Coal Boiler for owner occupied rental

Coal Boiler for owner occupied rental

PostBy: LDPosse On: Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:20 pm

Although I have been thoroughly enjoying my new DS Machine, I've been contemplating moving to a coal fired boiler.

I have an oil fired boiler for each side of the house. They are burnham ledv-2 boilers, 103k BTU each. The boilers each have their own tank so the tenants can pay for their own heat. The DHW is electric (hybrid) and I plan to keep that.

I would like to have a coal fired boiler that would be capable of heating the garage and the house, and retaining the oil boilers as backup. My garage has a partial basement, which is where I'd like to locate the boiler. I have 5 runs of conduit between the house and garage -- three pieces of 4" and two pieces of 2.5". The conduit is 51' long and there are two 45° bends. The conduit is 4' below grade.

I have attached a lot plan and an aerial photo of my property. My primary motivators are :
- to make my rental more competitive with others in my area, which have gas heat available
- have an automatic switch back to oil in the case of an outfire / outage of the coal boiler
- maintain separate zones when running on oil
- have the option of heating my garage

If anyone has suggestions on piping, controls, layout, etc I'd love to hear it.
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LDPosse
 
Stove/Furnace Make: DS Machine, Warm Morning
Stove/Furnace Model: DS1500, Heatrola

Re: Coal Boiler for owner occupied rental

PostBy: Rob R. On: Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:00 pm

A stoker boiler in the garage basement could easily do the things you want...but there will be a code issue of having a boiler in the garage basement. Gasoline fumes are heavier than air.

Boiler location aside, you could easily run a pair of insulated pex lines to each oil boiler. Automatic backup can be simple or complex depending on what you want to do. A second thermostat in the house can be used to bring the oil unit online, or you can just shutoff the burner completely and turn it on when needed.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Coal Boiler for owner occupied rental

PostBy: Sting On: Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:09 pm

every installation is different
only you can teach yourself what you will need -Separate out the bad advice - and then figure out what you want

Read about - learn about - search these pages for primary secondary piping

This is far to broad a brush stroke post question - you need to "dial in " just a little closer

Kind Regards
Sting
Sting
 
Other Heating: BurnHAM=NG-gas


Re: Coal Boiler for owner occupied rental

PostBy: dcrane On: Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:25 pm

just a couple thoughts of the top of my head...

you will have to include heat in the rental unit unless you keep their system seperate from yours (tenants wont appreciate a coal boiler).
your property value will decrease unless you keep the conventional systems in place.
if you do this new system to cover the entire house maybe you can make extra $$$ buy including heat in your rent.
dcrane
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Crane 404

Re: Coal Boiler for owner occupied rental

PostBy: Dennis On: Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:40 pm

keep the coal boiler on your side and do the loopty loop thing to the rental's boiler.You certinly don't want someone messing with a coal boiler,then needing to fix broken,frozen,boiling pipes in the rental unit.
Dennis
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: AHS/WOC55-multi-fuel/wood,oil,coal
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite/stove size

Re: Coal Boiler for owner occupied rental

PostBy: LDPosse On: Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:32 pm

I would be the only one handling the coal, I wouldn't trust tenants (at least most tenants) with a solid fuel burner.

I would just like to be able to isolate the two oil fired boilers if they kick on, that way I can get the tanks topped off at the end of each heating season, and the oil used for the rental side, I can just write off. In the case that the renters were being wasteful in the shoulder seasons with the heat, I could stick them with a bill for excess oil use.

For the controls, I was thinking something along the lines of, "If the primary loop drops below X degrees, close the zone valves to isolate the oil boilers, then have them kick on". I need to do some research, as I am not really familiar with any boiler controls except for a simple aquastat.

I expect the oil to be used very little, but as some of you have stated, I need to keep some type of automatic heating in the house as a backup.

Rob R. wrote:A stoker boiler in the garage basement could easily do the things you want...but there will be a code issue of having a boiler in the garage basement. Gasoline fumes are heavier than air.


