Newbie here! Been reading all afternoon - lots of good information here.
I live in N.Central Illinois. FAR north central.
I have just a little experience (as a youngster back in the late 70's/early 80's) with Southern Indiana bituminous in both a Woodchuck add-on furnace as well as a German Weso tile stove. It was some NASTY stuff. Soot everywhere. Normally we burned wood, but one year we ran short, so my father purchased a ton of bituminous from the next door neighbor who was a coal mine manager for a local mine. I think we paid $35 a ton or something like that.
I've been debating to put a pellet insert in our home (in place of the gas fireplace), but it seems pellets are getting expensive due to demand. Presently, it's not too bad to heat our rather new 2800 sq.ft. home with a 90% efficient natural gas furnace.
Alternatively, I've looked at coal. My father grew up in Scranton, PA, and tells about the stoker furnace and hard coal he had as a child. I always was interested in coal.
Has anyone seen this stove:http://www.dunsleyheat.co.uk/techyork.htm
?? It's a British stove designed to burn all sorts of solid fuels almost smokelessly. It looks like it would be a great bituminous burner. It's not an inexpensive stove, nor was it imported into the USA when I enquired about it some years ago. But, it might make the lower quality coals a lot more usable. I've not been able to find a source of ANY type of coal around us, and I can imagine trucking in anthracite would be prohibitive.
Thanks for any information!