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Solid Fuel Association


Your guide to solid fuel heating - coal, coke and smokeless fuels, central heating, open fires, appliances, room heaters, boilers, stoves and cookers

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Solid fuel - coal, coke, smokeless, central heating, heating, open fires, fires, appliances, room heaters, boilers

Solid fuel heating - coal, coke, smokeless, central heating, heating, open fires, fires, appliances, room heaters, boilers


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The Solid Fuel Association

is funded by solid fuel producers and distributors and was established to encourage greater awareness of the benefits of domestic solid fuel heating among the general public.

Operating as an advice centre, the Solid Fuel Association welcomes communication on all matters concerning the use of solid fuels both from domestic consumers and professionals such as heating installers and architects.

Everyone warms to the cosy glow and flickering flames that only a real fire can offer and, while you're enjoying the experience, you can consider all the other advantages that solid fuel heating brings.

Low running costs

Solid fuel is an efficient and economical method of heating your home 24 hours a day.

The healthy option

Solid fuel heating can greatly reduce condensation, eliminating household mould often associated with 'on/off' fires. Medical research has also shown that solid fuel heating can reduce the risk of hay fever, asthma and eczema.Homes with solid fuel heating are better ventilated than those with other forms of heating; the very use of a chimney will induce ventilation into a home drawing in fresh air and removing the 'polluted' air.

Wide range of fuels

From coal to smokeless, there's a solid fuel to suit your appliance in your area.

Convenient and easy to use

Modern pre-set controls keep your home at the desired temperature throughout the day.

Guaranteed heat

With solid fuel heating you can hold stock, ensuring that your home will be warm even in the most adverse weather conditions. Whatever the weather, you don't need to worry about supply failures or power cuts.

The Solid Fuel Association

Produced to the highest quality standards, solid fuel consistently gives high heat output and exceptional 'value-for-money' performance. To get the best out of this 21st century fuel and reap the maximum benefits in terms of fuel efficiency, it is important to choose the solid fuel that is most suitable for use in your appliance.

The Right Fuel

Choosing the right fuel for your heating appliance ensures excellent performance and economic usage. From an open fire, heating a single room, to a boiler providing central heating for an entire house, there is a solid fuel system and a fuel designed to meet your needs. The comprehensive range of currently available has been developed to allow you to gain the full benefit from solid fuel.

Open Fires

All open fires will burn house coal and some smokeless fuels. House coal is available in various sizes and an will give you details about the qualities available. Coal or wood must not be burnt in . The larger sized manufactured smokeless fuels are ideal for open fires, while open fires with fan assistance or under-floor draught may also burn smaller manufactured fuels and Anthracite large nuts. will help you to choose a suitable fuel for your open fire.

Roomheaters, Cookers and Boilers

Closed appliances (except types) burn a wide variety of manufactured smokeless fuels and Anthracite large nuts. These are smaller than open fire fuels and give a denser fire-bed and a more efficient performance. Multi-fuel appliances can burn open fire smokeless fuels. If you don't live in a you can also burn house coal or wood.

Installers & Engineers

Additionally, HETAS operate training courses and a nation-wide registration scheme for installers and engineers.

Chimneys, Flues & Accessories

HETAS has expanded its approval and listing service to include factory made chimneys, flues, firelighters and Carbon Monoxide warning devices.

Fuels & Appliances

In conjunction with the British Standards Institute, HETAS approves, lists and gives the three-tick mark of quality to solid fuels, solid fuel appliances and associated equipment and services

HETAS is the organisation recognised by the Department of the Environment as the official testing and approval body for the solid fuel industry. The distinctive three-tick logo is a benchmark for quality and provides a seal of approval in which consumers can place their trust.

Why use an Approved Coal Merchant?

The answer is simple..... All coal merchants who belong to the Approved Coal Merchants Scheme support and follow the Coal Trade Code.

What is the Coal Trade Code?

The Coal Trade Code began in 1962 as a joint financed venture between the National Coal Board and the wholesale and retail parts of the domestic coal trade.The Solid Fuel Association whose members include the major solid fuel producers/manufacturers and the distributive coal trade now finance the scheme.

Why was it created?

The scheme was created so that standards could be set for coal merchants and, in particular, a system could be developed to show their customers that they were keeping to those standards. The Code is administered by a National Panel with an Independent Chairman.

What does this mean to you, the customer?

When a coal merchant joins the Approved Coal Merchants Scheme, he has to give some important undertakings to his customer, and the Scheme sees to it that he keeps these promises:

To have his name and address & the Coal Trade Code sign clearly shown on his vehicle.

To give delivery tickets showing his name and address for each delivery over two bags (lOOkg or 2cwt).

