Drawbacks to stoker stoves?

Drawbacks to stoker stoves?

PostBy: dcrane On: Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:47 pm

I hate to party pooper because the idea of stoker type stoves is great but can you provide a cost analysis of having to run a combustion fan 24/7 to maintain the fire as well as the cost to feed the fuel automatically with a big motor? what size coal is used (rice size is the most inefficient size to burn... an analogy that may help people understand this difference is its akin to burning sawdust as opposed to a nice seasoned oak log). As the cost of electricity is going up at the same rate of heating fuel do the statements that claim an 11% decrease in your fuel costs also factor in the increased electric cost to run that combustion fan 24/7? thanks a bunch Doug Crane
Last edited by Richard S. on Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Moved to Coal Stokers: Boilers, Furnaces and Stoves
dcrane
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Crane 404

Re: Drawbacks to stoker stoves?

PostBy: whistlenut On: Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:55 pm

Greetings, new member. You will learn as you burn! Those HUGE stoker motors are in the range of 1/25hp to 1/6 hp for the bigger units. They aren't 15hp or 75 hp 220V units. As a matter of fact, the pellet stoves use the very same gear reduction motors that the coal stokers use. Your analogy of sawdust vs an Oak log is indeed impressive, however Rice coal has the same BTU output as does Stove coal.

You will be able to figure this out as you read along to get up to speed, however as yet, you do not understand how Coal relates to other fuels in btu production. :idea: :shock: :roll:

Monthly electrical costs are minimal, as you might assume...... 5 to 8 dollars for continuous operation. A factor, but that only buys 1 gallon of gas and mix, no truck/tractor/splitter, no labor, no transportation, no saw costs, no hospital EM fees, no insurance deductible for the homeowners when the creosote filled chimney plugs and burns up your investment.....so as you say: those damned stokers do NOT include those fees, so perhaps they aren't in your future.

However if you want, read other posts from long time wood-burners who aren't going back after switching to coal.
Life is about choices, and the type of fuel you choose to heat your home and warm your family with is certainly yours. ;)
whistlenut
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AA130's,260's, AHS130&260's,EFM900,GJ&VanWert
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Franks Boiler,Itasca415,NYer130,Van Wert
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Yellow Flame
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska-4,Keystoker-2,
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Alaska,Gibraltor,Keystone,Vc Vigilant 2
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Van Wert, NYer's, Ford,Jensen.
Coal Size/Type: Rice,Buck,Pea,Nut&Stove
Other Heating: Oil HWBB

Re: Drawbacks to stoker stoves?

PostBy: lsayre On: Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:18 pm

If the 120VAC stoker motor is drawing 1.7 Amps of current (which is probably typical for motors in the range of 1/25 to 1/20 HP when running at full load) and electricity is $0.12/KWH the monthly cost to run it at full load non stop would be as follows:

Amps = Watts/Volts
1.7 = Watts/120
Watts = 1.7 * 120
Watts = 204

204 Watts/Hr * 24 hours/day * 30.5 days/month = 149,328 Watts/Month (lets call it 150,000)
150,000Watts/1000 Watts/KW= 150 KW

150 KW * $0.12/KW = $18

For this example the added cost of running a stoker vs. a hand fired would be $18 per month in electricity.
Last edited by lsayre on Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
lsayre
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea
Other Heating: Resistance Boiler (if I ever get it fixed)

Visit Lehigh Anthracite

Re: Drawbacks to stoker stoves?

PostBy: whistlenut On: Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:24 pm

He was asking about stoker stoves, and as you so clearly denote, you are giving us numbers for a 'much larger stoker motor'. The small units are 1/25 hp and draw about .35 amp, so as you can interpolate, It is very inexpensive to run a stoker strove 24/7...perhaps $3 to $5 a month. Hardly worth talking about, unless you need a generator, etc for power loss situations. :eek2: :secret:
whistlenut
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AA130's,260's, AHS130&260's,EFM900,GJ&VanWert
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Franks Boiler,Itasca415,NYer130,Van Wert
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Yellow Flame
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska-4,Keystoker-2,
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Alaska,Gibraltor,Keystone,Vc Vigilant 2
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Van Wert, NYer's, Ford,Jensen.
Coal Size/Type: Rice,Buck,Pea,Nut&Stove
Other Heating: Oil HWBB

Re: Drawbacks to stoker stoves?

PostBy: lsayre On: Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:33 pm

I was looking at 1/20 to 1/25 HP motors running at full rated load and spinning in the range of 1,350 RPM's, but for a stoker application the motors are probably running at (or geared down to) only a couple RPM's at most and they are likely not being taxed at anywhere near their full rated load capacity, so I clearly did not use the right motors (or the right considerations as to the required motor factors in general) in coming up with a nominal 1.7 Amps.

