# I need help.. Keystoker KA-6 install.

### I need help.. Keystoker KA-6 install.

Hello,

I am looking for help, I will be installing a KA-6 keystoker boiler this summer In my home.

It's a 1500 sqft ranch with full basement built in 1987 Located in Central PA.The exterior walls are 2X4 with fiberglass insulation, and 1" Styrofoam behind the vinyl siding. There is not much to break the wind around my house and at times we get a lot.

Details about the current heating system:
The Oil boiler that I removed was rated at 134,000 BTU's. It heated 55 ft of 3/4" fin tube baseboard. I did have an 85,000 BTU hand fed boiler tied into the system that did pretty well heating that 55 ft of baseboard with the exception of windy, sub 20f days and. When those days rolled around I would normally have to turn up the aquastat on the Oil boiler to help the coal boiler in maintaining my desired (house) temperature. I know the KA-6 is OVERKILL for my current heat demand, but in the future I will be adding more. I have completed a heat loss calculation on my home, and my future loads. They are as follows.

Current living space heat loss = 39,654 btu/hr
Laundry & office (future load will be installed with boiler) heat loss= 13,123 btu/hr
basement (future load will be installed date TBD) heat loss=18,162 btu/hr
Garage (future load will be installed date TBD) heat loss= 18,804 btu/hr
Plus I will be heat DHW = IDK btu/hr.....

Thats a heat load of just under 90,000 BTU/hr without accounting for DHW.

Am I correct in my assesmentt that based on the facts a KA-4 with a net BTU output of 105k btu is just barley large enough, and that the KA-6 would be a better choice assuming slightly oversized is better than undersized?

secondly I would like to be pointed in the direction of where I can learn about options for different install types. My current set up (IdK what is called) has a supply line from the top of the boiler, and a return line into the bottom. The single circulator on the return side pumping toward the boiler. I have researched a little about primary/secondary type setup and I understand the basic concept of this. but I would like more information.

I see a lot posted here about system balance.....(Sting)..... Where can I learn about this? I've tried searching the form but had little luck. Also it does not help that I am not armed with the proper terminology to achieve satisfactory search results (that's where the reading material comes into play).

I want to thank Oliver Power, I have been PM'ing him and He has answered a lot of questions and even recommended some reading material. A book titled, "Modern Hydronic Heating: For Residential and Light Commercial Buildings". I see that book sales for about \$160, Does anyone have a used copy they would be willing to sell?

I hope I have given enough information....

Boots

Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Burnham SFB 101 (sold)

### Re: I need help.. Keystoker KA-6 install.

its free to start reading here
http://www.heatinghelp.com/article-cate ... /Hot-Water
when you ready i recommend his books
example this one
http://www.heatinghelp.com/products/Hot ... ic-systems
add others as you feel comfortable

system balance
Try this

http://www.bellgossett.com/literature/files/1195.pdf

My longest thread on system balance is
Monoflow Continuous Circulation System
you will have to sort thru it a bit but some basic concepts are covered

Kind Regards
Sting
Sting

Other Heating: OBSO Lennox Pulse "Air Scorcher" burning NG

### Re: I need help.. Keystoker KA-6 install.

Boots wrote:Thats a heat load of just under 90,000 BTU/hr without accounting for DHW.

Am I correct in my assesmentt that based on the facts a KA-4 with a net BTU output of 105k btu is just barley large enough, and that the KA-6 would be a better choice assuming slightly oversized is better than undersized?

You will only get 80% of that 105

so It Depends

Boots wrote:secondly I would like to be pointed in the direction of where I can learn about options for different install types. My current set up (IdK what is called) has a supply line from the top of the boiler, and a return line into the bottom. The single circulator on the return side pumping toward the boiler. I have researched a little about primary/secondary type setup and I understand the basic concept of this. but I would like more information.

In My World - I size for the demand that is most common = I add via P/S system control an automatic back up = and in those few days that NEED all the heat your calculation calls for = the system carries the load by employing the coal and backe up boilers
This is most efficent but some folks cannot get their head around this

You will have to decide what your comfortable with
Sting

Other Heating: OBSO Lennox Pulse "Air Scorcher" burning NG

### Re: I need help.. Keystoker KA-6 install.

Size matters.........and since you are NOT wearing Depends, the K-6 is a much more logical choice. Close only counts in 'horseshoes and handgrenades', so I support you desire to have some breathing room rather than be running on the 'pin' all the time. PS: The heat loss calc is merely a number, THAT does NOT take into account any revisions to you home. It's like going to the moon on a rocket that was a'low bid' winner. You know exactly what I am saying here. ...................figures lie and liars figure..........
Last edited by whistlenut on Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:14 am, edited 2 times in total.
whistlenut

