Friday, October 12, 2012

Five wood-burning - er, coal-burning - fireplaces

We had a chimney sweep in last week to have a look at our five fireplaces and possibly clean and repair them so that they'd be ready for winter.  We were surprised, and initially dismayed, to learn that they are actually coal-burning fireplaces.  However, it turns out that this is a good thing.
Dining room fireplace

First of all, if they were wood-burning they would be totally unusable as they are not lined.  Going up the center of the house, as they do, would present a huge risk in terms of embers flying up the chimney and setting the house on fire.  Something tells me our insurance company wouldn't pay for that.

However, since they are coal-burning, they do not have the creosote build-up of wood that is the chief cause of chimney fires.  Furthermore, coal does not throw off sparks and embers that could ignite a fire.  Coal is clean, burns hotter and more evenly than wood, keeps going longer.

Granted, our fires won't have the smell and sound of a wood fire.  On the other hand, they'll actually heat the house, and they're authentic to the period.  Now we just have to figure out where to find coal and how to light it (by Nov. 18).  Just what we need:  another project.

Oh, and what do we do with the ton of firewood in our backyard...?
Entryway fireplace

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