Keystoker or Harman Boiler

PostBy: Highlander On: Sat Mar 17, 2007 10:19 am

More KAA2 pictures
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Stoker 2.jpg
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Highlander
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000 Sold
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Castings Resolute
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: VF3000 Stoker Boiler

PostBy: Highlander On: Sat Mar 17, 2007 10:23 am

Still More KAA2 pictures
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Left Side.jpg
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Stoker openning.jpg
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Highlander
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000 Sold
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Castings Resolute
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: VF3000 Stoker Boiler

PostBy: Highlander On: Sat Mar 17, 2007 10:28 am

The last KAA2 pictures. The KAA2 seems to share the stoker from the Keystoker stove, rather than the unit from the larger KA6 boiler with the external gearbox driven off the combustion blower.
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Highlander
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000 Sold
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Castings Resolute
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: VF3000 Stoker Boiler

Visit Lehigh Anthracite

PostBy: europachris On: Sat Mar 17, 2007 11:51 am

That's a sweet little boiler. I wonder if they could make that in a direct vent?? I have a Keystoker 90 direct vent that I'm in the process of re-habbing.

I could situate that boiler and run piping to the hot air plenum with an exchanger and run coal for the central heat.

Chris
europachris
 
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM 350/Iron Fireman
Stove/Furnace Model: Custom bituminous burner

PostBy: boilermaker On: Sat Mar 24, 2007 8:32 pm

Hi All....
I've installed both the Keystoker and that Axeman Anderson boilers in large apartment houses (4 unit each). In one house I took out an old Axeman Anderson boiler that had been in service since 1952! It had finally burned through the side of the fire pot. Axeman Anderson was called and they replied that they no longer built that boiler. But now I see (3 years later) that in fact, they've begun making them again. I couldn't be happier since these are the best. However, one problem the owner has is with damp coal. Every so often the take up opening of the stoker will clog up and will not take up coal. You have to "rod" it out or run the stoker backwards to loosen up the coal and get it to run again. By that time thought the fire has gone out. From an efficiency stand point - they're great. From a dust stand point - well, what can I say. There's gonna be some dust. It's that nature of having the induced draft fan blowing through the boiler. As long as the flue pipes are tight and the ash door is sealed it will be a minimum.
Now the Keystoker does a great job too. It tested to 80% efficiency (something I do with all new installations) and after "tweaking" the stoker a bit, ran trouble free. However, our local coal dealer mixed coal sizes one year and it caused the coal to jam up on the grate and burn through the sides of it. The coal simply would not shove down as it was being pushed. It merely heaped up and over due to a clinker forming. This happened several times before we figured out what was going on. The unit has since been replaced and the boiler placed back in service. The customer loves it.
They're both good units. One should look at warranties though to see how well the company thinks of their products. 5 years isn't a long time on a boiler that you intend to spend several thousand dollars on.
The EFM boiler, although based on old technology, is the staple. Its stoker is tried and true. Efficiency wise I can't tell you since I have no one using them. Perhaps someone out there has tested them and can report back to all of us.
When considering a purchase think price, warranty, efficiency and how easy it will be to clean up each year and also during the heating season.
Me - I use a hand fired boiler right now but intend to look into a stoker soon. Hence my conundrum and hence my reading of the thread. I appreciate all you guys. Ain't coal the best thing since central heat??
Doug Vensel
boilermaker
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Sime, hand fired hot water boiler
Stove/Furnace Make: Sime
Stove/Furnace Model: 6 section hand fired boiler

PostBy: Highlander On: Sun Apr 01, 2007 6:20 pm

Another long post, your warned..

Ive had the opportunity to go see a Harman VF3000 in operation approximately an hour or so from my house. The owner had graciously invited me to come look at his boiler after the dealer had given him my name.

I was very impressed with the unit, build quality seemed very good. all the welds looked to be machine made. The unit was firing with about 2 to 3" of red coals on the grate, and the stove pipe was cool to the touch. The owner had no complaints at all with his boiler, and had been using it about 3 years so far. I found it ironic that they had natural gas in the house, but the coal was still much more economical for him to heat with.

I guess I have made up my mind to go with the Harman boiler. The AHS unit looks to be built like a tank, but with options such as the belt drive, thermoash monitor, and hot water coil it came in at about $6,600, or about $2400 more than the Harman. It also doesn't have the ability for firing on an alternate fuel such as oil or gas.

I think the Keystoker KAA2 might be a little undersized for me, and I was a bit dissapointed to see the less robust stoker assy from the stove used with it. If it were not for the efforts of a forum member Scott, who took the time to send me pictures of their KAA2, I would not have realized this, since Keystoker does not show this in their advertisements.

Keystoker doesn't build the KA4 anymore, the KA6 is the next size up from the KAA2. Given the almost identical pricing between the KA6 and the Harman, I'll go with Harman, I feel their stoker is of a better more robust design than the Keystoker.

EFM and Axeman Anderson never responded to my inquiries for pricing, and I feel that if they can't be bothered, neither can I.

I'd like to thank all those members that responded to my post with their advise and opinion, I certainly took it all into account in making my decision.

I will post pictures when it is installed and functional. I plan on using my micro PLC to control the stoker. It has worked very well on my Magnum, In the 12 weeks it has been burning continuously, I estimate I've burned about 1400# or coal or about 120# per week, not bad given some of the 5 deg nights we had.

