Newbie looking to install coal stove in basement.

Re: Newbie looking to install coal stove in basement.

PostBy: coalnewbie On: Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:08 pm

Jeez newbie...did the wife wash your drawers in hot water and make them shrink?


Don't be silly, if she wants to keep me moving it's horse linimint in the underwear wash.
coalnewbie
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL AnthraKing 110K, Pocono110K,KStokr 90K, DVC
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93, Jotul 507
Baseburners & Antiques: Red Cross Invader 2
Coal Size/Type: Rice, Chestnut
Other Heating: Heating Oil CH, Toyotomi OM 22

Re: Newbie looking to install coal stove in basement.

PostBy: dlj On: Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:21 pm

coalkirk wrote:
coalnewbie wrote:As spoken from the tropics of MD. So the MD moderator says hydronics and yet the NJ moderator uses hot air..... Follow the moderators as they are the illuminati.... Another PA moderator (that winged predator from the Poconos) uses a 507 and B&T floor vents and is rebuilding a 100 year old gorgeous mica blaster stove.... The VA moderator uses a stove too ... rectums, rectums, rectums. Psst, 60F is not survival....


Jeez newbie...did the wife wash your drawers in hot water and make them shrink? You seem alittle more tightly wound than normal. No one died and named me one of the illuminati. :lol: But I have an opinion. That doesn't make it any more or less valid than yours. It's just different. We can differ without getting snarky. If you are happy with your heating arrangements, tout it as much as you like. We obvioulsy have a different definition of comfort when it comes to home heating. Tropics of Maryland. :lol: I liked that one. But 60 degrees in winter time is not comfortable by my definition. Neither is 80 degrees. And in my experience of heating with stoves, of which I have plenty, that's what you end up with. It doesn't make it wrong, just well...less comfortable. I don't really care what this new guy ends up heating with or how he does it. Just offering him my 2 cents so he can make an informed decision.


Whoa! Easy boys, I think there's just been a bit of misinterpretation of each others comments....

Can't say I agree with you however on the heating with stoves part... I heat my whole house with a hand-fired old stove and it runs very well keeping my house temperature nicely controlled. Now, of course there is a learning curve on how to set it so it does this; it's certainly not as easy to achieve as with the heating plant you are talking about. I'm sure your temperature standards would be met with my system unless you like warm bedrooms - I don't. My bedrooms are on the opposite end of the house from my stove and hence do remain cooler than the main part of the house. Very much to my liking and those of the folk I live with...

A bit more on the hot water versus hot air: Hot water is considered to be a more stable heat system. If one wants to get uniform heat 24/7 then hot water is an efficient way to do that. This is great if someone lives or stays in the building most of the time.

Hot air is easier to allow temperatures to go up and down so if you don't need the constant heat in a house, it can be more efficient to allow the house temperature to drop quite low and then bring it back to temperature when needed. This has been found to work quite efficiently for houses that do not need to be heated to "comfort" levels all the time. Both of those statements come from the "conventional instant heat sources" of fuel oil-propane-natural gas type sources where you can produce full BTU output within seconds of turning them on and can cycle them on and off as needed to maintain near constant temperatures.

Using solid fuel sources adds in another level of complexity as one doesn't have the "instant on/off" BTU source of heat in the system. Boilers are great in this application as the water in the system helps even out the fluctuations of the heat source. Now, that being said, when using coal as the heat source, coal is a very uniform heat source. So whether you are pushing your BTU's through water or through air doesn't make that much difference. Of course with water, you can pipe it around to compensate for building geometry quite easily and certainly very efficiently, including individual heating zones that add a lot of flexibility. This can be done with air also but it's not as easy, especially the individual zones...

Both the hot air and hot water systems above are significant installations.

Now one can talk about "no moving parts" heat distribution. With water than means gravity-fed systems. I've never seen one of those with "zones" (from a single solid fuel heat source), although you can sometimes "turn an area off", depending upon how it's been piped. A well designed gravity fed hot water system is delightful. But the cost of the heat source is a small part of the whole installation. This is not something where someone can just drop a stove into a house and add in some heat... It is also a significant installation as the systems above.

The hot air equivalent to the gravity fed hot water system is the natural air convection system. This is what most folk do here with adding in a stove somewhere to either supplement or heat their house with. To get a really well achieved heat distribution by natural convection is quite difficult, in fact probably more difficult than a gravity fed hot water system. But many of us try to do it anyway... Hey, it's easy, just throw in a stove somewhere and get heat... ;)

FWIW,

dj
dlj
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Castings Resolute
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood Baseheater #6
Coal Size/Type: Stove coal
Other Heating: Oil Furnace, electric space heaters

Re: Newbie looking to install coal stove in basement.

