What's the best way to calculate how much $$$ coal saves?

What's the best way to calculate how much $$$ coal saves?

PostBy: Joeski On: Sat Apr 20, 2013 4:03 pm

I just went through my first coal heating season and am wondering how is the best way to calculate how much money burning coal saved me. Do I get my oil bill for the last 2 seasons then average them & subtract out how much I spent on coal this year? Since I have at least 1 to 2 tons leftover for next year I was going to subtract that out. Next should I include the cost of the stoker & the price of spare parts to get it up & running. I think I am looking at a lot of the different variables & making this harder then I should but I'm really curious.

Thank you everyone.
Joeski
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Reading
Stove/Furnace Model: Susquehanna

Re: What's the best way to calculate how much $$$ coal saves?

PostBy: lsayre On: Sat Apr 20, 2013 4:24 pm

I would compare fuel to fuel, leaving equipment costs out of the equation.

For me, I used to annually use between 26,000 and 30,000 KWH of electricity. Now I use about 7,000 KWH of electricity, and I also use about 5.25 tons of anthracite.

28,000 KWH - 7,000 KWH = 21,000 KWH of electricity no longer used annually (on average).

If 5.25 tons of anthracite costs less than 21,000 KWH of electricity, I win. If not, I lose.

Believe it or not, with electricity down to only 6 cents per KWH around here (plus distribution charges), I'm currently on the losing side by burning coal. I expected electricity to top 12 cents per KWH by now, but then along came fracking. $240 per ton for delivered anthracite is my break even point now. It doesn't look like I can approach that when purchasing only 5 to 6 bulk tons annually.
lsayre
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea
Other Heating: Resistance Boiler (if I ever get it fixed)

Re: What's the best way to calculate how much $$$ coal saves?

PostBy: Penn507 On: Sat Apr 20, 2013 5:40 pm

I found the Fuel Comparison Calculator provided by this forum, link at the top of the page, very helpful. For me it's when propane hits .75 cents a gallon. It's a break even point for coal. The last time I paid 1.30 a gallon, so im still saving money burning coal. Although this is the cheapest I've paid for propane since I've moved here 12 years ago.
Penn507
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM 520
Coal Size/Type: Rice


Re: What's the best way to calculate how much $$$ coal saves?

PostBy: lsayre On: Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:09 pm

The main problem I see with calculators is getting the efficiencies right. I feel that many over-assume the real world efficiency of their coal burning appliances, and also fail to consider that propane, NG, and even oil appliances are now available in the 94%+ efficiency range. Electricity is essentially 100% efficient.

My real world efficiency is overall somewhere close to 65% for coal. My boiler may well measure at levels approaching to topping 80% when firing, but that level of efficiency comes only when its firing.
lsayre
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea
Other Heating: Resistance Boiler (if I ever get it fixed)

Re: What's the best way to calculate how much $$$ coal saves?

PostBy: dcrane On: Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:35 pm

lsayre wrote:I would compare fuel to fuel, leaving equipment costs out of the equation.

For me, I used to annually use between 26,000 and 30,000 KWH of electricity. Now I use about 7,000 KWH of electricity, and I also use about 5.25 tons of anthracite.

28,000 KWH - 7,000 KWH = 21,000 KWH of electricity no longer used annually (on average).

If 5.25 tons of anthracite costs less than 21,000 KWH of electricity, I win. If not, I lose.

Believe it or not, with electricity down to only 6 cents per KWH around here (plus distribution charges), I'm currently on the losing side by burning coal. I expected electricity to top 12 cents per KWH by now, but then along came fracking. $240 per ton for delivered anthracite is my break even point now. It doesn't look like I can approach that when purchasing only 5 to 6 bulk tons annually.


I was just going to answer his request by saying "You call lsayre and ask him to figure it out" :lol: :lol: :lol:
dcrane
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Crane 404

Re: What's the best way to calculate how much $$$ coal saves?

PostBy: Penn507 On: Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:00 pm

lsayre wrote:The main problem I see with calculators is getting the efficiencies right. I feel that many over-assume the real world efficiency of their coal burning appliances, and also fail to consider that propane, NG, and even oil appliances are now available in the 94%+ efficiency range. Electricity is essentially 100% efficient.

My real world efficiency is overall somewhere close to 65% for coal. My boiler may well measure at levels approaching to topping 80% when firing, but that level of efficiency comes only when its firing.



You seem to have the efficiency figured out, what's the problem ?
Penn507
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM 520
Coal Size/Type: Rice

Re: What's the best way to calculate how much $$$ coal saves?

PostBy: freetown fred On: Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:13 pm

joeski, your method will give you the figures you are looking for--repairs & replacement parts are null & void as far as usage comparison my friend.
freetown fred
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut/Stove mix

Re: What's the best way to calculate how much $$$ coal saves?

PostBy: SMITTY On: Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:35 pm

lsayre wrote:If 5.25 tons of anthracite costs less than 21,000 KWH of electricity, I win. If not, I lose.

Wow I guess you guys don't have all the extra transmission charges we have here. Our electric rate is 8 cents per kWh ... but after the customer charge, distribution charge for the first xxx kWh's, transition charge, transmission charge, energy efficiency charge, renewable energy charge, your $40 electric bill becomes $83 and change. Oil would need to hit $6.00 a gallon & Coal would have to be $550 a ton out here to equal electric heat. :shock:
SMITTY
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Patriot Coal - custom built by Jim Dorsey
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III (not currently in use)
Coal Size/Type: Rice / Blaschak anthracite
Other Heating: Oil fired Burnham boiler

Re: What's the best way to calculate how much $$$ coal saves?

