I've burned coal for eight years, but only found out about NEPA two seasons ago. So, have not gotten coal directly from a mine/breaker in PA as a lot of you guys do. Rather, I've burned pea, nut and stove coal (have three stoves and an old American Standard hand-fired boiler) from Blaschak, Reading, Kimmel and some Centralia (?) bulk from Lake Champlain Coal in Whitehall, NY.
My question has been prompted by getting a pallet of Kimmel stove coal from a local dealer in late February that is some of the worst quality coal I've burned. The past two years their stove coal has been uniformly shiny and fairly light--indicating to me that it doesn't have many impurities--and it burned to a fine white ash. Problems were more fines than other coal, some debris and irregular sizing (fair amount of egg-sized and larger coal.) The first two pallets this year were not quite as high quality, but the last pallet has even more than the usual 5# of fines, most of it is dull and soft, gives off a lot of yellow flame when you load it on hot coal, leaves ash clods, and it smells like the power plant coal (bituminous) that I burned some of out west when the Union Pacific coal train derailed---in other words, it smells like burning rubber.
I should say that their Pea coal has been as good as any I've burned throughout this year.
The Kimmel person I spoke with about the latest stove coal didn't offer much of a reply to my politely asked questions, except to say they mine their own coal (?) and it's only anthracite. Well, if it is, why does it smell like soft coal and unlike any of the other 30+ tons of anthracite I've burned?
Can someone enlighten me?