Bought house. Switch to coal over fuel oil?

Bought house. Switch to coal over fuel oil?

PostBy: ShawnTRD On: Tue Feb 04, 2014 2:53 am

Hey guys.
Bare with me. I don't know much about coal stoves.
So I'm buying a 1800 (per level) Square Feet house in upstate NY. And the house has a Weil-McLain energy star fuel oil water base board furnace. So I'm thinking the sooner I get a coal boiler the sooner I'll be saving money. The fuel oil prices are around $3.75 to $4 something from what I hear. So hear is a picture of the current setup. And that is on the wall that is under the deck. I stopped into the coal/furnace dealer in town, and they recommend the Keystoker KA-6. That sells for like $5000 with tax. Then I would have to get it installed. There is no chimney on the current system. So what do you think this will cost me to set setup? Pro's and Con's for options. I was thinking I could build a coal storage shed under the deck.

I was also thinking about going Dual fuel. Do you recommend this?

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ShawnTRD
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA6 (New in April 2014)
Other Heating: Weil Mclain WGO-2 (Net 75k BTU)

Re: Bought house. Switch to coal over fuel oil?

PostBy: windyhill4.2 On: Tue Feb 04, 2014 8:02 am

Shawn,welcome to the forum.Are there any records of the oil usage,that would help to determine the heat load. Some of the experts will be along to give advice based on the info you give so be prepared for more questions.Total cost .. $12-$15K ?? Coal storage under deck looks big enough for you to buy tractor trailer load,which will probably be most cost effective way up there,just need a good auger or conveyer to get it under the deck. Dual fuel ?? lots of pro/con on that subject.Are you away from home for extended periods,the oil back-up could be worth having then,keep the current oil boiler for back-up vs.sell it & purchase a dual fuel unit.Lots of things to consider ,lots of info & opinions will be coming.Coal is certainly a smart choice,glad that you are considering it.
windyhill4.2
 
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: Bought house. Switch to coal over fuel oil?

PostBy: Carbon12 On: Tue Feb 04, 2014 8:31 am

I think $10,000-$12,000 would be in the ball park. It will pay for itself in just 5 years or less depending on how much oil the house currently uses. If possible, keep the current oil boiler and just tie the coal boiler into that system. Building a masonry chimney would be best but will also add cost. A powerventer for the coal boiler will work just fine. If you are a do it yourself type guy and have some basic plumbing and electrical skills, you can install the coal boiler yourself and save a couple grand. I did. It's not too difficult. Welcome to the forum! Get excited about coal,.....you'll never go back to oil! What's the pro pain tank for?
Carbon12
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite
Other Heating: Heat Pump/Forced Hot Air Oil Furnace


Re: Bought house. Switch to coal over fuel oil?

PostBy: Davian On: Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:34 am

For resale purposes, if that's a concern, I'd recommend just installing a good coal stove and keeping the oil boiler as some people would be leery of buying a house with just a coil boiler.

And you'd get to look at the stove every day and enjoy the pretty blue flames.

It'd be far cheaper than $10 K to do and it'd still save you significantly on heating costs.
Davian
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Morso
Stove/Furnace Model: 1410 Squirrel

Re: Bought house. Switch to coal over fuel oil?

PostBy: Rob R. On: Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:42 am

Hi Shawn, welcome. Where are you in NY?

Is there any extra room in the basement?
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Bought house. Switch to coal over fuel oil?

PostBy: windyhill4.2 On: Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:43 am

With the current oil/propain prices & the uncertain supply of ng ,a good coal boiler should pay off within 5 yrs. Keep oil boiler vs.dual boiler ..depends on space available ,extra cost of dual fuel boiler vs sale value of the current oil boiler,lots of things to debate. With coal heating system lots of warm winter days ahead in your house !!
windyhill4.2
 
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: Bought house. Switch to coal over fuel oil?

PostBy: KLook On: Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:33 am

Post a few more pics of the near boiler area and how a chimney, masonry or SS, or power vent could be installed. The pros in here will need to see what space you have near the existing boiler and where your coal will come in from the storage. There are to many possibilities to put into words on a new set up/ install. :D It will be up to you to decide on how complex your system is, check out some of the coal handling systems with auger set ups by searching on this forum. With a drive in basement, the possibilities are awesome!

