new to forum - heat pumps suck in PA

Re: new to forum - heat pumps suck in PA

PostBy: oliver power On: Sun Jan 26, 2014 2:10 pm

I agree, stay away from the outside wood boilers/furnaces/ water heaters, what ever you want to call them. They also use LOTS of wood. Great advice you've gotten so far. As long as you're starting from scratch, I thought I'd put the cart in front of the horse here. If your plumbing is going to be a Primary/Secondary system, I'd put two or three extra take offs in the primary loop. When sizing the boiler, choose one that is capable of heating more than just the house. EXAMPLES: Domestic Hot water, garage, pool, in floor heat, driveway, addition, out building, etc.. You get the picture. Now is the time to do it, and it would cost peanuts to do so. You may never use any more take offs but, should you need one, it's there. I added one extra to my primary loop for domestic hot water. When/if I install the indirect tank, all I do is tie it in, and open ball valves. None of the system is disturbed. I should have added one more take off for the near future attached garage. But, that's OK, as my boiler is at it's capacity now, and would not handle additional load of garage. See where I'm coming from?
Last edited by oliver power on Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
oliver power
Stoker Coal Boiler: KEYSTOKER Kaa-2
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93 & 30-95, Vigilant (pre-Vigilant-II)
Baseburners & Antiques: MANY (Mostly when burning wood)
Stove/Furnace Make: HITZER / KEYSTOKER
Stove/Furnace Model: 50-93 & 30-95 , Kaa-2

Re: new to forum - heat pumps suck in PA

PostBy: anthony7812 On: Sun Jan 26, 2014 4:10 pm

Heat pumps IMO are great, thats for the months of April&May and September and October. If it has air conditioning even better. I would never never expect a heat pump in Central/Northern PA would keep up in a "Normal Winter". I thought about installing one myself back a few months ago, then had an idea of an outdoor wood boiler, but the best woman in the world said why not a coal boiler??This came from the mouth of an I DONT WANT COAL IN MY HOUSE about 3 years ago. Amazing isnt it. ;)
Stoker Coal Boiler: VanWert VA 400
Coal Size/Type: Buck/Nut/Anthracite

Re: new to forum - heat pumps suck in PA

PostBy: coalnewbie On: Sun Jan 26, 2014 4:28 pm

I DONT WANT COAL IN MY HOUSE about 3 years ago.

With a mare you never know what you will get out of the stall in the morning. Constant change is the norm.

I think a 5 ton unit is about 60,000btu so given the size of the house perhaps you will put out 25,000btu in a heat pump. I have a heat pump with my 5 ton unit and I don't even bother to use it as it is electric heat. As was said by another poster that is a total joke in this part of the world. Now if you have an outhouse to heat......
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL AnthraKing 180K, Pocono110K,KStokr 90K, DVC
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93,
Baseburners & Antiques: Invader 2 Wings Best, Glenwood #8 + Herald 116x
Coal Size/Type: Rice, Chestnut
Other Heating: Heating Oil CH, Toyotomi OM 22

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Re: new to forum - heat pumps suck in PA

PostBy: katman On: Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:23 am

I've got high cathedral ceilings, an open floor plan and originally had two heat pumps when the house was built in 1985. Didn't make it through the winter before a wood stove went into the fireplace. Then I dug a subbasement and put an oil boiler in (oil was cheap back then) and hot water baseboard heat. Couple of years ago I decided to put another boiler in my barn and run 100 feet of line to the house. Did that because I didn't have room to install another boiler in the subbasement and I didn't want to be carrying coal down and ashes out. After working the numbers I went with a wood pellet boiler because for me it made sense--I use coal in the barn when I want to work out there but I have to pay nearly $7.50/bag. Wood pellets in my area are about half of that. Also, in my wood boiler I empty the ashes about once a month. You are in coal country so work the numbers--coal is great fuel and you can get a good coal boiler that will keep you warm. The baseboards work fine for me once the house is up to temp but radiant would be even better. I do like having the boiler out in the barn. No mess in the house and no stairs to deal with when hauling fuel or ashes.
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Magnum
Other Heating: Harman PB 105 Pellet Boiler

Re: new to forum - heat pumps suck in PA

PostBy: kstills On: Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:03 pm

titleist1 wrote:Some thoughts....
Basement location for the stoker/boiler is best and the floor space it takes up doesn't have to be huge depending on the unit. 8' x 10' would be about the smallest footprint for a unit, piping, exhaust & walk around space. Walling off that area would still allow for the rest of the basement to be finished.

