Harman wood/coal boiler

Harman wood/coal boiler

PostBy: millman61 On: Sat Apr 04, 2009 4:00 pm

We currently have an Hardy outside wood stove with an inside boiler system with radient floor heat. The outside stove has began to leak because of a crack. I can also use propane with the boiler, but who can afford that. I am trying to decide if I should switch to a Harman wood/coal boiler system (i.e. the SF 260). The square footage of our home is approx. 1400' upstairs and we also heat half the basement. I would like some information from anyone owning a Harman boiler and of course how well they like it, and cost of useage, etc..
Any information is appreciated.

Dan
millman61
 

Re: Harman wood/coal boiler

PostBy: whistlenut On: Sat Apr 04, 2009 4:43 pm

I am assuming you still want to be able to burn both wood and coal.? Are you able to re weld the crack in the outdoor boiler, or is she too far gone? I have seen many that were either repaired or a patch installed and lasted many more years.
Is the Hardy an atmospheric or pressurized boiler?
whistlenut
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AA130's,260's, AHS130&260's,EFM900,GJ&VanWert
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Franks Boiler,Itasca415,NYer130,Van Wert
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Yellow Flame
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska-4,Keystoker-2,
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Alaska,Gibraltor,Keystone,Vc Vigilant 2
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Van Wert, NYer's, Ford,Jensen.
Coal Size/Type: Rice,Buck,Pea,Nut&Stove
Other Heating: Oil HWBB

Re: Harman wood/coal boiler

PostBy: millman61 On: Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:48 pm

The Hardy is atmospheric. We don't know yet if it can be welded (tig welded because it is stainless), we have to wait for nicer weather to check it out. Our stove currently is sixteen years old. We used to be able to cut the firewood for free, but now we have to buy it by the tri-axle, and that can become costly and of course it is a lot of hard work. Right now we are just weighing our options, but thought that putting one of the harman wood/coal boilers in the basement might be the way to go. It is something my wife could manage on weekends when I am out snowmobiling, unlike the outside stove, which takes larger pieces. We understand that coal is less expensive, but would like the option of burning wood if needed (lack of coal, etc). Do you have any idea how long a Harman boiler lasts? Also can it be used as a pressurized unit or an open unit? Is Harman the way to go? We are trying to look at the long hual, we are not getting any younger :( .
millman61
 

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Re: Harman wood/coal boiler

PostBy: 009to090 On: Sat Apr 04, 2009 11:32 pm

millman61 wrote:The Hardy is atmospheric. We don't know yet if it can be welded (tig welded because it is stainless), we have to wait for nicer weather to check it out. Our stove currently is sixteen years old. We used to be able to cut the firewood for free, but now we have to buy it by the tri-axle, and that can become costly and of course it is a lot of hard work. Right now we are just weighing our options, but thought that putting one of the harman wood/coal boilers in the basement might be the way to go. It is something my wife could manage on weekends when I am out snowmobiling, unlike the outside stove, which takes larger pieces. We understand that coal is less expensive, but would like the option of burning wood if needed (lack of coal, etc). Do you have any idea how long a Harman boiler lasts? Also can it be used as a pressurized unit or an open unit? Is Harman the way to go? We are trying to look at the long hual, we are not getting any younger :( .


We were asking the same questions 1 year ago. Although firewood for us is still free (I'm just cutting the blow-overs on our property) I know it won't last forever. We thought about a combo unit that would burn both coal and wood, but I was not satisfied with anything currently on the market.
Then I was considering a coal insert, that I would install in the upper level of our house, where the wood-burning FireplaceXtrordinaire resides now.
It was my wife who said we should keep the FireplaceXtrordinaire, and just put a coal stove in the lower level of the house. That way, both levels of the house would be heated. Great Idea! After searching this website and all the dealer's websites, we finally bought a DVC-500 Direct vent Harman Coal stoker. It does not need a chimney, just a direct vent thru an outside wall.
We love it, and given the chance to do it all over, I'd still pick the DVC-500. Now I can burn my free firewood upstairs, and burn coal to keep the lower level warm. We have about 1500SF on both levels of house, total of 3000SF.
The oil burner we have is still connected, but we keep the thermostat set to 50 "Just in case". I burned 20 gallons of oil for the entire 2008 year.
009to090
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM 520 HighBoy
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: DVC-500 x 2
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Rice