That's a good thought, I didn't think about gasoline fumes being heavier than air, however I could take care of that situation by putting a good sealing door on the steps to the basement.

Luckily, there isn't much in the way of codes enforcement around here... I suppose it could be an issue if I went to sell the place, but I have no intentions of doing so in the forseeable future.
LDPosse
 
Stove/Furnace Make: DS Machine, Warm Morning
Stove/Furnace Model: DS1500, Heatrola

Re: Coal Boiler for owner occupied rental

PostBy: Berlin On: Sat Feb 23, 2013 1:20 am

LDPosse wrote:I would be the only one handling the coal, I wouldn't trust tenants (at least most tenants) with a solid fuel burner.

I would just like to be able to isolate the two oil fired boilers if they kick on, that way I can get the tanks topped off at the end of each heating season, and the oil used for the rental side, I can just write off. In the case that the renters were being wasteful in the shoulder seasons with the heat, I could stick them with a bill for excess oil use.

For the controls, I was thinking something along the lines of, "If the primary loop drops below X degrees, close the zone valves to isolate the oil boilers, then have them kick on". I need to do some research, as I am not really familiar with any boiler controls except for a simple aquastat.

I expect the oil to be used very little, but as some of you have stated, I need to keep some type of automatic heating in the house as a backup.

Rob R. wrote:A stoker boiler in the garage basement could easily do the things you want...but there will be a code issue of having a boiler in the garage basement. Gasoline fumes are heavier than air.


That's a good thought, I didn't think about gasoline fumes being heavier than air, however I could take care of that situation by putting a good sealing door on the steps to the basement.

Luckily, there isn't much in the way of codes enforcement around here... I suppose it could be an issue if I went to sell the place, but I have no intentions of doing so in the forseeable future.



I don't know what you're talking about. There's been a coal boiler at your house as long as I can remember. At least since before you bought it anyway....
Berlin
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal

Re: Coal Boiler for owner occupied rental

PostBy: Richard S. On: Sat Feb 23, 2013 1:39 am

LDPosse wrote: The DHW is electric (hybrid) and I plan to keep that.


At the very least consider running through the boiler first so it's hot water going into the electric. That's what we do it and the breaker for hot water tank has been in the off position since it was installed. The only reason we have the electric is in case something happens to the boiler.

I would like to have a coal fired boiler that would be capable of heating the garage and the house


Garage here is 1300 sq ft and we're running ours without the jacket but only because we have some reconfiguring to do on the pipes and need to add some more zones one of which is the garage. In any event it must of been 70 degrees in there last year, we added insulation to most of the black pipe this year and it's still 60... Once we get that jacket on there I expect it to be about constant 50 but then I'll have a thermostat. 8-)
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Coal Boiler for owner occupied rental

PostBy: LDPosse On: Sat Feb 23, 2013 1:54 am

Berlin wrote:I don't know what you're talking about. There's been a coal boiler at your house as long as I can remember. At least since before you bought it anyway....


As best I can tell, my house was converted from coal to oil in 1960, well before my lifetime :D I think the guy that built this place must have burned an awful lot of coal from 1920-1960. Just about everywhere I've stuck a shovel in the ground on this property, I find old coal ash!

Here's the behemoth I retired in 2006 - and not a moment too soon... It was averaging 1200 gallons per year! :shock:
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LDPosse
 
Stove/Furnace Make: DS Machine, Warm Morning
Stove/Furnace Model: DS1500, Heatrola

Re: Coal Boiler for owner occupied rental

PostBy: LDPosse On: Sat Feb 23, 2013 1:57 am

Richard S. wrote:
LDPosse wrote: The DHW is electric (hybrid) and I plan to keep that.


At the very least consider running through the boiler first so it's hot water going into the electric. That's what we do and the breaker for hot water tank has been int the off position since it was installed. The only reason we have the electric is in case something happens to the boiler.