Coal storage is a big consideration. 1 ton takes up about 40 cuft. There are some good ideas & pictures in the coal bin thread for outside storage and delivering the coal to the inside. This can ease the concerns about coal dust inside.

Ashes will need to be taken out, so an outside entrance to the basement - preferably the boiler room, would make this easier.

Similar to the high efficiency oil/propane units i recommend having outside air piped to the combustion fan.

Plan on getting a manometer, CO monitors and temp gauges. Draft reading and temps are always asked for when someone has a question regarding the burn on their stoves/stokers.

Give a general location in your profile. Folks that have an install nearby may be willing to have you take a look at theirs to cherry pick some ideas.

I have two boilers and an indirect in half that space....
Stoker Coal Boiler: WL 110
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line

Re: new to forum - heat pumps suck in PA

PostBy: plumberman On: Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:47 pm

samsung mini split heat pumps kick butt great a/c zero out through great heat!! i have 2 of them, but none the less it still is electric. heated with wood for 25 years, went from indoor boiler in house and one in garage, sold one scrapped one and put outdoor wood boiler in, last year sold outdoor boiler, and converted wood shed into boiler room and coal shed i put in a ahs120 boiler and insulated the one half with a magic heater installed in chimney room averages 70 degrees. the other half holds tt load of pea coal [2 year supply?]. the "shed" would take between 2 and 3 triaxle log loads a year. No lost cellar space all coal/ash dust is outside, house is 70 mix of radiant/base board heat. garage is radiant set at 56. house is 1400 sq ft garage 1200 sq ft. i'm located in a cold ass spot and that boiler is kickass! 15 below 0 i would probely get a day and a half from a hopper full, ALL HOUSES ARE DIFFERENT[SUN,WIND,ETC.] with your high ceilings radiant would be choice, not sure if it is enough for you heat loss but if you put coil in your duct work to feed 2nd floor you could adjust registers on first floor to make up for loss. as i tell customers it not the space shuttle warm water on feet and play with it. have yet to hear one complaint from anyone i did radiant for. so thats my theory any questions and i can help give a yell!
Stoker Coal Boiler: coal gun 130
Coal Size/Type: pea
Other Heating: solar dhw

Re: new to forum - heat pumps suck in PA

PostBy: volkoff On: Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:24 pm

Well I visited my first dealer. I saw a few Harmans. I like the SF-260 boiler and the SF-2500 furnace. I think the furnace would be my least expensive up front cost. The units were about $800 different in price with the boiler at the high side at $4800.( unit only). I still think the boiler with PEX radiant floor is my best option, but the furnace option would would definitely make the house much warmer than it is.

I would like to hear from you all on the cost of the radiant floor option. I know all installs are different but I can get an idea what to expect. There is a lot of plumbing and valves and things I know nothing about and look it all looks very expensive.

Also I will need a chimney. The Harman dealer told me around $1800-2000 for 30' of stainless double wall( I believe material only) . I live in Amish country so I am pretty sure I can find some great local mason to build. Do I want stainless steel liner or terracotta?

I will be seeing Leisure Line and Axeman Anderson in the next week or so. Like stated in earlier post I am about 25 min from the Axeman Anderson factory so I am pretty excited about that visit.
Thanks again

Re: new to forum - heat pumps suck in PA

PostBy: KLook On: Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:49 pm

Be sure and prepare for sticker shock with an Axeman. But they are awesome boilers.