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: Bought house. Switch to coal over fuel oil?

PostBy: Carbon12 On: Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:40 am

If you have a good spot in the main living area, you might consider a stoker stove with powervent or direct vent to her you started. You probably could heat the entire main living area easily with a stove. It would get you up and burning quickly and relatively inexpensively, especially if you can find a good used stove.
Carbon12
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite
Other Heating: Heat Pump/Forced Hot Air Oil Furnace

Re: Bought house. Switch to coal over fuel oil?

PostBy: whistlenut On: Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:46 am

Nice home.....Great with the walkout style basement.......works great for the system you ask about.

If you talked about the K-6, and saw one, you have seen a very good option. Masonry chimney is a must IMO, and yes, it will run on an power vent......I just don't like the additional layer of circuitry for a central heating system. I would leave the Weil McLain just as it is, and find a place for the coal boiler elsewhere. That WM Gold is a very fine boiler, and a dual fuel of any kind will not give you the instant changeover that you can set up your new boiler with. A new setup.....how handy are you?.........or 10 to 15K depending upon your situation. Used or rebuilt equipment can save a lot of cash if you aren't one of those guys who has to have the latest and greatest.

You are at a great time in your journey, keep looking, keep asking, keep thinking...........and look around for local offerings. If possible, get to know a forum member who may be able to keep you from falling into the abyss before it happens. If you want to try out a stoker stove, then by all means, but there are two types of people burning coal: Those who want a Coal Stoker Boiler and those who already have one. You can play all the games to get to that decision, but in the end, you might PASS GO, save a few grand and arrive at ParkPlace without the scars from the 'College of Hard Knocks' and remember a few ole dudes who told you the truth the very first time you asked a question about coal. If you have a thirst for a few years of Classroom with Professor Murphy, he'll be more than gracious to take your money AND later tell you he told you so!
Most of us took that route, anyway, however a few of us who can still walk and talk are offering you some few advice. :shock: :roll: :o :cry:
whistlenut
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AA130's,260's, AHS130&260's,EFM900,GJ&VanWert
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Franks Boiler,Itasca415,NYer130,Van Wert
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Yellow Flame
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska-4,Keystoker-2,
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Alaska,Gibraltor,Keystone,Vc Vigilant 2
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Van Wert, NYer's, Ford,Jensen.
Coal Size/Type: Rice,Buck,Pea,Nut&Stove
Other Heating: Oil HWBB

Re: Bought house. Switch to coal over fuel oil?

PostBy: Pacowy On: Tue Feb 04, 2014 11:11 am

I agree with whistlenut that a chimney would be desirable; if for whatever reason one can't reasonably be provided, Keystoker does sell a direct vent for the KA-6 so the absence of a chimney shouldn't be an insurmountable problem.

A stove could put a dent in the oil bill but it won't do the heavy lifting that a boiler will do with both the heating load and DHW. Especially in a substantial house in upstate NY, a boiler like a KA-6 provides both a lot of btu's and control over the way they are distributed to where they are needed. And the ability to generate lots of DHW with cheap coal btu's shouldn't be overlooked.

Keystoker and some other manufacturers make heavy duty boilers and stokers that with reasonable maintenance have very long life expectancies. If you would give any consideration to a used unit in sound condition, they can be had for thousands less than what a new one would cost. As fate would have it, I have one for sale :lol: , but you also can find them periodically on Craigslist, the forum classified section, eBay, etc.

I'm sure you could spend a lot of $ if you want a new one. I'd guess that you could get a good, dealer-quality used one brought to your house with a direct vent unit for around $3500, maybe less.

Mike
Pacowy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: H.B. Smith 350 Mills boiler/EFM 85R stoker
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/anthracite

Re: Bought house. Switch to coal over fuel oil?

