Can I burn coal in a fireplace?

Wood briquettes or from lignite: the advantages and disadvantages of briquettes

In uncomfortable autumn weather, a crackling open fire brings cozy warmth and cosiness into the home. But as nice as the cracking of the burning logs is, if you don't want to keep topping up, you will eventually reach for the briquette to keep the warmth. There are different types with different properties. How hardwood briquettes, softwood briquettes and lignite briquettes differ and what you should consider when using them.

If you actually use your stove for heating all day, it is advisable to combine wood and briquettes as fuel. Wood is ideal for lighting because it quickly generates a lot of heat. However, it also burns down quickly. In order to save yourself constant reloading and to maintain the temperature, one adds briquettes at some point.

Light the fireplace faster

To light it up, it is best to put two logs of wood across the stove. The fireplace lighter is placed on top and covered with a few chips of kindling. The chips can be arranged in a cone shape. After the small shavings have created a quick fire, the large logs burn slowly and evenly from above.

After the lighting phase, the large logs have formed a bed of embers in the stove on which the briquettes can be placed. The dense fuel burns slowly and keeps the heat for hours. But which type of briquette is better suited? The industrial association for house, heating and kitchen technology (HKI) in Frankfurt am Main explains the differences.

Hardwood briquettes burn evenly

Hardwood briquettes ignite more slowly than dry wood, but burn more evenly. The flames are calm and the briquettes burn for a relatively long time. That means: the heat also lasts for a long time and the briquettes form a glow. The fuel is therefore well suited for long evenings by the fireplace when you do not want to constantly refill.

Do not add too many softwood briquettes

Softwood briquettes ignite quickly if there is already embers. But they also burn down quickly. The flames flicker a lot and at first the fire gets very warm. Softwood briquettes can expand. Therefore, the combustion chamber should not be overfilled, and the briquettes are best placed at a distance from the walls and door. Here, too, a bed of embers should already be available.

Lignite briquettes last a long time

Lignite briquettes should only be placed on a large amount of kindling or on embers. They burn evenly and slowly and therefore last a long time in the oven. The play of flames is pleasant and calm. The resulting heat radiates evenly and it also lasts for a long time. The fuel is suitable for long evenings by the fireplace and as a supplement to central heating in winter and in the transition period.

Paper doesn't belong in the oven

What can be burned in the chimney is regulated by the Federal Immission Control Ordinance (BImSchV). Accordingly, only a few fuels are allowed for chimneys, tiled stoves and similar "small or medium-sized firing systems". In addition to wood briquettes, pellets and charcoal briquettes, natural wood including adhering bark as well as cones, brushwood or sawdust are permitted if they are untreated. Paper does not belong in the fireplace, even if it is still often used for lighting. Printing ink and binding agents in the paper produce dangerous pollutants such as carcinogenic dioxins when burned. Paper is not even suitable for lighting because it burns too quickly.