Re: Harman wood/coal boiler

PostBy: JB Sparks On: Sun Apr 05, 2009 6:54 am

millman61, I have a Harman SF160 Coal and wood boiler. Just burn coal with it, have no intension of burning wood although I like having the option. I heated my 1800 sqft house and DHW all winter on about 3 tons of nut coal and no oil at all. I have the boiler connected in parallel with my oil boiler and set up in a way that if the coal boiler goes out for what ever reason the oil boiler comes on automaticly so the wife doesn't have to do anything to stay warm. I have a good friend in NH that i believe has about the same size house as i have and has a Harman SF 260 boiler and he wishes he went with the 160 as the 260 is a bit to much for the size of his house.

The Harman is a great boiler that works very well, the only problem with it, if you want to call it that, is that on shake down all the ash doesn't make into the ash pan. It was a pain in the neck at first until I developed a method to deal with it. Basicaly all I do is when it's time to empty the ash pan i just turn the ash pan sideways up against the boiler and I modified a garden hoe to drag the the rest of the ash out from below the grates into the ash pan, no big deal really. It is a good idea to get an extra ash pan, makes the operation easier. Other than that I love this boiler and the steady heat it puts out all winter long.

Develop methods to handle coal dust and ash dust to keep everything clean ( which is not hard at all )and nobody else in your home or outside your home will even know your burning coal unless you tell them.

Hope this helps in your decision,
Jeff
JB Sparks
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman - Chubby
Stove/Furnace Model: Harman: SF160 - Chubby Sr.

Re: Harman wood/coal boiler

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Sun Apr 05, 2009 8:35 am

millman61 wrote:We don't know yet if it can be welded (tig welded because it is stainless)


Mig, Tig or stick will work, the repairer will have to decide what the best approach is. It can be repaired, how well will be determined by what the damage actually is. Even though it is not a pressure vessel, you will need a welder familiar with mitigating the damage prior to repair. This would be drilling the ends of the crack and perhaps a patch over the repair. The fact that it is stainless adds a nuance or two.
coaledsweat
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

Re: Harman wood/coal boiler

PostBy: efo141 On: Sun Apr 05, 2009 8:43 am

A friend has the sf-260 and burned about 6 tons of coal. He could get 12 hr burn times with coal easy, but not with wood. He tried a little wood at the end of the season and could not get through the night with it packed full of wood. You have less Sq.footage than he does so you may have longer burn times with wood. He has the same complaints as JB Sparks and others with the ash pan system. If your buying wood I would consider a stoker boiler. If you bought your coal in bulk, (20-24 ton truck load) i think the price will be about the same as buying wood, depending on what your price per cord is. I bought a truckload of coal last year delivered to Western MA for $162 a ton. I did get a good price on the trucking because it was a haul back for the trucker. Here is a cost calculator to give you a idea of the cost difference http://www.pelletheat.org/3/residential/compareFuel.cfm
efo141
 
Stove/Furnace Make: New Yorker/Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: WC90-----/Kaa-2

Re: Harman wood/coal boiler

PostBy: JB Sparks On: Sun Apr 05, 2009 9:20 am

efo141, you have a PM.
JB Sparks
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman - Chubby
Stove/Furnace Model: Harman: SF160 - Chubby Sr.

