Thinking Of Burning Coal, Have a Few Questions.

Thinking Of Burning Coal, Have a Few Questions.

PostBy: brainsore On: Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:31 pm

Hello Community,
I am building a new house and I will be needing a fuel source . I live on 15 acres of woods and I hate to not be able to burn it to off set some heating costs. I am also of the mind that free wood isn't free so I don't need that lecture or speech . I have a friend in here I'm unsure of his handle but I need some help . I am putting up a 2 flue chimney as I was planning on a wood / oil fired boiler , but as I was responding to the dealers inquiry of the status if my check and their "No returns /All sales final " I took pause and two hours later and a few options later I find myself here . I feel committed to the two flues but I need some assurances of the option of burning coal . I know that it is very efficient and everyone is happy with it , but are there not dangers to burning coal ? Are there not trace levels of heavy metals after burning coal ? What about ashes or clinkers ? Do those get thrown onto the driveway ? Even with small children playing and boots in the house tracking that in , Does the ash need to be segregated from a 'traditional' ash pile ? I don't want to be the worry wart but I need to sell this to my wife other than the savings it will bring to us . I don't want to be toasty warm and harm the people around me at the same time.
Thanks for your help and taking the time to read this ,
brainsore
brainsore
 

Re: HELP !

PostBy: McGiever On: Tue Oct 18, 2011 11:58 pm

Alot of members here do bag their ashes and set them on the curb for trash pick up day.
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: HELP !

PostBy: anthony7812 On: Wed Oct 19, 2011 12:17 am

Ive been spreading my ashes so far on my nice beautiful poisen ivy patches once they are cooled off. Hopeing with a trickle of rain the diluted acidic mixture kills'em all! :rambo:
anthony7812
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: VanWert VA 400
Coal Size/Type: Buck/Nut/Anthracite


Re: HELP !

PostBy: Freddy On: Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:02 am

Dangers of burning coal, highest to lowest, according to Freddy: CO Poisoning, start a house fire, burn your fingers, have a pile of bags fall on you and crush you, get sick from ashes.

Carbon monoxide is produced when burning coal. Care needs to be taken to assure you always maintain a proper draft and that the exhaust pipes are clear of ash build up. CO detectors are a must for peace of mind.

As with any solid fuel if you are careless enough to allow fire to start, it will. ( broken chimney, pipes not screwed together, stove in poor condition)

If you're dumb enough to stick your fingers where it's hot, you'll get burned!

I've never heard of it, but let's stack 50 lb bags up, up, up, until they fall over.

Ash is not considered hazardous waste by the government, but, yes, it can contain trace amounts of heavy metals. It can be radioactive, but chances are your granite counter tops are more radio active, and getting a sunburn will expose you to more radiation. Personally I do spread ash on a dirt road & think nothing of it, but, if I had young ones, perhaps I'd dump it in one location & not let them use it as a sand box.
Freddy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined

Re: HELP !

PostBy: Rob R. On: Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:14 am

brainsore wrote:Hello Community,
I am building a new house and I will be needing a fuel source . I live on 15 acres of woods and I hate to not be able to burn it to off set some heating costs. I am also of the mind that free wood isn't free so I don't need that lecture or speech . I have a friend in here I'm unsure of his handle but I need some help . I am putting up a 2 flue chimney as I was planning on a wood / oil fired boiler , but as I was responding to the dealers inquiry of the status if my check and their "No returns /All sales final " I took pause and two hours later and a few options later I find myself here . I feel committed to the two flues but I need some assurances of the option of burning coal . I know that it is very efficient and everyone is happy with it , but are there not dangers to burning coal ? Are there not trace levels of heavy metals after burning coal ? What about ashes or clinkers ? Do those get thrown onto the driveway ? Even with small children playing and boots in the house tracking that in , Does the ash need to be segregated from a 'traditional' ash pile ? I don't want to be the worry wart but I need to sell this to my wife other than the savings it will bring to us . I don't want to be toasty warm and harm the people around me at the same time.
Thanks for your help and taking the time to read this ,
brainsore


I have a stoker boiler that feeds itself automatically. I have a 55 gallon drum that needs to have coal in it, and I need to take out the ashes. Other than that, it is as automatic as my oil boiler. No clinkers, soot, or anything like that. Yes there are traces of heavy metals in coal ash, but the same can be said for topsoil. I have an ash pile out behind my shop, nothing special. The dogs like to play "king of the mountain" on the ash pile. :D

Where do you live? What kind of heating system are you installing in this new home?
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: HELP !