I would like to have a coal fired boiler that would be capable of heating the garage and the house



To effectively pre-heat the water, I think I would need to have a separate zone set up. If I wanted to use the DHW coil, I would need to run the water through the house, out to the garage, into the boiler, then back into the house. I could be wrong though, wouldn't be the first time! :oops:
LDPosse
 
Stove/Furnace Make: DS Machine, Warm Morning
Stove/Furnace Model: DS1500, Heatrola

Re: Coal Boiler for owner occupied rental

PostBy: Richard S. On: Sat Feb 23, 2013 2:03 am

LDPosse wrote: If I wanted to use the DHW coil, I would need to run the water through the house, out to the garage, into the boiler, then back into the house. I could be wrong though, wouldn't be the first time! :oops:


That's how it's set up here but the pipe is insulated the entire length, it's probably about a 70 foot run out and back. Only 3 people here and we don't use an excessive amount of hot water. It's never cold.... Think about this way, now you ave option for cold and hot water in the garage. :)
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Coal Boiler for owner occupied rental

PostBy: AA130FIREMAN On: Sat Feb 23, 2013 5:04 pm

LDPosse wrote: In the case that the renters were being wasteful in the shoulder seasons with the heat, I could stick them with a bill for excess oil use.
Good luck. As far as being wasteful, if you pay, they will use, PERIOD. Bare feet and tank tops are the normal in January, even to go out for the mail because they are so toast warm. Open the windows to let out the cigarette smoke. Funny how open windows kicks out the circulator pump 8-) , the windows will close then. With electric baseboard heat, bills will follow the tennant, and they don't run the fuel tank empty, adding oil by the 5 gallon can .
AA130FIREMAN
 
Stove/Furnace Make: axeman anderson
Stove/Furnace Model: 130 anthratube

Re: Coal Boiler for owner occupied rental

PostBy: ramblerboy2 On: Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:22 pm

I quite agree with AA130 on this. I'd give my tenants heat only if they had no capability of controlling it. I recall neighbors in the apartment buildings where I used to live who would leave the thermostat at 78 degrees and leave the windows open for fresh air. Really absurd. If you can somehow lock them to a reasonable temperature (maybe 70? 72?) then you can eliminate waste. But I definitely see the desire to get the rental off oil to stay competitive. Around here a lot of apartments with oil heat are just plain hard to rent; people just assume it will be excessively expensive and won't even look. I was showing one of my rentals this summer and probably 80% of people asked "it isn't oil heat, is it?" even though the ad clearly stated it was gas. You'd really need to do the math to figure out if it would be worthwhile to provide your tenants with heat. Here on natural gas or on coal would probably be pretty much a wash; people are willing to pay a LOT more rent around here to have "free" heat. Like $300 or more a month.

One of the apartment buildings we owned had a huge oil boiler; Fitzgibbon 2520 MBH with 18 gph nozzle connected to a 2000 gallon tank. Leases required tenants to close storm windows from October to May and levied fines for open windows. Fun stuff.
ramblerboy2
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Surdiac MCK 508
Other Heating: Embassy Ambassador BMS natural gas boiler

Re: Coal Boiler for owner occupied rental

PostBy: NJJoe On: Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:43 pm

I think you have a good idea and if the economics of providing heat work out in your favor then go for it. Tenants will universally abuse free heat. My dad had a property with a converted coal to oil boiler in the basement that heated 5 tenant units. Thousands of dollars each seasons were burned away and no matter how much he pleaded with the tenants to conserve and save oil, it always fell on deaf ears. Windows left open all day long while the tenant was out of the unit, thermostats cranked up to 80 and even heat left on overnight by a store unit on the first floor. :mad: My dad converted the entire building to natural gas and got rid of the shared boiler. Each tenant now had their own boiler and brand new gas bill. After that, the guy who was the worst abuser of heat was spotted wearing a coat and hat indoors.:P :lol:
NJJoe
 

Re: Coal Boiler for owner occupied rental

PostBy: mdhorvath On: Sun Sep 22, 2013 8:14 am

It's also funny how when you're showing a potential tenant the apartment they brag how they keep there home at 65 but after they move in the t-stat is at 80. :mad:
mdhorvath
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S500 Coal Gun
Coal Size/Type: Pea Anthracite