Where to begin on getting a coal stove

Where to begin on getting a coal stove

PostBy: Scottsman On: Fri Feb 01, 2008 1:20 am

I just bought a 2,600+ square foot house in Central PA this December and--Wow--the costs of heating this drafty place with an oil boiler are through the roof. I'm pretty determined to get a coal stove/stoker for the first floor and make it do most of the heating. Trouble is, despite all of my research at stove models I don't know where to begin. My only chimney is tied up by the boiler in the basement (which also gives me my hot water). And I'm not sure if I have the clearances I need for venting the thing properly. So my friend says, "Go see the codes officer and find out what the clearances are allowed before you buy a stove and/or put up a chimney. (Everyone says this codes officer is a major stickler and can really give people a hard time). So I spoke to Mr. Codes Officer and he says, "buy the stove, apply for a permit, and get a contractor to help you put up a chimney/direct vent. Then the inspector will look it over and see if it's OK." Great. :x Why should I spend a ton of money buying a stove only to find out that I can't put up the kind of chimney/power vent it needs in the location I need for it to work for me? The model I pick will depend on the Code (we follow the 2006 International Construction Code here, I am told). But I can't find out the code until I buy the stove.

I've tried to get some advice from the local stove dealer, but they haven't returned my calls (I guess they don't want to sell stoves too badly). I also went online for over an hour to get the 2006 International Construction Code on this subject but all I could find was websites telling me that I could order the book that has this code for $65. Wow, Big Brother says you have to play by the rules, but then you have to pay $65 to find out what the rules are. Any suggestions on where to begin?
Scottsman
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Salvo Machinery/Citation C-80
Other Heating: Weil McLain steam oil boiler

Re: Where to begin on getting a coal stove

PostBy: lincolnmania On: Fri Feb 01, 2008 1:24 am

you could remove the oil boiler and install a coal boiler and use your existing chimney......efm and a few others still make automatic coal boilers.....if you just want one on the first floor for supplemental heat, i would go with a leisure line stoker and a powervent
lincolnmania
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: efm af-150 1982
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: alaska kodiak stoker 1986
Hand Fed Coal Stove: warm morning 1980 kenmore

Re: Where to begin on getting a coal stove

PostBy: Richard S. On: Fri Feb 01, 2008 2:20 am

Agree with lincolnmania, have you considered a regular furnace? Bigger investment but it will be worth it in the end.

As far as the code goes I agree, utter nonsense. If they want to enforce laws you should be able to find out what they are. Appears the codes are copyrighted material... However I'm sure someone knows what it is you need to do and you can't copyright knowledge. :) Just don't anyone go posting word for word the code itself. Posting just a snippet may actually fall under fair use but that's one of those interpretable laws.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

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Re: Where to begin on getting a coal stove

PostBy: billw On: Fri Feb 01, 2008 8:45 am

I'm not one to give advice and I don't have much coal burning experience. When it comes to dealing with managers, government entities, wives, etc I've always been a big believer in 'It's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission'. Just my opinion mind you.
billw
 
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM 520
Stove/Furnace Model: GOODBYE OIL COMPANY

Re: Where to begin on getting a coal stove

PostBy: xackley On: Fri Feb 01, 2008 9:55 am

Well, check out the Leisure Line web site. They have a Direct Vent unit that all you need to do is poke a hole in an outside wall. The stove documentation will provide the stove clearances, and the floor protection information. The whole project could come in under $3000 if you do it yourself.
xackley
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Pocono

Re: Where to begin on getting a coal stove

PostBy: WNY On: Fri Feb 01, 2008 10:47 am

Yes, your local codes should be followed and inspected if applicable. Yes, normally National Code Books (IEC, NFPA, etc..) must be purchased. You local code officier should have them available at the clerks office or something.....

If anything were to happen, your insurance company may NOT pay for any damages if not properly installed and inspected. I called my insurance, they stated as long I followed the recommended mfr's instuctions, they didn't have a problem with my coal stove installation, just as long as they knew about it.
WNY
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90K, Leisure Line Hyfire I
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker, LL & CoalTrol
Stove/Furnace Model: 90K, Hyfire I, VF3000 Soon

Re: Where to begin on getting a coal stove

PostBy: Yanche On: Fri Feb 01, 2008 1:58 pm

I would suggest you consider a coal stoker boiler, not a room heating stove appliance. Code compliance is an important issue. Unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding about there regulations and it's enforcement. One thing is certain you can not share a chimney with two different fuel types, i.e. oil and coal. So you will need a second chimney or direct vent no matter what you do.

If you consider a coal boiler it can heat your entire house and provide domestic hot water in the same way your oil burner does. Since you can not share the flue one possibility is seasonally change the flue pipe from your existing chimney to either the coal or oil boiler. This is what I do. A second choice is to use your existing chimney with the coal boiler and convert the oil burner to a direct vent. Look through the many posts here on boilers and you will find many heating with different boiler brands. Costs vary considerably depending on new, used or re-furbished and if you are doing the install.

