Burning All Year vs Electric DHW and Dehumidifier

Burning All Year vs Electric DHW and Dehumidifier

PostBy: JRDepew On: Thu May 23, 2013 8:46 am

All,

I have been thinking about keeping my EFM350 burning year round. I currently do not use the EFM for DHW, but if I went this route I would definitely like too. Electric on my last bill was around 11-12c/kWh. There are only two of us in our house and I estimate we use about $25-30/mo in DHW currently.

If I burn 15lbs of coal a day at $0.14/lb that is about $2.10/day or $63.00 a month. So, I would burn just under a ton of coal from June 1st to October 1st. Does 15lb a day sound about right for an EFM350? I don't have a great way of measuring right now. This would probably go up some if we started using the EFM for DHW...

Now, the real reason I would want to burn year round is for de-humidification. As many of us know, upstate NY gets brutally humid in the summer, and last summer it made my basement downright awful to be in. All metal objects were slimy, and you could feel the dampness in the air. The cheap gauge I have down there had the humidity at 80% or more for a lot of the summer....way way way too high. What are the chances that the EFM will keep the basement at 50-55% humidity all summer as it currently is? We have two hot and humid days this week and it is still around 50-55% in the basement right now.

I was going to buy a dehumidifier this year if I turn the boiler off or if the boiler isn't enough to keep the humidity decent in the basement. I was looking at the SanteFe units as a possibility, but they start at over $1000 for a new unit. My parents have ran cheap dehumidifiers in there basement for years (2 of them actually) and they cost a pretty penny all year to keep running.

So I have this whole situation broken down into a couple different options:

1. Install a DHW coil in the EFM or go with a flat plate heat exchanger. This would temper the water going into my electric DHW tank. Buy a cheapie dehumidifier to run when needed.
2. Install a coil in the EFM and bypass the DHW tank. Buy a cheapie dehumidifier to run when needed.
3. Shut down the EFM, put a small ceramic heater or light bulb inside it, and buy the SanteFe dehumidifier. The bigger units can be plumbed into basic ductwork and pull air from the whole house to dehumidify.
4. Get a heat pump hot water heater like the Nyle unit. I looked at the GE HPHW heater but they are getting terrible reviews for the new unit! This would hopefully dehumidify the basement and allow me to find a cheapie dehumidifier to run

I think all these options would cost roughly the same when it came down to time/materials as using the EFM for DHW would require some plumbing work, with the slightly cheaper edge going to plumbing the EFM for DHW. The added benefit of this is the EFM running year round will make it last longer, with no worry of corrosion...Flue pipe is a bitch if it has to be replaced every 2 years and could be added to the cost.

With any of these options I need to install a temp sensor on the coal tube and run the output to the LOGO. I had the CO alarm go off for the first time not too long ago. I bolted to the basement, opened the walkout doors, and went to the boiler...saw the problem quick. Coal pipe was hot to the touch and the coal bed was running low....coal bridge!! Got it fixed up and have been running since.

Sorry for the novel, but all experiences and advice are appreciated!!
Thanks again,
Joe
JRDepew
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM 350

Re: Burning All Year vs Electric DHW and Dehumidifier

PostBy: Yanche On: Thu May 23, 2013 11:52 am

I too have struggled with the same summer time DHW choices. So far I've burned year around with my coal boiler supplying the DHW. I did buy a Nyle heat pump unit but haven't installed it yet. My coal boiler is not in my house, so I don't have the additional summer time heat to consider. I need central A/C all summer. So for me the additional heat produced by a coal boiler in the house would greatly increase the A/C operating costs. If you have or need central A/C an efficient choice is a de-superheater on the A/C condensing unit to provide DHW. This is not a common place residential component and adding one requires HVAC knowledge and skill. It's also not cheap. There is no single one right choice. It's highly dependent on your local weather conditions, your expectations for dehumidification or A/C and your wallet.

My suggestion would be to study human environmental factors for comfort, particularly relative humidity vs. temperature and select several equipment choices that get you there. Then select the one that gives you the least cost or installation pain.
Yanche
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea

Re: Burning All Year vs Electric DHW and Dehumidifier

PostBy: Rob R. On: Thu May 23, 2013 8:27 pm

There are three big things that stop many people from running their coal boiler through the summer.

