An intro and looking for input

An intro and looking for input

PostBy: JeepinPete On: Fri Mar 25, 2011 4:57 pm

Hi guys, my name is Pete. I am new to the coal scene, but after this winter's oil bills, I don't plan on keeping it that way. I've been doing a fair amount of reading of this forum, learning all that I can. My house is a bit unique, so I'd love to hear any ideas and inputs you guys may have.

Anyway, my house is a 1850's vintage stone farmhouse. It has an addition, put on around 1950, that doubled the size of the house (roughly 30x30, two stories plus a finished attic). When they build the addition, they managed to find the original source of stone, so the addition isn't noticeable unless you are looking for it. The original walls are 18" thick solid stone, and the addition is 12" of stone, then framed out with 2x4's and sheet rocked. The attic is well insulated with fiberglass, not sure what is in the wall of the addition, and needless to say, there is no insulation in the original structure. Original windows all around, with storm windows. Believe it or not, the place is not drafty.

The current heating "system" is a bit of joke. There is a oil fired furnace in the basement, with duct work running to three registers. Two in the living room (which sit above the cellar), and one into the kitchen (1st floor of the addition). That's it. We use electric space heaters upstairs to heat the bedrooms.

I've been pondering what to do with the HVAC in this house since we bought it five years ago. I've considered a heat pump, geothermal or otherwise, to get heat and AC in one shot. What complicates matters is the way the house is built. Since the house was built in two sections, there is a 18" thick stone wall running down the center of it (the old original exterior wall). Makes it difficult to run duct work :shock:

So now I am planning on taking care of the heat first. Our heat loads are far in excess of our cooling loads, so the most money to be saved is there. I am thinking of going with hot water baseboard heat. The piping will be much easier to run through the walls than ductwork. I can do bits and pieces of it over the summer as money allows, and I can change the heat source without getting into the rest of the install.

The thinking is to install both a oil boiler and a coal boiler. Mainly because my wife isn't going to take care of a coal stove in our basement (very wet, low ceilings, lots of spider :shock:), and so we can leave for a winter vacation without worry the coal fire is going to go out and freeze the pipes. I have one 8" chimney flue, and the chimney is 30' tall. From reading, I know it is not to code to pipe both boilers into one flue, but I would prefer to do things that way.

I've done a heat load calc using the Slantfin program, which says I need 90k btu. I'm in talks with a craigslist seller on a Keystoker KA6. Am I going to have problems with this being too large of a unit? I'm also looking for a used oil boiler. Any advice there?

I am thinking of zoning each bedroom (4 in all), and the first floor. The house is 2500 sq ft, is this too many?

TIA,
Pete
Last edited by JeepinPete on Sat Mar 26, 2011 12:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
JeepinPete
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM
Stove/Furnace Model: Highboy

Re: An intro and looking for input

PostBy: freetown fred On: Fri Mar 25, 2011 5:03 pm

welcome to the FORUM pete--spent a lot of time at the Q-town market as a yute. ;) --A picture tells a thousand words--post some of your existing oil PIG w/ existing vent layout--it's hard to picture the set up--I'm sure you'll get more info then you'll know what to do with :)
freetown fred
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut/Stove mix

Re: An intro and looking for input

PostBy: Rick 386 On: Fri Mar 25, 2011 5:08 pm

Pete,

Have you considered a dual fuel boiler ??? Like coal and oil ??


And I think that heat load calc might need to be redone.




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

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Re: An intro and looking for input

PostBy: tsb On: Fri Mar 25, 2011 5:11 pm

If you are going to a boiler, get a multi fuel. The change over
is not automatic, but not difficult either. You could also get a
neighbor to tend the boiler while your away. That's what money and
teenagers were made for.
tsb
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Binford 2000
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL Pioneer top vent
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Saey Hanover II

Re: An intro and looking for input

PostBy: Coalfire On: Fri Mar 25, 2011 5:21 pm

I will agree with the others. If I were in your situation I would get a dual fuel, it would probably be cheaper than getting two seperate boilers. and than you would not have two appliances into one flu.


Just my thoughts, Eric
Coalfire
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine 96K btu Circulator
Coal Size/Type: Nut

Re: An intro and looking for input

PostBy: gaw On: Fri Mar 25, 2011 5:49 pm

JeepinPete; your thinkin’ is along the lines of what I would do in a similar situation. You must be very smart. A KA-6 should work fine if the price is right. Even though they are rated for around 120 thousand btu there is some flexibility in feed adjustment that it can work well at reduced loads although I am not sure what you may lose in efficiency compared to something like the KAA-2. Something to keep in mind, you have an old house with low basement ceiling; make sure you have enough height to dump coal into the hopper. This is a consideration for any of the hopper fed boiler models, Keystoker, Harman, and AHS. An EFM DF520 or Keystoker with the oil gun could eliminate the need for the separate oil boiler. They do not make for very efficient oil boilers but if you do not plan to burn oil for extended periods of time it may be more cost effective. I would take this into consideration to figure out at what point the new oil boiler is going to pay for itself.

The only other advise is do your research, come up with a plan, execute the plan and don’t get schizophrenic while doing it, sometimes too many good ideas is a bad idea.
gaw
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Coal Size/Type: Rice from Schuylkill County

Re: An intro and looking for input

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:53 pm

Good advice, Glen.
spent a lot of time at the Q-town market as a yute.