To give a clear description of the coal or smokeless coal, so that you fully understand what you are buying.

To give you trustworthy advice about the most appropriate coal or smokeless coal for your appliance, and to offer you help and advice from the Solid Fuel Association.

To advise you of any current summer discounts.

To investigate promptly and sympathetically any complaint about coal or smokeless coal supplied to you, or about the service provided.

What if things go wrong?

They rarely do but, if you do have a problem first contact the Approved Coal Merchant. He has given his assurance that he will deal quickly and sympathetically with any query.

If you still have a problem after speaking to your coal merchant, the Approved Coal Merchants Scheme can help. There are Regional Co-ordinators whose job it is to see that the members follow the Code.

So, before buying your solid fuel, look for the red, blue and white Approved Coal Merchants Scheme logo or contact our Freephone Helpline for a list of your local Approved Coal Merchants and be sure of a great deal!

Our Millennium Collection includes a range of 16 open fires (all night burners) for both 16" and 18" openings which can be delivered to your door from as little as 39.95. These fires and a range of accessories including chimney cowls, carbon monoxide detectors, bird guards, coalbunkers and electric firelighters can be ordered on our credit card Hotline 01773 835400 or by completing the Freepost order form in the Millennium Collection brochure.

The collection also includes a comprehensive range of open fires with back boilers, stoves, room heaters, boilers and cookers, something for every situation and budget. These can be bought from or from your local registered engineer. Our gives more information about the different types of heating appliances.

All the appliances you have in the home operate more reliably, efficiently and, most importantly, safely, if they are installed and serviced correctly.

Solid fuel appliances are no exception to this and following these few simple guidelines will ensure safe and efficient operation.

Ventilation Air is Vital - Heating appliances, whatever fuel they burn, need to be able to 'breathe' in order to function efficiently and safely. To 'breath', they need a constant and sufficient flow of air so the room must not be completely airtight. If your home has draught-proofing or double-glazing fitted you may need vents or airbricks in an exterior wall of the room. If vents or airbricks are already there always ensure they are not blocked or covered. If in doubt contact your local heating engineer to check your ventilation.

Flue Cleaning - To enable your appliance to 'breathe' efficiently it is absolutely essential that you do not allow soot or ash to build up where it can hinder or prevent the free flow of smoke and other products of combustion.

Empty and check the ash can every day.

Flue ways at the back of the boiler should be cleaned once a week, but always let the fire go out and allow ashes to cool before cleaning.

The throat plates at the top of the roomheater should be removed and cleaned monthly.

Have your chimney swept at least once every year, preferably before each winter. Always use a recommended chimney sweep, preferably a member of the National Association of Chimney Sweeps, an association of true professionals in the field. Check in Yellow Pages or contact us for a list of members in your area

Your Safety Checklist

Proper ventilation.

Regular cleaning and sweeping.

Always use the right fuel.

Never leave an open fire unattended without a fireguard.

Always use a securely fitted fireguard when children are in the house


If, your appliance begins to burn slowly, goes out frequently or if you smell or suspect fumes you must:

Open doors and windows.

Carefully put out the fire, or allow it to burn itself out.

Do not stay in the room any longer than necessary.

Do not attempt to re-light the appliance until a professional has checked it.

Contact your local HETAS heating engineer, or the Solid Fuel Advice Line on 01773 835400

Smaller freestanding independent boilers are designed to provide domestic hot water and enough central heating for a small house or cottage, while larger models will provide domestic hot water and central heating for even the largest of premises.

There are two main types of independent boilers, gravity feed and batch feed:

Gravity feed boilers incorporate a large hopper above the firebox, which can hold, depending on demand, several days supply of small sized Anthracite fuel. The fuel descends on to the fire, fed as required, and an in-built thermostatically controlled fan assists combustion, providing a quick response to demand. Gravity feed boilers are available in a wide range of outputs and sizes.

Batch feed boilers are ‘hand fired’ and therefore require more frequent refuelling than the gravity feed boilers. A batch feed boiler can however be less expensive and, in some installations, will operate without an electrical supply, so continuing to provide hot water and central heating during a power failure. 

Your local HETAS engineer can advise you of the most suitable and cost effective option. For more information on solid fuel boilers, visit the websites of leading manufacturers on our Links page or telephone our Freephone Helpline.


A Brighter Choice - Solid fuel central heating provides all your domestic hot water needs, plus heat for as many as ten radiators. The system may be run from an open coal fire with a back boiler, a roomheater, a multi-fuel stove, an independent boiler or by a gravity feed boiler which refuels itself. There is a system suitable for every home.

