How to Keep a Coal Fire Burning

Updated February 21, 2017

A coal fire can offer seasonal heat for a home or business. It only needs to be maintained once or twice a day. Once lit, the coal fire will last for months. This is an advantage to the busy homeowner who does not have time to tend a fire every hour. To keep one burning, you must maintain the stove and the fire source. Otherwise, the fire will lose its oxygen supply.

Inspect the fire at least twice a day. When the fire subsides and the coals begin to produce less of a glow, open the draft control and then open the coal stove door. Rake the coals to shake off the ash from the burning coals. The ash will drop from the coals into the ash pit below the coal grate. Allow a little bit of ash to remain on the coal grate.

Add more coals on top of the burning coal embers (the glowing orange coal chunks). Arrange them so they are spaced evenly along the burning embers, but add only a small amount of coals. Never completely cover the grate with coal. Oxygen must flow through this grate to feed the coal embers.

Close the coal stove door. Allow the new coal pieces to catch fire. They will begin to glow as they ignite and produce heat. If they do not catch, you have added too many coals to the fire, or have shaken the coals too much.

Inspect the ash pit frequently--at least once a day. When the ash pit becomes full, open the ash pit door and remove the ashes with a small ash shovel. This will improve the flow of oxygen into your stove.


Clean the stove only after the fire has been extinguished and is cool. Clean all the parts, including the glass window, to keep the stove functioning perfectly and in top condition.

Things You'll Need

  • Coal rake
  • Ash bucket
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About the Author

Steve Smith has published articles on a wide range of topics including cars, travel, lifestyle, business, golf, weddings and careers. His articles, features and news stories have appeared in newspapers, consumer magazines and on various websites. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from University of New Hampshire Durham.