PostBy: coalnewbie On: Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:40 pm

Well Dave, I would like to add another 0.02c. Uglysquirrel once described it as heat soaking the house. So you start to warm up the house and a zone switches off say at 60F. If you now need that part of the house to get to 70F then the heat must come from somewhere. Once the house is heat soaked those hundreds of tons of construction make the home heat quite stable. I prefer the heat from a heat soaked house, everything is warm including the external facing walls. Dave once your home is heat soaked all you have to do is balance total heat in/heat out and if you guess wrong you have time to correct it, you don't need a zone to switch off. It's no different than then the electric company was trying to sell electric CH. The pitch was the electricity only comes on at night and the bricks inside keep it warm all day. It's not brain surgery and it's the reason we alternative heaters are happy with our systems. Move into a new CHed home in the winter and the builder will tell you it takes a few days to get to heat.
coalnewbie
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL AnthraKing 110K, Pocono110K,KStokr 90K, DVC
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93, Jotul 507
Baseburners & Antiques: Red Cross Invader 2
Coal Size/Type: Rice, Chestnut
Other Heating: Heating Oil CH, Toyotomi OM 22

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Re: Newbie looking to install coal stove in basement.

PostBy: dlj On: Sat Jul 06, 2013 3:10 pm

Pacowy wrote:A lot of people have gone through a process of starting with a stove and a simple set-up to get comfortable with coal before getting too involved, and I'm one of them. That said, I'm a little concerned that CN's numbers seem to be comparing a large and possibly new coal boiler to used stove without accounting for important differences. Hitzer says a 50-93 maxes out at around 100k btu/hr, but that is about the size of the smallest coal boilers. Even for a new unit, you normally wouldn't need to spend anywhere near $10k to get and install a boiler of comparable capacity. For people who would consider used equipment - as CN assumes would be the case for the stove - a good used boiler would be even less. For example, forum members have advertised boilers like a Keystoker K-6 in good used condition for well under $3k, and those units produce far greater usable output than does a 50-93 (sorry, manly men). The numbers also get murkier if you have a big DHW load and use the boiler for that. In our old house we saved $100/month off our NG bill as soon we switched to a tankless coil on the boiler (the gas company actually sent someone to our house to inspect our equipment because they thought we were fooling with the meter :lol: ). In that house we started with coal stoves installed in fireplaces and wound up with an EFM 900 in the basement.

It's great that the forum helps newcomers to see the options in light of the experiences others have already had. I agree with CN that you can get a lot of benefits from coal heat without getting into central heating, but I think his numbers make central heating with coal look like a scary proposition when, in fact, it is a step that many coal stove users find rational to take.

Mike


Mike,

I quite agree with you, especially the "process" part. Very well said!

But feel I need to point out the difficulty that if you don't have a hot water distribution system already installed, then the cost of installing one needs to be added onto the cost of the boiler. That can cost as much or more than the boiler. Not the case for Orrsmills, but it would appear that system is not designed and/or built correctly to get the heat desired in the high-ceiling home... The heat output of that current hot water system has not been satisfactory according to Orrsmills. Changing the heat source supplying that hot water system won't help the problem. That would have to be addressed by evaluating the current system and figuring out how to improve it so that the heat is better distributed. Likely changing or adding in heat exchangers in the poorly heated area of the house if the current hot water system is to perform properly. Or adding in another heat source, as has been done with the fireplace insert. That however, has not been completely satisfactory as the oil bill keeps on coming in...

I imagine Orrsmills is in a similar position as myself in that I want to keep my conventional fuel oil furnace as that makes the house a lot easier to sell down the road as a lot of people don't "understand" solid fuel appliances. Yet, the dilemma is how to greatly reduce the the current fuel costs while maintaining, or improving, the current comfort levels in the house...

For me, I have to see the house to know how to evaluate it...

dj
dlj
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Castings Resolute
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood Baseheater #6
Coal Size/Type: Stove coal
Other Heating: Oil Furnace, electric space heaters

Re: Newbie looking to install coal stove in basement.

PostBy: waldo lemieux On: Sat Jul 06, 2013 3:26 pm

The big money is on there not being enough radiation for the vaulted areas . The best thing for that is a radiant floor, which if he has an unfinished basement is an easy, relatively cheap fix. next best would be some cast iron radiators :D Either way a ceiling redistribution unit is in order.