Stoker Coal Boiler: AA130's,260's, AHS130&260's,EFM900,GJ & V-Wert
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Franks,Itasca 415,Jensen, NYer 130,Van Wert
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Alaska, EFM, Keystoker, Yellow Flame
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska, Keystoker-2,Leisure Line
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Alaska, Gibraltar, Keystone,Vc Vigilant 2
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Ford, Jensen, NYer, Van Wert,
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwoods
Coal Size/Type: Barley, Buck, Rice ,Nut, Stove
Other Heating: Oil HWBB

### Re: I need help.. Keystoker KA-6 install.

Sting wrote:In My World - I size for the demand that is most common = I add via P/S system control an automatic back up = and in those few days that NEED all the heat your calculation calls for = the system carries the load by employing the coal and backe up boilers
This is most efficent but some folks cannot get their head around this

What is the basis for the statement that "this is most efficient"?

Keystoker's recommended load for the KAA-4 is under 80k btu/hr. For the loads and installed radiation described, I would vote for something bigger. DHW alone adds about 40k btu/hr for each gpm of flow. And there are distribution losses/pickup factors that need to be taken into account. Plus numerous factors documented in other threads that can cause coal boilers to fall short of rated output at any given time.

Mike
Pacowy

Stoker Coal Boiler: H.B. Smith 350 Mills boiler/EFM 85R stoker
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/anthracite

### Re: I need help.. Keystoker KA-6 install.

This time = Ill just let the thread run for questions by boots
If you want to start another " witch hunt" with me this week

PM a Moderator and TAKE IT TO ANOTHER THREAD
Sting

Other Heating: OBSO Lennox Pulse "Air Scorcher" burning NG

### Re: I need help.. Keystoker KA-6 install.

Sting wrote:This time = Ill just let the thread run for questions by boots
If you want to start another " witch hunt" with me this week

PM a Moderator and TAKE IT TO ANOTHER THREAD

Your concept seems to be that you can make broad statements that purport to respond to the OP's question, but that people who "cannot get their head around" your opinion are on a "witch hunt" if they ask you to substantiate what you've said. I don't see how it helps the OP for people who don't agree with your statement to be silent, or for you to do anything other than cite your source when you're asked for it.

Mike
Pacowy

Stoker Coal Boiler: H.B. Smith 350 Mills boiler/EFM 85R stoker
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/anthracite

### Re: I need help.. Keystoker KA-6 install.

Thank you for all of your replies so far...

Sting,
Thank you for the links, those will keep me busy for hours... I have already learned a few things from them.
Why is it that I will get only 80% of the manufacturers stated net output? The Gross out put (according to Keystoker) is 120K btu. I assumed the Net output was the "real number" the you could expect to achieve .

Wistlenut,
I think I understand, The heat loss calculations will take you only so far.... Then, its back to the real world where nothing is static. To sum up, the heat loss is only the start of the equation. And that was my thoughts on the KA-4, it would be running balls out under my "normal" load and when the nasty stuff came, My wife would start
Boots

Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Burnham SFB 101 (sold)

### Re: I need help.. Keystoker KA-6 install.

....and that's when the fighting begins........Hey genius, I'm freezing my butt off.........and PLEASE don't make any comments like: What a nice change that would be........50 lbs would be a good start.......
or she says:I'd like something that goes 0 to 180 instantly!!.......and you bring home a new digital bathroom scale.........THEN the gloves come off and she turns into 'Brock Lesnar'. Blue Cross or UNDERBUMMER Health Services??? You will be walking within 6 months, but the limp will be permanent........

'Experience 101 TO 404 ARE a very good GROUP of classes to master, however you can't do it online......or in a Vo-Tech......you have to EARN it! My \$.02 is to generally go up one level in whatever you do, and a little excess won't hurt a thing. Fuel milage will very whether you live in hilly country or flat as a pancake terrain. I changed two k-6 installs to k-8s this past year and the silent Green Cased Machines never labored once; were fuel efficient and performed flawlessly. Short money for peace and harmony.......a happy wife is a happy life......(most of the time........well, some of the time.) Ouch,........................................ don't type with your wife stopping by to look over your shoulder........gotta get an ice bag......no blood anyway!
Last edited by whistlenut on Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.
whistlenut

Stoker Coal Boiler: AA130's,260's, AHS130&260's,EFM900,GJ & V-Wert
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Franks,Itasca 415,Jensen, NYer 130,Van Wert
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Alaska, EFM, Keystoker, Yellow Flame
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska, Keystoker-2,Leisure Line
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Alaska, Gibraltar, Keystone,Vc Vigilant 2
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Ford, Jensen, NYer, Van Wert,
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwoods
Coal Size/Type: Barley, Buck, Rice ,Nut, Stove
Other Heating: Oil HWBB

### Re: I need help.. Keystoker KA-6 install.

Boots wrote:Thank you for all of your replies so far...

