(Potential) Rookie here!

(Potential) Rookie here!

PostBy: JayEm2519 On: Tue Jul 16, 2013 4:05 pm

All -
Some may say I will not get a biased answer here, but I have been trolling your boards the past few days and you all seem level headed and honest.
My wife and I are seriously considering purchasing a house in Dallas, Pa. One issue we have discussed is the fact that the primary heating type is a coal furnace. There also exists an oil furnace, as well as a propane fireplace. I guess all that's missing is a wood stove and gas furnace!!!
We have absolutely no experience with coal; our present house, as well as the houses we grew up in, were natural gas.
My main concerns, as I'm sure you've all heard time and time again, is safety.
1. We have 2 young children; I am concerned about, for lack of a better term, indoor air pollution. I'm not as concerned about CO, beacuse we have monitors. I'm more concerned about dust particles.
2. Dust in general; an acquaintance tells me his father heats with a coal furnace, and the only dust problem is in the room with the actual furnace. For us, this would be in teh basement.
I thought I was ok with the possibility of coal, but growing up in the area, I have been inundated with horror stories when I asked a general Facebook question of "what are your thoughts on coal heat, pros/cons". HELP!!
Thanks!!
JayEm2519
 

Re: (Potential) Rookie here!

PostBy: 331camaro On: Tue Jul 16, 2013 4:22 pm

pros- cheap and easy. cons- you will become addicted to coal, you'll sit on here figuring out ways to save even more money. lots of knowledge on here you've come to the right place. dust is minimal depending on how you get your coal. for me I get bagged coal, no dust, the only time I get dirty is when I clean my boiler. ashes aren't too bad to deal with once you get a system down. its only as messy/dusty as you make it. nothing is as clean as natural gas, but if its not an option, in my eyes anthracite is the only alternative. good luck house hunting!
331camaro
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker k6
Coal Size/Type: rice

Re: (Potential) Rookie here!

PostBy: tsb On: Tue Jul 16, 2013 4:27 pm

If you can get access to natural gas, that is the best choice now.
If you have a ton of disposable income use the oil furnace.
A little more information on the coal furnace would help us give
you some advice as to how to proceed. Is it a stoker furnace
or a batch feed throw it in with a shovel furnace ?
Pictures, by all means pictures.
tsb
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Binford 2000
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL Pioneer top vent
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Saey Hanover II


Re: (Potential) Rookie here!

PostBy: Lightning On: Tue Jul 16, 2013 4:37 pm

JayEm2519 wrote: One issue we have discussed is the fact that the primary heating type is a coal furnace. There also exists an oil furnace, as well as a propane fireplace.


Generally speaking, Oil and Propane are at least 2 if not 3 times as expensive to heat with as coal. Especially if you are close to a source for purchasing your coal. What type furnace is in the house you are considering?

JayEm2519 wrote: I have been inundated with horror stories when I asked a general Facebook question of "what are your thoughts on coal heat, pros/cons". HELP!!


Facebook would be a terrible place to seek information since most people just aren't educated about using it. Their minds are polluted with the general stigma that coal is a dirty disgusting and should be banned. But that's what has been fed thru media and other sources. Coal is actually a lot cleaner to burn than wood as far as I'm concerned. When I have a coal fire burning you see absolutely nothing coming out of the chimney. Coal exhaust is clear. When I discussed using coal to my friends and family, I appeared to them as an alien hahaha :lol:

JayEm2519 wrote:I'm more concerned about dust particles.

Sure there is dust, but with a little finesse its not a problem. My coal furnace is in the basement too, good place for it 8-) but many here operate stoves right in their living room with no problems.
Lightning
 
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Clayton 1537G
Coal Size/Type: Nut Size / White Ash

Re: (Potential) Rookie here!

