Burning Coal: How did it begin for you?

Re: Burning Coal: How did it begin for you?

PostBy: urdahere On: Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:59 pm

Grew up in the 40’s and 50’s with a coal fired parlor stove in the living room and a coal fired kitchen stove with a propane sidearm hot water heater (black cast iron with a copper coil for the water to be heated and sent to a tank.)
Dad had a grocery store for nearly 30 years back then and the store was heated with a coal furnace with one register for the whole place. Customers used to gather over the register in the winter to get warmed up.
Bought my home in 1970 and there was a Kenmore coal/wood single register furnace that had been converted to burn oil with a oil gun in the ash pit area. During the Jimmy Carter days, I pulled out the gun and put the grates back in and burned wood. House was usually in the high 70’s but it was a dirty and our family clothes smelled like wood smoke. I never slept well with that furnace as it was so old and I worried about chimney fires even though I cleaned the pipes and chimney the first of every month during the burning days.
Finally put in an efficient oil furnace, but kept the old coal furnace just in case. Oil prices went through the roof and I really started to think about going back to coal. I was visiting a neighbor on a very cold winter day in 2011 and it was about 90 in their house. When they told me that they were heating with a stoker I did some research on them and ended up putting in a Leisure Line Pocono. Last winter was not so cold, but the wife was finally warm. She’s a 13 year breast cancer survivor and suffered a lot of nerve damage from the chemo. She was freezing all of the time. Not anymore! Putting that Pocono was the best move I ever made. Too bad I waited so long. With the weather this winter, it has been great. My only problem is with all the heat, I’m having icicles off the roof and that has never happened before.
This forum has been another great find and has provided a wealth of information. I’m on it just about every day.
urdahere
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Pocono

Re: Burning Coal: How did it begin for you?

PostBy: dbjc364 On: Wed Jan 09, 2013 7:13 am

Settle in, and grab a cup of coffee....It all started with us for the uncontrollable need to have more money in our pockets to pay bills & fix up the house,than in another country making them rich just so they could come over here and buy our houses. During the spiking {2007-08?} we hit $2100.00 trying to heat this cape style house.I didn't think this house was a big house-1200 sq. ft. With a forced air system,the heat wasn't reaching the upstairs at all,it was just too chilly for me,I like it cool in the bedroom,but not cold to see my breath. So I bought electric mattress pads-{$80.00} that helped quite a bit,but still too cold,and I was concerned about the upstairs bathroom pipes.The front bedroom always got hit with the winter winds first and was downright frigid to sleep in there-not to mention sucking out what little heat we had up there. In the downstairs main rooms,I was always hitting that oil button to call for more heat. The walls were insulated. We even paid to have the tank brought inside so we could burn the cheaper fuel. We bought this house in 2003,and lived with the system for 5 yrs.-then decided to supplement,and got a pellet stove when we built the new living room addition on the backside. Thats when oil spiked,and we started looking harder at all options,and I dont know who stumbled first upon Nepa,it was probaly hubby,but boy are we ever glad we did start reading. Both of us read all winter long that winter,and by spring decided to take the plunge and we were nervous as hell I'll tell ya. Lady luck was with us,we came across a used Harmon Mark 11 and installed it in the cellar,taking out the oil furnace.I know my mother thought we were crazy for doing that,and probaly a few other people.Ok, so we had that in the cellar,and a pellet stove upstairs. Almost enough,but still not quite. In the morning we would grab our coffee and go down cellar to watch the "blue ladies" and the warmth. Then we sold the pellet stove as after experiencing the warmth of the Harmon, and knew we wanted a "Chubby" sitting in the living room. But we still had to improve the cellar,and Lady Luck showed up once again, came across a used wood/coal furnace with a plenum and thermostat. Ok, now we're talking. Last winter it was better-more BTU's for starters with a furnace.,just let the heat rise up thru the kitchen door and floorboards-because of time constraints. Pretty good,but still needs improvements.OK, hire my brother to help install another insulated chimney in the living room,build a rock wall inside and install a stove. With all the other things going on that needed attention, we still didnt come across a Chubby in time for winter,so installed a Vermont Castings wood stove but just for temporary. We burned wood, but it just wasnt the same,and because of the way its designed,had a couple good clog ups,but we got thru the winter,even though the wood made a hell of a mess. Then came the Chubby-which we installed in my 2nd hand shop in the garage to heat that,all the while wishing for another Chubby for the house. Didnt come across one,so installed a cheapie called "Comfort" but it had the shaker grate. All these stoves,hubby reconditioned. By now,he's getting pretty good at this,but it is time consuming. The grate is poorly designed,so we're back to burning wood pieces,but it does throw the serious heat for sure,so its ok for this winter. This spring its coming out, sell that, the "Chubby" is coming in, the Harmon Mark 2 is being installed in the garage.The Harmon was for sale,but havent been able to sell it,so we're going to use it. The furnace is now got one duct in the living room, and blowing warm air hooked to the thermostat. I got up at 3:45, temp was 70*, outside 16*. This is the first morning I havent had to fire up the living room stove to take the chill off. He has one more duct to run into the big room,and hook up the cold air return,and move the thermostat. Its a Harmon furnace and we just lov the heat it produces. But now we're out of major money again {hate that when that happens} so we'll just switch the liv. room stoves around again. Last week, my dryer decided to die,and the spare I had in the garage decided to die also. We trouble shooted, paid a dryer man $60 also,he couldnt find the problem. There is a brand new {rented} one sitting in place drying the clothes now, and my furnace is kicking out the heat,and we just went out to dinner with a gift certificate to celebrate our 13th anniversary. I'm happy and warm. We would not trade to go back to oil for anything. We love burning coal. 3 years ago hubby had also built a 2 ton coal bin in the cellar,and Lady Luck showed again & we purchased 2 roller chutes to get the bags downstairs easily for a very reasonable amount. With no way to the outside, 2 years ago also hired brother to build a bulkhead. Thru out this experience, my sis-in-law watching us, feeling the heat from the stoves, also decided to try coal,and now has a little coal stove in their living room and they love it too. Now its all coming together, but what a ride its been......
dbjc364
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman Mark 11