But whatever the actual monthly cost of running a stoker 24/7 may be, $18 per month would certainly be the absolute upper limit to this cost.
lsayre
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea
Other Heating: Resistance Boiler (if I ever get it fixed)

Re: Drawbacks to stoker stoves?

PostBy: WNY On: Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:37 pm

Here are some stats for a Leisure Line stove

Leisure Line Stoker Stoves Power Draw

Feeder Motor - .55amps
Combustion Fan - .58amps
Convection Fan - 1.86amps
Power Venter - 1.77 amps or 136 watts

I think my electric was $20 or less increase per month.
WNY
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90K, Leisure Line Hyfire I
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker, LL & CoalTrol
Stove/Furnace Model: 90K, Hyfire I, VF3000 Soon

Re: Drawbacks to stoker stoves?

PostBy: mozz On: Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:02 pm

Having had a stoker stove my electric went up $40-50/month, includes running a power vent. My bill is normally $50-60/month for the entire house. Real life situation, not figured out on a piece of paper based on wattage and kilowatt pricing. One drawback is trying to get all rooms in the house to heat evenly. You have to load the coal and remove the ashes so room placement might make your wife mad. Spending $2000-4000 on a new stoker takes a bit to pay back. One drawback is this, when you sell the stoker and put in a coal boiler,(happens a lot) you will lose some money selling the stoker. If that might be your situation, skip buying the stoker and go direct to a used coal boiler. If you just want to save a little money and help reduce your heating bills, buy a handfed stove. Also, stokers don't work when you lose power, they also aren't maintenance free, i'm sure there are other drawbacks.
Rant off, thanks for listening. :mad: :mad:
Last edited by mozz on Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
mozz
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 1982 AA-130 Steam

Re: Drawbacks to stoker stoves?

PostBy: Rob R. On: Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:06 pm

Doug Crane - thanks for joining the forum. There is no question that a radiant hand fired stove is a very economical source of heat. Quiet, efficient, and no electric required. The question is if you can move the heat where it is needed, and throttle the stove down on warm afternoons.

My house is no longer setup to be heated with a single stove, it would probably take 3 stoves to do the job. I run a stoker boiler, and the entire system draws 300-500 watts depending on how many zones are running. Based on my electric cost and the hour meter on my system, I estimate that it costs me about $50 of electric per winter to run my heating system. I think that is very reasonable given the advantages of central heat.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Drawbacks to stoker stoves?

PostBy: whistlenut On: Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:02 pm

I know this might be just a coincidence, but up here in New England we have had Crane Coal Stoves that are infamous for long life, excellent burn characteristics, and being bulletproof. Is there any chance you are related to that Crane family? If so, you can consider this an invitation to please get back into the hand fed business. If not, you are able to gain a great deal of respect just from the mention of the Crane name. Either way, I hope you get the answers you are looking for. ...and yes, a hand fed natural draft coal burner is absolutely the most cost effective way to burn.
whistlenut
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AA130's,260's, AHS130&260's,EFM900,GJ&VanWert
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Franks Boiler,Itasca415,NYer130,Van Wert
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Yellow Flame
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska-4,Keystoker-2,
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Alaska,Gibraltor,Keystone,Vc Vigilant 2
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Van Wert, NYer's, Ford,Jensen.
Coal Size/Type: Rice,Buck,Pea,Nut&Stove
Other Heating: Oil HWBB

Re: Drawbacks to stoker stoves?

PostBy: 2001Sierra On: Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:01 pm

My kesytoker 90 draws as follows.
Controlled by a Coal-trol, which gives the user many features at your fingertips as your demand requires.
Combustion Fan 15 Watts
Combustion Fan with Feed Motor running 37 Watts
Convection fan on High with Combustion Fan 109 Watts
With all motors running 130 Watts.
My Keystoker draws less than 1 Killowatt per day, on a mild day. Full tilt 24hr would be 3 Killowatts.
I did replace my combustion fan with a ball bearing Dayton model that cut power consumption for combustion air more than half.
2001Sierra
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90 Chimney vent
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Other Heating: Buderus Oil Boiler 3115-34
Stove/Furnace Model: Keystoker 90 Chimney Vent

Re: Drawbacks to stoker stoves?

PostBy: pvolcko On: Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:29 pm

If energy efficiency is your primary goal then you are right, Doug, stoker stoves are not the way to go in that case. However, for most people energy efficiency is not in fact the primary goal. They are concerned about comfort, ease of use, space efficiency for fuel storage, space efficiency in terms of btu capability for a given stove footprint, need for non-natural draft venting, ability to tie into a central heating system, need for extended burns without fuel or ash maintenance, and any number of other factors. Stoker stoves address these better, in many people's opinion, than hand fired stoves. Does that make them "better", period? No. It makes them better for any number of situations. Likewise hand fired stoves are better for any number of other situations. And there is a universe of situations where boilers make more sense, or natural gas furnaces, or what have you.

