Coal (stoker) -vs- Pellet stove----advantages/disadvantages

Coal (stoker) -vs- Pellet stove----advantages/disadvantages

PostBy: WessWackos On: Tue Dec 28, 2010 4:30 pm

Hey Guys,

I almost feel like I'm committing "stove adultery" in asking this question...but what are the advantages to burning coal -vs- burning wood pellets?

I was just talking to a buddy that SWEARS by his pellet stove. He throws two bags of pellets in the hopper, turns the thermostat on, and forgets it. Every 2 weeks or so he cleans out about 5 lbs of ash, and turns the stove back on. The pellets are amazingly efficient and he said he paid around $260/ton so he heats his 2100 sq/ft with a 60btu stove for around $1200.

with that said...PLEASE sell me on coal.
WessWackos
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Pocono Back Vent

Re: Coal (stoker) -vs- Pellet stove----advantages/disadvantages

PostBy: McGiever On: Tue Dec 28, 2010 4:37 pm

What ever he can do w/ pellets..coal can do 1.7 times better...1.7 times more BTU per/ lb. or ton.

$260.
x1.7
442.00

He would have to pay $422.00 for 1.7 tons of pellets to match 1 ton of coal for BTU's...any cost less $442.00 per 1 ton of coal you can keep in your pocket.

And there are plenty other reason also. :)
Last edited by McGiever on Tue Dec 28, 2010 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
McGiever
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AXEMAN-ANDERSON 130 "1959"
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: HARMAN MAGNUM
Hand Fed Coal Stove: RADIANT HOME AIR BLAST
Baseburners & Antiques: OUR GLENWOOD 111 BASEBURNER "1908"
Coal Size/Type: PEA / ANTHRACITE, NUT-STOVE / ANTHRACITE
Other Heating: Ground Source Heat Pump
Stove/Furnace Make: Hydro Heat /Mega Tek

Re: Coal (stoker) -vs- Pellet stove----advantages/disadvantages

PostBy: WessWackos On: Tue Dec 28, 2010 4:53 pm

McGiever wrote:What ever he can do w/ pellets..coal can do 1.7 times better...1.7 times more BTU per/ lb. or ton.


Cost of Fuel: Coal > Wood Pellets
Cost of comparable stove?
Ease of handling fuel?
Ease of cleanup
Set it and forget it
How often does stove need to be tended?
How often does stove need to be cleaned?
Efficiency of fuel?
*insert other probing and important questions*
WessWackos
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Pocono Back Vent

Visit Lehigh Anthracite

Re: Coal (stoker) -vs- Pellet stove----advantages/disadvantages

PostBy: McGiever On: Tue Dec 28, 2010 5:07 pm

I have to take issue w/ statement...'Set it-and- forget-it'...

Not true!...Are you being told this be a Newbie or he a Seasoned Veteran?

BTW...

If hand-fired got you concerned,then Stoker types have everything a pellet type has...but, for sure way better.

Reoccurring costs...aka fuel...factor high on my list.

Then comes maintenance... daily , weekly, monthly and yearly.

Note:

Typical Coal Stove around 70,000 BTU up to 130,000 BTU...not many pellet stove in that range and then at what price?

How many BTU's were you getting from that old Sears? Do you want less BTU's than that?
Last edited by McGiever on Tue Dec 28, 2010 5:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
McGiever
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AXEMAN-ANDERSON 130 "1959"
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: HARMAN MAGNUM
Hand Fed Coal Stove: RADIANT HOME AIR BLAST
Baseburners & Antiques: OUR GLENWOOD 111 BASEBURNER "1908"
Coal Size/Type: PEA / ANTHRACITE, NUT-STOVE / ANTHRACITE
Other Heating: Ground Source Heat Pump
Stove/Furnace Make: Hydro Heat /Mega Tek

Re: Coal (stoker) -vs- Pellet stove----advantages/disadvantages

PostBy: cowentz On: Tue Dec 28, 2010 5:15 pm

As a previous pellet stove burner and a new hand fired coal stove burner I will say this. Go to someones house that has a pellet stove, and then go to a house with a coal stove and see which is more comfortable. My pellet stove heated my house ok but it is nothing like the heat a coal stove puts out. A pellet stove is not much if any cleaner then a coal stove (you still get dust from dumping bags of pellets into the hopper). I was getting pellets for $180 a ton and still wanted to switch to coal.
cowentz
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark II