-Their chimney draft is poor and they have problems with outfires.
-The radiant heat from the boiler makes their house uncomfortably warm.
-They don't used enough hot water and/or their cost of coal makes running the boiler for DHW uneconomical.

Then there is that other thing...some people simply don't want to mess with coal in the nice weather. :)

Ok, with that said...if your chimney performs as it should, you have insulated the boiler and piping, and running the boiler helps manage the dampness in your basement...I think it will pretty much be a wash cost wise compared to the electric tank, super dehumidifier, etc. Your boiler will enjoy working a lot more than sitting, and I think you will like the basement "weather" better with the boiler running.

15 lbs per day is probably the best you will be able to do...I burn 20 lbs per day to make DHW for a family of three, but I also have some standby losses from the oil boiler.

A tankless coil used to preheat the water going into the electric tank is probably the simplest solution, but if the tank isn't well insulated and/or you don't used much water, you will need to leave the electric turned on to keep the tank at a minimum temperature. I hooked up my brother's system this way with a foam insulated 50 gal. electric tank, and it works excellent.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

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Re: Burning All Year vs Electric DHW and Dehumidifier

PostBy: Lightning On: Fri May 24, 2013 4:54 am

I must agree with Rob. There are inconveniences to consider. I have a coal furnace with coils in it. It's impractical to use it thru the summer but I have been inclined to run it earlier in the fall and later in the spring since it really cuts my electric bill. And I've gotten handy at idling it back so I'm not over heating the house on shoulder months while also maintaining draft in the chimney.

I don't mind the break from it during the summer either since I'm pretty busy.
Lightning
 
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Clayton 1537G
Coal Size/Type: Nut Size / White Ash

Re: Burning All Year vs Electric DHW and Dehumidifier

PostBy: Scottscoaled On: Fri May 24, 2013 9:43 am

I burn all year long.The cost for electric here was more than my oil bill was. The oil is about twice what the coal is. As far as not wanting to deal with it during the summer, yeah that too. With good low ash coal, having to deal with it isn't that big of a problem. If you are using a 55 gallon drum for a hopper, you can expect to get three weeks, maybe a little less, out of a fill up. Having to clean out the ash will be a matter of your coal quality. I find the best coal for the summer. I want 1 tub of ash per 55 gallon fill up. If the tub overflows a little, it doesn't really matter. Making a bigger bin is a good idea but It is hard to remember to take out the ashes when the hopper is bigger. A good quality, long burning, low ash coal works the best for summertime running. Save the best for summer and burn whatever burns for coal weather.
Scottscoaled
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM 520x4, 350, 700. Van Wert 400 x 2, 800, 1200.
Coal Size/Type: Lots of buck

Re: Burning All Year vs Electric DHW and Dehumidifier

PostBy: Rob R. On: Fri May 24, 2013 10:36 am

I have never used an electric water heater in my house, but the oil boiler certainly costs more to run than the EFM. I also HATE the sound of the oil burner kicking on and off.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Burning All Year vs Electric DHW and Dehumidifier

PostBy: hcarlow On: Fri May 24, 2013 11:29 am

I wanted to try burning coal all summer but couldn't as I didn't have a good enough draft . We kept getting a sulfur smell in the baement . With no heat load I was useing between 17 and 20 lbs. per day for dhw . I have to pay .17 per lb for coal in my area so it isn't cheap here , for a 6 month period that is about $ 550.00 . I burn about 120 gal. of fuel oil during that same period of time for dhw and a little heat now and then . So for the two of us at todays prices it is still a little cheaper for me to use oil anyway ,not that I like where the money ends up .
hcarlow
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Leisure Line WL 110

Re: Burning All Year vs Electric DHW and Dehumidifier

PostBy: lsayre On: Fri May 24, 2013 1:06 pm

My alternative to coal for DHW is electricity. I agree with the first poster that the cost for DHW via electricity is roughly $30 per month, and the cost for DHW via coal (at the coal prices where I live, and at our nominal daily summer coal consumption level) is rouglhy $60 per month. Call me crazy, but I'm heading into my second straight summer of heating DHW with coal. I'ts only 5 months of the year, and I'd rather pay the $150 summer DHW via coal penalty than see my boiler rot from disuse during the summer months.
lsayre
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea
Other Heating: Resistance Boiler (if I ever get it fixed)