Re: Harman wood/coal boiler

PostBy: millman61 On: Sun Apr 05, 2009 9:29 am

Thanks for all the information. I think what we might do is to repair the Hardy woodstove and get a Harman installed to try out, this way we have a backup until we see how well it works with our situation. What is the life expectancy of the Harman? Also is the SF260 overkill for our square footage (1400 + half basement). Our home is pretty well insulated and we keep the thermostat at 72.
millman61
 

Re: Harman wood/coal boiler

PostBy: efo141 On: Sun Apr 05, 2009 10:08 am

I think the harman like most indoor add on boilers will last 30+ years if maintained with a closed system. I don't know what the lifespan of the boiler would be if you run it with a open system. Some of the other more knowledgeable members should be able to give you a better est. Sounds like you should be able to use the sf-160. I have a 90k btu wood/coal WC-90 New yorker boiler that easily heats my house. My house is a 1400 sq.ft raised ranch with one heated bedroom in the basement.
efo141
 
Stove/Furnace Make: New Yorker/Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: WC90-----/Kaa-2

Re: Harman wood/coal boiler

PostBy: Robby On: Sun Apr 05, 2009 10:52 am

I have SF360, also 2 other Harman stoves. I believe they make an excellent product. Their SERVICE, PARTS AVAILABILTY, just sucks :x :x . Part of the problem is maybe the dealer, but there is no way to contact Harman direct. I would suggest whatever promises dealer makes, and you should be real careful, make him/her put them in writing. Maybe in capitals. Maybe notorized :mad: . OK maybe I go to far.


Robby :
Robby
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman & Elmira
Stove/Furnace Model: SF360, TLC2000, PC45

Re: Harman wood/coal boiler

PostBy: Joe in NH On: Sun Apr 05, 2009 12:48 pm

millman61 - I have a Harman Harman SF260 in northern New Hampshire. Given the description of your house, I would suggest that you seriously consider the SF160. I operate my SF260 with the Harman firebox reduction plate (makes the firebox in my SF260 about the size of the firebox in the SF160) and it works well for the size of my house which looks to be is a little larger than yours. I positioned the firebox reducer at the front of the firebox (near the loading door) so that the fire would be concentrated in the back of the firebox where there is water to be heated. I have come to appreciate the extra space filled with firebrick between the loading door and the fire. This is especially true when loading. I find that my gloves are not smoking as often and I have been able to grow back my eyebrows. :) With the SF260, I have enough extra heating capacity for the next ice age or that new hot tub I will never have.

After making the decision to move from the coal stove vented up the fireplace chimney to the boiler in the basement about a year ago, I was torn between a coal stoker (Freddy was all excited about his AA130) and a combination wood/coal boiler. In that I had only had experience with hand loaded coal stoves and am not very mechanically inclined (I found the stoker posts about motors, belts, ceramic firepots, blowers, number of teeth, etc to be a little intimidating), I was leaning toward a hand operated boiler. I also decided that a stoker boiler burning exclusively coal would be more practical in NEPA than in the woods of northern New Hampshire. If, for any reason, anthracite coal became too expensive or unavailable here, I could always burn wood. I considered the cast iron boilers made in Italy or eastern Europe but was concerned about not having a shaker grate. I settled on the Harman because it had a reputation for being well made and I wanted to buy an American made product. I was also fortunate to have a good Harman dealer.

I really love my Harman SF260. It provided all the heat and hot water that we needed through the coldest part of this past winter. It has burned unattended for more than sixteen hours. I have been pleasantly surprised at how well it has idled as the weather warms up. It is burning right now. Joe
Joe in NH
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Trident SF 260 Boiler

Re: Harman wood/coal boiler

PostBy: millman61 On: Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:32 pm

Excellent insight everyone. I have considered the SF160, and am leaning away from it for a couple of reasons. I may end up heating the whole basement which will double my square footage and of course add in dhw. I also like the fact that the SF 260 will hold a larger piece of wood, if I ever need to use wood. The last reason is that right now we are only talking about a couple hundred dollars difference. I would rather have more BTU's that I can reduce with the firebox reducer than not enough. I am so glad I found this board, everyone has been very helpful.
millman61
 

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