PostBy: Lightning On: Sun Apr 21, 2013 3:05 am

lsayre wrote:Believe it or not, with electricity down to only 6 cents per KWH around here (plus distribution charges), I'm currently on the losing side by burning coal. I expected electricity to top 12 cents per KWH by now, but then along came fracking. $240 per ton for delivered anthracite is my break even point now. It doesn't look like I can approach that when purchasing only 5 to 6 bulk tons annually.


Yeah I agree with Smitty.. 6 cents per KW doesn't seem right.. Sure mine is 6 cents per KW + 4 cents per KW supplier fee + 2 or 3 cents whatever plus a charge just to have it on.. So my TRUE cost per KW is like 12.5-14.5 cents per KW depending on the variable supplier fee. I think you might need to take another look at that 8-) Divide the total dollars by your total KW usage for the month to get your real cost per KW. I think you will find that your break even point is much higher...
Lightning
 
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Clayton 1537G
Coal Size/Type: Nut/Stove Size Mix

Re: What's the best way to calculate how much $$$ coal saves?

PostBy: Lightning On: Sun Apr 21, 2013 3:05 am

Double post
Lightning
 
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Clayton 1537G
Coal Size/Type: Nut/Stove Size Mix

Re: What's the best way to calculate how much $$$ coal saves?

PostBy: Richard S. On: Sun Apr 21, 2013 3:37 am

lsayre wrote:The main problem I see with calculators is getting the efficiencies right.


The efficiencies are adjustable in mine and so are the BTU's where appropriate. One of the things on the to do list is to add options for the wood BTU's. Those vary widely but the issue becomes what is it really? Even if you have the the right maximum BTU you still can't account for other things like moisture.

In any event if I was going to tackle this I'd first calculate how much product I consumed annually over the last few years, if you're on electric or are still partially using another fuel like have oil hot water heater this won't work.

Input your variables into the calculator for both the cost per ton for the coal last year and what it would of cost you for the oil per gallon.

If your average consumption was for example 1000 gallons multiply that by the cost of the oil. If it was $3.50 then the total is $3500. In the second part of the calculator input that figure and make sure oil is selected. Hit the recalculate button.

If the total cost of the coal is close to what you actually paid for coal last last year there's your difference and the calculator is accurate. ;)
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: What's the best way to calculate how much $$$ coal saves?

PostBy: Richard S. On: Sun Apr 21, 2013 3:44 am

freetown fred wrote:joeski, your method will give you the figures you are looking for--repairs & replacement parts are null & void as far as usage comparison my friend.


Not when you're comparing fuel costs but if you want an overall cost those have to be considered. The boiler in this house is in it's second home and is older than a few people on this forum, how do you calculate that? LOL
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: What's the best way to calculate how much $$$ coal saves?

PostBy: dcrane On: Sun Apr 21, 2013 5:13 am

Richard S. wrote:
freetown fred wrote:joeski, your method will give you the figures you are looking for--repairs & replacement parts are null & void as far as usage comparison my friend.


Not when you're comparing fuel costs but if you want an overall cost those have to be considered. The boiler in this house is in it's second home and is older than a few people on this forum, how do you calculate that? LOL


double post^^^ someone infract him! :lol:
dcrane
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Crane 404

Re: What's the best way to calculate how much $$$ coal saves?

PostBy: lsayre On: Sun Apr 21, 2013 6:25 am

Lightning wrote:Yeah I agree with Smitty.. 6 cents per KW doesn't seem right.. Sure mine is 6 cents per KW + 4 cents per KW supplier fee + 2 or 3 cents whatever plus a charge just to have it on.. So my TRUE cost per KW is like 12.5-14.5 cents per KW depending on the variable supplier fee. I think you might need to take another look at that 8-) Divide the total dollars by your total KW usage for the month to get your real cost per KW. I think you will find that your break even point is much higher...


OK, here is where I made my MAJOR mistake. I assumed that our electricity "service and distribution fees" were fixed cost items and then the KWH's of electricity were added on top of that at only 6 cents per KWH. Boy was I wrong. As it turns out, the various service and distribution fees are keyed to the KWH's consumed by a multiplicative factor, so the various service and distribution fees are linearly variable (as opposed to fixed).

For me it appears that on average 2.06 x cost of KWH's consumed = Total Electricity Bill
Therefore: service and distribution fees alone = 1.06 x actual cost of KWH's consumed (at 6 cents per KWH in my case)

Adding it all together, my "effective" cost per KWH is therefore 12.36 cents, and this changes everything. Coal for me is suddenly very cost effective again. My break even point for anthracite cost equality to electricity is actually about $494 per ton. My savings are in the neighborhood of $1,200 per year.
lsayre
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea
Other Heating: Resistance Boiler (if I ever get it fixed)

Re: What's the best way to calculate how much $$$ coal saves?

PostBy: dcrane On: Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:27 am

"keyed to the KWH's consumed by a multiplicative factor, so the various service and distribution fees are linearly variable "
Last edited by Richard S. on Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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dcrane
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Crane 404