Re: Burning All Year vs Electric DHW and Dehumidifier

PostBy: anthony7812 On: Sat May 25, 2013 12:11 am

I have enough items to keep my ass occupied during the summer ( :beer: ) than worrying about the harman. She needs her TLC and beauty rest for this time of year. :love:
anthony7812
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: VanWert VA 400
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III
Coal Size/Type: Buck/Nut/Anthracite

Re: Burning All Year vs Electric DHW and Dehumidifier

PostBy: SMITTY On: Sat May 25, 2013 8:12 am

I couldn't justify burning year round. Only 2 of us here, so the amount of oil I use per summer is reasonable - still more expensive than coal, but zero work & we don't use much of it anyway.
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: Burning All Year vs Electric DHW and Dehumidifier

PostBy: McGiever On: Sat May 25, 2013 9:16 am

If the Santa Fe de-humidifier was fitting into the *budget*...I would just skip it and go for the Nyle HP Water heater. :)
Last edited by McGiever on Sat May 25, 2013 9:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
McGiever
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AXEMAN-ANDERSON 130 "1959"
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: HARMAN MAGNUM
Hand Fed Coal Stove: RADIANT HOME AIR BLAST
Baseburners & Antiques: OUR GLENWOOD 111 BASEBURNER "1908"
Coal Size/Type: PEA / ANTHRACITE, NUT-STOVE / ANTHRACITE
Other Heating: Ground Source Heat Pump
Stove/Furnace Make: Hydro Heat /Mega Tek

Re: Burning All Year vs Electric DHW and Dehumidifier

PostBy: Rob R. On: Sat May 25, 2013 9:22 am

I think you should just run the Efm for the summer and see how it goes.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Burning All Year vs Electric DHW and Dehumidifier

PostBy: plumber On: Sun May 26, 2013 2:32 pm

I burned all last year and averaged 100 lbs per week with bagged Blashak. That came out to about $60 per month and about a ton and a half for the summer. This year I'm burning Jeddo and averaging 160 lbs per week with lots of outfires. I do radiate a bit of heat through the floors. I'm thinking about puting oil in the tank for the rest of the summer. I've also thought about one of those Nyle Gyeser units. The added dehumidification is a bonus, but I'm conserned about recovery as I've got five people in the house.
plumber
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM 350

Re: Burning All Year vs Electric DHW and Dehumidifier

PostBy: McGiever On: Sun May 26, 2013 10:08 pm

plumber wrote:. I've also thought about one of those Nyle Gyeser units. The added dehumidification is a bonus, but I'm conserned about recovery as I've got five people in the house.


If you were to hook up the Nyle Geyser R to an electric hot water tank and have the lower electric heating element disabled, then only during the rare times that the Nyle could not keep up, the upper electric heating element would come on and act as a "Quick Recovery" long enough to maintain the heat in the upper level of the tank. As soon as the hot water load is finished/caught-up and the upper hot water heating t'stat is satisfied, the Geyser would finish heating the remainder of the tank and shut off and you have another tank full of hot water. Even if you are on the electric elements for a very small percentage of time and no one gets a less than hot shower, you will still save a lot of electricity.

The beauty of this arrangement is that most of the time the Nyle does all of the water heating alone...and during the few times that it might not keep up, it gets a little help.
McGiever
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AXEMAN-ANDERSON 130 "1959"
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: HARMAN MAGNUM
Hand Fed Coal Stove: RADIANT HOME AIR BLAST
Baseburners & Antiques: OUR GLENWOOD 111 BASEBURNER "1908"
Coal Size/Type: PEA / ANTHRACITE, NUT-STOVE / ANTHRACITE
Other Heating: Ground Source Heat Pump
Stove/Furnace Make: Hydro Heat /Mega Tek

Re: Burning All Year vs Electric DHW and Dehumidifier

PostBy: Highlander On: Sun Jun 02, 2013 3:48 pm

I have burned year round since installing the VF3K about 5 years ago. My coal usage is between 7 and 10# per day in the summer, and
my chimney is insulated so draft during the summer isn't an issue.

The main advantage to burning all year is no summer corrosion in the boiler or stove pipe. The main drawback is the effort to maintain the boiler over the summer months, which involves emptying the ash about every 2 to 3 weeks, and the heat it adds to the basement.

If I burned more coal then this, then I would have to reconsider, but for me I will keep burning year round.
Highlander
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000 Sold
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Castings Resolute
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: VF3000 Stoker Boiler

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