BTW, that's a good price on coal, if we can suppose that it has at least as many btu's/lb as anthracite's average (12,500) even at 60% overall efficiency (compared to NG @ 1.38ccf - the price for NG at my house and an 80% overall efficient NG furnace) you would be spending substantially less than NG will cost you:
bit coal @ 224/2500lbs or about $180/ton and
- 60% efficiency = $12.50 per million btu
- 50% efficiency $15 per million btu
anthracite coal @ $350/pallet (about $293/ton) and
- 60% efficiency = $20.35 per million btu or
- 70% efficiency = $17.44 per million btu
NG @ 1.38 therm (ccf) (what I pay in Buffalo)
- 70% efficiency = $19.71 per million btu
- 80% efficiency = $17.25 per million btu
- 90% efficiency = $15.33 per million btu
Even at 50 % efficiency bit coal is still cheaper than NG at 90% efficiency and at a more reasonable comparison you will save even more. Anthracite at $350 pallet is not cost competative with current NG rates and substantially more than bit coal. You should plug your current NG price into the fuel cost calculator on this site to check the exact numbers for your area.
If you remove the hopper and bank the fuel bed properly this should work out to be a fairly easy and inexpensive way to heat your home, be happy you have a source of inexpensive bit coal locally.
Many people prefer a good bit coal to anthracite once they learn how to fire it properly (and don't use a hopper
) It has less ash, sometimes more heat, and if you lose a fire you can bring one back quickly. The substantially lower price is an additional benefit. I would recommend finding a larger size if possible next time though, it will make things go easier and will give you burn times similar to anthracite.