Wiz, you are on a great journey, and while you think you have no experience, you ARE already bright enough to know that you want to keep your heat and hot water dollars right here at home. Your location makes it a no-brainer to visit Keystoker, EFM, AHS, AA, Leisure Line, ......over time. There are some fine folks that are rebuilders in Ravine, also. I would not ever be afraid of a used, rebuilt unit from them. When you go to Keystoker for a visit (open Sat. AM) you will be shocked at what they produce by hand and the diversity of their products. Hot air, little stokers, big stokers and all the work is done right there. Don't be afraid to zip over to Berwick either, Matt and Dave are on target to help as many folks as they can update or move to coal appliances. I hear CoalKirk speak of 'sizing' and while I respect that part of the process, I have not worried about having too much btu available. Bigger is better from where I live. If it -24 with the wind blowing, who the hell cares how much coal you burn, your family needs to be warm. End of story!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can assure you of one thing, you won't hear anything while the stokers are running....unlike an oil burner firing every 10 minutes,..... while you think you are paying another portion of the Sheiks 2012 RR.
TikiGeorge is a generous guy, so please take him up on his offer. It's nice to see the machine purring and happy. Enjoy the ride, your family will love you for it, too!