a natural ambiance and generate a cozy heat. It’s important to use seasoned wood logs with low moisture content for efficient burning.

Wood Pellets

Wood pellets are a convenient and eco-friendly alternative to wood logs. They are compressed sawdust and provide a consistent burn. They are easy to store and handle, making them a popular choice for many wood burning stove users.


Coal is another fuel option for wood burning stoves, though it may not be suitable for all models. It provides a long and steady burn, but it produces more ash than wood. Using coal in a wood burning stove requires proper ventilation and maintenance to ensure safe and efficient operation.

Other Alternative Fuels

There are various alternative fuels that can be used in wood burning stoves, such as charcoal, corn kernels, or even dried fruit pits. These alternative fuels offer unique burning characteristics and can be a fun option for experimentation. It is important to check with your stove manufacturer to ensure that they are compatible with these alternative fuels.

By exploring the different types of fuel available for wood burning stoves, you can find the best option that suits your heating needs and preferences.

Advantages Of Burning Coal

When it comes to heating our homes, wood burning stoves have long been a popular choice. However, many people overlook the advantages of burning coal in these stoves. In this section, we will explore the benefits that coal can offer, including increased heat output, longer burn time, lower moisture content, and availability and cost.

Increased Heat Output

Burning coal in a wood burning stove can provide a significant increase in heat output compared to burning wood alone. Coal has a higher energy content than wood, which means it can generate more heat when burned. This can be particularly beneficial during cold winter months when you need extra warmth to keep your home comfortable.

Longer Burn Time

A notable advantage of burning coal is its longer burn time. Coal burns at a slower rate compared to wood, which means you don’t have to constantly refuel the stove. This can be especially convenient if you prefer a fire that lasts throughout the night or if you don’t want to frequently tend to the stove.

Lower Moisture Content

Coal generally has a lower moisture content than wood. This means that when you burn coal, you’ll experience less smoke, fewer creosote deposits, and a cleaner chimney. The lower moisture content also contributes to a more efficient and consistent burn, resulting in less wasted energy and a reduced risk of chimney fires.

Availability And Cost

Another advantage of using coal as fuel is its widespread availability. While wood may be limited in supply depending on your location, coal is often readily accessible. Furthermore, the cost of coal can be relatively affordable compared to other fuel options. This makes it an appealing choice for individuals looking for a cost-effective and accessible heating solution.

In conclusion, burning coal in a wood burning stove can offer several advantages over using wood alone. With increased heat output, longer burn time, lower moisture content, and availability at a reasonable cost, coal presents a compelling option for those seeking efficient and reliable heating.

Can You Burn Coal in a Wood Burning Stove  : Here's What You Need to Know


Considerations Before Burning Coal

Burning coal in a wood-burning stove can be an alternative heating option, especially in regions where coal is abundantly available. However, before deciding to burn coal, it’s important to consider several factors to ensure compatibility, environmental impact, safety, and maintenance. Let’s delve into these considerations before burning coal in a wood-burning stove.

Compatibility With Stove

Before using coal in a wood-burning stove, ensure that the stove is compatible with burning coal. Some wood stoves are designed with features and materials that can withstand the intense heat produced by burning coal, while others may not be suitable for burning coal. Refer to the stove’s manual or consult a professional to determine its compatibility.

Environmental Impact

Burning coal emits more carbon dioxide and other pollutants compared to wood. Consider the environmental impact of burning coal in your wood-burning stove. Be aware of local environmental regulations and emissions standards to ensure compliance with clean air initiatives.

Safety Concerns

When burning coal in a wood stove, safety becomes a critical concern. Coal produces more heat and requires different ventilation and flue systems compared to wood. Address safety concerns by ensuring proper installation with adequate ventilation, regularly inspecting the stove and chimney, and maintaining appropriate clearances to combustibles.


Using coal in a wood-burning stove involves different maintenance requirements. Coal ash needs to be removed more frequently and stored properly due to its higher heat retention and potential risk of fire. Additionally, regular chimney and stove inspections are essential to ensure safe and efficient operation when burning coal.

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Choosing The Right Coal For A Wood Burning Stove

When using a wood burning stove, it’s essential to choose the right type of coal to ensure efficient and safe operation. Not all coal is suitable for use in a wood burning stove, so understanding the different types, quality considerations, and proper sourcing and storage methods is crucial for maximizing the performance of your stove.

Types Of Coal For Stoves

There are several types of coal that can be used in a wood burning stove, each with unique characteristics and burning properties. The most common types of coal used for stoves include:

  • Anthracite
  • Bituminous coal
  • Smokeless coal

Quality And Calorific Value

When selecting coal for your wood burning stove, it’s important to consider the quality and calorific value of the coal. High-quality coal with a high calorific value will burn more efficiently, producing greater heat output and less ash residue. Be sure to look for reputable suppliers who can provide coal with the desired quality and calorific value for optimal stove performance.

