Wednesday, 8 February 2017

4 Reasons to Choose Smokeless Fuel for Your Home

Both in London and across the country, many households are discovering the welcoming sight of a real fire. The option of smokeless fuel is proving increasingly popular, and not only if you live in a smokeless zone. Many households in other areas are also choosing this type of fuel, which was developed during the 1940s and 1950s to combat the increasing air pollution in towns and cities.

Fuel varieties available include natural anthracite, which is still mined in South Wales. Another option is a manufactured smokeless coal, which is produced by decreasing the volatile substance in it, and then blending it together with other forms of fuel. It is then ground together to form standard size briquettes.

Whichever type of fuel you need, Big K supplies a whole range of quality winter fuels, including smokeless, and offers free delivery service within the M25.

Cleaner and Greener

When cities were burning house coal in large quantities, this caused an increase in air pollution, so new legislation was brought in to create smokeless zones, in areas including Greater London. It has been proved that smokeless fuel emits up to 80% less smoke than house coal, so it is one of the only types of fuel permitted to be burnt in smokeless zones.

The latest developments in smokeless coal can also emit up to 40% less carbon dioxide – which is one of the greenhouse gases that is responsible for global warming – and these fuels are therefore, eco-friendlier. They are also cleaner than traditional coal, as they produce much less ash, so less time is needed to clean the hearth.

Health Benefits

Smokeless solid fuels have a number of health benefits. Their use has been shown in studies to alleviate health issues such as asthma, eczema, bronchitis, and also to reduce levels of hay fever among children. Choosing this type of fuel can make a big difference to those who suffer from these illnesses.


These fuels are not only suitable for open fires, where they look very attractive and homely, but also ideal for kitchen stoves and cookers, room heaters, boilers and burners. This makes them appealing for those with a variety of different heating equipment in the home.


Surveys have shown that smokeless solid fuel is one of the most cost-effective methods of heating a room. Far less is needed to heat your home than with standard coal, and the heat output is about 40% higher – making it ideal for cold winter nights.

Winter Fuels from Big K

Big K sells all types of smokeless fuel, including instant lighting coal, Anthracite coal and Home Fire. We also sell smokeless logs. However, if you want traditional winter fuel – why not try seasoned firewood, seasoned hardwood logs, kindling, firelighters and fire lighting auxiliaries? Delivery is free for those within the M25 and London area, with a minimum order value of £60 and lead time of 7 working days. Big K also offer free nationwide delivery with a minimum order value of £100 and a lead time of 5 working days for those outside the M25.

Click here for full details of the winter fuel range from Big K.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Getting Your Fireplace Ready for Winter

When the first cold snap of the winter sets in, you want to be sure you can enjoy the warmth and cosiness of a roaring fire, whether it is a smokeless coal fire or uses more traditional seasoned hardwood logs.

Carrying out a few maintenance tasks now will mean save time in the long run and will also ensure your fire will burn safely and efficiently. Here is Big K’s guide to a few simple steps you can take to get your fireplace ready for winter.

Safety First

The first step is to carry out your own inspection of the fireplace. Make sure the grate is clear of any ash and embers from the last time you used it. Check for any damage, such as cracks, and any draughts which might indicate a problem. The flue, which allows smoke to move through the chimney, and the damper, which regulates the airflow, are worth particular attention.

Remember to look at the outside as well as the inside, and particularly for birds flying in and out of the chimney. Their nests can easily cause a harmful build-up of gases.

You should also make sure you have enough smoke alarms and they are all working properly. Now is the ideal time to fit new batteries. CO2 alarms will help detect carbon monoxide which might indicate problems with your fireplace’s airflow. Make sure you use a fire guard, and check you haven't added anything to your lounge which might represent a fire risk, such as a piece of furniture which could be hit by a stray spark.

Get the Chimney Swept

Chimneys should be swept once a year by a qualified expert, and ideally well before the beginning of winter. You should mention any potential problems you have identified from your own inspection; they should be able to advise you on any remedial work which needs to be carried out. Carrying out checks early will give you more time to fit in any remedial work.

