My fuel consumption

My fuel consumption

PostBy: mdrelyea On: Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:36 pm

I replaced my old Russo hand fed with an Alaska 140 auger in Feb 2011. I had been burning wood in the Russo in the fall and in the spring as needed and then also used about 3 ton of nut. The coal bin in my basement will hold 3 ton, so I ordered 3 ton of rice and didn't worry about running out since I'm only using it to heat my 1500 sqft house and a portion of my unfinished basement. I think I finished the 2010-2011 heating season with about 1.5 ton left in the basement.

Fast forward to the fall of 2011 and with a full heating season before me I started to get pretty nervous about how much fuel I was going to use. I was also dying of curiosity to know how the Alaska 140 did with wood pellets. I had used coal in it but not wood yet. My local TSC (or mecca as I affectionately refer to it! :lol: ) had a good price at the time on a ton of pellets for $197 so I picked up a ton.

I decided to keep track of my usage and correlate the pounds of fuel consumed to the outdoor temperature. As with the Russo, I burned the wood in the fall and spring and the coal in the colder weather. My plan was simple. I put a bathroom scale next to the hopper and weighed the coal scuttle I use every time I dumped it in. I recorded the date and time, and pounds of coal every time I filled the hopper. I've also got a thermometer which attaches to my computer so that I could automatically record the outdoor temperature.

Here's what I ended up with.

Consumption Chart.jpg
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XY scatter of temperature and lbs of fuel. Red is coal and blue is wood pellets
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The wood data is a lot noisier than the coal data. I suspect the noise is from the sun. A sunny day or two in the spring or fall caused me to burn less fuel.

Thankfully last winter was relatively warm, so I made it through with the fuel I had on hand. The next thing I wanted to know was how much coal to order for the next heating season. With my fuel consumption data, that question was easy to answer. I fit a line to my data and then had a formula to use to calculate how much coal I'd use given an average daily temperature. After downloading the historic daily average temperatures since 1973 from some website (can't remember where that was any more) I could plug those numbers in to my formula and take a look at how much coal I would have used for all of those years. If I didn't use pellets, I'd need about 3.75 tons on average with a standard deviation of about 0.25 tons to heat for the entire season. Here's that data thrown into a histogram.

Distribution Curve.jpg
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Looks like a nice normal distribution!
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So, here I am at the start of a new heating season sitting on 4 ton of coal and looking forward to a warm house!
mdrelyea
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Alaska 140 Auger
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Russo #2
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Rice/Nut

Re: My fuel consumption

PostBy: Rick 386 On: Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:04 pm

And just when you think you have it figured out, good old Mother Nature will throw you a curve ball.

Here's to hoping you have a good burning season and a warm one at that !!!!!! :beer:



Rick
Rick 386
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AA 260 heating both sides of twin farmhouse
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL Hyfire II w/ coaltrol in garage
Coal Size/Type: Pea in AA 260, Rice in LL Hyfire II
Other Heating: Gas fired infared at work

Re: My fuel consumption

PostBy: mdrelyea On: Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:16 pm

Rick 386 wrote:And just when you think you have it figured out, good old Mother Nature will throw you a curve ball.


I know! That thought has crossed my mind. I only bought 4 ton. That's just 1 standard deviation above my mean consumption. That means there is roughly a 16% chance that I won't have enough...
mdrelyea
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Alaska 140 Auger
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Russo #2
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Rice/Nut

Visit Lehigh Anthracite

Re: My fuel consumption

PostBy: whistlenut On: Sun Sep 30, 2012 11:37 pm

....and Professor Murphy will prove you to be inept at planning in "The Real World" of consumption vs comfort. Figures lie, and liars figure......
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: My fuel consumption

PostBy: titleist1 On: Sun Sep 30, 2012 11:51 pm

Welcome to the forum!!

