Carbon Monoxide AlarmA recent incident in Devon which triggered a family’s CO alarm could have been avoided by the occupants storing any hot ashes outside their property.

The report in the North Wales Daily Post newspaper had a startling headline ‘The hidden carbon monoxide danger for families even if wood burning stoves or coal fires are safe’ . The headline may have caught many peoples attention but dealt with correctly hot ashes should not be dangerous. Hot ashes should be taken outside and left to cool down before disposing. Keeping them in a bucket smouldering indoors is probably the worst way to deal with any hot ashes but fortunately the family concerned had a carbon monoxide alarm which did its job.

This unfortunate episode just shows how important a carbon monoxide alarm can be, in this instance it could even have been a lifesaver.

Remember to test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms regularly.


“When Santa got stuck up the chimney, he began to shout

“You girls and boys won’t get any toys if you don’t pull me out !”” (Traditional)

Don’t let this happen to Santa at your house – ensure you’ve had your chimney swept before the festivities start. You can search for a chimney sweep local to you elsewhere on our website.


Stock up with fuel before the Christmas Holidays as icicles are meant to be outside the house.


Ensure that your Carbon Monoxide Detectors are in good working order. If you are concerned that they are old and might not be in tip-top condition, buy new ones. You can buy them from most DIY/Hardware stores and supermarkets.


We moved from Alfreton to Clay Cross (also in Derbyshire) on 2 August 17. So, it is business as usual.

You can still expect the same standard of service from us. We try to answer the phone as speedily as possible and for the majority of calls you will get to speak to a human and not a machine. Our answering machine only steps in when we are all busy on calls or out of our normal 9.00 to 5.00 working hours.

We have Technical Advisors available to assist with advice on a variety of topics including fuels, chimneys and solid fuel appliances and we help the general public and professionals alike.


Chimney Fire Safety Week recently took place on 4-10 September, so it is a wise idea to get your chimney swept prior to using your fire for the first time before the autumn and winter chilly weather arrives.

We can help you to locate your local coal merchant and also your local chimney sweep just give us a call on our Helpline: 01773 835400


Householders can be reassured that although our electricity is no longer mainly supplied by coal fired power stations there is no threat to the supply of coal for domestic customers.

According to the National Grid the 22nd of April this year was Britain’s first ever working day without coal power since the Industrial Revolution. This was the first continuous 24 hour coal free period since the use of fossil fuel began in this country.

Britain’s last coal power station is due to close in 2025 as part of the government’s plan to phase out fossil fuel.

However The Solid Fuel Association would like to assure consumers that despite the government plans for coal fired power stations there will be no shortage of coal and furthermore smokeless fuel ovoids which make up a significant proportion of domestic usage will also be unaffected.

Coal for domestic use has been imported for the last few years since the demise of the last deep mines in England in 2016 and will continue.


Once again inflammatory headlines in the Daily Telegraph dated 25th January 2017 have caused worry for owners of wood-burning stoves and frustration for the solid fuel supply industry.

The article headlines with ‘Wood stoves push pollution to Beijing levels’. It is referring to the levels of air pollution in London particularly. It also states that Smoke Control Regulations do not apply to wood burners and stoves and they risk undoing the good work of the Clean Air Act. This is of course completely wrong: you can only install a Defra exempt stove or wood burner within the boundaries of a Smoke Control Area and burning wood on anything but an exempt appliance is against the law.

The article also says that more than a million homes now have a wood burning stove, but to put this into context that only amounts to approximately 4% of all the homes in Britain. Are they really the cause of so much pollution?

In order to address demands set by an EU Directive on air quality following the revelation that the UK had exceeded maximum emission levels, the government has set up a large number of Air Quality Management Areas to monitor pollution levels. The results of this monitoring during 2015 clearly show the culprit is transport, especially in city centres and busy stretches of motorway.

Vehicles are the main source of Nitrous Oxide emissions (97%) of the remainder the bulk of particulate matter (PM10) is also traffic related. Reports from DEFRA indicate the prime cause is diesel engine exhaust.

Some years ago, when CO2 emissions were of major concern it was decided to encourage consumers to buy diesel engine cars and over the past 15 years sales rose from 14% to 50% today. And whilst modern petrol engine design has improved the levels of emissions, there are substantially more vehicles on the roads, world-wide.