Efficient Economic Heating - As an example, the running costs of a glass fronted roomheater with full central heating are comparable with those of a conventional gas heating system and are less than Economy 7 electricity (subject to regional variations in fuel prices).

Ease of Control - Controlling the heat output of modern solid fuel appliances is surprisingly easy and, once set, they may be left unattended for long periods.

No 'Standing Charge' - Consumers of solid fuel are also in the enviable position of being able to buy exactly how much fuel they want, when they want it without the penalty of a 'standing charge'.

Versatility - Radiators can be fitted almost anywhere in the house and are available in a range of styles and sizes to suit your decor. Long, low radiators can be fitted below windows; tall narrow radiators can be installed where space is limited. Some rooms may need double radiators, others just single panel or convector design. All types can be individually controlled by hand adjusted or thermostatically operated valves to keep each room automatically at a constant temperature.

They not only cook food to perfection, they also keep the kitchen warm, and some models provide partial or full central heating as well as continuous domestic hot water.

The concept of the solid fuel cooker is simple. A controllable continuously burning fire in an insulated cast iron shell retains the heat. When you are ready to cook the heat is transferred to the ovens, so food is gently and evenly cooked allowing it to retain all its full and natural flavour.

Solid fuel cookers burn a wide variety of fuels and all have easy to empty ash pans so that the fire need never go out.

For more information on solid fuel cookers, visit the websites of leading manufacturers on our Links page or telephone our Freephone Helpline.

"Oh how lovely, a real coal fire!" How many times have you said that yourself when you enter a home with an open fire glowing gently on the hearth? There's an indefinable pleasure in the warmth, the sense of comfort and well being that no other heating system can give, no matter how efficient it might be. 'Link-up' makes it possible to connect your open fire to your central heating system in such a way that you can enjoy the comforts of improved heating and more control over your heating costs. Existing gas or oil central heating systems can be adapted or extended. All of the benefits of dual fired heating, coupled with the pleasure of a real fire. What could be better?

So, how does it work? - Like all great ideas, 'link-up' is really quite simple:

An open coal fire or roomheater fitted with a back boiler can be linked up with the existing boiler in such a way that you use either, or both, to provide the heating and hot water you need at any given time.

The existing central heating boiler continues to service the system with hot water as necessary.

The radiators, adjusted to the desired temperature, can be supplied by your open fire or by the existing boiler or a combination of both.

'Link-up' can be installed so that the open fire heats either or both the hot water cylinder and the radiators. Flexible Heating - The real advantage of 'link-up' is its flexibility. While you are enjoying the comfort of your open fire, it can automatically take over all or part of the heating normally provided by the central heating boiler, and at no extra cost. When you are not using your solid fuel appliance, the central heating system operates as normal.

An open fire creates a sense of well-being by calming and relaxing.

There are hundreds of different styles to choose from and they all offer the 'living flame' and cosy glow that only a real fire can provide.

The open fire provides heat for your home by direct radiation, although some fires are available with a convection chamber to circulate warm air around the room.

The modern open fire, properly fitted and sealed is cleaner, brighter and more fuel efficient than ever before.

Open fires with a compatible back boiler considerably increase the efficiency of your home heating system, provide hot water and heat for up to seven radiators.

Controllable open fires are capable of slow burning through the night for up to eight hours on one fuelling and easy slide-out ash pans allow the removal of ash without having to let the fire go out.

Free standing canopy open fires are also available for installation into large inglenook fireplace openings.

For more information on solid fuel open fires, visit the websites of leading manufacturers on our Links page or telephone our Freephone Helpline.

Simple to control and fast to react to your heating needs, roomheaters provide radiant heat for direct warmth as well as creating a continuous flow of convected warmth, which circulates throughout the room.

Roomheaters come in a wide range of designs, sizes, capacities and finishes.

Models are available for room heating only or, with various capacities of integral back boilers, can heat up to ten radiators and provide abundant domestic hot water.

There is a wide range of attractive styles and designs to choose from, including freestanding models.

Roomheaters have an easy to empty ash pan to allow ashes to be removed without letting the fire go out.

Although the fire is contained behind doors, on many models they can be opened while the fire is alight to allow the warmth and glow of a real fire to complement the room. The doors should be closed when a more efficient slow burn is required or when the room is unattended.

Attractive yet practical stoves are available with boilers, ranging from those with a small output for supplying domestic hot water only to the large output units capable of heating up to nine average size thermostatically controlled radiators. Many stoves are multipurpose and can burn wood or logs. However, a far greater heat and better performance is obtained when using either coal or smokeless fuel. For more information on stoves, visit the websites of leading manufacturers on our Links page or telephone our Helpline.