New and need advice

New and need advice

PostBy: IronRoseFarms On: Fri Feb 01, 2008 5:49 am

I have spent hours now reading the forum here and have gathered a lot great information :idea: .

But I still have questions :? , here is some back ground first though...

First we live in Indiana near places like Coalmont, and Coalcity; and our white vehicles are usually black from coal mine debris on the roads, so coal is available. Our home is on a concrete slab about 2600sq ft and currently we heat with propane. The propane bill is eating us alive so to speak and we are looking at other methods to heat for next season. We had started looking at a OWB and have heard some people rave about theirs, however I am not real keen on spending my ever waking hour cutting, splitting, toting, stacking and feeding wood into an inefficient OWB. The layout of our home will not allow for much change in heating methods without major renovation unless we go with a an outside boiler set up. If we go with a coal boiler that could be placed in a shed, it would also allow us to possibly heat the garage/shop, and small green house and connected outbuilding. I have been a hobby blacksmith now for about 20 years and use a coal fire to heat my iron, so I have a little experience with coal and know it to be a fantastic fuel, but the coal I purchase for smithing isn't cheap as I need low trace mineral coal "smithy coal". The coal I buy is pre bagged stuff and is always expensive. I typically only buy every other year so I can buy in enough bulk to afford it. I would guess my experience in burning small amounts of coal at a time will lend itself to larger volumes as well.


So my questions :?: ,
What companies should I go to for reputable and knowledgeable assistance in this quest? I don't need just a salesman looking for a quick buck from a greenhorn.
With the use of a shed facilities for the boiler room, any thoughts on keeping costs down in construction?
Would it be wise to dig a "basement" to sit the boiler into so we would not have to find a way to hike the coal?
How much fluctuation can one expect in coal prices? How volatile is the market?
What questions should I be asking? (ya don't know what ya don't know)
Any other advice that could be offered is more than appreciated.


Thank you for your time and knowledge :D ,
IronRoseFarms
 

Re: New and need advice

PostBy: stoker-man On: Fri Feb 01, 2008 6:53 am

Your blacksmith coal is almost certainly Bituminous coal, soft coal. You'd have to look for a unit that will burn your local coal, Bituminous, or pay to have hard coal, Anthracite, shipped in from PA.
stoker-man
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: 1981 efm wcb-24 in use 365 days a year
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite/Chestnut
Other Heating: Hearthstone wood stove

Re: New and need advice

PostBy: Dutchman On: Fri Feb 01, 2008 10:06 am

Your blacksmith coal is almost certainly Bituminous coal, soft coal. You'd have to look for a unit that will burn your local coal, Bituminous, or pay to have hard coal, Anthracite, shipped in from PA.


Yes, I think that's step 1- figure out if you want to burn bituminous or anthracite, and its cost/availability etc for your area and whether you want bagged or build a bin for a bulk delivery. I'm close to the anthracite fields, but overall coal prices, though they fluctuate some, are far more stable and reliable in supply than oil. There's a forum in here that the "bity burners" have all sorts of info on their boilers and setups, and the hard coal guys run lots of boilers too. I'm pretty sure you need to choose one type or the other when finding a make and local dealer.

A lot of the fellas here share their setups and ideas in good detail, including pictures. I've seen outdoor setups ranging from a base and roof to a fully enclosed weathertight boiler house. Each of the different makes is good in its own way and has different features (maybe see who's local to you to narrow the field), but as a hobby burner, you're at least one step above greenhorn.

Still, ask away- I've always felt a reputable dealer should answer any questions and offer you as much info as possible to show his product, especially if he knows you're looking at his competition as well.
Dutchman
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Magnum
Coal Size/Type: rice/anthracite

Visit Lehigh Anthracite

Re: New and need advice

PostBy: beatle78 On: Fri Feb 01, 2008 10:12 am

Welcome. Have you called around to see if anthracite coal is available from any coal dealers in your area. I live in RI and we have a local coal dealer that trucks in coal from Penn. each year and then sells it by the ton to us homeowners.

If not, you should call around to your local stove companies and see if any of them sell Bituminous coal boilers.

Do they make Bituminous stoker boilers?
beatle78
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker KA-4

Re: New and need advice

PostBy: LsFarm On: Fri Feb 01, 2008 2:30 pm

Hello IronRose, welcome to the forum.

One thing you haven't mentioned, is your current heat system forced hot air? or hot water baseboard heat?? Either way, you need to figure on how to move the heat from your added coal burner into the house and the current heating system. to do this, I'd recommend a boiler, and piping the coal-heated hot water into the house. If the house uses forced hot air heat, then you use a water-to-air heat exchanger to heat the air in the ductwork.. this is a proven design, the same that the OWB folks use, but MUCH more effecient than the OWB's.

As stated above, the coal mined and available in your area is Bituminous coal. And your particular coal has fairly high volitiles content, which makes it have lots of heavy yellow flames and soot when first loaded on a fire. To cleanly burn your local coal will require a burning appliance designed to burn Bituminous coal... and that type of appliance is hard to find.. I don't think there are any in production now.

You need to look into trucking costs to bring in Anchracite coal from Pa. This is what I do, I'm in SE Michigan.

There is a coal burner in Lexington, and one near Dayton/Cincinati that I know of. maybe they could get together to make a larger purchase volume. or maybe help you with their suppliers.

Hope this helps...

Greg L
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

Re: New and need advice

PostBy: spc On: Fri Feb 01, 2008 3:02 pm

beatle78 wrote:I live in RI and we have a local coal dealer that trucks in coal from Penn. each year and then sells it by the ton to us homeowners.
Where are you getting your coal in RI? Thanks.
spc
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Pioneer

Re: New and need advice

PostBy: beatle78 On: Fri Feb 01, 2008 9:10 pm

spc wrote:
beatle78 wrote:I live in RI and we have a local coal dealer that trucks in coal from Penn. each year and then sells it by the ton to us homeowners.
Where are you getting your coal in RI? Thanks.


I get it from Cranston Coal. I think they are the only dealer left in RI. There is one in MA not too far from us, but the name escapes me.
beatle78
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker KA-4

Re: New and need advice

PostBy: lincolnmania On: Fri Feb 01, 2008 9:27 pm

there is a company in bismarck nd that makes furnaces to burn soft coal
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: New and need advice

PostBy: IronRoseFarms On: Fri Feb 01, 2008 11:20 pm

Thanks for the warm (coal fired) welcome.

Currently our propane furnace is forced hot air. So I was already on track in going with the heat exchanger.

I am not finding any dealers of any boilers withing 300 miles. As for coal I can get either B or A as Brazil, Indiana has a coal yard that delivers or you can go pick it up and they sell both. This is also who I buy my "smithy" coal from. I have tried both A and B straight from the yard but both contained to much trace mineral to weld with, so I went back to the bagged stuff.

lincolnmania do you know the company in ND making those units?

What would a guy want to look for in a used unit? If I could even find one?
I really don't intend to make any final decisions until spring anyway, but now is the time to start researching and finding answers.

Thanks again,
IronRoseFarms
 

Re: New and need advice

PostBy: lincolnmania On: Fri Feb 01, 2008 11:58 pm

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

Visit Lehigh Anthracite