blrman07 wrote:For every fuel system you have trade offs. I'll go down the list and try and point out some of the tradeoffs.
Nat Gas hard piped in and you don't have to monitor any fuel levels. A true set it and forget it type of fuel. Was expensive, now in some areas cheaper than coal. Requires electricity to operate.
Propane hard piped in from the tank but you do have to monitor fuel levels and order fill ups or go on a contract with auto fill ups. Cha ching cha ching expensive. Requires electricity to operate.
Fuel oil tank in the basement (common in NE USA) monitor fuel levels, put up with random fuel oil smells. Rivels gasoline in cost. Triple cha ching cha ching Requires electricity to operate.
Gravity Fed whole house size kerosene heaters. ( common in the Southern USA) External tank usually 55 gallon drum on a stand. Hard piped to stove. Does have slight kerosene smell. Fuel is more expensive than gasoline in most areas. cha ching cha ching No electricity required to operate.
Coal Stoker stove or boiler burning rice coal. Medium to large Storage area required. Have to monitor coal supplies and order in advance to ensure delivery. In some Anthracite cost may be prohibitive making NG, Oil, or Propane more cost effective. In most areas of NE USA one of cheapest fuels going. Can be obtained in bulk or bags.
Coal Can be messy and dusty, if not handled properly but very versatile. Hand disposal of ash in some areas could be a problem. Requires electricity to operate.
Trade offs. Do you want convenience or savings? Willing to invest some hand labor to save $$? Your choice but there is no one perfect setup because it can change from house to house, town to town, region to region, country to country. You just have to research and decide what you want to do.
Coal Hand fired stove or Boiler burning coal ranging in size from Buckwheat to Stove. Again medium to large storage area required. Monitor coal supplies. Can be obtained in bulk or bags. Can be messy and dusty if not handled properly. May require more frequent tending depending on installation and usage factors. Many stoves burn any type of coal from Anthracite to Bit with few changes in setup. Very versatile. Hand operation requires a learning curve to operate the stove or boiler but is doable with persistence. Does not require electricity to operate
Wood burning stove or boiler. Very large storage areas needed for year round operation. Can get expensive if you do not have your own tree/wood supply with costs similar to coal. Wood requires cutting, splitting, stacking, hauling. Very labor intensive and can get expensive once you factor in all the intagible costs such as chain saws, splitters, fuel costs to run the equipment, your time. (Doesn't your time have a $$ value?) Does not require electricity to operate.
Very informative post. Thanks