Yours in coal,

Waldo(isnt that ridiculous?) :roll:
waldo lemieux
 
Stove/Furnace Make: efm
Stove/Furnace Model: s-20

Re: Newbie looking to install coal stove in basement.

PostBy: Rob R. On: Sat Jul 06, 2013 4:07 pm

If the heat gets stuck in the high/vaulted ceilings, it will be a problem regardless of the power plant producing the btu's. Coalnewbie already mentioned that some ceiling fans may be needed, and I think that is worth looking into.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Newbie looking to install coal stove in basement.

PostBy: coalnewbie On: Sat Jul 06, 2013 4:09 pm

..
The big money is on there not being enough radiation for the vaulted areas .


and a trusty $50 hand held IR thermometer will tell the delta between ceiling temp and floor temp and if it's all stuck up there it doesn't matter how you drive the system....... There are many A frame owners with log fires that have worked out that ceiling mounted whirly things work great at making things more evenly comfortable. Understand the needs of the house first, then work out how to drive it. Now I see Rob agrees (illuminati par excellence) - then it's settled....

My bet is a good 100,000BTU stand alone fire (not insert), say a Hitzer 50-93 or a Glenwood baseheater #8 (really out there for overkill, cute and totally quiet) and a number of large diameter fans in the ceiling (low noise) and you will be running round in your underwear yelling water is for drinkin'.
Last edited by coalnewbie on Sat Jul 06, 2013 4:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
coalnewbie
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL AnthraKing 110K, Pocono110K,KStokr 90K, DVC
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93, Jotul 507
Baseburners & Antiques: Red Cross Invader 2
Coal Size/Type: Rice, Chestnut
Other Heating: Heating Oil CH, Toyotomi OM 22

Re: Newbie looking to install coal stove in basement.

PostBy: franco b On: Sat Jul 06, 2013 4:16 pm

There have been some really good posts, and there is truth on both sides even where there is disagreement. I think this is because we think of comfort as a function of room temperature, which it is not. Depending on the circumstance you could feel too cold or to hot in a 75 degree room.

If our bodies radiate heat away faster than we internally generate it we feel cold and if we absorb external heat to excess we feel hot. The nature of that heat is primarily radiant energy in both directions. The example of a house with no heat for many days in mid winter is good. Entering the house it will feel colder than outside and even when the inside temperature is raised to 70 you will still feel cold because you are radiating heat away from your body to 20 degree or colder walls. As coalnewbe says, the whole mass has to be heated before comfort is achieved.

A room filled with radiant heat energy from a stove will be more comfortable at a lower air temperature than that same room heated only by warm air. That's also why as dlj pointed out a gravity hot water system with big old cast iron radiators is superior.

A big open room with high ceilings such as the original poster has will especially benefit from a high level of radiant heat. The air temperature will still stratify but comfort will remain high. The best installation would be with a free standing stove with a large mass of brick behind it rather than an insert that depends to a larger degree on using a blower to distribute heat, which can also be noisy. A stove installed in a basement gives up one of the major advantages of a radiant stove.
franco b
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: V ermont Castings 2310, Franco Belge 262
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood Modern Oak 114
Coal Size/Type: nut and pea

Re: Newbie looking to install coal stove in basement.

PostBy: Pacowy On: Sat Jul 06, 2013 4:47 pm

dlj wrote:But feel I need to point out the difficulty that if you don't have a hot water distribution system already installed, then the cost of installing one needs to be added onto the cost of the boiler. That can cost as much or more than the boiler. Not the case for Orrsmills, but it would appear that system is not designed and/or built correctly to get the heat desired in the high-ceiling home... The heat output of that current hot water system has not been satisfactory according to Orrsmills. Changing the heat source supplying that hot water system won't help the problem. That would have to be addressed by evaluating the current system and figuring out how to improve it so that the heat is better distributed. Likely changing or adding in heat exchangers in the poorly heated area of the house if the current hot water system is to perform properly. Or adding in another heat source, as has been done with the fireplace insert. That however, has not been completely satisfactory as the oil bill keeps on coming in...

I imagine Orrsmills is in a similar position as myself in that I want to keep my conventional fuel oil furnace as that makes the house a lot easier to sell down the road as a lot of people don't "understand" solid fuel appliances. Yet, the dilemma is how to greatly reduce the the current fuel costs while maintaining, or improving, the current comfort levels in the house...

