Hard or soft coal???

Hard or soft coal???

PostBy: magikk On: Fri Dec 14, 2007 9:54 am

Hi everyone,I have a question for you.This is my first season heating with coal.Right now I'm using bit coal. I have 3 ton in my bin its bender coal from clearfield PA.Its not the best it cakes over when I throw it on & I have to go back in like 30 minutes & run the poker through it a few times to get the air moving again.I'm thinking of burning some different coal when its really cold. I tried some hard coal .reading nut & it seemed to burn fine & I tried a bucket of what the coal yard guy said was pittsburgh nut it burned ok to. So now finnally for my question will I get more heat out of the hard coal or the soft .Is the BTU output roughtly the same-but less work with the hard coal?Will I use less hard coal than the bit coal.I'm just trying to figure whats best.Thanks Mike
Stove/Furnace Make: US Stove CO
Stove/Furnace Model: Clayton 1600

Re: Hard or soft coal???

PostBy: LsFarm On: Fri Dec 14, 2007 10:22 am

Hello Mike, Bitum. coal is often higher BTU content that Anthracite. HOWEVER, the BTU content is based on burning all the volitiles in the coal as it first starts burning. For you and I this means you must have a stove/furnace/boiler that is designed to burn Bitum. coal, and has a fan-forced preheated secondary air passageway to blow hot, oxygen-rich air into the flames to burn off the soot. Your Clayton doesn't have this I'm pretty sure. So you wo't be able to burn up the soot, so that is wasted BTUs. So the Bitum and Anthracite are pretty much equal in heat output

So the main difference between Bitum and Anthractite is just as you stated, the Anthracite you can pretty much just load onto the fire, close the door a walk away. The Bitum. you have to close the door to keep the soot from escaping, come back 30 minutes later to break up the stuck-together crust, and then keep an eye on it to see if the ash clinkers, clean out the clinkers and excess ash off the grate.

Bitum is a lot of work, but costs 1/4 to 1/3 the price of Anthracite.

What I did when I was still using both Bitum and Anthracite was to load on the Anthracite at night a deep load of coal to have a good hot fire all night long. During the day when I was home I'd burn the Bitum 'cause I could 'fuss' with the fire every hour or two.

Bituminous often has a much lower ash-fusion temperature, around 1200-1500* Anthracite is usually around 2700*. What this means to you and I is that the hot ash in the bottom of the firebox can be molten and ooze together and make sheets of stuck together ash, called clinkers. These sheet eventually stop up the grate and block the air to the fire. I used to have to let the fire burn out every week or so and clean out the firebox and grate. Anthracite doesn't have this problem unless you are burning it VERY hot.

Hope this answers your questions
Greg L
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland