johns10mm wrote:I was looking at wood and coal, Can add to oil boiler plenty of room, dont mind hand fire but dont know what you guys think is better, yes its warm with baseboard hot water, Have not used the oil for heat in several years just hot water it was nothing to use 100 gal month for heat. I use 3-4 tons of stove coal a year.
Well, whenever someone asks these types of questions, there is a sort of checklist you'll need to review before any cost effective answer can be made.
1). How big is your current oil fired boiler?
2). Did you struggle with load on very cold days?
3). What is the heat loss of your dwelling? http://www.builditsolar.com/References/ ... atLoss.htm
Use that link, follow the associated links to determine the type of construction you have, be as accurate as possible, and apply your results towards what you know of your current energy consumption to make sure you're in the same ballpark. We're getting much colder temps this year, so it wouldn't hurt to run your base calculation a few degrees colder than suggested.
4). How much radiation do you have in your home? You said baseboard, how many feet?
5). How much room in the basement for the new boiler?
6). How much are you willing to spend?
7). Do you have room for a coal bin?
8). Do you have a good location for a handfired appliance, one where you can evenly distribute the heat?
First thing to do is figure out what size unit you'll need for your heating needs. Second is to determine what kind of price you're willing to pay to get that heat. A handfired will probably cost less overall, however a boiler will work for DHW better, plus will give you more even heat delivery. A hand fired will use less coal overall.
A dual fuel boiler means you can get rid of your old oil fired and still be covered by insurance. (if the other fuel is oil/ng). Or, you can get a coal fired boiler and tie it into the existing lines, leaving the original oil fired in place for either emergencies or for when you sell the house.
But since your asking, and assuming you have some money in your budget for either choice, I would personally go with the coal boiler. I looked at both, and I'm glad I opted for the dual fuel coal boiler that I bought. I get plenty of hot water, I can run it year round, it makes a lot of heat, and I kept all the existing radiation in my house.