For me, I have to see the house to know how to evaluate it...

dj


dj,

I agree to some extent on the distribution issues you raise. It's hard to know what the problems are with the current system without further situation-specific info, and I have very little background in hydronic systems from which to offer suggestions. I do have a couple of thoughts from our experience with the 900 that seem like they're relevant.

The 900 was installed in the unheated basement of a large 1890 Victorian in the Berkshires. When we bought the house it was heated by oil, and no matter how much oil we burned the basement was uninhabitable in winter and the floors of the first floor were uncomfortably cold. We installed the 900 without jackets or insulation, and it changed the entire feel of the house from Day 1. We didn't have to add radiators, or even a modine; without any new distribution piping, the boiler acted as a large radiator that heated the basement and warmed the floor of the first floor. In summer, it functioned as a dehumidifier, and year-round it supplied all of the DHW we could use on-demand.

Even in a house with no hot water radiators, it is not necessary to install a hot water distribution system to get the benefits of a boiler. In the old house, which was heated with steam, we looked at adding a short hydronic loop that would heat the core of the house in fall and spring using an airhandler (which would cut the number of full steam cycles when the load is low). I think there are several forum members who use a boiler in combination with a comparatively inexpensive water-to-air coil placed in a (pre-existing) hot air distribution system.

In short, I don't think it should be assumed that a boiler needs a complete hydronic distribution system in order to be beneficial. The OP should look closely at his distribution issues, but a coal boiler could provide ways to mitigate, rather than be limited by, those problems.

Mike
Pacowy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: H.B. Smith 350 Mills boiler/EFM 85R stoker
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/anthracite

Re: Newbie looking to install coal stove in basement.

PostBy: coalnewbie On: Sat Jul 06, 2013 4:56 pm

There have been some really good posts, and there is truth on both sides even where there is disagreement. I think this is because we think of comfort as a function of room temperature, which it is not. Depending on the circumstance you could feel too cold or to hot in a 75 degree room.

If our bodies radiate heat away faster than we internally generate it we feel cold and if we absorb external heat to excess we feel hot. The nature of that heat is primarily radiant energy in both directions. The example of a house with no heat for many days in mid winter is good. Entering the house it will feel colder than outside and even when the inside temperature is raised to 70 you will still feel cold because you are radiating heat away from your body to 20 degree or colder walls. As coalnewbe says, the whole mass has to be heated before comfort is achieved.

A room filled with radiant heat energy from a stove will be more comfortable at a lower air temperature than that same room heated only by warm air. That's also why as dlj pointed out a gravity hot water system with big old cast iron radiators is superior.

A big open room with high ceilings such as the original poster has will especially benefit from a high level of radiant heat. The air temperature will still stratify but comfort will remain high. The best installation would be with a free standing stove with a large mass of brick behind it rather than an insert that depends to a larger degree on using a blower to distribute heat, which can also be noisy. A stove installed in a basement gives up one of the major advantages of a radiant stove.


The definitive post... Orr, and there you have it, print it off and hang it up.
coalnewbie
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL AnthraKing 110K, Pocono110K,KStokr 90K, DVC
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93, Jotul 507
Baseburners & Antiques: Red Cross Invader 2
Coal Size/Type: Rice, Chestnut
Other Heating: Heating Oil CH, Toyotomi OM 22

Re: Newbie looking to install coal stove in basement.

PostBy: VigIIPeaBurner On: Sat Jul 06, 2013 4:58 pm

franco b wrote:A big open room with high ceilings such as the original poster has will especially benefit from a high level of radiant heat. The air temperature will still stratify but comfort will remain high. The best installation would be with a free standing stove with a large mass of brick behind it rather than an insert that depends to a larger degree on using a blower to distribute heat, which can also be noisy. A stove installed in a basement gives up one of the major advantages of a radiant stove.

Precisely why I initially suggested a boiler set up to supply a fairly consistent flow of (not extremely) hot water thru the fin- and- tube baseboard. It would provide a surrounding band of radiant heat and heat the air for the volume encompassed in the room with high ceilings. Remember that the OP said there was a desire to keep wood on the first floor for effect and the industrial aspects of heating with coal in the basement. Not knowing just how many feet of baseboard is installed is a big unknown for his setup and requirements so that this endeavor works.
VigIIPeaBurner
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace

Re: Newbie looking to install coal stove in basement.