None of the code books are on-line and they are seldom in the general access public libraries. They are usually available for viewing at the code enforcement agency. As with all manuals they have a "lingo" of their own and it's really hard to find the answer to your specific question. So going there to read them is rarely helpful. The most useful is a cooperative code enforcement official. But, they are rare and few between. Most don't want to be bothered with the, as they see it, the uninformed "happy home owner". Your best source for education will be this forum.
Yanche
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea

Re: Where to begin on getting a coal stove

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Fri Feb 01, 2008 8:57 pm

I agree with all the previous posts.
Installing a coal stoker boiler is your best bet, along with leaving the oil-guzzler there as well. My understanding is that code requires the smoke pipe from only one of the units can be connected to the flue at any time, therefore part of the switch from one unit to the other involves changing the flue connection (OOPS!!!).
If you go with a stoker stove upstairs for supplemental heat I agree that Leisure Line is the way to go.
Yes, code enforcement officials can be a cranky bunch, I hate having the building inspector sniffing around here. After the roof was replaced I had an inspection for the final, he noticed a few windows I replaced. I cut the aluminum siding around the windows, then replaced them, made all new wood trim around them. I made sure I told him I didn't change the existing rough openings (no permit needed if the rough opening remains the same). His reply was that I should seal up the openings around the edges of the aluminum siding so no water can get in behind it.
What he didn't know that was when I removed one of the windows there was no rough opening! It was a fixed six pane window stuck in a plank frame sort of stuck in the wall. Doesn't matter anyway, with Post And Beam construction there are no lintels over the doors and windows anyway. You could strip the place bare down to the frame and it would still stay up.
The codes are shrouded in mystery, companies that sell the code books have copyrights, I suspect part of a plot to prevent the homeowner from attempting to do anything himself. Best bet is a cooperative code enforcement officer (good luck), or someone in the business who is willing to talk knowing he won't get the job.
Many of the dealers you will talk to when stove/boiler shopping have knowledge of the code requirements. I don't know about PA but in NJ they now need to be licensed. The stove shop I deal with is very knowledgeable on codes.
Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert

Re: Where to begin on getting a coal stove

PostBy: Scottsman On: Fri Feb 01, 2008 10:22 pm

Thanks for all the advice. I think putting in a boiler is a great idea, BUT I'm worried about the re-sale value of a house if I do that. When I applied for my mortgage they said that coal could only be the backup/supplementary heat source, not the primary. (You know how banks are). Also, my wife--being a very old fashioned soul--says we should get a hand-fired stove like an Alaska Kodiak, because the power often goes out here and we could cook on it in a pinch, too. But I'll have to see about the requirements for installing a chimney here.
Scottsman
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Salvo Machinery/Citation C-80
Other Heating: Weil McLain steam oil boiler

Re: Where to begin on getting a coal stove

PostBy: lincolnmania On: Fri Feb 01, 2008 10:51 pm

i would hook the boilers together, put the oil boiler on a powervent and use the chimney for the coal boiler.....house might be worth more with both options available.....get yourself a generator to run the coal boiler.........elec has been out here for up to 3 hrs already and the fire in my efm hot air furnace stayed lit with no power........some members here run their smaller stoves off of a ups or an invertor and batteries.....i think theres even a member or two that runs theres off of solar power stored in batteries.....i started burning coal in 2005 with hand fed stoves....got my girly man alaska november 2006 and the efm jan 2007......i wouldnt go back to hand fed stoves.......my roomate will not give up his Kenmore coal stove....it heats 2200 square feet well tho i will give it that
lincolnmania
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: efm af-150 1982
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: alaska kodiak stoker 1986
Hand Fed Coal Stove: warm morning 1980 kenmore

Re: Where to begin on getting a coal stove

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Fri Feb 01, 2008 10:52 pm

Scottsman wrote:Thanks for all the advice. I think putting in a boiler is a great idea, BUT I'm worried about the re-sale value of a house if I do that. When I applied for my mortgage they said that coal could only be the backup/supplementary heat source, not the primary. (You know how banks are). Also, my wife--being a very old fashioned soul--says we should get a hand-fired stove like an Alaska Kodiak, because the power often goes out here and we could cook on it in a pinch, too. But I'll have to see about the requirements for installing a chimney here.


Good point about the power going out!
Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert

Re: Where to begin on getting a coal stove

PostBy: Scottsman On: Sat Feb 02, 2008 11:33 pm

Has anybody had experience with Keystoker boilers? I was reading that they have some that are dual fuel, can burn either oil or coal. But I imagine these are very expensive.
Scottsman
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Salvo Machinery/Citation C-80
Other Heating: Weil McLain steam oil boiler

Re: Where to begin on getting a coal stove

PostBy: Berlin On: Sun Feb 03, 2008 4:30 am

keystoker makes a good boiler, i like their low flue outlet design. as i see it, now that you've mentioned something to the code officer, you have only two choices; 1. build a masonry chimney for the stove/furnace, they're simple cheap and don't take much time to build. 2. buy a replacement boiler that fires both oil and coal and allowes the use of the same chimney flue.
Berlin
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal

Re: Where to begin on getting a coal stove

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Sun Feb 03, 2008 10:17 am

Berlin wrote:2. buy a replacement boiler that fires both oil and coal and allowes the use of the same chimney flue.


This will work, but it will cost a lot of money and be very inefficient on the oil side (just what you don't need). You will save money and have a better setup power venting your existing boiler and using the chimney for coal. Also, if you have a problem with your coal unit, you will be able to go in it. You won't be able to work on it if it is firing on oil. :idea:
coaledsweat
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

Re: Where to begin on getting a coal stove

PostBy: Scottsman On: Mon Feb 04, 2008 12:25 am

Building a masonry chimney sounds like a good idea. But when you say:
1. build a masonry chimney for the stove/furnace, they're simple cheap and don't take much time to build.

About how much would you estimate? Like $500? It's a 2-story house--1st floor 10 ft heigh ceilings, and 2nd floor 8.5 ft ceiling (can you imagine the cubic feet I'm heating :lol: )
I probably could do it myself, but #1, I don't do so well with heights, and #2, I've got about 30 other projects to do on this fixer-upper that I could probably do in the meantime.
Scottsman
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Salvo Machinery/Citation C-80
Other Heating: Weil McLain steam oil boiler

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