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

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

PostBy: JerseyHokie On: Sun Nov 03, 2013 8:37 pm

Hi folks. First time poster after lurking for a month or so.

Recently moved to Bucks County PA in a house that has oil heat which scares the bejesus out of me. So in seeking alternatives/supplement, research shows I'd be dumb not to at least consider coal heating. A little about our house......

Oil boiler with tankless coil, hot water baseboard heat. DHW is through indirect tank. Easiest way to describe house is as a semi multi level: right side of house is a ranch (foyer, kitchen, LR, DR), left side is 2story colonial (4 BR upstairs, family room with fireplace downstairs). From foyer, it's 5 stairs to upstairs and 5 stairs to downstairs.

If I am to consider coal heating, will an insert work to heat the house, given the location of the fireplace and layout? Worried heat would be trapped in downstairs family room. If it helps, I attached a picture showing the fireplace, and stairs up to foyer and living room. Not sure about having a freestanding stove in main floor dining room or living room.

Thanks for any feedback, suggestions, etc.

PS - any suggestions for which stove would be welcomed. Thinking Hitzer 503 may be a good option, if I go insert route?
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JerseyHokie
 

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

PostBy: coalkirk On: Sun Nov 03, 2013 8:56 pm

I wish I had more time to elaborate but I don't right now. I've got 3 words for you. Boiler, boiler, boiler.
coalkirk
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000
Coal Size/Type: antrhcite/rice coal

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

PostBy: Rigar On: Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:01 pm

...just the fact that you re considering coal puts you on the right track!
Rigar
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker A 150
Coal Size/Type: anthracite rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: A 150 warm air furnace


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

PostBy: Wiz On: Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:05 pm

X2 on boiler.. I would connect coal boiler to oil boiler. Coal boiler will supply heat evenly in house and plenty of dhw.
Wiz
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker Ka 6
Coal Size/Type: Casey Junk Coal :(

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

PostBy: Rigar On: Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:05 pm

i must say...heat distribution with a stove sounds like a nightmare in your house (air circulation)
why not consider what coalkirk said- boiler!
Rigar
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker A 150
Coal Size/Type: anthracite rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: A 150 warm air furnace

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

PostBy: Carbon12 On: Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:15 pm

Do you have central air conditioning and if so where is the air handler (blower fan unit)???
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: 2001Sierra On: Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:18 pm

I turned my Keystoker 90 into a mini furnace. I got lucky, If I was younger a boiler would be the only way to go. In the early 80's I did coal,with a hopper fed Buderus. Everyone else did wood. I am still doing coal, and all the others moved on, and so did their wallets!
2001Sierra
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90 Chimney vent
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Other Heating: Buderus Oil Boiler 3115-34
Stove/Furnace Model: Keystoker 90 Chimney Vent

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

PostBy: JerseyHokie On: Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:19 pm

I do have central air. Previous owner added it just a few years ago. All the ductwork and unit is in attic/ceiling.
JerseyHokie
 

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

PostBy: Carbon12 On: Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:29 pm

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..
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: LDPosse On: Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:33 pm

Looking into coal heat is a great idea. From your description, though, sounds like going with a boiler (or furnace, if applicable) would be the best route to take.

I was spending a fortune heating my house with oil. I switched to coal in 2011 and haven't burned a drop of oil since. In fact, I sold the ramaining 180 or so gallons of oil on craigslist, and bought an entire season's worth of coal with that money!
LDPosse
 
Stove/Furnace Make: DS Machine, Warm Morning
Stove/Furnace Model: DS1500, WM 400-A, 523

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

PostBy: JerseyHokie On: Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:42 pm

So forgive my ignorance and/or if this is a dumb question, but just so I am clear...

In recommending a coal boiler, is it in replacement of the oil boiler or as a supplement to the existing oil boiler? For some reason, I always thought most who had a coal boiler also kept their existing oil or NG boiler as backup. Or opted for a boiler that burned both coal or oil.
JerseyHokie
 

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

PostBy: tikigeorge On: Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:46 pm

I have a Keystoker KA-6 boiler. We have had this for five years and so far bullet proof. Call me, your are close to me,and I'll show you my setup. I have a auger in my coal bin that feeds the hopper. I don't have to shovel buckets into the hopper, just flip the switch and it fills. But I do have to take out the ashes. 908.763.5321
tikigeorge
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: KA-6

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

PostBy: KLook On: Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:48 pm

Well, almost right. The oil becomes the supplement to the coal boiler, but don't tell the insurance co that. ;) They only want to hear about oil or NG or Propane. It is ok to call the coal backup, but not primary heat.

Kevin
KLook
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF 3000
Coal Size/Type: rice, bagged, Blaschak
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman (Back In Maine)
Stove/Furnace Model: VF 3000

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

PostBy: Wiz On: Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:49 pm

Coil boiler can be in series or parallel to oil boiler. Coil boiler will be work horse in producing heat.... I've got this type of setup. Your welcome to check my set-up if you like. Tikigeorge left me check his system, definitely helped to look at boiler in action.
Last edited by Wiz on Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Wiz
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker Ka 6
Coal Size/Type: Casey Junk Coal :(

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

PostBy: Carbon12 On: Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:52 pm

Keep the oil boiler if it's in decent shape. It can be a back up system. If you go out of town, you can switch to the oil boiler while no one is home to tend the stoker. Installing a stove or insert WILL lower your fuel oil bills a bunch but you'll probably have to burn oil all winter when the weather is cold to keep the whole house an even temperature. Heating half the house with coal is better than not heating with coal at all plus the area with the coal will be really nice and toasty!
Carbon12
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite
Other Heating: Heat Pump/Forced Hot Air Oil Furnace