Thanks to all that replied to this post. I'm interested in discussions with other boiler owners.
In this day and age thankfully, between 'good ole American Ingenuity' and technology we have options on how we heat our homes. And options in the future are going to be important.
To anyone new to this site or just thumbing through Welcome! Everyone here is echo-ing my thoughts on stove vs furnace vs boilers. I've used a variety of stoves over the years, thought of "furnace style", but I've gotta say a boiler is the way to go! Like LsFarm said, a stove heats a room, but can leave the house cold. A furnace heats the whole house (air wise), but a boiler, now you are talking heat! That was the biggest reason I chose a boiler, whole house-even heat. Does anyone have a coal fired boiler for radiant and conventional heat? Radiant is real nice...all around beautifull heat! Anyone use a hydronic heat storage system(like from HS Tarm)?
Here is how I would describe my setup:
...House is 106 years old 2-family, 1800sf/"living",1800/sf "other"(basement,attic utility/workshop), 160sf(outbuilding workshop,360lf radiant tubing yet to be hooked up). Primary heat is oil by a Peerless WB04 firing @84,000btu's/hr. Coal/wood boiler is a BurnhamSFB101 add on boiler with 85,000btu's gross rating. Main boiler (water)roughly 12 gallons, add on 17 gallons, with 120 gallons as an accumulator/buffer. Recently I added a coil set-up for a "dump zone".
This is my third season with the add-on boiler (and my first month firing with coal which is a learning curve!) I've experimented with this thing six ways to Sunday and it has been quite the education. I should hire out as a consultant because I have encountered many different and educational experiences. I plan to use (anthracite) coal because of two reasons: #1 Clean burn, #2 long burn time.
The biggest reason for going through all this with the boiler (and why I'm discussing it here) is to have an "experimental platform". As I said before, here in the USA we thankfully have options, unfortunately we are "light years" behind some other areas of the world. Take the Scandanavien countries for example. While "outdoor wood boilers" are the rage here, in Findland they make "boiler packages" (small heat plants fired by everything from peat moss to woodchips) that are small outbuildings with hinged roofs so you can load your fuel with a farm tractor! (I don't have a good link for this anymore but if you do a google search on "agricont" you might be surprised!)
Something I have tried working with in the past is to use wood chips as fuel. Very tricky though considering the moisture content. I figure if I can master firing with coal, I'l be ready to tackle wood chips! As someone who cuts a lot of wood, and produces a lot of wood chips, I'm not gonna completely shy away from burning wood.
Does anyone "blend" their burning(wood and coal)? I'm interested in everyone's thoughts on this topic. Mostly because of the variety of units out there that can burn both. Maybe I should start "splitting" my posts....thanks for reading, and thanks in advance for any input.