As for the claim of 11% fuel energy savings using the Coal-trol Digital: that is compared to use of a traditional, analog, bi-metal type thermostat controlling a stoker stove. This savings primarily comes from eliminating the ups and downs around a setpoint that these thermostats generate in maintaining a steady state temperature using it's on-off control style. Our control generates a digitally maintained, finer grain on-off sequence that effectively turns the stoker into a variable output heat source. The control tracks room temp and settles on the stoker output needed to maintain the setpoint temperature with a minimum of temperature fluctuation and stoker output variation, thus achieving better fuel efficency. In addition to the fuel savings, our control is similar to modern furnace thermostats in offering programmed setpoints and automatic or manual convection fan control. For our customers, this leads to greater comfort and ease of use compared to manual controls or dial type thermostats (which necessitate use of timer boxes and other such devices on the stove which need adjustment, too).
pvolcko
 

Re: Drawbacks to stoker stoves?

PostBy: Short Bus On: Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:05 am

No doubt a hand fed stove is the lowest initial and operational cost, more efficient burn by controls is probalby consumed by their cost and added maintenace, but I like comfort.
I could walk the two miles to work and save a pot full of money, but I drive, even at -40 when the cost in maintenace is incalculatable, it's good to have choices, no?
Short Bus
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Kewanee boiler with Anchor stoker
Coal Size/Type: Chestnut / Sub-bituminous C
Other Heating: Propane wall furnace back up only

Re: Drawbacks to stoker stoves?

PostBy: Richard S. On: Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:29 am

dcrane wrote:(rice size is the most inefficient size to burn... an analogy that may help people understand this difference is its akin to burning sawdust as opposed to a nice seasoned oak log).


Not necessarily because the heat ramps up or down based on demand and with the smaller sized coal it will dampen off faster. They will use more electric but that is the price you pay for convenience.

When you get into the larger boilers it's completely different story. Having a small sized coal is essential because you can lower the burn rate to almost nothing and since the volume of coal available is substantial you don't need constant air flow . For example on my Van Wert has both a draft setting and the blower. The blower only kicks on when it's stoking, the draft maintains the fire when it isn't. Since there is such a large volume of coal it could sit there for hours without running but just to make sure the fire doesn't go out we have a timer so it runs about a minute once every hour. This is so effective I burn year round. I might use a ton of coal for the entire summer, that provides me with hot water and more importantly the stoker isn't rotting away all summer. ;) You're talking about a $9K investment to replace it.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Drawbacks to stoker stoves?

PostBy: blrman07 On: Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:46 am

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.
blrman07
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Bucket a Day
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vigilant Casting 2310
Baseburners & Antiques: rebuilding a 1906 March Brownback Double Heater, reblacking a UMCO 1920's Pot Belly
Coal Size/Type: Pea/Nut/Wood in the VC and anything that will fit in the Bucket a Day. It's not fussy.

Re: Drawbacks to stoker stoves?

PostBy: Flyer5 On: Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:53 am

Richard S. wrote:
dcrane wrote:(rice size is the most inefficient size to burn... an analogy that may help people understand this difference is its akin to burning sawdust as opposed to a nice seasoned oak log).


Not necessarily because the heat ramps up or down based on demand and with the smaller sized coal it will dampen off faster. They will use more electric but that is the price you pay for convenience.

When you get into the larger boilers it's completely different story. Having a small sized coal is essential because you can lower the burn rate to almost nothing and since the volume of coal available is substantial you don't need constant air flow . For example on my Van Wert has both a draft setting and the blower. The blower only kicks on when it's stoking, the draft maintains the fire when it isn't. Since there is such a large volume of coal it could sit there for hours without running but just to make sure the fire doesn't go out we have a timer so it runs about a minute once every hour. This is so effective I burn year round. I might use a ton of coal for the entire summer, that provides me with hot water and more importantly the stoker isn't rotting away all summer. ;) You're talking about a $9K investment to replace it.



According to my Kill O Watt meter my highest electricity usage for my Pioneer was almost $10 for the month of January. And I have gone almost three days without tending. The Coal-Trol helps with that a lot. There are pros and cons to both but I like that I don't have to tend the fire every 12hrs. Also you can powervent most stokers, cannot with a hand fed stoves. I always recommend a chimney if possible because of the power usage and need for cleaning but with the new SWG-AF series powervents the need for cleaning has been really improved. Dave
Flyer5
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Leisure Line WL110
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Leisure Line Pioneer

Visit Lehigh Anthracite