Re: Burning Coal: How did it begin for you?

PostBy: BigFoot On: Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:33 am

When oil prices whent out of control , I put a coal boiler in the basement ,house is warm at 1/3 the cost of oil !!!!
1 year I spent over 4,000 dollers of oil and winter wasnt over. Whent to coal at 150.00 a ton (5years ago) x6 = 900.00 ,now i pick up coal at 168.00 ton (casey costa,Pittston PA )still best game in town ! :D (AA130 boiler cost 6,000 instaled , paid for it self !
BigFoot
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Axeman Anderson
Stove/Furnace Model: AA130


Re: Burning Coal: How did it begin for you?

PostBy: mikey55 On: Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:46 am

Same here new house in Dec 2009. Put in oil boiler and 550 gallon buried oil tank. This was for heat and hot water. All was ok till oil hit 4.79 if I remember right. There is a coal/stove dealer near me so I went and talked with them. Then found this sight. Long story short I bought Keystoker ka6 boiler. Set it up next to the f ---ing oil burner. now heat to 72 and hot water for far less money. Paid for the boiler in two years. Love it. Now to look into maybe heating my 30 x 40 shop. Have oil in there now but only use as needed. Have to research coal furnaces as duct work is all in.
mikey55
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: key stoker ka6
Stove/Furnace Model: ka6

Re: Burning Coal: How did it begin for you?

