It's getting cooler here and i had a sickly boy at home today, so my fires lit. I figured now is a good time to tell you all my tips for a cheaper fire.
1. If you can afford it get a stove, preferably with a back boiler. I have a wee pot belly stove it uses a fraction of the coal my open fire did , acts like a big radiator and you lose less heat up the chimney. This is a huge expense but if the house we decide on only has open fires (no fire at all is a dealbreaker for us) we will be putting a stove in.Basic ones will set you back £600 just for the stove, we will allow £1500 for any extra work needed.
2. Light your fire with paper if you have any. I don't buy papers so don't have any. So I shop around and buy fire lighters for £1 a box in my local filling station, it's a value brand but works fine and works out cheaper than if i had to buy even a cheap paper, but if you buy papers anyway save them all year.
3. Shop around for coal and be prepared to go cash and carry. I buy doubles which is just small lumps of coal a bag delivered will cost you £8 here. I buy mine for £4.30 a bag and they put it into the boot for me. Scrapyards seem to like selling it cheap here however sometimes trailers just out of towns do a good deal. Take the cost of fuel into account. I only pop in if I'm passing or have completely ran out and it's only 2mins away from my kids school but I still don't want to waste desil, I usually buy 5 bag to make it worth the trip.
4. Buy in bulk. Alot of places (including mine, pity I don't have room) do discount on bulk orders of coal, it may only be 10p a bag cheaper but over a year thats an extra bag of coal.My logs will be coming at the start of the week I get 1 tonne for £50 delivered. I'm still using the last few from the bag I got last year.
5. Keep your eye out for free wood and pallets. We don't use sticks in our fire we use cut up pallets, hubbys work has loads of them, more than we can use and will gladly give them away. If your passing somewhere and see a big pile of pallets go in and ask. Very few people will say no. Just be sure to ask first.Keep an eye on gumtree aswell people regularly off felled tree's for free.
One last tip if like me you have a stove with no back boiler, get yourself a whistling kettle or a camping kettle and keep it on top, then you have hot water for tea or washing the dishes, or even washing your face.This is on my shopping list this winter if i can find one cheap enough.
We will be trying to go this winter with no heating oil, we have ran out and when I worked the cost out for last year it was shocking when we used it very little and mainly used the fire anyway.So I leave you this this picture of my lovely cosy fire (which could do with being painted), I hope your all keeping warm and well.