PostBy: samhill On: Tue Jul 16, 2013 4:45 pm

Like it's been said a little more info & we can give better advice, I too never had anything but NG. Now I have a keystoker that burns rice coal & use my propane for back-up & marginal weather, the same ductwork is used for both. Let us know what type furnace your talking about, size & age of house, ranch or two story, forced air or boiler & anything you can think of. If possible pick the brain of the person selling would be a real good start & tell you where to get the best coal supply & amount needed in general, don't be afraid to ask anything & welcome. And yes we all like pictures here but if you don't have the house yet that could be hard.
samhill
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: keystoker 160
Hand Fed Coal Stove: hitzer 75 in garage
Stove/Furnace Make: keystoker/hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: koker 160/ hitzer 75

Re: (Potential) Rookie here!

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Tue Jul 16, 2013 5:32 pm

If you have a coal furnace there shouldn't be any dust outside of the room it's in unless you drop the ashpan while emptying it. :o There is no doubt in my mind that you will be kicking yourself for not having moved to coal sooner. I know I still am and I've been heating with it for 6 years now. If you have questions about coal and just about anything else, this is the place to be. :D Take care, Lisa
lowfog01
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Mark II & Mark I

Re: (Potential) Rookie here!

PostBy: Richard S. On: Tue Jul 16, 2013 5:35 pm

JayEm2519 wrote:I thought I was ok with the possibility of coal, but growing up in the area, I have been inundated with horror stories when I asked a general Facebook question of "what are your thoughts on coal heat, pros/cons". HELP!!
Thanks!!



Ignore them, you'll love it especially at the end of the year when you're taking them kids to Disney with all the money you saved. You can turn on the cash sucking machine they call an oil furnace if you don't like it. :P

What kind of unit is it? Boiler, stove, furnace?
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: (Potential) Rookie here!

PostBy: dcrane On: Tue Jul 16, 2013 6:58 pm

anthracite is different from what all the "non-educated" people "think" coal is. The simple fact is if your living in PA with a whole house coal boiler/furnace in your basement there will be no more "fine particulate" exposure to your kids than you are already exposed to being in PA (the Coal Capitol of the world). Id love to know what make/model coal furnace you have (as would many people here) because they would all be lining up at your door to take should you wish to have it removed :lol:

Coal is 1/3rd the price per year as Oil would be and the hassle is 1/50th of wood. Coal is safer than all of the above (you never here about chimney fires from coal, you never here about your house exploding from coal, you never here about the EPA coming down to condemn your home or send clean harbors out to the tune of $20,000 from coal, etc,etc,etc.

When you explain the boiler/furnace that is their and the layout of basement these guys can tell you how to be vigilant about clean and ease and safety (if you could take some photo's of the unit, the oil burner, the basement even better!)
The methods could be as simple as ordering coal clean, putting up some 2x4 and ply. walls or maybe a custom coal bin (but they need more info)... In any event you CAN burn coal clean and your family wont even know coal is heating the house!

Great to have you here and good luck on the home purchase!!!
dcrane
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Crane 404

Re: (Potential) Rookie here!

PostBy: I'm On Fire On: Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:06 pm

My stove is in my living room. And other than a bit of dust around the ash door I don't ever have any issues with indoor air quality. I do have an issue with the house getting too warm....wait...no I don't. Never mind, I have no complaints with coal.
I'm On Fire
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machines DS-1600 Hot Air Circulator

Re: (Potential) Rookie here!

PostBy: coalnewbie On: Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:50 pm

I'm no commodity trader but if you look at the daily price of HO for July I think that means an even higher price for this coming winter. Ignore the idiots on FB they know nothing. Run don't walk to anthracite the worlds greatest fuel. The expertise here is just stunning, they will see you right.
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: (Potential) Rookie here!

PostBy: JayEm2519 On: Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:51 pm

Thanks for all the replies so far. We are going to see the house again tomorrow, and I will try to get pics. What I do know is that it is a ranch home, but the rear is above ground (property slopes down). Total square footage is about 1750. The coal bin is about 10 feet away. It has an auto feed hopper.
I could care less about the part of the basement it is in being dusty; I am just more concerned about the living areas of the home.
thanks again!
JayEm2519
 

Re: (Potential) Rookie here!

PostBy: dcrane On: Wed Jul 17, 2013 6:19 am

JayEm2519 wrote:Thanks for all the replies so far. We are going to see the house again tomorrow, and I will try to get pics. What I do know is that it is a ranch home, but the rear is above ground (property slopes down). Total square footage is about 1750. The coal bin is about 10 feet away. It has an auto feed hopper.
I could care less about the part of the basement it is in being dusty; I am just more concerned about the living areas of the home.
thanks again!


