Hi crck ,I too am a newbie Less than three weeks ago I bought a hotblast from the tractor supply in Ithaca ,I haven't had a chance to go to the mine to get coal I have been given free access to as many wooden skids as I want and at this point I can't argue with free heat. My intention was buying Bit coal for $80 a ton you haul ,but I pass free skids on the way home every day. I've decided not to run coal until I get the draft inducer and the filter box . I was looking at the cost of the fuel oil from last year ,and projected a cost of $2600 through this heating season . The furnace cost $934 and getting it hooked up was another $140 in parts ( I took the stack off my fuel oil and put in the exaust from the stove )I have burned nothing but skids and some well seasoned hardwood from a couple years ago . To date as far as I'm concerned from the 58-62 that I was keeping the house compared to the 70-80 now I have paid nothing but electricity.. Sure it is not an expensive stove but at the end of the heating season it will be paid for ,period . I'd lvoe to hear how you are doing with it ,this is my first wood /coal combo ,what type of coal are you burning?