Need a bigger Unit

Need a bigger Unit

PostBy: llama99 On: Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:25 pm

I live in a 2300sqft (plus finished attic and unfinished basement)Pennsylvania brick Victorian with virtually no insulation. I am currently running a Harmon Magnum stoker in the basement. Running full out it can't get the first floor temp about 65 if the temp outside gets below 30. I do have the fan ducted to a floor vent. I would like to step up to a bigger unit. It is not practical to move it to the first floor.


I am looking for suggestions. What stove do folks think would do the job and why? Cost is a big issue, so I will have to be practical. I think I'd like to stay with a stoker, but I am open to other options.

Thanks!
Dave
llama99
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Magnum Stoker
Coal Size/Type: rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Magnum Stoker

Re: Need a bigger Unit

PostBy: coalkirk On: Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:59 pm

Dave, trying to heat a house with a stove is tough, especially if its multiple levels. Even if you had a stove that could produce the required BTU's the challange is getting the heat distributed. You will end up with a very warm basement and every level above is cooler. Comfort wise it's not great. What kind of central heat does your home have? If you can take advantage of a distribution system that is already setup to distribute heat evenly, your comfort level will be much better.
Oh yeah. And some insulation wouldn't be a bad idea either.
coalkirk
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000
Coal Size/Type: antrhcite/rice coal

Re: Need a bigger Unit

PostBy: llama99 On: Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:31 am

coalkirk wrote:Dave, trying to heat a house with a stove is tough, especially if its multiple levels. Even if you had a stove that could produce the required BTU's the challange is getting the heat distributed. You will end up with a very warm basement and every level above is cooler. Comfort wise it's not great. What kind of central heat does your home have? If you can take advantage of a distribution system that is already setup to distribute heat evenly, your comfort level will be much better.
Oh yeah. And some insulation wouldn't be a bad idea either.


We have oil fired hot water summer/ winter hookup- big old radiators. A previous owner cut out and put vents in the floors on the first floor, but no evidence of duct work. Who knows what was there in the last 160 or so years.

And as far as insulation - kinda looked into it. Have to stud out the inside of the outside facing walls insulate and drywall. It be expensive and would make already small rooms very small. The last owner put drywall up over top of the old plaster. Or we could stud out the exterior and cover over the brick , changing windows (there are a LOT of windows), re-set doors & trim etc very expensive.
llama99
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Magnum Stoker
Coal Size/Type: rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Magnum Stoker

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Re: Need a bigger Unit

PostBy: Wiz On: Fri Feb 08, 2013 7:26 am

I would suggest keystoker ka2 or Ka6 boiler. You'll need to calculate your heat loss to proper size any boiler. Check out other units I can only give a opinion on keystoker since that's what Im knowledge on
Wiz
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker Ka 6
Coal Size/Type: Casey Junk Coal :(

Re: Need a bigger Unit

PostBy: Rob R. On: Fri Feb 08, 2013 7:29 am

llama99 wrote:We have oil fired hot water summer/ winter hookup- big old radiators.


Now we're talking....install a stoker boiler and give that old house a new lease on life.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Need a bigger Unit

PostBy: KLook On: Fri Feb 08, 2013 7:43 am

Depending on the style of framing of your old house, insulation can be blown into the walls through the interior by cutting smaller holes in the drywall and patching it in after. Even if the framing style gives you some voids, it is better then none at all. This will NOT help the health of the old house however as it tightens it up and makes it sweat. My mothers in Maine is doing this now. But as it is so old that it had birch bark for flashing, we dont care what happens to it after her. It has lived its useful lifespan. If you have a dry basement, some of this would be mitigated. And a forced hot air system would help some also if the interior is to humid.
Ideally, using the old radiators is the very best solution, just make sure you get a big enough boiler. I have 2 medium size radiators in my basement in Maine and they can suck the life out of my 95000 btu boiler in a heartbeat.
There are plenty of guys in here to get you sized properly! Good luck.

Kevin
KLook
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF 3000
Coal Size/Type: rice, bagged, Blaschak
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman (Back In Maine)
Stove/Furnace Model: VF 3000

Re: Need a bigger Unit

PostBy: llama99 On: Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:30 pm

KLook wrote:Depending on the style of framing of your old house, insulation can be blown into the walls through the interior by cutting smaller holes in the drywall and patching it in after. Even if the framing style gives you some voids, it is better then none at all. This will NOT help the health of the old house however as it tightens it up and makes it sweat. My mothers in Maine is doing this now. But as it is so old that it had birch bark for flashing, we dont care what happens to it after her. It has lived its useful lifespan. If you have a dry basement, some of this would be mitigated. And a forced hot air system would help some also if the interior is to humid.
Ideally, using the old radiators is the very best solution, just make sure you get a big enough boiler. I have 2 medium size radiators in my basement in Maine and they can suck the life out of my 95000 btu boiler in a heartbeat.
There are plenty of guys in here to get you sized properly! Good luck.

