Best Fuel for an Open Fire

The Best Fuel for an Open Fire

When it’s cold outside and you can’t wait to feel warm again, there is nothing quite so welcoming as a roaring fire. Even in homes that have central heating, many people are still appreciative when they go somewhere and see a real fire burning. Older people still reminisce about how their parents would toast crumpets by putting them on the end of a toasting fork and hold it close to the blaze. Often the crumpets were burned in places and not cooked in others, but they got eaten just the same!

Coal and the Atmosphere

Nowadays you cannot burn old-fashioned coal in most parts of the UK due to concerns about polluting the atmosphere, and the effects of smog in the 1950’s. Despite all the changes, it is still possible to have a welcoming open fire once you know where to get the best type of fuel.

Smokeless Coal

There are different smokeless coal products available, including nuggets, Wondercoal, and Small Calco. If you have a glass fronted fire, you need different smokeless products including large Aga Nuts and Furnocite. The best smokeless coal products have statutory approval for use in smokeless fuel areas, and are always available. Coal is generally the fuel most associated with an open fire, for two reasons; it is more traditional, and it throws out more heat than most other fuels.

There are certain areas of Northern Ireland that are not smoke free zones and where people may have old fashioned coal. Ordinary coal is quite expensive, as most of it now has to be sourced abroad.


Fuel briquettes are often made from wood mixtures, peat or turf. The main problem with briquettes is that they don’t throw out quite as much heat as specially treated smokeless coal. When you choose products that don’t produce as much heat as coal, you may end up using more of that type of fuel.

Blocks and Sticks

Blocks and sticks of wood are fine when used in an open fire. Although wood does throw out a fair amount of heat, it burns down faster than coal, which means you will use more.

Advice and Delivery

Thompson Fuels can advise you on what type of fuel you can burn, and will deliver to your door, depending on where you live. It’s usually possible to deliver at very short notice, which is a bonus when the weather has been particularly bad.

Contact the team today