Once the fire-lighting season is in full swing, you can use chimney cleaning logs, which will help keep the level of harmful deposits down. Big K supply Chim Clean chimney cleaning logs which come with an insurance guarantee.

Stock Up on Fuel

To be sure of having enough fuel when you want it, it's a good idea to order your supplies well in advance. You should also check you have enough firelighters as well. If you do run low, however, we can deliver within 7 working days within the M25 in the London area or, outside London, 5 working days outside the M25.

You also need to find a safe place to store your fuel. Before stocking up, it’s advisable to clean out your storage space, and make sure it is waterproof. Dry wood burns more efficiently and slows down the build-up of soot and other deposits.

Big K supply a wide range of fuel and lighters. If you live in a smoke control area, we can provide smokeless coal for your fire; we also stock house coal for homes not in smoke control areas. We also provide seasoned hardwood and softwood logs, kindling and instant lighting products.

To find out more about the Big K range of winter fuel products, click above.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Should You Choose an Open Fire or a Wood Burning Stove?

As winter weather bites, we all want to keep our homes warm and cosy – and a real fire or wood burning stove is a great way to do just that. Big K supplies a wide range of winter fuel products, including everything from an instant lighting coal fire to seasoned firewood logs and wood fuel briquettes. Here we will look at the different options available and how you can decide which is the best option for your home.

Open Fires – the Traditional Option

There are many reasons why an open fire is still regarded by many as a very attractive option. It will warm a house very quickly, creating a welcoming and homely ambience. There is also nothing more romantic on a cold evening than cuddling up with a loved one in front of a fire.

If you have an older house which already has a fireplace, the idea of bringing this back into use is appealing. If the original fireplace has been removed, you could invest in a reclaimed vintage fireplace or a new one, perhaps with a retro look. There are many great designs to choose from which will complement your home’s interior design.

Even if you are attracted by an open fire, you might be put off by fears that it will be expensive to run. However, today’s fuels are much more economical than those used in past eras, and there are various ways of making your fire more efficient, such as fitting a throat restrictor and glass fire doors.

Another aspect that sometimes makes people nervous about having a fire is the fear that it might be difficult to get it alight and that this could take a long time. Fortunately, this need not be the case. As its name suggests, an instant lighting coal fire will give out heat and light very quickly, without the need for firelighters or kindling.

Other excellent fuels for open fires include smokeless coal, which comes prepacked in bags containing 10kg or 20kg, as well as various types of heat log. Households outside smokeless fuel areas also have the option of ordering house coal from Big K.

Wood Burning Stoves

If you thought wood burning stoves were only for householders in rural areas, think again! Over recent years they have also become popular in urban settings, after the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs approved use of these stoves in smokeless fuel areas.

So what are the advantages of a wood burning stove compared to a traditional fire? One is that a wood burning stove is typically more energy-efficient than an open fire. Modern stoves have a number of high-tech features meaning that far less heat is lost up the chimney, making them more sustainable and better for the environment. Another advantage is that the warmth from a wood burner will spread to a wider area than with an open fire, helping to make your home warmer overall.

Today’s wood burning stoves come in many different designs, so, although black is still very popular, you can also choose other styles and colours to match your d├ęcor.

Wood burners can use many of the same fuels as open fires, as well as different options. Big K supplies a wide range of winter fuels, including both unseasoned and seasoned firewood logs and our economical Big Flame heat logs, which are FSC certified. Another option is instant lighting fire logs, which take away the need for kindling, as all you need to do is light the wrapper. Wood fuel briquettes are yet another popular choice.

Big K offers a large range of quality winter fuel products, and if you are in London within the M25 you can benefit from free delivery for orders of £60 or over. Many areas outside the M25 can also receive free deliveries for orders over £100. Click here for full details of Big K winter fuel products.