Stove location in old house

Stove location in old house

PostBy: Townsend On: Tue Nov 21, 2006 8:51 pm

I'm new to coal heat and looking forward to my new stove. I ordered a Harman Mark III.

I have an old (1850) Victorian style house with one pipe steam heat. I go through oil like Grant took Richmond. The house is about 2,800 square feet.

I'd like to put the stove where it would do the most good. My basement would be nice but I'm worried that the heat would have a hard time getting to the second floor and distant kitchen. I've read some posts here that describe a similar home to mine and that the person gets the heat all the way up to a third floor just by running the heater. That would be nice.

Also, if it is going in the basement, would a SF-250 be a better choice?

I have another worry. The ceiling height in my basement is only around 6.5 to 7 feet. I have exposed beams and such. Do I need to:

A) Cut holes for registers?
B) Put some type of sheet metal or other heat shield on beams directly above heater?

Thanks in advance and this is a great site! Glad I found it.
Townsend
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Coal Size/Type: Pea / Buck

PostBy: LsFarm On: Tue Nov 21, 2006 9:12 pm

Hello Townsend, welcome to the forum

You can cut floor registers, but this won't get all the heat upstairs. Unless you want to heat the basement the main floor would be a better location.

Another maybe the most important thing is access to the stove. Remember you are going to be bringing coal to the stove to burn. If bagged the bags are 40# each. If bulk then the most common carrying device is a 5-gallon bucket, it too will weigh 40# full of coal.

So if you have good access to the basement and want to heat it a bit, then it is a good choice. But if the only access is down a rickety narrow set of stairs, and you have to duck under beams while carrying 40# of coal, well. I'd consider placing the stove upstairs.

And don't forget you have to carry out the ashes, they are not that heavy, but you don't want to spill them.

Also think about do you want to be feeding the stove every 12 hours or so? A hand feed needs tending. A stoker only once a day, maybe two days in moderate weather. Something to think about.

A fellow coal forum member here in Michgan has a SF150, and it is a nice stove and puts out a lot of heat. I don't think you would go wrong with a SF250. If you want to hand load.

Hope this helps Greg.
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

PostBy: Townsend On: Tue Nov 21, 2006 9:39 pm

Thanks for the quick reply Greg. I have some thinking to do.
Townsend
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Coal Size/Type: Pea / Buck


PostBy: LsFarm On: Wed Nov 22, 2006 12:44 am

You're welcome Townsend. I hope I'm helping

I too have an old victorian era house, I'd love to see photos of your home. My place is on it's third or fourth version of heat, this was an old farmhouse, so at first it probably had a big iron cookstove for heat, cooking and hot water. Next, I can see old ducts from a previous hot air furnace, probably one of the 'octopus' gravity furnaces.

Then a 'single pipe' hot water heat system was installed, [an odd-ball system] with an oil fired boiler, that was converted to propane. Later this was changed out for a newer propane boiler.

Your place probably has plaster walls and nice woodwork. If you are undergoing any renovations, and you can plumb for hot water baseboard, then the best coal heat available is a stoker fed boiler. They are pretty much plug and play. Just keep the hopper full and empty the ashpan.

Since you have an old house, was it ever coal heated?? it may have a coal bin in the basement already?? Can you get bulk coal delivery in your area??

Or do you have a useable fireplace in a main room on the first floor? You may be able to use a fireplace insert to your advantage. Hitzer makes a hopper-fed insert that looks nice and only has to be tended once a day. PM forum member 'davemich' for details. The Hitzer inserts are reasonably priced too.

Anyway, you may have lots of options available, or depending on the layout of your house only a few choices. One major determining factor is your available chimney.

I put in a remote boiler to feed hot water to the house for my hot water heat and domestic hot water. I do have to go outside to tend my boiler, but this was the best way for my setup. I had no available chimney space in my place. And terrible access to the basement.

Take care, post some photos if you can. Greg L

.
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

PostBy: Townsend On: Wed Nov 22, 2006 4:23 pm

Greg,

Glad to hear your place is similar.

Mine was built by a wealthy man in town in 1850. He opened up a bell factory and the business became so big that the town I live in is nicknamed "Belltown" because of the prominence of the bell factory and its world wide business.

The house has four fireplaces, with the three on the first floor being all marble and the second floor with a wood mantle and facade. All in the center of the original part of the house. (See photos below.) The fireplaces were all coal burning with coal baskets. The foundation is all huge granite blocks with a massive center brick column for the upstairs fireplaces. An addition was done to the house in the early 1860's that you can see on the photos below, it sort of 'L's' away from the house. There is a large kitchen behind that 'L' with a cathedral two story ceiling. That part of the house is over a crawl space and it gets CHILLY unless I jack the thermostat up, hence my analogy of oil consumption in my first post of Grant taking Richmond. I use it fast. Probably to the tune of nearly $3,800 last winter alone in oil bills. My downstairs has modern insulation with the plaster ripped out and sheet rock with insulation put in and new windows. The upstairs has not had this upgrade yet and the windows are old and leaky. I insulated the two attics though.