Thus, the humble stove does not deserve the bad press and consumers should not feel guilty nor concerned for the health of their family and neighbours.


Our free DVD will give you expert guidance, call us today for your copy - Helpline: 01773 835400


“Safety Guide for Solid Fuel Users” is available for download from this site. The guide clearly highlights the three golden rules of safety for solid fuel - proper ventilation, regular sweeping and the correct fuel.
This guide is also available as an A4 double sided leaflet from the SFA and can be ordered on our literature page.
As well as the private solid fuel user, the guide may be of particular interest to local authority housing departments for distribution to their tenants ... download here


solid fuel association logoIt’s a question that people sometimes ask about our distinctive SFA logo.

Well, to get the answer you need to go back to 1988 and our iconic “Real Fire” adverts.

Visit our YouTube account and view the “Real Fire” video



Be aware of the risks which may result from frozen water pipes. Apart from the inconvenience of water leaks resulting from the damage caused by expanding ice, there is a real danger should you try to light your fire or boiler before the pipes are fully thawed.
If the pipework is frozen when the fire is lit there is no way the hot water can circulate around the system. This could result in a build up of pressure within the boiler, resulting in an explosion and consequential injury to occupants.
Under no circumstances light a fire before the pipes are thawed !


Here are just some of the benefits of Solid Fuel and Wood heating systems:

  • Heating a single room with Solid Fuel is usually cheaper than by oil or gas.
  • Most Solid Fuel appliances are multi-fuel meaning you can burn both coal and wood.
  • A Solid Fuel appliance with a boiler can be linked to many central heating systems to enable you to cut the cost of heating bills whilst you enjoy the benefits of a real fire. For more information download the Link-Up leaflet from our website literature page.
  • A chimney promotes healthy circulation of air in a dwelling.
  • Simple open fires and stoves do not need electricity to operate.
  • There are over 500 Coal Merchants throughout the UK who can deliver fuel straight to your bunker. Supplies of pre-packed wood and coal are also available from supermarkets, DIY stores and garage forecourts but for economy and convenience always buy from your local coal merchant. For details of your nearest Coal Merchant look on the FIND A FUEL MERCHANT section of our website.

A Solid Fuel Heating System could save you money and add to your comfort and security.


There are certain health benefits associated with the open flue function that is necessary for combustion in all solid fuel appliances. The open flue way not only removes the products of combustion safely out of the home but also draws in fresh supplies of air. British Standards specify the minimum ventilation rates for various rooms in domestic dwellings – gas radiant fires and electric heating compare poorly with solid fuel in this respect.

  • The constant cycle of air coupled with continuous heat has two direct benefits:
  • It minimizes the incidence of condensation and mould growth problems which plague so many gas and electric heated homes. Spores of mould are allergenic and a source of bronchial irritation.
    It removes via the chimney other gases and particles in the air which may give rise to bronchial disorders such as asthma, hay fever etc.

Medical research has demonstrated that people living in houses with solid fuel heating are significantly less likely to suffer from asthma and hay fever compared to those living in houses with other forms of heating. Your chimney has other benefits too. It acts as a heat store and will release heat into the dwelling after the fire has gone out.


Installing a chimney these days is not as difficult as you might think. There are specialist installers who can survey your home, provided a quotation and undertake the most suitable installation. With a chimney available, the choice of solid fuel appliances is vast. Contact us for free advice and information.


If you buy your fuel in prepacks from cash & carry outlets, consider saving money by buying in open sacks from your local coal merchant. The fuel will be delivered directly to your bunker or if you haven’t got a bunker they can deliver in prepack bags also.


Let industry experts guide you every step of the way. The Solid Fuel Association has a range of leaflets (many of them you can download from this site) that will tell you all you need to know about solid fuel heating. More than that – we can give you advice on all aspects of solid fuel heating to the choice of appliance and fuels. There are many experts who we can direct you to such as HETAS registered installers and the National Association of Chimney Engineers (NACE) or help you with suppliers for appliances and ancillary products.
A HETAS Registered installer can come and give you a quotation for all your heating requirements. In addition, we can help you with many of the technical aspects and guidance on Building Regulations.

So, if you are thinking of updating or putting in a new solid fuel or wood burning system, get in touch.