PostBy: coalkirk On: Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:58 am

dbjc364 wrote:Settle in, and grab a cup of coffee....It all started with us for the uncontrollable need to have more money in our pockets to pay bills & fix up the house,than in another country making them rich just so they could come over here and buy our houses. During the spiking {2007-08?} we hit $2100.00 trying to heat this cape style house.I didn't think this house was a big house-1200 sq. ft. With a forced air system,the heat wasn't reaching the upstairs at all,it was just too chilly for me,I like it cool in the bedroom,but not cold to see my breath. So I bought electric mattress pads-{$80.00} that helped quite a bit,but still too cold,and I was concerned about the upstairs bathroom pipes.The front bedroom always got hit with the winter winds first and was downright frigid to sleep in there-not to mention sucking out what little heat we had up there. In the downstairs main rooms,I was always hitting that oil button to call for more heat. The walls were insulated. We even paid to have the tank brought inside so we could burn the cheaper fuel. We bought this house in 2003,and lived with the system for 5 yrs.-then decided to supplement,and got a pellet stove when we built the new living room addition on the backside. Thats when oil spiked,and we started looking harder at all options,and I dont know who stumbled first upon Nepa,it was probaly hubby,but boy are we ever glad we did start reading. Both of us read all winter long that winter,and by spring decided to take the plunge and we were nervous as hell I'll tell ya. Lady luck was with us,we came across a used Harmon Mark 11 and installed it in the cellar,taking out the oil furnace.I know my mother thought we were crazy for doing that,and probaly a few other people.Ok, so we had that in the cellar,and a pellet stove upstairs. Almost enough,but still not quite. In the morning we would grab our coffee and go down cellar to watch the "blue ladies" and the warmth. Then we sold the pellet stove as after experiencing the warmth of the Harmon, and knew we wanted a "Chubby" sitting in the living room. But we still had to improve the cellar,and Lady Luck showed up once again, came across a used wood/coal furnace with a plenum and thermostat. Ok, now we're talking. Last winter it was better-more BTU's for starters with a furnace.,just let the heat rise up thru the kitchen door and floorboards-because of time constraints. Pretty good,but still needs improvements.OK, hire my brother to help install another insulated chimney in the living room,build a rock wall inside and install a stove. With all the other things going on that needed attention, we still didnt come across a Chubby in time for winter,so installed a Vermont Castings wood stove but just for temporary. We burned wood, but it just wasnt the same,and because of the way its designed,had a couple good clog ups,but we got thru the winter,even though the wood made a hell of a mess. Then came the Chubby-which we installed in my 2nd hand shop in the garage to heat that,all the while wishing for another Chubby for the house. Didnt come across one,so installed a cheapie called "Comfort" but it had the shaker grate. All these stoves,hubby reconditioned. By now,he's getting pretty good at this,but it is time consuming. The grate is poorly designed,so we're back to burning wood pieces,but it does throw the serious heat for sure,so its ok for this winter. This spring its coming out, sell that, the "Chubby" is coming in, the Harmon Mark 2 is being installed in the garage.The Harmon was for sale,but havent been able to sell it,so we're going to use it. The furnace is now got one duct in the living room, and blowing warm air hooked to the thermostat. I got up at 3:45, temp was 70*, outside 16*. This is the first morning I havent had to fire up the living room stove to take the chill off. He has one more duct to run into the big room,and hook up the cold air return,and move the thermostat. Its a Harmon furnace and we just lov the heat it produces. But now we're out of major money again {hate that when that happens} so we'll just switch the liv. room stoves around again. Last week, my dryer decided to die,and the spare I had in the garage decided to die also. We trouble shooted, paid a dryer man $60 also,he couldnt find the problem. There is a brand new {rented} one sitting in place drying the clothes now, and my furnace is kicking out the heat,and we just went out to dinner with a gift certificate to celebrate our 13th anniversary. I'm happy and warm. We would not trade to go back to oil for anything. We love burning coal. 3 years ago hubby had also built a 2 ton coal bin in the cellar,and Lady Luck showed again & we purchased 2 roller chutes to get the bags downstairs easily for a very reasonable amount. With no way to the outside, 2 years ago also hired brother to build a bulkhead. Thru out this experience, my sis-in-law watching us, feeling the heat from the stoves, also decided to try coal,and now has a little coal stove in their living room and they love it too. Now its all coming together, but what a ride its been......


One word.....paragraphs! Man that's hard to read for my old eyes.

I grew up in a home with a coal fired octapus gravity air system. We burned nut coal. I had three brothers me being the youngest. As we got older the job of loading the furnace and hauling out the ashes fell to me. I thought it was really cool that we had an actual fire in our furnace when all of our neighbors had gas and oil furnaces. When I eventually had my own home I heated with wood for about 20 years. :cry:

Ten years ago it became apparent that I was not getting younger. ;) Wood is way too much work. Oil had just jumped from .79 to .99 and I was appauled. Started looking into coal and almost bought a harman hand fired boiler. My thinking was I could burn wood or coal. I was not familiar with the idea of a stoker at the time. I saw the VF3000 on harmans website and was intrigued but none of the harman dealers within a reasonable distance had one in stock to even look at. You won't believe this next part. I called harman direct and talked to someone there. I explained I was interested in a VF3000 but could not find one anywhere to look at. He told me they heated there factory with several of them and if I wanted to make the drive, he would show one to me. When I saw one, it was love at first sight. :inlove: They would not sell me one however. Had to go through a dealer.

Harman has such a bad customer service reputation. In hind sight it is pretty remarkable that they let me come there to see one. I must have gotton a hold of the right guy. So when I got home I started shopping around for one at the various harman dealers that were reasonably close. A dealer in Hanover Pa called Sterners made me the best deal, $3.500.00 and no tax if I picked it up at their location. The rest is history. Without a doubt, one of the best moves I've ever made.
coalkirk
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000
Coal Size/Type: antrhcite/rice coal

Re: Burning Coal: How did it begin for you?

PostBy: whistlenut On: Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:14 am

On a dark and frigid evening at the cabin way back in the woods, where even the Black Bears could not sleep because it was soooooo cold...........there came a Wiley Ole Fellow from PA who was travlin' through with a wagon load of black rocks. He said they were 'magic rocks', and son of a gun if he wasn't right!! That was many moons ago, and the rest has been well documented............................................................................................!
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: Burning Coal: How did it begin for you?