PostBy: blrman07 On: Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:28 am

Every fuel that you burn produces CO, not just coal.

Every fuel has it's own unique hazards. I have burned natural gas, oil, propane, and bottled methane from a landfill to heat homes. Some of the problems I came across:

Natural gas pipe leaks both in my house and underground that killed my grass before the gas company replaced our line.

Oil spillage by the oil delivery man resulting in a sick oil smell for weeks after along with a constant oil trace smell around the tank.

Propane tank springing a leak at the pressure regulator and losing a tank of gas. That was a cha-ching experience!

Bottled methane from a landfill smelled like landfill gas. Not pleasant.

Wood stove had me tending it about every 2-3 hours not counting cutting splitting stacking and hauling wood.

Each fuel has it's own characteristics and it's own set of unique problems.
Yep coal has it's issues but so does everything else. The topic of coal ash and what to do with it has been discusssed many times on this board. Suggest you do a search on fly ash on this board and read up before you make your decision.
Larry
blrman07
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Bucket a Day
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vigilant Casting 2310
Baseburners & Antiques: rebuilding a 1906 March Brownback Double Heater, using a UMCO 1920's Pot Belly stove in the church
Coal Size/Type: Pea/Nut/Wood in the VC and anything that will fit in the Bucket a Day. It's not fussy.

Re: HELP !

PostBy: Poconoeagle On: Wed Oct 19, 2011 7:10 am

Coal is the intelligent way to go... 8-)
best bang for you buck for the warmest heat you could get 8-)
Poconoeagle
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Buckwalter & Co. , EFM520
Stove/Furnace Model: No. 28 Glenwood 1880, Alaska

Re: Thinking Of Burning Coal, Have a Few Questions.

PostBy: EarthWindandFire On: Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:54 am

Coal heat is like sitting in a hot tub, but with your clothes on. :oops:
EarthWindandFire
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Leisure Line Lil' Heater.
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer model 75. (sold)
Other Heating: Oil Furnace and Kerosene Heaters.

Re: Thinking Of Burning Coal, Have a Few Questions.

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:24 am

As was said, "Each fuel has it's own characteristics and it's own set of unique problems." When I did my research I found that coal has much fewer of them then any other fuel. It's cleaner then burning wood, can be stored outside, burns wet, doesn't attract bugs, can burn untended for 12 or 15 hours and produces a heat that you won't believe all for less then other types of fuels. Yes, it does have quirks but you learn to minimize them. For instance, if you don't want excess flyash throughout the house - don't shake the fire with the stove door open. As Freddy said, multiple CO monitors are a must but with a strong draft you shouldn't have a problem burning coal. Good luck
lowfog01
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Mark II & Mark I

Re: Thinking Of Burning Coal, Have a Few Questions.

PostBy: franco b On: Wed Oct 19, 2011 12:26 pm

The most practical thing to do would be to install a stoker coal boiler. I take a very dim view of any multiple fuel boiler as there are always compromises that limit efficiency or worse.

It still would be nice to have also an automatic system to use in the event of sickness or if you need to be away for some time. That would be an oil boiler into the second flue with the two boilers piped together so either could be used. A cheap vertical fire tube steel boiler for the oil.

That would be the practical way but human beings also can appreciate and live with things that appeal to other senses. Witness all the useless fireplaces installed in houses. At least useless in a practical sense, but not in an aesthetic one.

If it were me I would want to see the fire which means a stove in the living area. I would not want the work of tending without the satisfaction of seeing the fire. If your house plan is fairly open this could work well. Again a cheap oil boiler in the basement. Maybe a good antique stove upstairs. Whatever appeals to your sense of style. When you look at it,it should make you feel good.

