HI I'm new here and I would like to share the story that brought me to use coal to heat my home. I live about 70 miles south of Buffalo and just a few miles above the PA line. Last year I converted my 2 and a half car garage into a living room (and we love it!) bringing my square footage of living space up to about 2000 SQ feet. I ran duct work off my propane furnace in December to feed the new room. We kept it around 69-70 degrees. Things were going smoothly, new room, loved it - we gazed out at the frozen tundra thru the new bay windows smiling...
Then one day in mid January it happened. I stopped at the mailbox on my way home from work and there it was... The ominious propane bill. My eyes opened wide, I felt a rise in blood pressure, my heart thumped.. I knew we had been pushing that furnace hard. I opened the envelope, trembling. At the bottom I saw $452.35. I cringed and covered my mouth in denial. Then paid the bill.. From that point on I lowered the themostat at night, and my wife did during the day when she wasn't home. The cold spells outside got worse. Below zero at night. Mid Feb, there again the propane bill, this time $592.61.. I screamed in agony.. OMG I can't do this!!! I started using electric to help cut the propane bill.. BAD MOVE!! I was even burning wood pellets in the other part of the house to help.
I think you guys get the point.. By April I was totally disgusted and knew I had to completely redo my heating system. I never paid the final propane bill. The supplier showed up in July to take the tank. I told him get that thing the H*** outta my yard and good riddens too ya!! - (sorry propane guy) -
Last spring of this year I started my research. I looked at all the ways to heat and how many dollars per million BTU. I thought about my Grandpa who heated his camp with a nice little coal stove. I miss him. I remember sitting next to it, 31 years ago, feeling the radiant heat when I was 9 years old... Sorry I got a little emotional there
Wood, not bad but alot of work. Wood pellets still decent, I have a pellet stove in the other part of the house, I love it. Electric, $36.64 per million BTU, ouch. Propane at $2.99 gallon - $40.92 per million BTU. Are you for real!!! Then coal sits at a humble $11.72 per million BTU @ $211/ton. I was totally blown away. I must have done the figures wrong. Checked and checked again. It was right, and I was left wondering why everyone on this planet isn't using coal to heat with.
All summer I talked to freinds and family about coal. They probably got sick of hearing about it even lol.. I got some very awkward looking faces and responces. Coal was like some dirty little skeleton in the closet. My wife feared we would surely freeze to death this winter since I uprooted the propane furnace. I didn't understand but I knew in my soul I was onto something huge!! I thought about the cold winter days when I was a child at my Grandpa's camp...
Time for action!! I found a used Clayton 1537G on Craigs list for a very reasonable price. Its a hand fed, forced air unit with blowers designed to connect to duct work. The previous owners used hard nut coal in it. I wire bushed the front and re-painted it with stove paint. Looks nice! My freind and and I wrestled it into the basement and I spent a couple weeks redoing duct runs. We have had some cold and warm spells so for this year so I think the longest duration I had coal burning was about 3 days. I love it!!
I'm still learning how to burn coal, but I'm getting a grip on it now, thanks to the wealth of knowledge here written by enthusiastic coal burners!! The hardest part is leaving it alone to do its job.. The days I've had it running it was 25 outside, shorts and T-shirt weather in the house at 80.. Now we're smiling - again
and I'm very excited to burn coal this winter!
In closing I hope I didn't bore anyone with my long winded story, I'm sure many of you have a similar reason for your coal coolness or should I say say holy heatness lol. I will return here with photos and things that I'm learning along the way. Thank you for all that have written to help us newbies get on the wagon with coal!