Considering Coal Heating...Am I on the right track?

Re: Considering Coal Heating...Am I on the right track?

PostBy: kstills On: Wed Nov 06, 2013 9:43 am

Carbon12 wrote:I would think that the manufacturers would figure out a way to make the conversion of coal to oil and back again easier for less mechanically inclined customers. Would be a great selling point in their favor. Obviously a coal boilers efficiency would be less with the oil back up burning but designing something that only required a flip of a switch would be desirable for most home owners. I guess the cost of doing so makes it prohibitive for the manufacturers.



Not sure how the others work, but with the WL110, you open the access door (four nuts), insert the insulation to isolate the stoker from the boiler, put the access door back on, remove the cover glass (three slotted bolts) and swing the oil gun into place.

Switch from coal to oil and you're off to the races (poor house).

Takes about 5 minutes tops.

Granted, you need to know how to use a wrench, which will disqualify 90% of the people under the age of 40, but still....
kstills
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: WL 110
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line

Re: Considering Coal Heating...Am I on the right track?

PostBy: Carbon12 On: Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:00 am

Hmmmm,...if that oil fired instantaneous water heater can be used to heat boiler water I wonder if it could also augment the stoker if the boiler couldn't keep up with peak demand.
Carbon12
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite
Other Heating: Heat Pump/Forced Hot Air Oil Furnace

Re: Considering Coal Heating...Am I on the right track?

PostBy: kstills On: Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:02 am

Carbon12 wrote:Hmmmm,...if that oil fired instantaneous water heater can be used to heat boiler water I wonder if it could also augment the stoker if the boiler couldn't keep up with peak demand.


Heh, I assumed that's where you were going with it.

Probably, if it was part of the primary loop. Set it for 140f or so, and when the primary drops below that temp it fires up.

Be cheaper to buy a bigger coal boiler, imho.....
kstills
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: WL 110
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line


Re: Considering Coal Heating...Am I on the right track?

PostBy: Carbon12 On: Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:07 am

Yes, a bigger coal boiler would be cheaper in the long run. You wouldn't have a relatively automatic oil back up, however. I suppose an oil fired water heater, plumbed correctly, could do essentially the same thing. A propane instantaneous water heater might work as well. Hmmm???
Carbon12
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite
Other Heating: Heat Pump/Forced Hot Air Oil Furnace

Re: Considering Coal Heating...Am I on the right track?

PostBy: SMITTY On: Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:55 am

I have the exact same setup - oil boiler, indirect HW, and hydronic baseboard - same as 95% of central MA suburbs.

I just installed a stoker boiler. BEST thing I ever did!! Should've done this 8 years ago! Boiler, Boiler, Boiler, BOILER!! Trust me on this! ;)
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: Considering Coal Heating...Am I on the right track?

PostBy: davidmcbeth3 On: Tue Nov 19, 2013 4:47 am

Carbon12 wrote:If the air handler was in the heated part of the house you might get away with a firplace insert and using the blower fan to circulate the warm air around the house. With the duct work heading to the air handler in the attic, it usually cools the air too much to make circulating the air practical. Coal stoker boiler would be BEST option comfort and performance wise but more $$$. A good used boiler would be "about" the same price as a brand new coal insert but the installation would be more $$$. Depending on the the boiler you get and the cost of installation, you theoretically could break even the first season and after that cut the heating bill 50 % or much more over fuel oil..



+1 on using HVAC system. A fan blowing from the ceiling over the stairs may actually provide decent movement of the heat. Home depot for a 8" duct fan and hook it to the ceiling may offer something.

Boiler idea OK ... hard to test the effectiveness of blowing the heat ...maybe electric heaters .. hate to buy an insert or stove and find out it don't work.

Of course, you can run another pipe to the outside elsewhere on the next floor up from where the current fireplace is...
davidmcbeth3
 
Coal Size/Type: nut/pea/anthra
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: 503

Re: Considering Coal Heating...Am I on the right track?

