Hi All, new to the forum. I’m looking for general advice. So here’s some background:
I live on the southern edge of coal country, north of Harrisburg, PA. My wife’s family all burns coal and has for years, hand-fired and stokers. My dad has a Harman boiler.
I’m looking at a fire place insert and really like the Hitzer 503. I’ve spent many hours on this forum looking over other’s experience and think that the Hitzer would fit my needs well. I have hot water baseboard and the boiler also supplies DHW throughout the year. I’ve felt the pinch in recent years as the oil has risen and want to get out of it (for the most part). This is my first home and I have thought about a coal boiler but don’t know how long I’ll live in the home (I am planning for at least another 5-7 years though) and the pay-off on a boiler might not be there. As a result I’m looking at an insert.
Live in a small town. Houses are about 15 feet apart.
I have a house built in 1820 and it’s an offset 2 story 2400 sq. ft. with about 1400 on the first and 1000 on the second. The fireplace is centrally located in the first floor. There is a staircase leading upstairs at the front door which is in the room adjacent to the fireplace. Windows are about 8 years old, fairly new, 26 of them spread throughout the house. Little, if any, wall insulation in most of the house, 2/3, with exterior walls insulated in 1/3 of the house which is the new additions. 2/3 of the attic or ceilings are insulated.
My external, aluminum-sided, masonry chimney is about 28’ from the base to the top with about 15 feet, maybe a little more, of that above the smoke shelf. Chimney is lined with 8x12 clay tile with an internal dim of 6.75”x11.25”. It looks to be in good shape, best guess is built in the early 80’s. It looks like they burned wood a long time ago but there is a worthless, non-vented, gas log set in there now from the previous owners. There is another flue in the chimney that is a small and tile lined that’s connected to the oil boiler.
I’m building a coal bin at my parking pad that will be 10’x4’x4’ and hope to hold about 4 tons of nut coal.
I have been using the search function and have found some results also have called local “experts” that don’t seem to know Adam from Eve when it comes to coal. So, now that you have a life story I have some questions:
I am looking to replace about 70% of my oil costs and keep the house warmer, is that reasonable?
Do I need a SS liner? Hitzer recommends one. “Code” says I just need to use a liner to get to the smoke shelf. One installer says he wouldn’t go without it; the other is a sweep and says that he’d stay away if I can because of pin-holing. Hitzer says to go no more than 3 times the surface area of the stove flue size. The 503 is 6”. So its area is just over 28” and my flue is about 76”. Within, but not by much
Regardless, I’d like to insulate around the smoke shelf, what type of insulation should I use? Where might I get it?
Any ideas on air circulation or should I just let it naturally occur? I have ceiling fans in most rooms.
Does anyone have experience with the waste companies taking coal ash on a weekly basis?
I can install the stove myself, should I just do that? The only guy in my area that will do it wants nearly a $1000 (this has nothing to do with the liner because he won’t touch that) and I need to be there to help, maybe with some friends.
I can install the liner myself and save about $500-$600, is installation that difficult with some help and a puller?
I’m looking to pull the trigger and have gotten quotes on everything from the stove to the liner to getting the chimney swept/inspected (they are coming this coming Monday 8/6).
Thanks for the help in advance. And if it’s been said before and I missed it, any reference to other posts would be helpful (although I think I’ve read most of them).