Should I consider bit coal at all?

Should I consider bit coal at all?

PostBy: NJJoe On: Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:21 am

Good morning all... I've been spending more and more time in this bit coal subforum as well as doing my own research on bit. I'm not a coal burner yet but I think I have amassed plenty of knowledge about various stokers, stoves and coal knowledge in general where I feel that I could make a reasonably informed purchase. I'm living in a 2 family house at the moment that has NG so my heating needs are set for the time being. My gf and I intend to move into a new place at some point. We live in New England and the possibility of moving into a place with oil/propane is high and very probable. I dont want to pay oil/propane prices and I intend to install a coal burning heat source.

My situation is that the more I read about bit coal, the more I like it. Yes it is more finicky than anthracite and probably harder to find but the prices per ton I have been reading about are better than anthracite and it is something I would like to consider using.

I guess the purpose of this thread is to ask you guys if my vision for the future is indeed feasible. I live in NH and we can get anthracite here. Bit coal and specifically stoker sized bit coal (rice sized) is rare. There are several coal dealers that sell bit coal in "blacksmith" size which could be anywhere from pea to lump size. Later on down the road and if bit coal is something I can reliably burn, I would be willing to pay for a truck delivery for a bulk ton shipment if it meant total savings overall.

I am also considering an underfeed stoker such as EFM 520 which I have read is probably the best type of stoker if I were to experiment and choose bit coal as my heating fuel. I know that iron foreman and GJ stokers are also great for bit and in some cases expressly designed for bit. But I would need to get lucky on craigslist or find it somewhere used. For current consideration, I am only going to consider stokers available new on the market and the EFM seems like the only one that can burn bit coal. In the event that I can't go the stoker route, a warm morning stove purchased from craigslist is the plan.

Right now, I think my biggest problem is supply. If I can find a supplier, either local or afar and it is financially feasible then I would seriously consider bit coal. Another concern I have is the reliability of burning bit coal. All of my reading and "training" has been for anthracite. There are not too many bit coal instructionals out there. I would assume that if I can reliably learn to burn wood and anthracite, then bit is not too far off. I would need to learn how to manage clinkers. The last concern, but also important, is the ability to keep bit coal burning to a level that won't offend my neighbors and look like I'm polluting the neighborhood or creating a smell. I've found alot of misinformation about coal exists when I talk to people about it. They assume my chimney is going to be a big belching factory smokestack. I'd rather stay quiet about coal if I am burning it.

What do you guys think? Is it smart for me to consider bit coal? Or unrealistic? Am I too far from Pennsylvania to get good cheap bit coal for a stoker application? Or should I just stick with more expensive anthracite? Thanks...
NJJoe
 

Re: Should I consider bit coal at all?

PostBy: Carbon12 On: Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:27 am

I think if Bit coal was a viable option, many more people would be burning it. I think the logistics of finding a supply of Bit coal in New England would make it unfavorable as a fuel. Anthracite will still save you tons of money over oil or propane.
Carbon12
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite
Other Heating: Heat Pump/Forced Hot Air Oil Furnace

Re: Should I consider bit coal at all?

PostBy: whistlenut On: Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:51 am

When in Rome, do as the Romans do.................................................. :!: :!: :!:
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: Should I consider bit coal at all?

PostBy: Berlin On: Tue Mar 18, 2014 1:36 pm

Burning bit coal in an unmodified anthracite stoker means you'll have to look much farther than penn for your source. You'll need to burn a non-coking bituminous coal which will likely be sourced from KY or southern WV.

I've got one set up in plattsburgh, NY right now, burning KY bit for less $$/btu than anthracite.

From what you wrote there's more you don't understand about bit coal and stokers than you do. For example - "clinkers" aren't really any kind of an issue. The two biggest challenges you'll have is finding coal sized small enough to work in most anthracite style stokers and finding a non-coking bituminous coal in that size. The only virtues of using an anthracite style stoker are the ability to bin feed and producing loose ash - which is only an advantage if you plan on using an auger to remove it.