PostBy: coalnewbie On: Tue Nov 19, 2013 5:46 am

I set my 5 zone hydronic oil heat for 60-65F in my 7000 sq ft house. If the temp goes below that something is wrong and it kicks in but to date it never has in 5 years of coal operations. I then start my coal hot air systems as per my profile and that takes the load off the oil boiler. 5 years later I have burned virtually no oil and saved a fortune on the install and radiant heat is waayyy more comfortable and cozy than baseboard - period. An added big plus is the entire air system is HEPA filtered and that is much healthier. Servicing is much easier so I have a minority opinion here. You guys carry on with your complex over engineered hydronic systems and I will continue with my simple heat solution. I've posted this before but no one listens. You doubt me come visit me in the depth of winter for a beer or coffee. Keep going, that Peruvian copper mine owner has to keep his luxury yacht going somehow.
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: Considering Coal Heating...Am I on the right track?

PostBy: Rob R. On: Tue Nov 19, 2013 6:16 am

coalnewbie wrote: You guys carry on with your complex over engineered hydronic systems and I will continue with my simple heat solution. I've posted this before but no one listens.


coalnewbie wrote:saved a fortune on the install


There are plenty of people that listen, but you know that what makes sense in one home might not make sense in another. If your home had a large walk-out basement and it was a simple task to set a coal boiler right next to the oil system and have coal-fired baseboard heat and domestic hot water.....would you still have bothered to install ductwork and a hot air system? How about if the boiler route was less expensive? I don't disagree about the HEPA filters, that is very nice...but in my mind there is nothing "simple" about running huge duct work through an old house. Hydro air might be a good compromise, but I haven't experimented with it.

Anyway, back to the house in the original post. Heat distribution looks like it will be a challenge. He can either use the system that is already there, put a stove in and try to blow heat around with fans, or start running ductwork for a separate hot air system. Just my opinion, but I think in most cases it makes sense to use the existing central heating system...assuming it works properly.

At the end of the day, most people choose what they are comfortable with and what fits the budget. That is fine, but I always encourage people to pencil out the long term cost of operation vs. the upfront installation.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: Rice/buck
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Considering Coal Heating...Am I on the right track?

PostBy: GoodProphets On: Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:18 am

I am 100% coal boiler. No other source of heat in this old house.

I came here to learn, and that I did.

We took out the old oil boiler and installed new coal boiler.
It heats our DHW and our cast iron stand ups and baseboard radiators.
I was hesitant to call the ins co about it, but after it was installed and running I called.
Agent informed me that since it is primary heat, all is fine.
He said if it were supplemental, as in insert or parlor stove etc, then it would require insurance.
Might be H stamp, UL listed AMSE whatever, not sure but
BEST thing to do is call your ins co now and see whats up.
Could help you in the long run and also help in the short run determining what your options are.

I just removed every last part of going back to oil just a month ago.
I removed the oil tank!
This was just done, so I could put in a wooden built coal bin.

And like you will read about peeps saying that they love to see the oil man (at their neighbors house!)
Haha, that is what I am seeing a few times a week, and they dont stop at my place!!!!

I purchased my home 2 years ago.
Suffered through the first winter with oil, spent thousands to heat for one winter,
along with three wood traditional fireplaces (trying to save a couple dollars)

Finally decided on an EFM 520. (about 250btu give/take) Built like a steel sh*t house, not brick lol.
essentially heating 5000 sq ft barn. (what we call historic homes) just dont leave the barn door open hehe.
Saving 60% in fuel costs (which means only paying 40% of what we would in oil)
And staying warm. 4th baby on his way in about a month!

My plans are to use one of the fireplaces to put in a coal insert.
As in shoulder months I like to burn a few wood fires.

Since you already have HW baseboard, take advantage of that
And also take advantage of your fireplace...maybe insert?

Again call ins co to see whats up and read, learn, ask questions to figure out
what is best for your home and your schedule.
Im in lancaster county, ephrata, if you want to see in action PM.

Good Luck!
GoodProphets
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: Anthra Rice
Other Heating: 3 Fireplaces