PostBy: Rob R. On: Tue Feb 04, 2014 11:55 am

If there is room in the basement for a 2nd boiler, that is the way to go (in my opinion). Heat the entire house, basement, hot water...go days without handling coal or ash in mild weather. :yes:

Just glancing at the picture you posted, it looks like it would be pretty simple to tie in a second boiler. Can you do basic plumbing and wiring? If so, you could probably have a used KA-6 installed and RUNNING for less than the cost of a new one.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Bought house. Switch to coal over fuel oil?

PostBy: whistlenut On: Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:09 pm

Is your significant other on-board with this enhancement? Just checking, to make sure you have done some checkin'. If she pays the bills, then you are all set, but if you have to listen to the inevitable: " You care more about your damned boiler, than you do about me"........give the boiler some HOT Italian name, and then when you tell her you are downstairs with Sofia, you are covered ten ways till Sunday. Perhaps the 'cot in the basement' needs to be a item to plan on for a couple months.......
whistlenut
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AA130's,260's, AHS130&260's,EFM900,GJ&VanWert
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Franks Boiler,Itasca415,NYer130,Van Wert
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Yellow Flame
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska-4,Keystoker-2,
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Alaska,Gibraltor,Keystone,Vc Vigilant 2
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Van Wert, NYer's, Ford,Jensen.
Coal Size/Type: Rice,Buck,Pea,Nut&Stove
Other Heating: Oil HWBB

Re: Bought house. Switch to coal over fuel oil?

PostBy: Davian On: Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:21 pm

A stove could put a dent in the oil bill but it won't do the heavy lifting that a boiler will do with both the heating load and DHW. Especially in a substantial house in upstate NY, a boiler like a KA-6 provides both a lot of btu's and control over the way they are distributed to where they are needed. And the ability to generate lots of DHW with cheap coal btu's shouldn't be overlooked.


I agree, it definitely would and those are great points on the other benefits of going with a KA-6. I am just throwing it out there as a cheaper option that would also maybe help protect him at resale though as lots of people are very leery of a coal boiler as a primary heat source. He could easily get something like a Harmon Mark III, etc that would more than heat his house even in upstate NY (it'd heat my house and then some and I have a 2000 sq ft house just across the lake in N. VT) and it'd cost him probably $5-6K total for the cost of the stove, installation, and the chimney pipe....if he's handy, he could do alot of that himself and shave it down to around $4K. He could get a nice antique stove too which is always fun.

Whichever way he goes is going to save a ton of money for him in the long-run...the ROI on the boiler is just a few years longer is all.
Davian
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Morso
Stove/Furnace Model: 1410 Squirrel

Re: Bought house. Switch to coal over fuel oil?

PostBy: windyhill4.2 On: Tue Feb 04, 2014 1:12 pm

Just my .000000001 cent,why are we already worrying about resale factors when he just bought the house ??If he plans to sell soon as in flip the house it wouldn't make sense to do anything with the heating system. $4K on temporary coal heat ??, why not go ahead & spend the extra for the boiler & have a permanent system that will outlive the owner while keeping him warm in the house & while showering & do DHW yr round ?? Pay back time will be less for the boiler than to pay back first the stove & accessories & then pay back the boiler too later on. Not to mention the comfort level of the boiler central heating system through out the entire house vs. warm & cooler rooms from a stove sitting in one spot. Go boiler,go boiler ....
windyhill4.2
 
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: Bought house. Switch to coal over fuel oil?

PostBy: Davian On: Tue Feb 04, 2014 2:17 pm

windyhill4.2 wrote:Just my .000000001 cent,why are we already worrying about resale factors when he just bought the house ??If he plans to sell soon as in flip the house it wouldn't make sense to do anything with the heating system. $4K on temporary coal heat ??, why not go ahead & spend the extra for the boiler & have a permanent system that will outlive the owner while keeping him warm in the house & while showering & do DHW yr round ?? Pay back time will be less for the boiler than to pay back first the stove & accessories & then pay back the boiler too later on. Not to mention the comfort level of the boiler central heating system through out the entire house vs. warm & cooler rooms from a stove sitting in one spot. Go boiler,go boiler ....


A boiler is a 20-30 year investment minimum...if he's not planning on staying there forever, its something to consider. A lot of people dont stay in their home that long or even half that long.
Davian
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Morso
Stove/Furnace Model: 1410 Squirrel