Finding bituminous stoker coal isn't hard, and neither is finding a bituminous specific stoker that will burn common higher coking tendency coals. With a clinkering type bituminous stoker you'll have to pull a compact hard clinker once or (when it's really cold) twice/day.

Bit coal is a perfectly "viable" option, but, it requires someone knowledgeable to set up the system and the equipment is more difficult to find, not that difficult, but, more difficult than anthracite equipment.

If I lived in NH, I'd do it in a heartbeat, but it is more difficult where anthracite is simple. Most importantly, unless you have a large space to heat/high load, you won't save much. It will require more work to get the system right (boiler/stoker combo) and it will be more of a novelty than a huge cost-saver.

Go a few posts down on this page and take a look at my project : Pictures Of Your Boiler
Berlin
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal

Re: Should I consider bit coal at all?

PostBy: NJJoe On: Sun Mar 23, 2014 2:49 pm

Berlin wrote:Burning bit coal in an unmodified anthracite stoker means you'll have to look much farther than penn for your source. You'll need to burn a non-coking bituminous coal which will likely be sourced from KY or southern WV.

I've got one set up in plattsburgh, NY right now, burning KY bit for less $$/btu than anthracite.

From what you wrote there's more you don't understand about bit coal and stokers than you do. For example - "clinkers" aren't really any kind of an issue. The two biggest challenges you'll have is finding coal sized small enough to work in most anthracite style stokers and finding a non-coking bituminous coal in that size. The only virtues of using an anthracite style stoker are the ability to bin feed and producing loose ash - which is only an advantage if you plan on using an auger to remove it.

Finding bituminous stoker coal isn't hard, and neither is finding a bituminous specific stoker that will burn common higher coking tendency coals. With a clinkering type bituminous stoker you'll have to pull a compact hard clinker once or (when it's really cold) twice/day.

Bit coal is a perfectly "viable" option, but, it requires someone knowledgeable to set up the system and the equipment is more difficult to find, not that difficult, but, more difficult than anthracite equipment.

If I lived in NH, I'd do it in a heartbeat, but it is more difficult where anthracite is simple. Most importantly, unless you have a large space to heat/high load, you won't save much. It will require more work to get the system right (boiler/stoker combo) and it will be more of a novelty than a huge cost-saver.

Go a few posts down on this page and take a look at my project : Pictures Of Your Boiler


Nice install, So you're saying that non coking KY/WV bit needs to be used in an anthracite stoker. Or if I want to burn typical bit coal, then I need a true bit stoker. Question: could anthracite be burned in a bit stoker?

Are you talking about new bituminous stokers or something used? I'm sure there is alot of used stuff out there, but I dont have the stoker/boiler experience to pick a good one or know what to avoid. Kind of why I want to limit my search to something new I could buy and be assured of the quality. Can you recommend something that I could read up about? Expected load is a 2000-3000 sq ft house (sorry, dont have the BTU requirements) along with DHW for a family. I'd like to add a few other heating loads to the system such as a heat exchanger for a hot tub
NJJoe
 

Re: Should I consider bit coal at all?

PostBy: Carbon12 On: Sun Mar 23, 2014 4:35 pm

I don't think anyone is making a NEW Bit specific stoker at this time. Apparently. EFM has toyed with the idea.
Carbon12
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite
Other Heating: Heat Pump/Forced Hot Air Oil Furnace

Re: Should I consider bit coal at all?

PostBy: carlherrnstein On: Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:22 am

Will-Burt In Orrville Ohio still makes a retrofit stoker. However you would have to find a suitable boiler to put it in, I think the price is way up there. http://www.willburt.com/manufacturing-s ... r-stokers/
carlherrnstein
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: combustioneer model 77B
Coal Size/Type: pea stoker/Ohio bituminous

Re: Should I consider bit coal at all?

PostBy: hotblast1357 On: Wed Aug 20, 2014 11:33 am

Berlin, could you give me some info on where you get your coal?
hotblast1357
 
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: hot blast 1357M
Coal Size/Type: anthracite nut/pea
Other Heating: oil furnace