Upgrading my Magnum Stoker to a Stoker Boiler

Upgrading my Magnum Stoker to a Stoker Boiler

PostBy: beatle78 On: Tue Jan 22, 2008 2:19 pm

Hi guys,

I'm come to the realization that my needs may be better suited for a stoker boiler and not my Magnum Stoker. I have read every post I could find here on stoker boilers. (Hopefully I've retained most of it) Now I want your opinions on this.

My current setup:

I have baseboard heat in my house.
Magnum stoker in the walkout basement of my raised ranch. I installed 2 registers in each bedroom.
Hot water coil hooked up in series between the boiler and the zone to my Amtrol heat exchanger storage tank. (thanks to the guys on this forum)
I have electrically disconnected my oil burner so I can circulate some hot water if necessary by call for heat upstairs.
House well insulated built in 1989.

This are some of the things that led to my decision.

1. I want hot water during warm spells when the Magnum is only running in idle. (oil burner is NOT allowed to come on so some days only 1 person get the "hot" shower.)
2. I would like a more constant heat in the house. (Although through some help here I have improved that greatly)
3. I like the larger hopper sizes of the boilers which would reduce the amount of trips I make to the coal bin.
4. I could eliminate oil completely if I decide to burn the stoker in the summer.
5. in choosing a boiler, I am space limited so the more compact boilers are more appealing to me.
6. If we ad on to out house, the biggest it would ever be is 2500 ft^2 so the smallest boiler in each brand should suffice.

I am also considering getting this stoker boiler with an oil backup to give me the option to put some sort of stove downstairs where the Magnum is currently. More for the ambiance of a nice fire to sit by more than anything. [we hope to finish the downstairs in a couple of years]

What are your thoughts on my decision and if you agree what boiler do you recommend??????

Thanks,
Jeremy
beatle78
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker KA-4

Re: Upgrading my Magnum Stoker to a Stoker Boiler

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Tue Jan 22, 2008 2:54 pm

beatle78 wrote:I am also considering getting this stoker boiler with an oil backup to give me the option to put some sort of stove downstairs where the Magnum is currently.


I would leave your existing oil fired unit and add a stoker. The combo coal/oil units are very inefficient on the oil side.
coaledsweat
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

Re: Upgrading my Magnum Stoker to a Stoker Boiler

PostBy: 1975gt750 On: Tue Jan 22, 2008 3:09 pm

i installed a keystoker kaa-2 in series with my oil burner and it works great the oil burner has not come on in a month. i am currently burning 35-40# a day pretty cheap. check out the pics i posted in a previous thread

chris
1975gt750
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: keystoker kaa-2
Coal Size/Type: rice coal / blaschak
Other Heating: pensotti oil boiler with riello 40 burner
Stove/Furnace Make: keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: kaa-2

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Re: Upgrading my Magnum Stoker to a Stoker Boiler

PostBy: beatle78 On: Tue Jan 22, 2008 4:16 pm

coaledsweat wrote:
beatle78 wrote:I am also considering getting this stoker boiler with an oil backup to give me the option to put some sort of stove downstairs where the Magnum is currently.


I would leave your existing oil fired unit and add a stoker. The combo coal/oil units are very inefficient on the oil side.



really? That bad huh? Bummer, it sounded like a wiiner of a combination... well on paper anyway.
beatle78
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker KA-4

Re: Upgrading my Magnum Stoker to a Stoker Boiler

PostBy: beatle78 On: Tue Jan 22, 2008 4:18 pm

1975gt750 wrote:i installed a keystoker kaa-2 in series with my oil burner and it works great the oil burner has not come on in a month. i am currently burning 35-40# a day pretty cheap. check out the pics i posted in a previous thread

chris


NICE! Here's the link to your install.... it's SWEET!

just installed a keystoker kaa-2

Seems really compact too. I was looking at the Harman VF3000 as that seems about the same size as your Keystoker.

What output BTU rating is the kaa-2?
How much did that unit cost you?

Thanks,
Jeremy
beatle78
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker KA-4

Re: Upgrading my Magnum Stoker to a Stoker Boiler

PostBy: coalkirk On: Tue Jan 22, 2008 6:28 pm

Jeremy,

I've got the VF3000 and my oil burner hasn't been on at all. It's output is variable from 5k to 95k btu. On warm days it idles very well so it could still provide you domestic hot water. I also would not recommend the oil option as they do not work well. Hopper holds 250lbs and the unit isn't huge. There are lots of good boilers out there so take your time and do the research. Tons of good info on here.
coalkirk
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000
Coal Size/Type: antrhcite/rice coal