What is a "yute"?
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Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert

Re: An intro and looking for input

PostBy: freetown fred On: Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:16 pm

A yute would be an old farmer with his top teeth out saying youth, silly guy :clap: toothy---by the way, that 90 BTU you came up with won't any where near do the job you've described
Last edited by freetown fred on Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
freetown fred
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut/Stove mix

Re: An intro and looking for input

PostBy: Scottscoaled On: Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:30 pm

Pete, If I were in your shoes I would buy a used EFM coal boiler and hook it into your existing flue. It is a good size flue for them. For a backup I would go with an on demand propane system. The propane is compareable to the oil, uses pvc for exhaust. doesn't require alot of floor space, are pretty resonable and would allow you to install a primary/ secondary piping scheme which would make your system easily fully automatic. While you are home you can service the coal boiler. If there is an emergency situation or something like that, your system could switch to the propane with out problems. Installation would be much cheaper than the other systems. :)
Scottscoaled
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM 520x4, 350, 700. Van Wert 400 x 2, 800, 1200.
Coal Size/Type: Lots of buck

Re: An intro and looking for input

PostBy: JeepinPete On: Sat Mar 26, 2011 12:36 am

Thanks guys for the replys.

The problem I have with the dual fuel units is the fact that you have to mess with them to switch over. To me, that isn't an issue. To my wife, not going to go over well. Besides, used oil boilers are cheap. New and shiny is not a prerequisite to getting this job done :D

The heat loss calc seems low to me too. But I did the calcs before a couple years back using a different program, and came up with similar results. I think the thing that saves me is the house is a big box. Quite literally 30x30, two story box. That being said, any issues sizing the length of baseboard per room at 160 degree water temp? Then if I do have issues, I could always bump up the water temps.

Part of the basement has been dug out at some point in time. Probably 6' of headroom there. Also happens to be where the chimney is. Plus there happens to be a window well right there (the only one in the basement, hmm...). So my thinking is to build a coal box outside that window well and have the boiler hopper sit next to it. Should make things pretty easy.

A propane boiler as backup isn't something I considered. I do have propane for cooking and the drier. But I suspect the tank on site is too small to run a boiler. But removing the oil tank would make room for a larger propane tank. I'll have to mull that one over.
JeepinPete
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM
Stove/Furnace Model: Highboy

Re: An intro and looking for input

PostBy: Scottscoaled On: Sat Mar 26, 2011 12:51 am

The propane units are only 1.5' x 2' , about 8" deep, and mount on the outside wall. Most of the ones i've seen have a domestic coil built in. New propane tank would be outside. :)
Scottscoaled
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM 520x4, 350, 700. Van Wert 400 x 2, 800, 1200.
Coal Size/Type: Lots of buck

Re: An intro and looking for input

PostBy: oliver power On: Sat Mar 26, 2011 8:38 am

freetown fred wrote:A yute would be an old farmer with his top teeth out saying youth, silly guy :clap: toothy---by the way, that 90 BTU you came up with won't any where near do the job you've described
I questioned the heat loss calculation the second the original post said something about NOT knowing what's in the walls of the new addition. Yes, from the description of the house, I'd also say, 90,000BTU would not be enough. Without doing calculations, I believe the Ka-6 mentioned would be a nice match. The Ka-6 comes in dual fuel. Is the one you're looking at dual fuel?
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

Re: An intro and looking for input

PostBy: freetown fred On: Sat Mar 26, 2011 9:25 am

Yes, it sounds like he is real open. I keep thinking everything is built broke up like this 200 yr old farm house. toothy
oliver power wrote:
freetown fred wrote:A yute would be an old farmer with his top teeth out saying youth, silly guy :clap: toothy---by the way, that 90 BTU you came up with won't any where near do the job you've described
I questioned the heat loss calculation the second the original post said something about NOT knowing what's in the walls of the new addition. Yes, from the description of the house, I'd also say, 90,000BTU would not be enough. Without doing calculations, I believe the Ka-6 mentioned would be a nice match. The Ka-6 comes in dual fuel. Is the one you're looking at dual fuel?
freetown fred
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut/Stove mix

Re: An intro and looking for input

PostBy: gaw On: Sat Mar 26, 2011 9:26 am

stokerscot wrote:The propane units are only 1.5' x 2' , about 8" deep, and mount on the outside wall. Most of the ones i've seen have a domestic coil built in. New propane tank would be outside. :)

The propane sounds like an attractive solution for a backup or a few days away and not having to tend a coal fire. My cellar is probably similar to yours. I have found the pesticide for in house use, I don’t know the name but it is sold at all the big box stores, works well for spiders in the basement. If you carefully spray the stone walls and the floor above and get all the cracks and crevices treated you will see a huge reduction in spiders and other pests. Personally I like spiders, they are predators and help control other insects but I also understand the need to keep the wife happy. You can tell your wife that a few spiders are better than a cold house. I got my wife to go down in the scary cellar to tend the boiler when I am not home. The dog goes along down and scares away the boogie man if he happens to be hiding down there. Just don’t tell here that snakes enjoy stone wall basements :shock: and everything will be fine :D .
gaw
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Coal Size/Type: Rice from Schuylkill County

Re: An intro and looking for input

PostBy: Sting On: Sat Mar 26, 2011 9:34 am

JeepinPete wrote:
The problem I have with the dual fuel units is the fact that you have to mess with them to switch over. To me, that isn't an issue. To my wife, not going to go over well. Besides, used oil boilers are cheap. New and shiny is not a prerequisite to getting this job done :D



Image
Sting
 
Other Heating: BurnHAM=NG-gas

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