ad356 wrote:i had a friend that just told me that coal stoves will not continue to run on their own without shaking the grate every so often. i think he is full of hot air. what really makes me rethink buying a coal stove is the fuel price. $330 per ton is no cheaper then $220 per ton on pellets. i didnt think that the price difference was that much. not only do i want central heating i want a return on my investment with a lower heating bill. i might just stay with the harman pellet if i cannot get a reasonable operation cost with coal. i might also consider buying one of those hotblast units, setting up a class A chimney and burning plain old firewood.
True - a coal stove or hand fed coal furnace needs tended to, usually on 12 hour intervals. This involves shaking the grates and reloading coal. Shake and re load takes roughly 10 minutes, give or take - then another 20-30 minutes for the fresh batch to get burning good to re adjust primary air settings for the 12 hour burn.
A stoker unit only needs its hopper filled and ashes dumped. Schedule varies according to how hard its running.
True - Price per BTU on coal vrs. wood pellets is very close for you, given the costs you posted. Difference of only $2.00 per million BTU with coal being slightly lower.
Burn wood for economy, if you can get it free or close to it. If you don't mind filling a hopper and dumping ashes once in a while, then I'm sure you won't mind cutting splitting stacking hauling bugs mess and chucking wood in a furnace every few hours either..