Barbecues are a great way to enjoy the benefits of solid fuel outdoors. However, they have been linked to several camp-site deaths by carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide is naturally produced by the combustion of all fuels including both gas and charcoal. You can’t see it, taste it or smell it but it can build up within confined spaces and kill quickly with no warning.
Whether you use a portable hibachi grill, disposable grill, large scale barbecue or even a gas fired model, make sure you keep yourself and others safe by following the basic barbecue rules.
BBQ Safety

Top four tips for barbecue safety:

  • Never take a smouldering or lit barbecue into a confined space such as a tent, caravan or cabin. Even if you have finished cooking and the coals appear to be dead, the barbecue should remain outside as it will still give off fumes for some hours after use.
  • Never use a barbecue inside to keep you warm.
  • Arrange your cooking area well away from your tent and ensure that there is an adequate supply of fresh air in the area where the barbecue is being used.
  • Always use your barbecue equipment in accordance with the operating instructions.

Government Announcement

The government response to the consultation on Air quality: using cleaner fuels for domestic burning can be viewed HERE

Following the Government’s announcement on Friday 21st February 2021 regarding house coal and wet wood together with the new regulations regarding the sale of wood and unauthorised solid fuels in England, please be assured that there will be plentiful stocks of fuel for everyone to enjoy on their solid fuel fires for many years to come no matter what kind you have, whether it’s an open fire, stove or room heater with or without a boiler or a free standing boiler.
House coal can still be delivered by your local approved coal merchant until 2023 and during that time there will be lots of advice around about the other fuels that will be available to use beyond that date. The main thing to remember is nobody needs to change their fire or stove to use these fuels.

solid fuel association logo

The main changes to fuels in England only are as follows:

  • If you have your house coal delivered by an Approved Coal Merchant, they will still be able to deliver it to you until February 2023 and  nothing will change. If you previously picked up pre-packed house coal from an Approved Merchant, after February 2021 they will only be able to deliver it to your home. Look out for the ACMS logo
  • After 21st February 2021 there will not be any pre-packed house coal for sale to pick up and take home yourself. This covers all pre-packed house coal in poly bags sold through retailers (including merchants) supermarkets, DIY stores and garage forecourts.
  • From February 2021 certain manufactured fuels (known as briquettes or ovoids) will no longer be available and after that date only authorised manufactured smokeless fuels will be allowed for sale. There is a wide variety of manufactured smokeless fuels currently on the market.
  • From February 2021 wood logs sold in small quantities i.e. less than 2m³ will have to have a moisture content of less than 20%.
  • There is no change to the sale of anthracite as it is a naturally occurring smokeless fuel.
Approved Coal Merchant

For more information on fuels please visit our literature pages or for any other advice please contact us by telephone or email.
(Content is correct at the time of publishing)

Carbon Monoxide Detectors & Smoke Alarms

Carbon Monoxide Detectors & Smoke Alarms
Is your Carbon Monoxide Detector and Smoke Alarm in good working order. Test your alarms at least once a week to make sure that they are fully working. If you are in any doubt whatsoever replace the alarm or detector. Carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms are available at most DIY/Hardware stores and Supermarkets for just a few pounds –  It Could Save Your Life!


It’s a good idea to plan for your chimney to be swept in the Spring or Summer months and to carry out any necessary servicing and maintenance of your appliance at the same time. The best tradesperson to contact is a professionally qualified chimney sweep who can provide a comprehensive service to ensure you can start the next heating season fully confident that your home and you will be safe.

Go to the Useful  Links section of this website and scroll down to Chimney Experts to find your local sweep.


The many benefits of burning a smokeless solid fuel when compared with burning logs on the same appliance can be seen in a VIDEO HERE …


Why you shouldn’t be worried about using your wood burners or multi fuel stoves – Dispelling the myths!
Contrary to some newspaper reports the Government doesn’t want to stop people using their .stoves neither do they intend to ban any stoves. What they have said is they could phase out or ban the most polluting fuels. Using the correct fuel, keeping your stove maintained and using your stove at the right temperature by using the air controls will all help to reduce pollution.

Approved Coal MerchantWe can all make a difference by the way we use our stoves whether it is by improving the maintenance of the stove and keeping your chimney clean or burning only those solid fuels which have less than 2% sulphur or wood that has less than 20% moisture usually described as seasoned or kiln dried wood. How do you know if you are burning the correct fuels? Manufactured solid fuels that contain less than 2% sulphur and anthracite are described as Authorised Smokeless Fuels and will also be approved by HETAS and will usually show the logo for the Approved Coal Merchants Scheme.

Approved Woodfuel MerchantWood that is seasoned or kiln dried will usually mention it on the packaging and there is a logo that you can look out for which is the Woodsure Ready to Burn logo. On no account should you be burning wet wood as not only will it produce many harmful particulates, if your chimney has a flexible liner over time it will probably ruin the liner as well as not producing much heat into the bargain, this is because it takes a very long time to burn off the moisture contained in wet wood.

As well as the media confusion over the Clean Air Strategy, it should be made clear, until the Government publish their response to their Domestic Burning of solid fuel and wood Consultation, we do not know what their final recommendations will be to reduce emissions from domestic burning. The Clean Air Strategy gives us a good indication of what actions they have decided will reduce emissions from the use of solid fuels and wood in the home, but nothing has been finalised until they set out their proposals for legislation which they have said should be published in early 2019.


If you are a coal user you may have been alarmed by recent newspaper reports that the Government may ban bituminous house coal in England. Please be reassured that if there is a ban we believe it will be several years until it comes in but remember nothing has been decided.

Therefore, should these reports come to fruition you can rest assured that coal merchants will have plentiful supplies of manufactured solid fuels and anthracite available as very good alternatives to bituminous house coal. These alternatives can give more heat, less ash, last longer and are less polluting to the atmosphere. Speak to your Local Approved Coal Merchant or for more information please contact the Solid Fuel Association.

Visit our Approved Coal Merchants web page or Tel: 01773 835400


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

Carbon Monoxide AlarmThe 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.


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.


“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

It’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


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.
  • 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.

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