PostBy: japar On: Thu Jan 17, 2013 8:17 pm

It was around 07 heating oil was going up like crazy and I purchased my Hearthmate combo off of craigslist for $150- $200 ??? I knew it burt coal and started searching found this site and found a place in CT that sold coal. I made a delivery to Wallingford CT and not to far away was BT ent which I stopped and purchased 2400lbs pallet of Blaschak pea. By asking , lurking and reading on this site I have become a pretty good coal burner. The following year I swiched and picked up a pallet of Blaschak nut. Maybe in 09 I got 5 tons of stove coal out of a basement in Mattaposett Ma for free. The oil truck has not been to my house since 07 I havn't purchased coal since 08 and still have enuff coal on hand for next year. I hope this year to make a NEPA run with my dually and trailer and come back with 6 tons
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japar
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hearthmate
Stove/Furnace Make: Hearthmate
Stove/Furnace Model: combo

Re: Burning Coal: How did it begin for you?

PostBy: nikonmom On: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:36 pm

Weeeeeeelllll, I can't say I am burning coal yet, just tired of sitting by the window freezing to death and sick of paying $500 every time the oil guy comes, which seems like twice a week...we burned wood for 12 years and the 2nd year I was doing a lot of driving for my job and would scope out wood that Central Maine Power had cut under the wires, would go back and get it later, being a bargain-minded "city" girl, one log grabbed me and threw me off the truck, breaking my shoulder, which put an end to my using the chainsaw, got a kerosene monitor a few years later, then finally moved up to dial-a-temp, but it's so dang cold in here, always wanted a wood burning Queen Atlantic, thinking if i could just heat the basement, the floor at least would be warm, went to my go-to source for info, YOUTUBE, and found a very interesting video by Mr Herrick, who was dressed in spats for the "halloweiners" and who was showing us how to build a coal fire in his antique Glenwood, then I found the website of the stove hospital, read a lot more and was dying for a Glenwood cookstove, but being a closet survivalist, I read that wood fires give off visible smoke and smell, whereas coal does not, and i figure later on we will need this info, so, not getting any satisfaction from installers who don't believe in coal, i went to a stove shop and was telling them how badly i want a wood fired cook stove for the basement, and the girl got on the web and found a picture of a nice glenwood oak coal burner, and I said "this is the stove that the guy said was the absolute BEST.." and she said, we have one of those in the back. I almost fell over, the shop owner did someone a favor and bought it from a customer for $100, I was so excited I offered him $150.00 and since the handle on my SUV rusted out i couldnt open the hatch, I am now the owner of Smith & Anthony Oak Hub stove, that I have the base and finial so far, and will go back next week for the rest of it. There is a hole in the back of the ash pan (are these hard to find?) and the door at the base had broken and was welded and broke again, and there is a hairline crack in the one lid cooktop under the movable/swingable perfectly nickled finial (what do you think happened here?) but it looks to be in good review for as little as I know, and I THINK it is a coal burner Can anybody tell me if it is? Next, I will need venting from the basement info. Thank you one and all for the stories.
nikonmom
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Smith & Anthony
Stove/Furnace Model: Hub Oak

Re: Burning Coal: How did it begin for you?

PostBy: Greggorrio On: Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:20 pm

In 1986 I wanted to buy a new more efficient woodburner for my 1200 sq ft home. The house was built like a tank by a carpenter who was old-school and did everything right. I stopped at a private owned local building supply store called Laurel Valley Aluminum, in Stahlstown, PA where the owner recycled materials and had a great stock of wormy chestnut wood. Ivan was his name. Well Ivan knew everything about anything and I'm not lying. He steered me in the choice of a Harman Stove. I only needed the Mark I, and I told him I wanted to burn wood in it. He said, " You can burn wood in it, but I'm not suppose to say that cause of the pollution and stuff." The next Saturday, I paid him in cash and he delivered the stove to my home and installed it. He told me to try some hard coal and I'd never go back to burning wood again. Well, I was no stranger to burning "soft" coal, so I knew the basics. After a few good wood fires, I decided to get some hard coal and give it a try. I remember when I put the coal on the hot wood embers there was no smoke. I followed the directions in the Harman stove manual and filled it full once the first layer caught. I remember seeing the dancing blue flames and I was thrilled to see my results identical to the pictures in the instructions. A couple hours later I went to bed. The next morning, I awoke and rushed downstairs to get the fire going strong again....BUT TO MY AMAZEMENT the coals looked much like when I had left them 8 hours ago! I will never forget my total surprise at realizing how long hard coal burns. I was hooked!
I've been burning hard coal in 3 different homes using 3 different Harman stoves for the past 27 years.
As a kid I remember my Grandma & Granpap burning coal in their furnace and their cook stove in the kitchen. Uncle Leo and Grandpap would discuss the price of coal per ton, the quality or grade, and when Leo would deliver it to their coal bin in the basement. Those old company houses in Wyano had no insulation, except for the newspapers stuffed in the wall cracks. However, coal kept them warm and sometimes so hot the windows were open a crack to keep us all from roasting.
Coal is in my blood. I can't explain it, but I know it is in my genes. I feel a deep sense of appreciation for being able to hand stoke a nice hot coal fire to keep my family warm. More over it brings back great memories of when life was so special being around family. You know, all the many times my Grandma climbed down those steep basement steps to check/poke the coal furnace, I NEVER WENT DOWN TO WATCH OR LEARN! I wish at least once I would have shared that experience with her.
Greggorrio
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC 2000

