new to side - coal boiler for new construction

new to side - coal boiler for new construction

PostBy: pura vida On: Wed Mar 09, 2011 1:52 am

howdy all

just joined the site, have been lurking for a couple of weeks. i am planning on building a new house this summer in the palmer area but unfortunately the area we will be building does not offer natural gas. so heating oil is pretty much the only option, traditional wise anyway. right now i am really considering installing a coil boiler to supplement the fuel oil. actually during the winter i would want to use it exclusively. the house will be very well insulated and sealed. somewhere around r30 walls (whole wall value not just insulation advertisement) and the roof will be r50-60. good windows and radiant floor heat. so this leads me to a few questions i haven't come across in my searching/reading here.

who/where are the local stove dealers i could talk to to get specific brand/quality/sizing info? went to home show this weekend and didn't see anyone.

with it being new construction i have a perfect place i could put a large (as big as i want) coal storage area just outside of the wall of where the boiler would be and then have some sort of auger system to feel the boiler. i know there are stoker stoves but is this possible? things to consider when/if doing this?

in general, as i know it depends, how often do you need to empty the ash pan?
how often does the stove need to be shut down and cleaned/service?
other maintenance/use/care issues i need to be aware of before purchase?

my estimated fuel/utility cost came back at around $7500/year (hence the desire for something supplemental), what would this be in coal cost? your best guess.

is there a general percentage less for coal cost over heating oil?

how "far" does a ton of coal go?

ok, enough for now. i know some of the questions are highly dependent and the answers vary but i'm just trying to get a general idea for a starting point. and i apologize if any or all of these questions have been asked in the past and i didn't look hard enough. thanks.

pv
pura vida
 

Re: new to side - coal boiler for new construction

PostBy: Short Bus On: Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:39 am

Hope this information helps.

The coal you will most likly be using, is from Healy Alaska, at Usibeli Coal mine, 7500 BTU per Pound.
One ton of coal is about the same heat value as 100 gallons of Diesel. 2000 lb X 7500 BTU per lb = 15,000,000 BTU per Ton / 150,000 BTU per Gallon Diesel = 100 Gallons Diesel.
The efficiency of your coal burner is a question, probalby less that the efficiency of your oil burner.
Get a price for coal in Palmer by calling a supplier.
Coal supplier may also have good ideas about coal burners and boilers
http://www.coalandheat.com/ is in Fairbanks and may have what you want.
Coal can be picked up in Healy for 65$ per ton on Saturdays.
Coal needs space, I can fit two tons in my full size pickup with 10 inch sideboards.
If you are thinking about 7500$ of oil that might be about 2000 gallons of diesel? that would be about twenty tons of coal, that's more than one large dumptruck load.
I don't belive coal is burned as efficiently as oil, so the twenty tons could become twenty five tons, or more.
I would also design in a oil system so you can go on vacation.
This link leads to a real nice boiler, that needs a stoker, probably could use a stoker from above link,
http://steel.burnhamcommercial.com/products/series-4n
This link is broken, either the page no longer exists or there is some other issue like a typo.


Again I hope this information helps.
Last edited by Short Bus on Thu Mar 10, 2011 2:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
Short Bus
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Kewanee boiler with Anchor stoker
Coal Size/Type: Chestnut / Sub-bituminous C
Other Heating: Propane wall furnace back up only

Re: new to side - coal boiler for new construction

PostBy: pura vida On: Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:59 am

thanks. that gives me a place to start at least. i have been meaning to call the local supplier. if i could get the auger system right, storage for 25-30 tons wouldn't be an issue and i'd never have to touch it.

thanks for the calcs, although 100 gallons/ton of coal is half of what i just found on one of the other sections. they were saying 185-200 gallons/ton? different coal? maybe 185-200 is too optimistic? either way, much better than oil. plus as someone else said in a different thread so well, "when was the last time a coal miner tried to kill you?" (referring to the middle east)

since it will be new construction, any links to the auger system for the ash? that would be nice.

i will have an oil burner for backup/summer use.
pura vida
 


Re: new to side - coal boiler for new construction

PostBy: Berlin On: Wed Mar 09, 2011 4:40 am

Where are you located? Coal will be around 200gal/#2 per ton unless you're talking about North Dakota lignite or western (or alaskan) subbituminous coal.

Since it's new construction I would definitely go with a built in bin feed and auger ash removal system. If you're outside of NEPA, you might want to check out one of the bituminous boilers that a forum member "markc" sells, I've spoken with him about them, he uses one at his home and loves it, they burn less expensive (and higher btu and lower ash) kentucky bituminous stoker coal. Mark's website: While these are "outdoor" units, they can also be placed in a garage and set up with an ash auger to remove the ash outside.

EDIT: Clearly you're in Alaska, my mistake, what shortbus said regarding btu's of the alaskan coal will be more applicable. The stoker units with ash auger are the way to go, if you're not mechanically going to remove ash, the clinkering type stokers are a good (and often less expensive) choice, much less ash volume than a non-clinkering stoker if you have to remove it manually.
Last edited by Richard S. on Fri Nov 29, 2013 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: <removed dead link>
Berlin
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal

Re: new to side - coal boiler for new construction

PostBy: pura vida On: Wed Mar 09, 2011 1:56 pm

thanks for the link. i'll check it out. yup, in alaska. as of now, i am really thinking of going this way. even seriously reconsidering the upstairs fireplace i was going to install for supplemental heat, just don't know if it would be worth the effort and mess. the slightly more effort to deal with coal will be more than made up for not paying for oil, even at "only" 100 gallons/ton. even at the most expensive delivered coal i found that oil would have to be $1.50/gallon. my parents just paid right around $3.50/gallon. hmmm, tough choice...
pura vida
 