Re: Upgrading my Magnum Stoker to a Stoker Boiler

PostBy: Flyer5 On: Tue Jan 22, 2008 7:08 pm

I have a ka-4 and it works really well unlimited domestic hot water . I am using this till I get 1 of my AA130s in . Stay away from the oil coal combo not worth it . Most cannot be setup for automatic backup . You would be better off with a small wall mounted oil /propane unit plumbed in series for a backup .Dave
Flyer5
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Leisure Line WL110
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Leisure Line Pioneer

Re: Upgrading my Magnum Stoker to a Stoker Boiler

PostBy: U235a4 On: Tue Jan 22, 2008 8:41 pm

Here is my biased personal opinion... ditch the oil boiler, get an AA130 if you have room for a coal bin to for the auger and if not then go with the AHS S130, get a good reset controller, and be done with it. BTW if i remember correctly your from gettysburg area... am I right?
U235a4
 
Stove/Furnace Make: 1958 Axeman-Anderson
Stove/Furnace Model: 260M

Re: Upgrading my Magnum Stoker to a Stoker Boiler

PostBy: beatle78 On: Tue Jan 22, 2008 9:18 pm

U235a4 wrote:Here is my biased personal opinion... ditch the oil boiler, get an AA130 if you have room for a coal bin to for the auger and if not then go with the AHS S130, get a good reset controller, and be done with it. BTW if i remember correctly your from gettysburg area... am I right?


I don't have any room for an indoor coal bin so I guess that eliminates the AA130.

Does the AHS S130 have a built in oil burner option? I didn't see that mentioned on their website.

http://www.alternateheatingsystems.com/coalboilers.htm

OK, since your biased, what should persuade me to buy an AHS S130 when it seems quite a bit larger than the Harman VF3000, Keystoker KAA-2, an KA-4??


This is GOOD stuff, keep it coming guys!!!
beatle78
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker KA-4

Re: Upgrading my Magnum Stoker to a Stoker Boiler

PostBy: U235a4 On: Tue Jan 22, 2008 9:51 pm

beatle78 wrote:
U235a4 wrote:Here is my biased personal opinion... ditch the oil boiler, get an AA130 if you have room for a coal bin to for the auger and if not then go with the AHS S130, get a good reset controller, and be done with it. BTW if i remember correctly your from gettysburg area... am I right?


I don't have any room for an indoor coal bin so I guess that eliminates the AA130.

Does the AHS S130 have a built in oil burner option? I didn't see that mentioned on their website.

http://www.alternateheatingsystems.com/coalboilers.htm

OK, since your biased, what should persuade me to buy an AHS S130 when it seems quite a bit larger than the Harman VF3000, Keystoker KAA-2, an KA-4??


This is GOOD stuff, keep it coming guys!!!


WHY you ask because after doing some research on the subject I feel the AA and AHS have the best heat exchanger out there another words your going to transfer more heat from the coal you burn into the water then the other units. BTW if you must keep oil then keep your old unit and use a Tekmar 265 contoller which will control both units and fire the oil boiler only if it needs to.
U235a4
 
Stove/Furnace Make: 1958 Axeman-Anderson
Stove/Furnace Model: 260M

Re: Upgrading my Magnum Stoker to a Stoker Boiler

PostBy: Flyer5 On: Tue Jan 22, 2008 10:52 pm

beatle78 wrote:
U235a4 wrote:Here is my biased personal opinion... ditch the oil boiler, get an AA130 if you have room for a coal bin to for the auger and if not then go with the AHS S130, get a good reset controller, and be done with it. BTW if i remember correctly your from gettysburg area... am I right?


I don't have any room for an indoor coal bin so I guess that eliminates the AA130.

Does the AHS S130 have a built in oil burner option? I didn't see that mentioned on their website.

http://www.alternateheatingsystems.com/coalboilers.htm

OK, since your biased, what should persuade me to buy an AHS S130 when it seems quite a bit larger than the Harman VF3000, Keystoker KAA-2, an KA-4??


This is GOOD stuff, keep it coming guys!!!



The 130s are actually smaller in person than they look in pictures,except the AHS has the big hopper .The AA-130 has a 25" x 40" footprint not counting the auger .Research the combo oil units more and the more you will get discouraged . A good system you will probably never need a backup except when going away for a few days . My keystoker has the same stoker assy as the ka6 . I still have to at least tend to it everyday when its really cold at least to push the ashes in the pan around . You could use other options for backup heat other than oil ,the problem is after a while the oil in the tank starts to mold and go bad . I have 2yr old fuel and have been using it in the tractor just to use it up . Look into the instant hot water heaters if you dont have room for a separate oil unit . When I was looking the Keystoker and Vf3000 both have to have the oil guns blocked from the dust when not in use ,they cannot be hooked up to be automatic . Not sure about the EFM but I am pretty sure they can be setup for auto backup . Good luck . Dave
Flyer5
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Leisure Line WL110
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Leisure Line Pioneer

Re: Upgrading my Magnum Stoker to a Stoker Boiler

PostBy: Highlander On: Tue Jan 22, 2008 11:23 pm

Hello Jeremy

I had a Harman Magnum, and was very pleased with it. My existing propane boiler was failing so I was in need of a replacement for that unit. I researched coal boilers on this forum and online, and ultimately went with the Harman VF3000.

