How to turn coal burning fireplaces in an old house into wood stoves?

Jessica Eustice
by Jessica Eustice
Our house, built in 1920, has two (it originally had four) small coal burning fireplaces, one in the living room and one in the dining room. I would like to use them as something more than decorative coal-burning fireplace covers. Can we put wood stoves in them? How do we do this? Where should we look online for small wood stoves or pellet burning stoves?
  10 answers
  • Audrey Jones Audrey Jones on Jan 07, 2015
    Our house was built in 1920 as well. We moved in a year ago and the sellers put in a wood burning stove. We were told the chimney needs a new liner before we can use the wood burning stove so I would check with your local chimney place to check the lining before putting in a small wood burning stove.
  • Jessica Eustice Jessica Eustice on Jan 07, 2015
    Thank you for the info. 😊
  • Denise Hardy Denise Hardy on Jan 07, 2015
    Hi - we live in Spain as well as Ireland and have the same fire as in your first picture and have been checking our fire out to change it to a wood burning stove and the company came and had a look at it and have said yes it can be changed to a wood burning stove and as Audrey Jones said regarding the chimney lining is correct, but the company we have gone to does all that included in the price of the wood burning stove. So..... although you are not in Spain - I would recommend that whatever company you choose, you ask them and I am sure they would also include the chimney lining in their quote as a fully fitted and working wood burning stove. They should come and do all the fitting etc that is required. I cannot advise you a particular company to go to as you are in New Jersey, but I would say if you look on the internet for companies that sell and fit the wood burning stoves in your area. Hope this helps :)
  • Joan C Joan C on Jan 07, 2015
    my sister just put in a new coal boiler. she buys coal in bags like pellets and uses her oil boiler as back up if she's not going to be home for an extended period. she says it's inexpensive and she's very happy with her purchase. maybe you could buy a bag of coal and try it--? it would cheaper to try a bag of coal than it would be to convert it to another fuel source. who knows, maybe you'll love coal. good luck!
  • Cathy Rayburn-Trobaugh Cathy Rayburn-Trobaugh on Jan 07, 2015
    I wouldn't do anything without consulting a professional. CO is nothing to fool around with!
  • Jessica Eustice Jessica Eustice on Jan 07, 2015
    Of course!
  • Patricia Howard Patricia Howard on Jan 07, 2015
    You might look into the pellet stoves, my mother turned her fireplace into the pellet stove, and she really liked it, as it produced more heat.
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Jan 08, 2015
    My first thought was why not use coal rather than go to the expense of wood - as mentioned above. If the venting is good, there shouldn't be a prob. In the day, my parents had a coal/wood burning furnace. Coal briquettes were cleaner, cheaper, and burned longer.
  • Mary Mary on May 11, 2018

    We just bought a historic home in April.

    My husband wanted to use the fireplaces. The inspector for the house told us they were good and so were the chimneys. We had a fireplace crew come out to inspect and clean. Man where we surprised with their response. $15,000. To clean, replace and convert. Can't burn coal, the sulfer dioxide build up, burning wood would prove to be toxic and hazardous. The chimneys themselves "were just brick sitting on top of dust". Sometimes its just better to leave things alone.

  • Lisa S. Lisa S. on May 11, 2018

    Call a contractor, stop in a store that sells wood stoves. - local rules have specific requirements.