Re: new to side - coal boiler for new construction

PostBy: titleist1 On: Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:19 pm

.
titleist1
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Mag Stoker (old style) one in basement, one in workshop
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III on standby for long power outages
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite; Nut/Anthracite

Re: new to side - coal boiler for new construction

PostBy: pura vida On: Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:28 pm

ok, so talking with the local supplier this is what i need/want

stoker dual fuel (coal/oil) boiler that is bottom fed and also has an ash removal auger.

so what are my options? where can i start looking?

thanks

pv
pura vida
 

Re: new to side - coal boiler for new construction

PostBy: murphyslaw On: Wed Mar 09, 2011 4:42 pm

First off who are you dealing with as a supplier?
murphyslaw
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: Model 82

Re: new to side - coal boiler for new construction

PostBy: mozz On: Wed Mar 09, 2011 6:14 pm

"when was the last time a coal miner tried to kill you?"
Freddy, if you're out there, definitely need this on a bumper sticker or tee-shirt. Do you make some a while back?
mozz
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 1982 AA-130 Steam

Re: new to side - coal boiler for new construction

PostBy: Richard S. On: Wed Mar 09, 2011 6:37 pm

pura vida wrote:with it being new construction i have a perfect place i could put a large (as big as i want) coal storage area just outside of the wall of where the boiler would be and then have some sort of auger system to feel the boiler. i know there are stoker stoves but is this possible? things to consider when/if doing this?


If I was building a dream house set up for coal it would start with at least a 10 foot basement, you could cheat here and make the boiler area that low and go with something shorter for the rest of it. The reason so high is because with an auger system you can set up a coal bin that is also the hopper. The coal window would be easily accessible, as in back up to it on a driveway that is at the first floor level and the basement window would be ground level. The lower the window is the easier it is to fill the bin with a coal truck, you can pretty much fill bins with ground level windows up to the rafters without ever touching a shovel. If the house is on uneven ground the rear of the boiler room would be where I'd put a door to easily take the ashes out.

The bottom of the bin would be 45 degrees on 3 sides all sloping down to one spot where the auger would enter the bin. You're trying to achieve something like this:

View: New PagePopup


The boiler itself would go on about 2 courses of blocks. The reason for this ids the ashes empty into the bottom. The space the blocks will create would act as a reserve for more ashes if for example you needed to leave for a week you could just let them fall into this space.


With this setup you don't ever have to touch the coal and you have space for the ashes so you can leave it go by itself for longer periods of time without too much worry. If you really wanted to get crazy you could set up auger system to auger the ashes right out of the basement.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: new to side - coal boiler for new construction

PostBy: pura vida On: Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:45 pm

south central coal sales is who i talk to. his location makes the most sense for me. i could also drive to healy and get it myself.

thanks for the info and the pic. that is pretty much what i had in mind. the basement will have 9 foot ceilings. i was hoping to leave the coal outside (covered) and just auger it through the wall to the boiler. but again, with the soft coal that we have it needs to be a bottom load. if it top loads then the fire will just climb into the hopper. that would be bad... guess most people up here hand load it. i want to avoid that. also would really like to set up an ash auger also so i don't have to mess with that either. the issue is figuring out what kind of stove i need/want and finding a local distributor.
pura vida
 

Re: new to side - coal boiler for new construction

PostBy: Short Bus On: Thu Mar 10, 2011 2:32 am

Here are some interesting Ideas about coal bins, COAL BIN Pics
It is nice to be able to dump into your coal bin with whatever delivery truck your supplier has.
I would like my coal bin inside for maintenance of auger.
I've heard that our coal in alaska can freeze and not feed out of a silo in the winter, I have no first hand experiance of this.
I corrected a math error in my first response in this thread.
If I had money and time I would combine the 4N boiler from Burnham and the Coalandheat.com burner and then add an ash auger.
I have an underfeed stoker that Berlin mentioned and there is no real option for an ash auger, but the coal does form clinkers for your driveway.
Short Bus
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Kewanee boiler with Anchor stoker
Coal Size/Type: Chestnut / Sub-bituminous C
Other Heating: Propane wall furnace back up only

Re: new to side - coal boiler for new construction

PostBy: AKShadow On: Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:11 am

http://akcozycoal.com/index.html

He can get you one of the pro-fab boilers.
AKShadow
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Warm Morning 523
Coal Size/Type: Sub-bituminous, stove

Re: new to side - coal boiler for new construction

PostBy: pura vida On: Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:39 pm

thanks, as always, for the info and links. i'll check them out and make some phone calls.

pv
pura vida
 

Re: new to side - coal boiler for new construction

PostBy: pura vida On: Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:32 am

so i called one of the local coal and stove suppliers. he pretty much told me the complete opposite to what i have heard and read everywhere else.


stokers aren't good b/c rocks will cause the auger to bind, and with all the coal behind the auger it is nearly impossible to work on. so hand fired is better.

i don't need a bottom feed, no issue with our local coal if it is top feed, but see above...

don't store more than a ton or two of coal at a time b/c it degrades, especially if in the sun

dual burning stoves with oil/coal don't work well, just the wood/coal dual burn stoves

i don't want an indoor boiler the outdoor ones he sells are better, which start at $15k...

i don't want to put in-floor radiant heat in my house. not very efficient.

with today's oil prices electric heat is less expensive and probably my best bet.

guess who i won't be doing any business with? i know coal my not be perfect, just as nothing is, but it's a bummer that one of the few local dealers doesn't seem to be very up to snuff and isn't going to be much help. so anyone heard of or used a Kotly boiler? talked with another coal supplier who said there was a guy in glennallen using one to heat a little over 6000 sq ft. it was a stoker and seemed to be working well. are outdoor boilers really that much more expensive than an indoor one?
pura vida