Kevin


The house is brick with lath&plaster, then drywall attached directly to the plaster. No gap to fill. Our oil furnace is only three years old-we hoped the higher efficiency would make a difference. The kicker is the unit we replaced was a EFM coal unit that was converted to oil. The guy guessed it was done in the 1960's. He told us this as he was removing it....he had the parts he needed and was converting it back to coal.....already had it sold! :x

I love old houses - in summer - your mother's sounds like it could be a very cool place.
llama99
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Magnum Stoker
Coal Size/Type: rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Magnum Stoker

Re: Need a bigger Unit

PostBy: Badog On: Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:55 pm

OUCH. You could have converted that back for the cost of a tank of oil. :o
Badog
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Liberty

Re: Need a bigger Unit

PostBy: titleist1 On: Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:21 pm

llama99 wrote:I live in a 2300sqft (plus finished attic and unfinished basement)Pennsylvania brick Victorian with virtually no insulation. I am currently running a Harmon Magnum stoker in the basement. Running full out it can't get the first floor temp about 65 if the temp outside gets below 30. I do have the fan ducted to a floor vent. I would like to step up to a bigger unit. It is not practical to move it to the first floor.


I am looking for suggestions. What stove do folks think would do the job and why? Cost is a big issue, so I will have to be practical. I think I'd like to stay with a stoker, but I am open to other options.

Thanks!
Dave


From what i have read here considering $ limitations...."practical" would be your current stoker located on the first floor, power vented.
No matter how big a stoker you get in the basement it won't circulate the heat any better than you are currently unless you add ducting to those floor vents and a return.

Another consideration since you seem to have a historic type house would be to put in a hand fed base burner on the first floor, but that would require a chimney unless you have an unused flue.

Coal Boiler in the basement connected to your current system would be ideal, but run $$.
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: Need a bigger Unit

PostBy: llama99 On: Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:37 pm

Badog wrote:OUCH. You could have converted that back for the cost of a tank of oil. :o

Yeah, the guy got the sale and installation of a new oil unit - hauled out my old one for "free" - and resold it. My new unit extended the life of a tank of oil maybe a week or two. I will have a hard time selling my wife on buying another heating unit - especially one that has daily maintenance. She's gonna out live me by a long time (6 years younger and I have heart issues) can't see her working a coal furnace by herself.
llama99
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Magnum Stoker
Coal Size/Type: rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Magnum Stoker

Re: Need a bigger Unit

PostBy: Phil May On: Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:44 pm

Check into the new NG/LP units they have out. I was at the parts house yesterday and they had one on display. The thing was %95 or %98 efficent up and over 200,000 btus. I was impressed. If I had NG available I would be on board. LP is a lot cheaper now also especially if you have a big tank and can fill in summer.
Phil May
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM 700
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM
Stove/Furnace Model: 700

Re: Need a bigger Unit

PostBy: llama99 On: Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:23 pm

Thanks for all your comments!

I have two chimneys - one for the oil and one for the coal the units are 40 feet apart.
llama99
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Magnum Stoker
Coal Size/Type: rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Magnum Stoker

Re: Need a bigger Unit

PostBy: Rob R. On: Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:26 pm

If the guy that removed your EFM knew how to convert it back to coal and didn't recommend it, I feel he did you a great disservice. If he did offer or recommend converting it back to coal and you chose to go with the new oil boiler, that is a different story.

Have you considered adding a used boiler to your existing oil system? Depending on how the existing boiler is hooked up, it may be very simple to add a coal unit...then you will have the benefit of coal heat in every room...not just the basement.

You are never going to be happy with the performance of a stove in the basement...those old foundation walls will soak up a lot of heat and the stove will run endlessly while you freeze on the first floor. Floor grates and such will help, but I think the most bang for your buck would be to move the current stove to the first floor.

:idea: Is your house drafty? The payback is quick if you spend some time sealing up the cracks.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Need a bigger Unit

PostBy: llama99 On: Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:56 pm

Yeah Rob, I was a bit disappointed he did not talk to us about converting it back to coal.

I was looking on-line today and saw a You Tube video of an EFM hooked to an oil burner. It used the same chimney-I am a novice, but it seems to me that could have draft issues?

The way the house is set up, I'd probably have to replace the chimney to move the stove to the first floor. The place is like all windows. There are 12 BIG Victorian type windows on the first floor.Not only does that make it cold & drafty (even good new windows are cold relative to wall), but gives me few exterior wall spaces big enough to put a stove. I also have 5 cats and usually a dog or two.

I am leaning towards a used boiler. More research...and more money.
llama99
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Magnum Stoker
Coal Size/Type: rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Magnum Stoker

Re: Need a bigger Unit

PostBy: oilman On: Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:57 pm

It is extremely difficult to heat a big old house from a stove in the basement. A rancher,yes, Victorian, no. You really need an add-on coal boiler, that would be the ticket. Cast iron rads are a great heating medium in a big old house, but expensive with gas or oil. Your house is just hard to heat, period.
I'm sorry you have spent alot of money so far and still have to spend more..........
oilman
 

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