mills4135 wrote:franco b,do you mind saying what you run for coal burning,approx cost and availability? I will take no offence if you would rather not.once again i want to thank everyone for their input up to this point,at least i have not wasted a bunch of cash on something that will not do the job.Regards mills4135
I have a high ranch(built 1990 and fairly tight with good insulation) with finished lower level. The house has oil fired baseboard heat. On that lower level I have run a number of stoves, right now a Glenwood Modern Oak 114 antique. Upstairs I run a mid size Franco Belge. Because I am an enthusiast and want to try different stoves this precludes any permanent installation such as you have in mind. Yours will be better because it will distribute the heat better. I have always been able to sell the stoves I am through with for a profit which more than pays for the next stove. So my aims are different than yours. My background was in oil burners and my interest was always in achieving good clean combustion. Not an easy thing top do with oil burners built in the 1930s and 40s.
To burn any fuel in the best way possible means mixing the air as evenly as possible and maintaining adequate heat where the fuel is burning. With coal the problems are also to keep the entire bed free of ash to allow air to mix thoroughly. A round fire pot does this best along with a grate design that facilitates clearing the ash. When portions of the coal bed are deprived of air carbon monoxide is formed. It's not just that this is poisonous but that it can be burned as well. Not burning it just wastes fuel. The round fire pot will generate less and if insulated with fire brick will burn more of it. Square and rectangular fire boxes certainly can burn coal but always have ash build up in the corners.
If I were to buy something like you have in mind I would seriously consider a stoker but one of the triburner type which burns the coal on a flat plate and just pushes the ashes over the edge to the ash pan. They do tend to deposit more fly ash in smoke pipe and other areas though. Also you can't burn wood if that is important.
This really does not answer the question of what to buy. Unfortunately I don't think there is a lot to choose from as there is in buying an oil or gas fired boiler. Whatever you can find will probably have compromises because the market for forced hot air hand fired coal burners is so thin. Even for plain hand fired stoves there are only a few makers that have had good revues. I would consider a thermostat to control the air a must though.