I apologize in advance, but I don't know the first thing about burning coal. Always had oil-fired warm air heat (even growing up), so I know nothing of drafts, do's/don'ts, etc...
For a little background, my Wife and I bought our house in 2002. Two story victorian, approximately 1500 square feet. Had an existing Kogen coal furnace (not sure of vintage, maybe someone's heard of them?) in addition to the oil heat. Oil furnace is only 6 years old (Thermo-Pride too, real good unit), but the cost of fuel oil is driving us broke. Basement was flooded in '04 (hence the new Thermo-Pride), so the coal furnace was under water. Appears in good condition though, only concerns being the fan/limit control and blower motor were wet. Both still function, but not sure if the're safe...
I have been told that Chestnut coal is what I need, has a huge firebox and seems to be built well. I work nights though while the Wife and young kids are home, and don't want to risk using something of questionable safety/reliability without consulting the experts
. Seems like a good wealth of knowledge here, so here goes.
First off, there is currently warm air ducting already connected to the Kogen, but no cold air return. In the duct between the coal and oil plenums is a manual damper. If I open this, will the oil furnace still be able to keep up if we're away and the fire goes out, or do I need an automatic damper?
Second question is blower conrtol. I assume the blower in the rear is for circulation, not combustion air. Will the mechanical fan/limit control be sufficient to cycle this, or will I need a thermostat to control? My thought is, that since the coal heat is constant, the mechanical control will have the blower running non-stop. However, I am not sure...
Once I get this lit, how do I know what the draft settings should be? There is no barometric control in the flu pipe, just the manual control knob. Thoughts?
Sorry for being so uninformed here, just want to do this right. As said, never been exposed to coal heat before, so I know nothing