Here are a couple of links to threads comparing the various boilers.

whats everybodys opinion on keystoker boilers
Keystoker or Harman Boiler

Size wise the Harman is about the same as a Keystoker KA4, smaller capacity wise then the AA/AHS 130 boilers, the KA6 and the EFM520. Keystoker no longer builds the KA4, only the KAA2 and the KA6 are now made.

Keystoker, Harman and EFM produce an oil burner option for their units. Harman gets about $600 for the oil gun option. Its a Wayne Blue Angel burner that mounts in place of the main access door. You still have acces to the grates, even with the gun mounted to the new door. I'm not sure how Keystoker and EFM mount their oil guns but I think they are fixed somewhere on the boiler.

I think that the auxiliary oil option is worth considering, as opposed to having two boilers especially if you don't already have an existing oil burner. You can't share a single flue with two boilers or furnaces, and if you decide to sell your house in the future, prospective buyers will look and see an oil fired boiler, something they are used to. A single boiler will take up less space, and these coal boilers have large heat exchange surfacea areas, so efficiency should be pretty good. Harman claims 84 to 85% efficiency with a 300 degree stack temp for their unit. The Harman is a two piece boiler, and can be configured with the flue pipe on the left or right, the Keystokers have to be ordered from the factory in the configuration you want.

All the boilers listed are good units, the AA, AHS and EFM will set you back more than a Keystoker or Harman, you have to decide if its in your budget or not. Try to see the units your interested in, in person, and talk to people that have one to get their opinions.

Im on my first season with the Harman boiler, it is working well, it keeps up when the temps have dropped into the single digits. Im saving at least $2000 in propane this winter, so the payback should be in 2 to 3 years. In the summer months, it makes my hot water for me, and burns about 12# per day. I'm happy with my unit, and would not change my decision.
Highlander
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000 Sold
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Castings Resolute
Coal Size/Type: Nut
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: VF3000 Stoker Boiler

Re: Upgrading my Magnum Stoker to a Stoker Boiler

PostBy: U235a4 On: Tue Jan 22, 2008 11:33 pm

Just to let you know my boiler room which contains: AA260, 2.5-3 ton coal bin, controls, and main plumbing is 6' high X 11' wide X 11' deep.
U235a4
 
Stove/Furnace Make: 1958 Axeman-Anderson
Stove/Furnace Model: 260M

Re: Upgrading my Magnum Stoker to a Stoker Boiler

PostBy: Yanche On: Tue Jan 22, 2008 11:38 pm

One of the advantages to the AHS S130 is it's small width. It will fit through a standard 32 inch doorway and it comes assembled. No heavy top section to lift atop a base section. The coal hopper is not installed but it's a one man lift to put it on. Given it's similar size I guess the same is true for the A-A 130 boiler. Both are very good boilers. My opinion is that the AHS boiler is a better boiler than the A-A, but that's subject of debate.

Stay away from combo units. If you can't make things fit keeping your existing oil burner consider a small propane boiler sized just as emergency backup. It's likely the smallest size of anything you can find. You don't need an inside coal bin with any stoker boiler. It just makes it more work hauling the coal from where ever you keep it outside your house. With a AHS S130 hopper you can go 3 plus days before it's empty. Of course you then have to fill it with close to 400 lbs of coal. Not fun but doable.
Yanche
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea

Re: Upgrading my Magnum Stoker to a Stoker Boiler

PostBy: U235a4 On: Tue Jan 22, 2008 11:49 pm

Yanche wrote:My opinion is that the AHS boiler is a better boiler than the A-A, but that's subject of debate.


EEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRR fighten words dar... :D :lol:

Yanche wrote:You don't need an inside coal bin with any stoker boiler. It just makes it more work hauling the coal from where ever you keep it outside your house. With a AHS S130 hopper you can go 3 plus days before it's empty. Of course you then have to fill it with close to 400 lbs of coal. Not fun but doable.


Thats why I have a 3 ton bin, I fill it every two months (15mins of work) and then stare at it and smile for another month or two..... I could leave for 1-1.5 months with out worry and only have someone come by to change ash pans every three days... aka No2 tubs
U235a4
 
Stove/Furnace Make: 1958 Axeman-Anderson
Stove/Furnace Model: 260M

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