Re: Coal (stoker) -vs- Pellet stove----advantages/disadvantages

PostBy: medukonis On: Tue Dec 28, 2010 5:28 pm

Good afternoon:
I can only speak from my experience. I run both, a harman pellet stove upstairs and a harman hand fed coal stove down in the basement. Both are inserts. The pellet stove is very easy to use but it requires electricity to run the fans and other moving parts. The pellet stove at 40,000 BTU output can keep about 1200 of our 1750 sq/ft first floor warm. It will not heat all rooms. The coal stove at 80,000 BTUs easily heats the finished basement which is also 1750 sq/ft. The pellet stove is definitely easier to operate. I fill with 40lbs and it goes 24 hours plus. Shut it down once a week to vacuum it out and empty the ash pan. You could easily go longer between cleanings it's just a habit of mine. There is also a nice tax rebate if you can get it before the end of the year.

Our coal stove requires twice per day feeding, shakedown, and empty but compared to the wood insert we used to have which required feeding every hour or so,. the coal stove is an absolute blessing and the best investment we made. Last year I was not able to do anything in the basement because it was so cold. The only way to heat it would be to start a wood fire or run the propane forced air furnace $$$. Now the entire basement is 74 degrees. The coal has almost double the energy. I will be the first to admit that I do not know anything about stokers but I firmly believe you can not go wrong with coal especially if you have a source withing a reasonable distance. I am suspect of your friend's claim that he heats 2100 sq/ft with a pellet stove unless it is a very large one and his home is extremely well insulated. Or he lives in Florida ;-) Good luck!
medukonis
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Magnafire Elite Insert
Other Heating: Heat pump, wood pellets
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Magnafire Elite Insert

Re: Coal (stoker) -vs- Pellet stove----advantages/disadvantages

PostBy: Coalfire On: Tue Dec 28, 2010 5:46 pm

WessWackos wrote:Hey Guys,

I almost feel like I'm committing "stove adultery" in asking this question...but what are the advantages to burning coal -vs- burning wood pellets?

I was just talking to a buddy that SWEARS by his pellet stove. He throws two bags of pellets in the hopper, turns the thermostat on, and forgets it. Every 2 weeks or so he cleans out about 5 lbs of ash, and turns the stove back on. The pellets are amazingly efficient and he said he paid around $260/ton so he heats his 2100 sq/ft with a 60btu stove for around $1200.

with that said...PLEASE sell me on coal.



Does he heat only with this stove? People can swear to anything, but it doesn't make it so. If you want to save money stick with coal.

I am gonna push my DSM again or any large handfed with a hopper. I heat a ranch and uninsulated basement close to 2800sqft total, on 3 or slightly less tons a year. Shake in the morning/add coal if needed, Shake in the evening/add coal, take out ash. 10-15mins a day and no worries about electric. Sorry to get off subject.

Use the fuel calculator and punch the numbers for yourself on the cost of fuels. The numbers don't lie.

Good luck on which ever way you go, Eric
Coalfire
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine 96K btu Circulator
Coal Size/Type: Nut

Re: Coal (stoker) -vs- Pellet stove----advantages/disadvantages

PostBy: WessWackos On: Tue Dec 28, 2010 5:50 pm

Keep "selling" me...this is good. It's not that I'm against the coal stove...just trying to make the correct decision for my family and our needs.

I can't have a stove that is going to be killing us like this old "Champion". I need something efficient that requires minimal work. I need to know that the hopper isn't going to jam and my stove is going to still be burning in the morning so I'm not waking up to a jammed up stove full of unburned or slightly burnt coal that will require me to empty it and go through about an hour long process of getting it started all over again.
WessWackos
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Pocono Back Vent

Re: Coal (stoker) -vs- Pellet stove----advantages/disadvantages

PostBy: Coalfire On: Tue Dec 28, 2010 6:02 pm

You won't have problems with a newer stove like you have with your current one. How many pounds of coal does your stove hold? The DSM holds over 120lbs of coal nice for longer burn times. It doesn't matter what you buy alaska, hitzer, DSM any one will be better than what you have. You are fighting that stove, and I would be frustrated too. Once people get to a stove that really works they love it. I'm sorry but times have changed from when your stove was built. The hopper on any of the stoves I listed won't jam. It really is shake and load.