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: new to forum - heat pumps suck in PA

PostBy: LoschStoker On: Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:15 am

First you need your heat pump checked out buy someone that knows what their doing.
The heat pump with out backup should have no problem heating your house down to 20*.
Then the backup should kick in, in your case it sounds like it's electric elements (they could be to small).
Our house the backup is oil hot water.
If I over ride the backup the heat pump will heat the house down to single digits.
This is a old drafty house. When we had it installed about 9 yrs. ago the contractor wanted to put a 4 ton unit in.
I said I wouldn't let him put more then a 3.5 ton in, that's all it needed.
The first winter we didn't have a backup because I took the boiler out and didn't get a new boiler till early spring.
That being said if coal is available at a reasonable price by all means go for it.
Hand Fed Coal Stove: (New) Warm Morning 400A
Other Heating: Yukon Polar-Eagle II Multi Furnace
Stove/Furnace Make: Losch 350 130k BTU's
Stove/Furnace Model: DS Stoves 1500WH Short Lid

Re: new to forum - heat pumps suck in PA

PostBy: windyhill4.2 On: Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:43 am

Rereading the original post several times,i have come to the conclusion that he is interested in being warm in his house,not just having air blowing around in the house that is less cold than outside ! A properly sized coal burner will accomplish that easily & economically no matter how low outdoor temps drop.If you want to heat with electric, then install electric baseboard,no maintenance,no electric wasted on a fan moving the slightly warmed air.His thread title explains heat pumps very well.!!
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1960 EFM520 installed in truck box
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Crane 404 with variable blower
Coal Size/Type: 404-nut, 520 rice ,anthracite for both

Re: new to forum - heat pumps suck in PA

PostBy: TAMNOZ On: Wed Jan 29, 2014 1:31 pm

Nick, I live in Reading,Pa and share your distaste for Heatpumps. My 2800 sq.ft. Log Home has had 4 heatpumps installed since I built the house in 1989. This is my fourth winter with Keystoker, my only regret is that I didn't install it in 1989. Had I, I would have saved enough to put my daughter thru college. I tapped into my cold air return, I leave the circulating fan of the heatpump run constantly and then when the blower on the Keystoker kicks in you get this blast of hot air. My house is now a comfortable 72 degrees for about a $1.50 per day and my electrical bills have dropped around $200-250 per month in the dead of winter.
Stove/Furnace Make: KEYSTOKER soon
Stove/Furnace Model: Koker

Re: new to forum - heat pumps suck in PA

PostBy: titleist1 On: Wed Jan 29, 2014 1:38 pm

@loschstoker....serious question.....what is the model heat pump you have installed?

You are the first person I have ever heard in my entire life say they were happy with a heat pumps performance in 20* weather with no backup heat, it must be an awesome unit.

Seems to me that would be the make/model to get installed to economically handle shoulder month usage at the very least.
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Mag Stoker (old style) one in basement, one in workshop
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III on standby for long power outages
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite; Nut/Anthracite

Re: new to forum - heat pumps suck in PA

PostBy: windyhill4.2 On: Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:45 pm

titleist1,you missed a very important point with his heat pump.. if he over rides his oil heat,the heat pump will HEAT the house down to the single digits !!! Forget coal burning,i wore myself out with wood all these yrs.,i'm going straight to heat pumps, 3.5 ton of the exact model he more work for me :D
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1960 EFM520 installed in truck box
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Crane 404 with variable blower
Coal Size/Type: 404-nut, 520 rice ,anthracite for both

Re: new to forum - heat pumps suck in PA

PostBy: tsb On: Wed Jan 29, 2014 5:51 pm

No stainless chimney. Block with a clay liner.
Stoker Coal Boiler: Binford 2000
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL Pioneer top vent
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Saey Hanover II

Re: new to forum - heat pumps suck in PA

PostBy: plumberman On: Wed Jan 29, 2014 8:19 pm

i mentioned earlier samsung mini split heatpumps, i sold a few to my boss at the creamery which is a real hard ass sale!! people were in a conference room complaining it was too cold, i fired up the heat pump and they were soon happy, which makes boss man happy, which makes silly plummer happy . it was 5 below that morning. next year i plan on running them towards thanksgiving?? then fire up coal boiler, then April shut it down?? there is a lot of new technology out there new refer gasses in units which i believe help. i believe spend what you can to do it right the first time and look at the pay back in the long run. if the sun will make hot water for 6 months heat pump for heat for late fall/early spring and coal for in between go for it. have a good hvac mech look at heat pump that you have and feel him out. now you have great summer time a/c and fall spring heat covered, put in the coal boiler/ radiant heat this summer, in a few years solar domestic hot water. does not have to be done overnight>
Stoker Coal Boiler: coal gun 130
Coal Size/Type: pea
Other Heating: solar dhw

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