I realise that many people advise against burning a combination of fuels, even although it has been done for centuries but, for the purposes of lighting the fire, I use one firelighter (7p) and kindling sticks. This morning, about a kilo of coal (23p) was added to get the fire blazing, then logs added. By this point, the water in the backboiler could be heard beginning to boil, so the pump was switched on to feed it through to the hot water tank and radiators.
During cold, wet, winter months, we need the coal in order to get enough heat generated to quickly dry off any dampness from the logs. We aren't yet equipped with a large, undercover log store and it didn't help that the latest load was delivered during a heavy downpour. Surplus logs are stacked (off the ground) and covered in a loose tarpaulin. (The frogs, toads and lizards love it in there!)
It takes 8 large wheelbarrow loads to shift a £40 load of logs, so I'm estimating £5 per barrowload. At a complete guess, I would think half a barrowload would last us a full day, but I'll start my trial today using what's already stacked by the fire and then continue tomorrow with a full barrowload.
I've had to hang a curtain over the doorway between kitchen and main hallway to try and cut down the through draught. Right now, owing to the horrible weather - high winds, rain and snow - the curtains are billowing, but this side of the house does feel warm.
1) It arrived on a pallet, so that will provide more free kindling for the fire!
2) It was all wrapped up inside a massive, heavy-duty, polythene bag. This will be ideal for securing over the huge hole in the kitchen wall when they come to replace the kitchen window. In fact, I may pin it over the entire window, to help cut down on heat loss until then! I care not what it looks like when it's at the back of the house and only us to see it!
All we need now is to hear news of when the new window has been made and when the new back door and frame can be fitted, then we can plan on getting the new ceiling put up in the kitchen, along with the sheep wool insulation.
Back later with an update on log consumption by my hungry fire.
Edit: This experiment was temporarily halted as I'd to damp the fire right down when we had a power cut. This is the downside to relying on an electric pump to circulate all that hot water that's generated in the back boiler - it has no place to go other than to spurt out the overflow.
Estimating now continues, but with the addition of another kilo (23p) of coal to get the fire back up and running sufficiently to reheat the radiators; these cool down much more quickly than I'd like! In this sense, storage-type heaters are superior in their ability to retain their heat during power cuts. (Assuming they were fully charged prior to the outage, of course.)
This is the second power cut we've had over the past month, so a stand alone log burning stove, in addition to the heating system, is looking more and more of a possibility. One similar to what we installed in the previous house would serve us well, as that allowed us to cook on it, too. But that involves getting in the builders to fully check the second chimney. I feel another savings challenge coming along soon.