This still leaves your 15 acres of woods in which there will be lots of fallen branches and even whole trees. You will want to burn wood from time to time just to get rid of these. If you can afford it a Russian style fireplace. These can be very beautiful as well as clean burning and efficient. Also insurance against future price increases in both oil and coal.

You are building the house so it is a perfect time to do what pleases you. You can go practical or go for style and aesthetic things. The house plan and what you intend for each area can have a major influence on the heating system.
Last edited by franco b on Wed Oct 19, 2011 12:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
franco b
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: V ermont Castings 2310, Franco Belge 262
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood Modern Oak 114
Coal Size/Type: nut and pea

Re: HELP !

PostBy: I'm On Fire On: Wed Oct 19, 2011 12:38 pm

McGiever wrote:Alot of members here do bag their ashes and set them on the curb for trash pick up day.


I used to dump my ash outside in a pile. But the pile started to get too big. So, I resorted to putting it in a galvanized trash can outside in the driveway, some gets used as sand when it's icy. My step-son's job is to go out once a week and take a contractor's trash bag and transfer the ash from the can into the bag. Then I take the bag to the local MUA for the landfill.

Worked well last season.

We have a little child too, we don't worry too much about it with her. We have a fence around the stove, the coal that is going into the stove is also kept behind the fence. We keep her away from the ashes, sometimes when I bring bags in she likes to climb on them. And once in a while she picks up errant pieces of coal that miss the stove when I'm recharging and she runs around the house with it showing everyone.
I'm On Fire
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machines DS-1600 Hot Air Circulator

Re: Thinking Of Burning Coal, Have a Few Questions.

PostBy: steamup On: Wed Oct 19, 2011 1:00 pm

In my opinion, as a former wood burner and volunteer fireman, wood is just as/or more dangerous than coal. The CO is a problem with both fuels but coal doesn't form creosote.

15 acres of woods will not sustain you forever for your heat source unless you are incredable efficient. Yes manage the timber and burn the waste if you want. Or sell firewood and buy coal.

Coal ash is not good for the garden like potash (wood ash). But with 15 acres you must have an out of the way place to dump it. Put it in barrels or metal buckets and transfer it in good weather.
steamup
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman-Anderson AA-130, Keystoker K-6
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: HS Tarm 502 Wood/Coal/Oil
Coal Size/Type: pea, buck, rice

Re: Thinking Of Burning Coal, Have a Few Questions.

PostBy: brainsore On: Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:20 pm

Hey guys ,
Thanks for the responses and also moving my post to it's proper location . I have started to do more reading on burning coal and I know it's bad form to ask questions without doing research and homework but I felt in a bad place when I posted last night . I went from all ready to buy to " I think this is a mistake ". I have yet to choose a boiler for my house size " I will do some more reading in the coming days to get what I need . Hopefully with the coming heating season they're all not grabbed up . This is a sad story .
Thanks again guys.
Brainsore
brainsore
 

Re: Thinking Of Burning Coal, Have a Few Questions.

PostBy: ScubaSteve On: Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:03 pm

I have been burning coal since 2006 and I look forward to lightng up every Autumn! It does require a little work tending the stove (once in the morning and once in the evening) and other than having to bag the ashes, there really isnt much else. IF im very careful when shaking the stove and removing the ashes the house doesnt get dusty. If im in a rush and open the ash pan right after I shake there will be dust. As for the heat? I dunno if you ever have burned a wood stove, but with those, the room where the stove is located can become unbearable. That isnt so with coal. It is a nice warm even heat, and I wouldnt heat my house any other way!!!
ScubaSteve
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings Vigilant II
Stove/Furnace Model: model 2310

Re: Thinking Of Burning Coal, Have a Few Questions.

PostBy: ScubaSteve On: Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:06 pm

EarthWindandFire wrote:Coal heat is like sitting in a hot tub, but with your clothes on. :oops:

Word!!! :D
ScubaSteve
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings Vigilant II
Stove/Furnace Model: model 2310