If you want more freedom go to a stoker, you need electric, but it power outages is not frequent don't worry about that. You may have to run ducts upstairs but that could be done.
Coalfire
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine 96K btu Circulator
Coal Size/Type: Nut

Re: Coal (stoker) -vs- Pellet stove----advantages/disadvantages

PostBy: tsb On: Tue Dec 28, 2010 6:03 pm

If your going to choose between a coal or pellet stove, here is what I
would consider.
1. Is your wife on board for either one ?
Does she prefer one over the other.
2. Do you want automation with a little noise,
or heat with no noise, but more work ? ( stoker/hand fed )
3. Do you have a place to store coal or pellets ? Coal doesn't care
about humidity, pellets do.
4. Do have a way to dispose of the ashes ? Pellet ash in the trash,
Coal ash not so much. You need a place to put them.
5. Do you have time for either ? Coal is not for lazy or A type people.
Even pellets require time and planing.
Note: Number 1 is the most important question.
tsb
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Binford 2000
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL Pioneer top vent
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Saey Hanover II

Re: Coal (stoker) -vs- Pellet stove----advantages/disadvantages

PostBy: Rick 386 On: Tue Dec 28, 2010 6:12 pm

Wes,

Have you done the heat loss calculation on your house as suggested ????



Rick
Rick 386
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AA 260 heating both sides of twin farmhouse
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL Hyfire II w/ coaltrol in garage
Coal Size/Type: Pea in AA 260, Rice in LL Hyfire II
Other Heating: Gas fired infared at work

Re: Coal (stoker) -vs- Pellet stove----advantages/disadvantages

PostBy: MURDOC1 On: Tue Dec 28, 2010 6:15 pm

Hey Wess, stop on by and witness 2 stokers in operation round the clock... 100% coal heat over here, I'll even take the fuel line off of the oil burner to prove it!!!

I have no experience with pellet stoves and frankly I don't feel the need to know a single thing about them after now heating with coal for my second year... I was a woodburner heating 100% through the winter and I don't miss a single thing about wood... Also note, I never paid a dime for the wood I burned here, completely free heat, but I'd rather pay the small price for coal and have steady warm temps in my old drafty converted barn and no more outfires when coming home from work in the morning...

I mean it Wess, the offer stands, stop on by if you care to have a look...

Murdoc
MURDOC1
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska/Franco Belge/Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: S.S. 2/ 144.08.02/ Mag Stoker

Re: Coal (stoker) -vs- Pellet stove----advantages/disadvantages

PostBy: MURDOC1 On: Tue Dec 28, 2010 6:23 pm

Sorry for the back to back, but forgot to mention, I will be installing a brand new Leisure Line at my neighbors place just across the driveway in the next week or two, so you could see 3 burning stokers of 3 different manufacture...

Leisure Line
Harman
Alaska

Neighbor sold his 4 year old beautiful Quadrafire woodstove to put in the Leisure Line because he was soooo impressed with how coal heats my place all things considered... He's 74 years old and is taking the leap of faith!!!

Murdoc
MURDOC1
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska/Franco Belge/Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: S.S. 2/ 144.08.02/ Mag Stoker

Re: Coal (stoker) -vs- Pellet stove----advantages/disadvantages

PostBy: coalkirk On: Tue Dec 28, 2010 6:37 pm

BTU's plain and simple. I'm in heating season #7 with a coal fired boiler. I do't even have a vent pipe on my oil boer. It's capped so I don't lose heat up that flue. As long as I am physically able I will always heat with coal. I have neighbors who use pellet stoves and they like them very much. They just spend more to heat than I do. They also still use their oil furnaces too. Once you try black (rocks) you will never go back.
coalkirk
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000
Coal Size/Type: antrhcite/rice coal

Re: Coal (stoker) -vs- Pellet stove----advantages/disadvantages

PostBy: Machinist On: Tue Dec 28, 2010 7:07 pm

I'm on my 3rd heating season heating house and domestic hot water 100%. No back up heating.
The few power outages we've had in Telford have never caused an outfire on my Keystoker.
I place my ashes, double bagged, in the trash after making sure they are cold.

If you need heat loss calculation software I can give you it.
Machinist
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KAA-2
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Other Heating: None

Visit Lehigh Anthracite