Chris, when I spoke to Keystoker, I asked them about direct venting the KAA2, and they said that they sell a DV version of the stove, with a power vent that mounts on flue pipe next to the boiler. The DV option took the price from $3100 to 3600 or about $500 more.
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VF3000 Boiler, Not mine
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VF3000 Top.jpg
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VF3000 Aquastat.jpg
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Highlander
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000 Sold
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Castings Resolute
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: VF3000 Stoker Boiler

PostBy: Highlander On: Sun Apr 01, 2007 6:28 pm

More VF3000 Pix
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VF3000 Ash pan.jpg
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VF3000 Full.jpg
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VF3000 Rear View.jpg
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Highlander
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000 Sold
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Castings Resolute
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: VF3000 Stoker Boiler

PostBy: gaw On: Sat Apr 07, 2007 6:38 am

Highlander wrote:Keystoker doesn't build the KA4 anymore, the KA6 is the next size up from the KAA2. Given the almost identical pricing between the KA6 and the Harman, I'll go with Harman, I feel their stoker is of a better more robust design than the Keystoker.

EFM and Axeman Anderson never responded to my inquiries for pricing, and I feel that if they can't be bothered, neither can I.



FYI to avoid confusion, the stoker used on the KAA2 is not the same as the stoker used on the KA6 and larger Keystokers.

It is to bad EFM and Axeman Anderson could not be bothered. I called Axeman Anderson a couple years back and they told me they only sell to plumbers and they were happy enough to give me a name and number of my closest plumber they dealt with. EFM makes it clear on their web site that they only sell thru authorized dealers; I guess they want you to see them for any information.

As far as price, EFM and Axeman Anderson are the most expensive units out there.

Sounds like you like the Harman you looked at and have a good local dealer. That’s a good reason to buy the Harman. Good luck and hope all works well.
gaw
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Coal Size/Type: Rice from Schuylkill County

Boiler is here, Some Pix to share

PostBy: Highlander On: Sat Apr 28, 2007 10:16 am

The boiler is here, at over 900# it was a challenge to get it off the back of my pickup and into the basement, but we managed.

Here are some pix of the boiler.
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Finally got it off the back of the truck.
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Internal view of water wall with scraper
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Internal view of water tubes at top of boiler
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Highlander
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000 Sold
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Castings Resolute
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: VF3000 Stoker Boiler

PostBy: Highlander On: Sat Apr 28, 2007 10:20 am

More Pix
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Looking through the water heater flange, the internal bracing between the inner and outer water jacket
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Stoker opening.jpg
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The Stoker opening at the base of the boiler
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Stoker, all assembled.jpg
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Stoker assembly, all together.
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Highlander
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000 Sold
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Castings Resolute
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: VF3000 Stoker Boiler

PostBy: Highlander On: Sat Apr 28, 2007 10:25 am

More Pix
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Stoker mounted to boiler
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Highlander
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000 Sold
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Castings Resolute
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: VF3000 Stoker Boiler

Re: Boiler is here, Some Pix to share

PostBy: Bob On: Sat Apr 28, 2007 10:54 am

Highlander wrote:The boiler is here, at over 900# it was a challenge to get it off the back of my pickup and into the basement, but we managed.

Here are some pix of the boiler.


After seeing these pictures and the Keystoker pictures earlier in this thread I realize one significant difference between Keystoker/Harmon/AA as compared to the AHS boiler--The AHS boiler comes fully assembled, including the exterior jacket. There is no assembly required with the AHS boiler.

When I priced boilers the Harmon was available locally for $4000 and the AHS base unit was $4500. Depending on the cost associated with assembly if you are paying someone to do it or if you put a $ value on your own time the assembled vs. non- assembled issue could very substantially narrow the price difference.
Bob
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS 130
Coal Size/Type: Pea/Anthracite

PostBy: Yanche On: Sat Apr 28, 2007 11:11 am

Nice looking boiler. Thanks for all the excellent photos. When you are plumbing it up make sure you put the circulation pumps on the supply not on the return as was recommended practice in the past. The AHS weighs less and is smaller especially in width. This makes it possible to move through most 30" wide doorways.
Yanche
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea

Re: Boiler is here, Some Pix to share

PostBy: Richard S. On: Sun Apr 29, 2007 7:29 am

Bob wrote:The AHS boiler comes fully assembled, including the exterior jacket. There is no assembly required with the AHS boiler.


Which would have to be disassembled for most basement installations. The preference there would be relative to where you were putting it. Anything that is going to make it wider, taller, can be damaged or most importantly makes it heavier would probably have to be removed unless you were putting it for example in a garage.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

PostBy: oliver power On: Sun Apr 29, 2007 9:33 pm

Looking Good Highlander. WOW! 900 pounds? That's heavy! Nice pictures. You must be on cloud 9. Come fall , we will be starting first hand experiences with both the KEYSTOKER , and HARMAN boilers. Good luck..
oliver power
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: KEYSTOKER Kaa-2
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93 & 30-95, Vigilant (pre-Vigilant-II)
Baseburners & Antiques: MANY (Mostly when burning wood)
Stove/Furnace Make: HITZER / KEYSTOKER
Stove/Furnace Model: 50-93 & 30-95 , Kaa-2

Visit Lehigh Anthracite