Solid Fuel Central Heating System Top 10 Questions and Problems

Daniel Whitehead answers any frequent problems or queries that you may have with your Solid Fuel Heating System.

1. What can I burn in a Solid Fuel Heating System?
2. Is a Solid Fuel Heating System safe in the home?
3. Is there an airlock with my Solid Fuel Heating System?
4. What are the costs of running a Solid Fuel Heating System?
5. Why does my Solid Fuel Heating System give heat to the back boiler but I have no hot water?
6. Why is my header tank on my Solid Fuel Heating System overflowing water?
7. How can i get my back boiler de-comissioned?
8. Can I cook on my Solid Fuel Heating System?
9. Can I link up my Solid Fuel Heating system with Gas?
10. Can I install my own Solid Fuel Central Heating System?

Solid Fuel Diagram

Solid Fuel Diagram


What can I burn in a Solid Fuel Heating System?

A Solid Fuel Heating system requires you to burn a Solid Fuel. A solid fuel is any fuel which is burnt in solid form.  This includes things such as coal and coke, and wood.  To maximise efficiency of your appliance it is important that you use a suitable fuel for your needs in the appropriate appliance. If you are looking for a coal only burner then visit Coal Fire.

Is a Solid Fuel Heating System safe in the home?

In order to ensure your Solid Fuel Heating System is safe and efficient in your home you must abide to a few maintenance checks over the year.

First of all you must ensure your chimney is swept annually. You can contact your local housing office to arrange this.

You must also ensure you burn the correct type of fuel for your fire as mentioned above.
Below are some basic precautions you can take including regular cleaning:

  • Make sure there is adequate ventilation
  • Empty and check the ash can every day
  • Clean fireplace regularly
  • 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

It is very important that if you spot a fault with your Central Heating System to contact an engineer immediately. If you believe there might be a problem with your system do not use it.

A faulty solid fuel heating system may lead to the release of carbon monoxide.

Some of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Breathlessness
  • A risk of collapsing
  • Loss of consciousness

Is there an airlock with my Solid Fuel Heating System?

If your radiators and/or hot water is not getting as hot anymore, then you could be experiencing an airlock in the system. Another symptom of this could also be lost water pressure in your taps. However these problems usually arise at the same time.

What are the costs of running a Solid Fuel Heating System?

We recommend when buying coal for your system that you always look for the Approved Coal Merchants Scheme logo. This ensures that you get the best customer service and product to fit your system efficiently.

There isn’t such a scheme when buying wood. However we recommend you consult your installer for advice on getting the right solid fuel for your appliance.

You will find over the winter months your cost will probably incur buying around 4 – 6 bags of coal and about the same in wood.

Why does my Solid Fuel Heating System give heat to the back boiler but I have no hot water?

A lack of hot water can be due to an array of issues with your system. As explained earlier it could simply be an airlock in the hot water pipes, it could also be your small header tank has experiened a jammed Ball Valve.

Your small header tank could have also been turned off due to it passing.

If you discover that your small header tank has a jammed ball valve, or it has simply turned off for an unknown reason then the water will have evaporated or drained itself away from your system.

If this is the case you can try refilling the system by adjusting the ball valve and spraying it with something like WD40.

Why is my header tank on my Solid Fuel Heating System overflowing water?

An overflowing header tank on a Solid Fuel Heating system can again be down to an array of issues within the system. One of the common faults is a small leak in your system causing air to seep up into the pipes. This is commonly caused when you light your fire and the hot air expands and rises to the header tank. Once your system has cooled down the hot air reduces and you are then therefore left with space that is filled with water, when the process repeats it will expand again with hot air pushing the water to cause an overflow.

How can i get my back boiler de-comissioned?

If you believe your back boiler is in a dangerous state you will need to have it de-comissioned. You can call out our emergency numbers and we can have an expert to carry out this procedure for you.

Can I cook on my Solid Fuel Heating System?

Yes. There are a couple of routes in which you can go down for using your solid fuel heating system for cooking as well as heating up your home. We suggest you seek advice from an installer on getting the most efficient system to your needs.

Can I link up my Solid Fuel Heating system with Gas?

You can link up your Solid Fuel Heating system with an existing gas boiler to run both side by side as you choose.

So, how does it work? – What are the benefits of link-up?

1. An open fire or roomheater fitted with a back boiler can be linked up alongside the existing boiler in such a way that you can use either, or both, to provide the heating and hot water you need at any given time.
2. The existing central heating boiler continues to service the system with hot water as necessary.
3. The radiators, adjusted to the desired temperature, can be heated by your open fire or by the existing boiler or a combination of both.
4. ‘Link-up’ can be installed so that the open fire heats either or both the hot water cylinder and the radiators.

Can I install my own Solid Fuel Central Heating System?

No. But we recommend you have somebody professional to install this for you.

Below is a handy video which can help you light up your Solid Fuel fire.


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