For this season, I changed coal suppliers.
First I'll do a rundown of the coal I was using:
It was a very high volatility nut coal( I couldn't get specs on it), that you could almost light with just a match. That stuff was highly explosive and puffbacks were very common. Sometimes the puffbacks included fire blowing as much as 8 feet out of the firebox. The ash content was low, but clinkering was high.
That coal would turn the furnace cherry red in just a few minutes if you weren't careful. But I still couldn't keep the house warm.
The soot from that coal was astronomical, Pure black coming out of the chimney. Within 2 days after a snow, the snow turned black in my yard. Five years of a spring cleaning that involved a 2 step major scrubbing of my concrete porch due to the soot .
I used 10 to 12 ton of that coal every year. And I was never able to leave the house for more than 3 hours at a time, or the fire would be out.
Then it got worse, my former supplier's coal started getting way too many fines in it, and I couldn't get it to burn right in my Clayton Furnace. So it was time for a change.
I found my current coal yard (just a trucking company that sells coal), that sells ROM and Big Vein only. I was unsure about the size as I was accustomed to nut coal and I was afraid I wouldn't get the airflow I needed to burn it correctly. This coal is about the size of chestnuts to horse chestnuts.
But to my surprise, It burns very well in my Clayton. I am able to keep the house at a comfortable 72 º to 74 º very easily.
With this coal, I can actually sleep all night now (no more 4am wakeups), and we can leave the house for up to 8 hours without fear of the fire going out (or overheating and burning the house down).
The ash content of this coal is very high, easily twice what the other coal was, but I have yet to get a clinker with this coal (no more shutdowns once a day to remove clinkers blocking the grates).
The soot factor: I was, and still am amazed. I have virtually no soot with this coal. I've cleaned the smoke pipe once this year, and it barely had anything in it. The snow in my yard actually stays white, and the only thing you can see coming from my chimney 'most' of the time is heat ripples.
As far as puffbacks go, I've had one small one this season, just a little smoke is all.
The best part of all is.........I'm just started into my 6th ton of coal for this season, that is half of what I previously used. In a winter that has been much colder and has lasted longer than previous years. This coal is definitely worth the extra 5 dollars per ton that I'm paying and the extra 12 miles of traveling to get it.