I'm really looking forward to this upcoming coal stove but I have to make my mind up fast between either the Mark III or the SF-250 and the location of the stove. I have two unused chimneys, one in the large kitchen and one in the L part of the house that was added on. Of course I have the fireplaces and the center chimney but I don't think I can fit an insert in those marble fireplaces, nor would I want to excessively hide their beauty. But I did wonder about putting a Mark III in front and piping into the wall above them.

I also want to thank the operator of this great site. I always wanted coal for some reason. It just seemed like a natural fit to me. I was almost talked into a pellet stove by an eager salesperson who seemed shocked I could even mention coal and all its "dirtiness." I stuck to my guns though and then I found this site and knew I made the right choice! Its sounds weird but I picture coal heating as almost a primordial sort of satisfaction that is unlike any other sort of heat.

I can get bulk coal delivered and I have a spot for a coal bin beneath a basement window. See pic.

I'm really psyched. I just want to be done with the stove choice and the location and get that sucker in.

Greg, that boiler sounds like a nice option and I'll probably do something in the years to come once I get this coal scene going. Right now I have a dedicated oil burner for my hot water tank so I don't need to fire my steam boiler in the off season. Its pretty stingy in oil consumption but I'd like to have all the help I can get. (Will my basement get too cold without the boiler firing up if I put the stove upstairs?)

So, if anyone can give more insight about my situation I'd be appreciative. Also, Hand Firers and Stokers please extol the virtues of your choice of burn so that I can learn and make my decision.

Thanks!
Townsend
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Coal Size/Type: Pea / Buck

PostBy: Townsend On: Wed Nov 22, 2006 4:25 pm

Well, I was doing so well thinking I was uploading pics. Can anyone talk me through the process?

Thanks.
Attachments
Fireplace1.jpg
(81.7 KiB) Viewed 40 times
View: New PagePopup • Select:BBCode
[nepathumb]289[/nepathumb]
Fireplace2.jpg
(87.12 KiB) Viewed 43 times
View: New PagePopup • Select:BBCode
[nepathumb]288[/nepathumb]
Fireplace3.jpg
(115.59 KiB) Viewed 41 times
View: New PagePopup • Select:BBCode
[nepathumb]287[/nepathumb]
Townsend
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Coal Size/Type: Pea / Buck

PostBy: Townsend On: Wed Nov 22, 2006 4:55 pm

Here are some more.
Attachments
FutureCoalBin.jpg
(126.52 KiB) Viewed 65 times
View: New PagePopup • Select:BBCode
[nepathumb]292[/nepathumb]
CenterChmnybase.jpg
(130.56 KiB) Viewed 49 times
View: New PagePopup • Select:BBCode
[nepathumb]291[/nepathumb]
CenterChm2.jpg
(118.28 KiB) Viewed 54 times
View: New PagePopup • Select:BBCode
[nepathumb]290[/nepathumb]
Townsend
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Coal Size/Type: Pea / Buck

PostBy: Townsend On: Wed Nov 22, 2006 4:56 pm

And more.
Attachments
SteamBoiler.jpg
(118.73 KiB) Viewed 49 times
View: New PagePopup • Select:BBCode
[nepathumb]294[/nepathumb]
Brocky.jpg
(104.32 KiB) Viewed 35 times
View: New PagePopup • Select:BBCode
[nepathumb]293[/nepathumb]
House.jpg
(139.08 KiB) Viewed 64 times
View: New PagePopup • Select:BBCode
[nepathumb]295[/nepathumb]
Last edited by Townsend on Wed Nov 22, 2006 7:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Townsend
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Coal Size/Type: Pea / Buck

PostBy: LsFarm On: Wed Nov 22, 2006 5:28 pm

Hi Townsend, I'm envious. My home was built by folks on the opposite end of the financial spectrum. They were very poor.

If you have room for a coal bin, and want to go downstairs every 10-12 hours, I'd get the SF250. It is a workhorse. More BTU's and a bigger firebox. Plus It would be much easier to add a duct to the top of a SF250 for ducting the heat to the far-off kitchen. I think you are going to want to add ductwork to the stove.

Read the thread about ducting heat to upstairs and see what you think, I believe this is the way to go.

Gotta run, have a 6hour flight ahead of me

Greg L
Attachments
Front window3.jpg
(129.63 KiB) Viewed 42 times
View: New PagePopup • Select:BBCode
[nepathumb]298[/nepathumb]
Last edited by LsFarm on Thu Nov 23, 2006 3:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

PostBy: Townsend On: Wed Nov 22, 2006 7:06 pm

Greg,

Have a nice trip and Happy Thanksgiving. I'll check out that ductwork, sounds like it will work.

See You.
Townsend
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Coal Size/Type: Pea / Buck

PostBy: LsFarm On: Thu Nov 23, 2006 3:32 am

Well made it out west. Here for 24 hours.

Townsend, if you can I'd recommend a stoker of some sort.. A 12 hour burn sounds like a long time, but it is easy to have your day away from home extended and have the fire fully burnt out when you get home.

If you can get a stoker stove of almost any kind, I'd seriously consider it. All you have to do is keep the hopper full, this is a once a day or every two days job. Empty the ash pan at the same time.