Re: Burning Coal: How did it begin for you?

PostBy: Stngllhm On: Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:06 pm

When I was growing up my parents always burned wood and I remember been cold and wet and tired and splinters and swore I would never use wood. When I was 16 or 17 I was helping an old guy build a new house and he was telling me how no one wanted to buy his old house cuz it had a coal furnace in it. He told me he heated his house for around $200 a year. He said he only had to empty ash like once a week. I knew I had found the heating source I wanted to use. A few years ago I found a US stove Hotblast 1557m for $300 it sat in my shop till this last fall finely got it installed. So right around my 30th birthday I got to start burning coal. And it just makes me hate wood more.
Stngllhm
 
Stove/Furnace Make: US Stove
Stove/Furnace Model: Hot Blast 1557m

Re: Burning Coal: How did it begin for you?

PostBy: home harvest On: Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:14 pm

It began for us when we bought our current house. It already had a flue to the basement rec room, and a nice brick hearth. But the previous owners had an ugly, modern, ventless gas heater sitting on that beautiful hearth. It had to go. We considered wood first, but as our property is essentially treeless that wasn't a real advantage. Coal seems the obvious solution. We bought a used Harman Mark II, had it delivered, and we've never regretted it. It's been almost 10 years now, and we still love it. We Keep the whole house toasty warm for about $600 a year.
home harvest
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harmon Mark II
Coal Size/Type: Nut
Other Heating: Oil/Hot Water
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Mark II

Re: Burning Coal: How did it begin for you?

PostBy: Greyhound On: Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:06 pm

When I was younger and living in "Taxachusetts", some friends had a Chubby in the kitchen, that was the first exposure. Fast forward many years after many moves and the price of oil going up. I walked into a sporting goods store locally who was a Harman dealer and was impressed with the heat the little stoker was putting out. Ended up buying a used Baker, found this forum to try and figure out how to run it, sold it and bought the Keystoker a few months later and have never looked back.

I don't post nearly as much as I read, but I thank the Coal Burning gods every time that I have an issue, because I know where to find the answer.

Rick
Greyhound
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 105
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Other Heating: Lenox Oil HA, Heat Pump

Re: Burning Coal: How did it begin for you?

PostBy: firewoodman On: Sun Feb 10, 2013 10:04 pm

My parents burned coal when I was a kid... When I grew up I burned wood (worked for a tree company) alot of work, did not help I sold wood on the side so I quickly got tired of the wood thing. Moved to our current house, new job, no longer getting wood for free, 100 yr. old house ,NG fired steam boiler...lets just say on a windy day you could fly a kite in here..lol I'm still stuck on the wood thing, I scrounge all the wood I can for free, sweat my ass off hauling, splitting , stacking, sons who arent thrilled at all upon the prospects of hauling wood. Well, one particular cold winter we ran out of wood...and that damm boiler seemed to never stop...our gas bill got larger and larger....I struggled to just keep the service from getting shut off.. I lost that battle.. My family and I showered for a month and a half before I was able to pay the bill to get our gas turned back on.. I vowed that day eff the gas company!!!! My co-worker heated with a a-130 and couldnt stop bragging about it, I checked them out here and saw how much they were new...OUCH!!!! Then I checked the classified section here and ran into Mattheus...a used a-130, a little elbow grease, alot of welding from Matt(ihside joke) and 3 years later I am still using the security deposit to pay my monthly bill to the gas Co. I love seeing my gas bill now, screw them!!!!
firewoodman
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Axman-Anderson, Fisher W/B
Stove/Furnace Model: AA-130