seriously thinking about coal. Push me over the edge!

seriously thinking about coal. Push me over the edge!

PostBy: ramblerboy2 On: Sat Apr 23, 2011 12:08 am

I am pretty seriously thinking about installing a coal stove in the basement of my 1892 two family. My basement is roomy but unusable due to being very cold (45-50 degrees most of the winter) and very damp. The previous owner tried to make the house really energy efficient, and removed the old natural vent boilers and replaced them with direct vent units, installed fiberglass insulation and a sheetrock ceiling in the basement. The boilers throw no heat, there is no ventilation at all now that the chimneys are plugged, and the sheetrock plus insulation seem to just trap all that moisture in the basement. I am thinking of opening up one of the chimneys, ripping down all the sheetrock and insulation, installing a coal stove, and USING my basement. I had thought about going with natural gas down there, because I live on the second floor and schlepping up and down to the basement to tend a coal stove seemed like too much, and natural gas and coal are pretty close in price these days in Connecticut, but I like the idea of not having all my eggs in one energy source basket. I think a stoker down there will be ideal. I am picturing adding 1500 square feet of usable space to my home, nice warm dry space. Moving the laundry down there, my television, my tools... I think my tenants will like having the heat trickle up into their apartment too. Anything tips or suggestions? This site has been massively helpful in my research. My uncle up in Maine heats his home with a coal boiler, and I remember a relative had a Surdiac in their house, but I have never burned coal myself.
ramblerboy2
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Surdiac MCK 508
Other Heating: Embassy Ambassador BMS natural gas boiler

Re: seriously thinking about coal. Push me over the edge!

PostBy: Short Bus On: Sat Apr 23, 2011 2:24 am

Sounds like you have two boilers one for each half of a duplex?
Probalby should check condition of chiminy before making a plan to use it.
Getting the ash out of the basment is an issue to think about.
I like my stoker boiler, and you might be able to connect one to your existing heating system
I think the more load on coal the better but it is not likely you will be able to bill the tenant for heat produced by coal, in other words thier boiler will probalby still be running in the basment.
Coal needs attention, the more you spend the less attention your coal instalation will need.
I think coal pays off in the longer term, your situation may be different.
Coal works best if you enjoy fooling with it, especially initially.
How much do you spend heating your house now?
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: seriously thinking about coal. Push me over the edge!

PostBy: Sting On: Sat Apr 23, 2011 8:12 am

Image
Sting
 
Other Heating: BurnHAM=NG-gas


Re: seriously thinking about coal. Push me over the edge!

PostBy: theo On: Sat Apr 23, 2011 8:20 am

That warmed me up all over!!!!! :clap: :clap: :clap:
theo
 
Stove/Furnace Make: LL
Stove/Furnace Model: Hyfire 2

Re: seriously thinking about coal. Push me over the edge!

PostBy: ramblerboy2 On: Sat Apr 23, 2011 10:10 am

My house is pretty cheap to heat. I like a cooler house, we keep the thermostat at about 60. My natural gas bill runs me about 1200 per year (heat, hot water, cooking). Our heat load is tiny. I leave our nat gas boiler at 160 degrees and the circulator flow rate turned down to about 50%. Our system is also pex, house was abandoned for a while and all the copper was stolen. I was worried about coal boiler, with a tiny load, and a pipe material that can melt if the temp overshoots.

I definitely need to get my chimney looked at, I have no idea if it can actually be used.

I'm not planning on billing back the heat to my tenants. I want to make my basement usable, and if they get warm in the process that's ok. I figure it will make the apartment easier to rent in the future. I don't think the basement stove will actually heat the first floor apartment, unless I keep the basement really hot. But it should take some load off the first floor tenant's heating need.
ramblerboy2
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Surdiac MCK 508
Other Heating: Embassy Ambassador BMS natural gas boiler

Re: seriously thinking about coal. Push me over the edge!

PostBy: paulfun On: Sat Apr 23, 2011 11:21 am

I dont know what you want for a push but my heat cost is just over 600 from sept to now with coal! My basement/garage is warm and dry and walking downstairs to check on the stove 1 time per day and taking the ashes out once every couple days is no chore compared to paying the oil bill that I used to get!
paulfun
 
Stove/Furnace Make: harman/Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: magnum/koker

Re: seriously thinking about coal. Push me over the edge!

PostBy: bja105 On: Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:35 pm

Its not what you asked for, but what about adding a radiator or two onto your existing boiler system? It can easily be zoned, with its own thermostat. With the insulation in the joist spaces, you don't need to worry about heating the tenant's space significantly. With two zones, you don't need to be uncomfortable in one zone because the heat is in a different zone.

That option does you no good in an extended power outage or period of very high gas prices. A small stove as a backup may be good, too. But, you are paying for two heat sources for the part of the house you use the least.
bja105
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Riteway 37
Coal Size/Type: Bit

Re: seriously thinking about coal. Push me over the edge!

PostBy: traderfjp On: Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:32 am

Your energy costs are low. I would add a radiator as already stated. You can always buy a coal stove later if prices go too crazy. Owning a coal stove takes work. It's worth the effort but it is a chore.
traderfjp
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing 3

Re: seriously thinking about coal. Push me over the edge!

PostBy: ramblerboy2 On: Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:05 pm

Thanks to all who replied to my question. I am still rather undecided. Chimney guy came and cleared a lot of junk out of the chimney in the best shape, and said it can be used but needs a liner (currently totally unlined brick). Waiting on a price quote on this. Keep looking at stoker stoves, but also considering a pilot ignition gas console heater vented up the chimney. Still concerned tho about future gas prices.
ramblerboy2
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Surdiac MCK 508
Other Heating: Embassy Ambassador BMS natural gas boiler