Sourcing And Storage

Proper sourcing and storage of coal is essential for maintaining its quality and ensuring a consistent fuel supply for your wood burning stove. When sourcing coal, consider factors such as proximity to the supplier, reliability, and the ability to provide the specific type of coal suitable for your stove. Additionally, proper storage in a dry and well-ventilated area will prevent moisture absorption and maintain the coal’s burning efficiency.

Preparing Your Wood Burning Stove For Coal

While wood is the traditional fuel for wood burning stoves, burning coal in a wood burning stove can provide longer-lasting and more efficient heat. However, it is essential to properly prepare your wood burning stove before attempting to burn coal. In this guide, we’ll cover the necessary steps to ensure your stove is ready for coal, from cleaning and modifications to understanding airflow. Let’s get started!

Cleaning The Stove

To prepare your wood burning stove for burning coal, it is crucial to start with a clean stove. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Remove any leftover wood ash from the stove and ash pan using a shovel or scoop. Be careful not to inhale the ash, as it can be harmful to your lungs.
  • Using a wire brush, gently scrub the inside of the stove to remove any soot or creosote buildup. Pay close attention to the flue and chimney connector as well.
  • Wipe down the stove with a damp cloth to remove any remaining dirt or debris.
  • Inspect the stove’s gasket seals and replace them if necessary to ensure a tight seal when burning coal.

Modifications And Additions

Some wood burning stoves may require modifications or additions to safely burn coal. Here are a few considerations:

  • Check if your stove has a grate or ashpan designed for coal burning. If not, you may need to purchase and install one.
  • Increase the height of the grate by adding bricks or raising it using grate shims. This allows for better airflow underneath the coal, resulting in more efficient burning.
  • Consider installing a coal grate shaker or a mechanism that allows you to easily shake the grate to remove excess ash and improve airflow.

Understanding Airflow

Proper airflow is essential when burning coal in a wood burning stove. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Adjust the air vents on your stove to control the amount of oxygen getting to the fire. Too much airflow can cause the coal to burn too quickly, while too little can lead to incomplete combustion and the production of harmful gases.
  • When adding coal, make sure to arrange it in a way that allows proper airflow. Avoid packing the coal too tightly, as this can restrict the oxygen flow.
  • Regularly monitor the stove’s draft to ensure proper ventilation. A strong upward draft is necessary for effective coal burning.


Monitoring And Controlling The Heat


Technique Method
Temperature Regulation Use a stove thermometer to monitor heat levels.
Airflow Control Adjust vents based on heat output requirements.
Ash Removal Clean out ash regularly to maintain efficient heat transfer.
Can You Burn Coal in a Wood Burning Stove  : Here's What You Need to Know


Safety Precautions And Best Practices

When using coal in a wood-burning stove, following safety precautions and best practices is essential to ensure a safe and efficient experience.

Ventilation And Carbon Monoxide

Proper ventilation is critical when burning coal in a wood stove to prevent the buildup of carbon monoxide.

Using Coal In Eco-friendly Manner

Opt for eco-friendly coal options to minimize the environmental impact of burning coal in your wood stove.

Safe Disposal Of Ash And Coal Residue

Ensure the safe disposal of ash and coal residue by using a metal container with a tight-fitting lid to prevent accidental fires.

Can You Burn Coal in a Wood Burning Stove  : Here's What You Need to Know


Frequently Asked Questions Of Can You Burn Coal In A Wood Burning Stove

Can Coal Be Burned In A Wood-burning Stove?

Burning coal in a wood-burning stove is possible, but it’s essential to use the appropriate type of stove that’s designed to burn both coal and wood. Using coal in a wood-burning stove that’s not designed for it can be dangerous and inefficient.

What Are The Differences In Burning Coal And Wood?

Coal and wood have different combustion properties. Coal requires a constant air supply, while burning wood needs intermittent air. When burned together, coal burns hotter, longer, and produces more ash. It’s vital to follow manufacturer guidelines when burning coal in a wood stove to prevent damage.

Can Burning Coal In A Wood-burning Stove Be Harmful?

Burning coal in a wood-burning stove can release high levels of carbon monoxide and other harmful gases if the stove is not designed for it. It’s critical to ensure proper ventilation, adequate chimney maintenance, and use of appropriate coal to avoid potential health hazards.


Coal may seem like a viable alternative to wood for a wood burning stove, but it is not recommended due to various reasons. The high carbon emissions, environmental impact, and potential health hazards make coal a less desirable option. It is important to prioritize sustainable and eco-friendly practices, such as using properly seasoned wood, for heating your wood burning stove.

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