1750 sq' embankment ranch :shock: (is that including living area in the basement?) ... that's a BIG Ranch :D
As far as living area dust the duct work going through your home IS NOT, CAN NOT, WILL NOT have anything to do with flu gases OR dust in the boiler room, etc. The two never meet (In other words even though it appears looking at the unit that they are connected or comingle together they do not), The Plenum (help me out here guys with names of this stuff or spelling)... anyways the Plenum and duct work is connected to the top/sides of the furnace and they can be sealed to be impervious to any dusk inside that room (not that their will be any after you learn), and all that plenum/duct work has zero connection to whats called the "heat exchanger" (otherwise we would all have serious problems :lol: ).... so in other words the things that have you a lil' scared are absolutely nothing to be scared of but I have seen other people who don't realize that a coal furnace works EXACTLY like your N/Gas Furnace or Oil Furnace and the ONLY difference really is the fuel it uses ;)

also, the coal furnace combustion chamber is most likely airtight (probably more airtight than a oil boiler with a non-airtight "blow back" flapper above the burner). The only dust your going to see is when you need to empty the ashpan once per week (and because you have an embanked ranch, if your furnace is near that outside wall your going to knock a nice custom ash door right through the damb wall to outside within arms reach from the furnace (Zero Dust for YOU!) :dancing:
dcrane
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Crane 404

Re: (Potential) Rookie here!

PostBy: steveyrock On: Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:34 am

is coal dirty? Yes. is coal more work? Absolutly.will you need to dust THE FURNITURE MORE OFTEN if the appliance is inside the house and you don't have good ash pan emptying skills? YES.

Burning coal takes someone who will be committed to deal with all the negatives as it is not simply turn up the thermostat and forget about it type of fuel.

I don't mind the extra work because I save money, some others love it because it's a hobby for them which is fine too but it does take some diligence and commitment. to heat a home with coal and in our convenience driven society it's certainly not for everyone.I would not burn coal if I had access to another fuel that was not oil, wood or electric.if and when they ever put natural gas down my street my coal boiler will get shut down but I won't get rid of it.
Last edited by steveyrock on Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
steveyrock
 

Re: (Potential) Rookie here!

PostBy: blrman07 On: Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:25 am

My wife has chronic and severe asthma. We heat our home 100% with a coal stove sitting in the dining room. I spray the coal with some water before I pour it in the hopper and that eliminates the dust from that area. I am very careful when I remove the ashes making sure the blowers are turned off. Pretty much the only time I got some soot in the house was when I tried to burn some wood pellets when we had a power failure. I got them to burn but it was a BAD experiment. My stove was designed to burn rice coal not wood pellets. Bad move. Bad move.

We get more pollutants in the house cooking on the propane kitchen stove than using the coal stove all winter!

My wife's severe asthma causes more problems right now with the high temperatures, high humidity and pollen flying around. She actually clears up quite a bit staying indoor during the winter and sitting 4 feet away from the front of the stove in her rocking chair with the cat sleeping in her lap.

Coal stove is in the basement? Fire up the coal, shut down the oil burner. Your families lungs will thank you.
blrman07
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Bucket a Day
Hand Fed Coal Stove: installing a VC 2310 this summer
Coal Size/Type: Pea/Nut/Wood in the VC and anything that will fit in the Bucket a Day. It's not fussy.

Re: (Potential) Rookie here!

PostBy: anthony7812 On: Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:26 am

My wife was anti coal, this being prior to our first winter with our Mark III. When she realized she never would have touch it and the house would run around 75-78 all winter Way longer burn times than wood. The dust is something you'll learn to manage. My bin is outside and I use a 5 gallon pail to bring inside so I dont see any black coal dust. Now the ash dust I do see, but its manageable, I have to dust and vacuum more often. But compared to wood, coal IMO is 10 times cleaner. Its a learning curve at first with your appliance.
anthony7812
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: VanWert VA 400
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III
Coal Size/Type: Buck/Nut/Anthracite