PostBy: franco b On: Sat Jul 06, 2013 5:11 pm

VigIIPeaBurner wrote:Precisely why I initially suggested a boiler set up to supply a fairly consistent flow of (not extremely) hot water thru the fin- and- tube baseboard. It would provide a surrounding band of radiant heat and heat the air for the volume encompassed in the room with high ceilings. Remember that the OP said there was a desire to keep wood on the first floor for effect and the industrial aspects of heating with coal in the basement. Not knowing just how many feet of baseboard is installed is a big unknown for his setup and requirements so that this endeavor works.

I agree that it is much better to keep a constant flow of hot water at lower temperature rather than very hot then off for long periods. When the flow stops you feel cold right away.
franco b
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: V ermont Castings 2310, Franco Belge 262
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood Modern Oak 114
Coal Size/Type: nut and pea

Re: Newbie looking to install coal stove in basement.

PostBy: coalnewbie On: Sun Jul 07, 2013 4:56 am

Entering the house it will feel colder than outside and even when the inside temperature is raised to 70 you will still feel cold because you are radiating heat away from your body to 20 degree or colder walls.


... and there you have the comfort flaw with nicely zoned base board. The unused zone switches off until the reduced room temperature reaches that which is called for and yet when you touch an uninsulated exterior wall it is cold the to touch and that heat has to be made up sometime. Of course, it can be cozy once everything is heat soaked so zoning is not the great saver you think it is.

It is also the reason why dlj is scratching his head over his extreme comfort factor. He has a massive radiant body pumping out endless heat in his fireplace and he is enclosed in hundreds of tons of masonry that has been heat soaked. If extremely cold weather comes out of nowhere the huge radiant body takes a while to cool. Draughts are not good and great insulation is helpful to the overall situation but my leaky ol' oversized Victorian cr ap box has never been cozier and I love it.

and soooooo .... water is for drinkin'. It's too expensive and too complex. You hydronic guys can dream on that you have the ultimate comfort system and in fact you may do, however, there are great much cheaper alternatives. What is evident from many thousands of posts here is that complexity comes at a cost and difficulty which we just dream does not exist. All this water driven c rap breaks down but we ignore that overhead.... and then there are those pesky power cuts. So now I am headed for stand alones, even as a back up system, now all of a sudden I don't care about backup generators either. That is an unsolvable problem too for the long term. Yep, I'm done with that c rap too.

Conventional wisdom is an a$$ (as it usually is in this world). ...... incoming.......
coalnewbie
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL AnthraKing 110K, Pocono110K,KStokr 90K, DVC
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93, Jotul 507
Baseburners & Antiques: Red Cross Invader 2
Coal Size/Type: Rice, Chestnut
Other Heating: Heating Oil CH, Toyotomi OM 22

Re: Newbie looking to install coal stove in basement.

PostBy: Rob R. On: Sun Jul 07, 2013 7:24 am

Boiler for the basement, hand-fed for the great room? :P There is some good reading in an older thread, very similar discussion: Stoves or Central heat? Boilers vs. Furnaces

Everyone has their reasons for liking one type of system over another, and some great points have been made. coalnewbie makes a great point regarding thermal mass and keeping things at a steady temperature. I HATE the temperature swings that many traditional forced hot air systems provide, and it is amazing how the comfort level improves if you throttle things down and let them run steadily. Hot water is the same way, I'm sure most people have sat in a room that called for heat, the baseboard got hot, the thermostat was satisified, and then the room quickly felt cool again. Modern controls allow us to adjust the boiler temperature based on the load, so the circulators run much longer, and room temperature is more stable. In some systems the circulators run all the time, and the temperature of the water is adjusted automatically to keep the room temperature at setpoint. All of those features cost money, and it is understandable that many people don't want to get involved with something complex. The other thing to consider is the capabilities of the home owner...if you can install a boiler or furnace yourself it suddenly becomes much more affordable compared to someone that has to hire it done.

Anyway, back to what started this whole discussion...a used hand-fed stove in the basement with a carefully placed cold-air return in a distant room is a cheap way to experiment with anthracite. There are some things that type of system won't be able to do, but it will certainly improve the comfort level of the house for short money.

:idea: Don't forget to see where the heat is going in that great room.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Newbie looking to install coal stove in basement.

PostBy: coalkirk On: Sun Jul 07, 2013 8:27 am

Well Orrs there's lots of good info here if you can sift through the nonsense. Comparing a radiant stoves comfort level to a house that had no heat on at 20 degrees and then turning on a baseboard system falls into that catagory. Whether its a radiant stove or hydronic system, everything in the home gets up to temperature. The bottom line is a stove is a space heater and a boiler is a home heater. You are gonna do what your budget allows.
coalkirk
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000
Coal Size/Type: antrhcite/rice coal

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