Well it's easy to tell that you will fit right in on this forum! I think you have an early season lead in the coal geek contest! :lol: Very impressive number crunching going on there!
titleist1
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Mag Stoker (old style) one in basement, one in workshop
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III on standby for long power outages
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite; Nut/Anthracite

Re: My fuel consumption

PostBy: Freddy On: Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:52 am

Fun post! Welcome to the Forum. Build a bigger bin. No worries. *smile*
Freddy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined

Re: My fuel consumption

PostBy: lsayre On: Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:03 pm

Great data! Keep it coming.
lsayre
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
Coal Size/Type: Stockton Anthracite Pea
Other Heating: Resistance Boiler (13.5 KW)

Re: My fuel consumption

PostBy: mdrelyea On: Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:29 pm

titleist1 wrote:Well it's easy to tell that you will fit right in on this forum! I think you have an early season lead in the coal geek contest! :lol: Very impressive number crunching going on there!


My wife laughs at me all the time for my geekiness. I don't care. :lol: Some guys like cars or sports, I like data. I do similar charts and number crunching with my car's gas mileage!

Mike
mdrelyea
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Alaska 140 Auger
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Russo #2
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Rice/Nut

Re: My fuel consumption

PostBy: mdrelyea On: Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:31 pm

Freddy wrote:Fun post! Welcome to the Forum. Build a bigger bin. No worries. *smile*


A bigger bin is on my list for next summer. I've got ideas on that but most of them are out of the budget.

Mike
mdrelyea
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Alaska 140 Auger
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Russo #2
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Rice/Nut

Re: My fuel consumption

PostBy: CapeCoaler On: Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:35 pm

Better to have too much than too little...
A tarp on the ground and one above...
Cheap fix...
CapeCoaler
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: want AA130
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine BS#4, Harman MKII, Hitzer 503,...
Coal Size/Type: Pea/Nut/Stove

Re: My fuel consumption

PostBy: mdrelyea On: Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:37 pm

lsayre wrote:Great data! Keep it coming.


I'll be tracking it all winter this year too. Gonna be kind of interesting. Last year's data was with Blakshak. This year I'll be burning Reading. Will it make any difference? My dad has burned Reading in the past and swore that he got fewer BTUs out of it. I'll plot the two on the same chart and see how they look.

At some point I'd also like to insulate my basement. That should definitly affect how much fuel I use, and I'll see that on the chart too!

I'm geeking out over here!

Mike
mdrelyea
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Alaska 140 Auger
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Russo #2
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Rice/Nut

Re: My fuel consumption

PostBy: lsayre On: Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:39 pm

You should research "Heating Degree Days" (HDD's). When you get an estimated heating bill from your utility company, they use past historical consumption as correlated to past temperature history (past HDD's) to determine your homes units of energy consumed per HDD, and then they factor in the current (I.E., the past months) actual HDD's times your past historical average energy consumption per HDD to compute your estimated bill.
lsayre
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
Coal Size/Type: Stockton Anthracite Pea
Other Heating: Resistance Boiler (13.5 KW)

Re: My fuel consumption

PostBy: mdrelyea On: Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:41 pm

CapeCoaler wrote:Better to have too much than too little...
A tarp on the ground and one above...
Cheap fix...


I'm with you on the better to have to much than to little. As long as you have the space to store it and the money to buy it. I have neither. :(

Since my bin only holds 3 ton, the 4th ton is stored exactly as you suggested - a tarp on the ground and one above. Plus, it's parked right next to the basement window so that shoveling it in to the bin when there is room should be easy!

Mike
mdrelyea
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Alaska 140 Auger
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Russo #2
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Rice/Nut

Re: My fuel consumption

PostBy: mdrelyea On: Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:45 pm

lsayre wrote:You should research "Heating Degree Days" (HDD's). When you get an estimated heating bill from your utility company, they use past historical consumption as correlated to past temperature history (past HDD's) to determine your homes units of energy consumed per HDD, and then they factor in the current (I.E., the past months) actual HDD's times your past historical average energy consumption per HDD to compute your estimated bill.


Yep, I'm familiar with HDDs. My utility company only provides me with electric. Since my "primary" source of heat is force air fuel oil furnace, they have no past data on my house. My data should be easy to convert to HDDs though. Just subtract the temp from 65 and voila you have a HDD.

Mike
mdrelyea
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Alaska 140 Auger
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Russo #2
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Rice/Nut

Visit Lehigh Anthracite