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Can you burn charcoal on a multi-fuel stove or woodburner?

Stove manufacturers usually give a detailed run down of what fuels it is safe to burn on their woodburners. Something that is often missed out is charcoal.

Given that charcoal is now readily available and often packaged in the form of handy charcoal briquettes, this is something that manufacturers may feel the need to address in future editions of stove manuals.

In the meantime, we will have to do a bit of detective work to find out whether charcoal can be burned on a wood-burning stove.

So, is it safe to burn charcoal on my stove?

First things first: if it’s a wood-burning stove, the answer is definitely ‘no’, as it is with any fuel other than wood. A wood-burning stove is designed to burn wood and wood alone. A woodburner will not have a raised grate and fuels other than wood may cause damage to the appliance. Read more on the difference between a wood-burning stove and a multi-fuel stove.

If you have a multi-fuel stove, we would still advise against using charcoal unless your manufacturer has specifically told you otherwise. Our reasoning for this is the high temperature at which charcoal burns.

While few manufacturers make mention of charcoal, most manuals will tell you not to burn coke because it burns at a very high temperature, which might cause your stove parts to melt or warp.

Charcoal burns at even higher temperature than coke (up to up to 2,700°C), which leads us to believe that burning it in your multi-fuel stove is likely to do as much, if not more damage as burning coke.

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