If you have a window to load bulk coal into a coal bin, then you have the makings of a very neat setup.

With the insulation over the floor joists, you will have to remove some and cut register vents to let the heat upstairs. And I would install an 8" duct to the kitchen floor area and install another floor vent. Either keep a door to the basement open for a cold air return, or figure out a return duct.

If you are home a lot, or have someone home to tend the fire, then a hand load is ok, but I prefer the convenience of a stoker. For example, I'm going away for two days this weekend, and I'll have to burn propane, since my hand load boiler will only burn for 12-14 hours at best.

Next year my boiler will be have a stoker unit installed.

I'd give Liesure line a call, they post on this forum, and take a look at all the makers to see what will work best for you.

Greg L. Have a great Thanksgiving.

.
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

PostBy: LsFarm On: Thu Nov 23, 2006 2:58 pm

Hi Thowsend. I hope you are having a great Thanksgiving.

You mention an unused chimney in the kitchen. Do you spend a lot of your time in the kitchen?? You might consider a small hand load unit like a Harman Mark I or similar stove for the kitchen. You also mentioned that the kitchen has a cathedral ceiling?? Is there a way to duct the heat from the cathedral ceiling into one of the upstairs rooms or hallway that share the wall of the kitchen??

My concern is that you will have a great coal heater in the basement and use up a lot of heat warming up all the stone and brick in the basement and not get the house above very warm. Maybe a small stove in the kitchen with a duct from the kitchen peaked ceiling into the house's upstairs would do the most for comfort.

Another thing, where do you spend most of your time in the house?? if you spend a lot of time in the kitchen and adjacent rooms and not upstairs, then concentrate on keeping the lived in areas warm You can always use a little oil to heat the bedrooms.

I used to keep the main part of my farmhouse cool to cold. 58-60* but I have a family room adjacent to the kitchen with doors blocking off the rest of the house, these rooms I kept more comfortable at about 65*. Even with these chilly temps, I had propane bills around $1200+ per month during a cold month. I have seen a $1600 bill. I used electric blankets on the beds and kept the bedrooms cold, I only sleep in the bedrooms, I live in the family room and kitchen.

Your house is really nice. The fireplaces are great. I understand the desire to leave them alone. The black marble one, does it have a regular moveable damper and burn wood?? I may not look too bad with a nice dark stone hearth in front with a stove on the hearth.

OK, my fingers are getting tired.

Take care, Greg L
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

PostBy: Townsend On: Thu Nov 23, 2006 11:55 pm

Hi Greg,

Thank you very much for the posts. You have a really good idea about a small stove in the kitchen and I would be able to cut a duct in the upper wall. That leads to a small hallway upstairs where an unobtrusive register would hardly be noticed.

Thanks for the nice words about the house. I think old ones like ours are great and have so much character, be they a farm house or Victorian.

That black fireplace can probably be worked to have a unit put in but its on a edge of the house in a small room.

What are some stoker models that you know have been high quality? Do they need electricity and are they complicated? What about some models that claim self feeding, or gravity fed (Hitzer)? I've been checking out the posts for the stokers. The Harman Magnum looks nice.

I like your porch a lot! And are those two barns, a red and a white one?

Well, its getting late and I had a large dinner so I better get going.

Townsend
Townsend
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Coal Size/Type: Pea / Buck

PostBy: LsFarm On: Fri Nov 24, 2006 12:49 am

Hi Townsend. I think any of the stoker models are well made and would do a good job. If you are heating the whole house from the basement, and would be installing some ductwork, you may want to consider one of the stoker hot air furnaces available.

For the Kitchen, how big is it?? You don't want to put a big unit in the kitchen at the far end of the house and try to heat the whole place. You will be cooking yourself in your kitchen. There is a lot of radiant heat from the hot stoves, so even if you duct a lot of the hot air out of the room you could be pretty warm from radiant heat alone in a small kitchen.

Look at Leisurline, Harman, Alaska, EFM, AHS. I know I'm forgetting a few manufacturers. Someone will add the others.

EFM makes an auger feed furnace that if you can locate a coal bin near the center chimney in the basement would have automatic feeding. The only action you would have to take would be to empty the ash pan. The ash pan may only need service every few days.

Take care, Greg
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

PostBy: WNY On: Fri Nov 24, 2006 8:09 am

ALL stoker units Require electricity for the blowers and stoker mechinisms.

Keystoker also has a couple of furnance models. The stoker models are very nice and easier to maintain. Load them up with 100#'s+ of coal every 3-4 days (depending on weather) and empty the ashes every couple of days (depending).

I will be heating our old victorian (1890) very soon with our current Keystoker90 once we close and move into it. (Hopefully close in a week or so!!)

Attached is ours.
Attachments
House_front.jpg
(215.27 KiB) Viewed 38 times
View: New PagePopup • Select:BBCode
[nepathumb]300[/nepathumb]
WNY
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90K, Leisure Line Hyfire I
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker, LL & CoalTrol
Stove/Furnace Model: 90K, Hyfire I, VF3000 Soon