Sting,
Thank you for the links, those will keep me busy for hours... I have already learned a few things from them.
Why is it that I will get only 80% of the manufacturers stated net output? The Gross out put (according to Keystoker) is 120K btu. I assumed the Net output was the "real number" the you could expect to achieve .

I assume the MFG is advertising Net Input -Its a much more generous and self serving advertisement. From that - you can hope to get about 80% into the load.
Sting

Other Heating: OBSO Lennox Pulse "Air Scorcher" burning NG

### Re: I need help.. Keystoker KA-6 install.

whistlenut wrote:....'Experience 101 TO 404 ARE a very good GROUP of classes to master, however you can't do it online......or in a Vo-Tech......you have to EARN it! My \$.02 is to generally go up one level in whatever you do, and a little excess won't hurt a thing. Fuel milage will very whether you live in hilly country or flat as a pancake terrain. I changed two k-6 installs to k-8s this past year and the silent Green Cased Machines never labored once; were fuel efficient and performed flawlessly. Short money for peace and harmony....
!

As always - your the sane one here

Are both of us wrong ? It depends

I am {as some here deam an unpopular system} suggesting a fault tolerant boiler backup to the coal boiler - and since good money has been spent on it -- USE it --- size the concert of the production appliances to the max need of the load.

But if the coal fired appliance is the only energy source to the load -- then yes slightly oversizing is not an unwise choice because as an installer you will never get called that the dwelling is cold

Whats better???? Ill get back to you on that.. More important= What do you want?
Sting

Other Heating: OBSO Lennox Pulse "Air Scorcher" burning NG

### Re: I need help.. Keystoker KA-6 install.

Don't let this happen to you!!
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Lightning

Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Clayton 1537G
Coal Size/Type: Nut/Stove Size Mix

### Re: I need help.. Keystoker KA-6 install.

Boots wrote:Why is it that I will get only 80% of the manufacturers stated net output? The Gross out put (according to Keystoker) is 120K btu. I assumed the Net output was the "real number" the you could expect to achieve .

To me it looks like there is an inconsistency in the ratings for the KAA-4 (and for the KAA-2, which was discussed in another thread), as presented on the "Products" page of the Keystoker website, that might(?) clarify things. For all boilers larger than the KAA-4, the "gross" btu/hr value presented corresponds precisely to the values in the "Total Capacity" columns. For example, the 144,000 gross btu/hr shown for the KA-6 is precisely equal to 600 s.f. steam x 240 btu/hr/s.f. steam (i.e., the standard heat transfer rate for steam), and also to 960 s.f. hot water x 150 btu/hr/s.f. hot water (transfer rate for hot water). The same correspondence exists for all of the bigger boilers. This indicates that the "gross" values being reported for those boilers are gross output btu's.

For the KAA-4, however, the listed total capacity of 600 s.f. hot water would translate to only (600 x 150=) 90,000 gross output btu/hr. Applying Keystoker's 1.18 pickup factor, the net btu's available to the installed radiation would be about 76.3k btu/hr. Alternatively, Keystoker's recommended load of 525 s.f. hot water would translate to 78.8k btu/hr. Either value is quite a bit lower than the 120/105 values appearing in the table.

Hope this helps.

Mike
Pacowy

Stoker Coal Boiler: H.B. Smith 350 Mills boiler/EFM 85R stoker
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/anthracite

### Re: I need help.. Keystoker KA-6 install.

Hopefully you guys are listening to Mike......that is where we need to START from. Sting has a much greater ability to analyze systems than I do, and he is absolutely correct in his guidance. Mike on the other hand IS heating more than anyone I know, and very efficiently and effectively. I would not want to have to a heating plan for his home, however his EFM is a no brainer.

The advise is for free, and the experience that backs it up is free, and not one of us carry a pocket protector or have a emblem on out shirts. Take that for what its worth. If you haven't been there, my recommendation is to listen to as many as you can who ARE there and HAVE been there. Call Don at Keystoker in the AM, he'll give you the facts straight from the Horse' Mouth.
whistlenut

Stoker Coal Boiler: AA130's,260's, AHS130&260's,EFM900,GJ & V-Wert
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Franks,Itasca 415,Jensen, NYer 130,Van Wert
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Alaska, EFM, Keystoker, Yellow Flame
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska, Keystoker-2,Leisure Line
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Alaska, Gibraltar, Keystone,Vc Vigilant 2
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Ford, Jensen, NYer, Van Wert,
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwoods
Coal Size/Type: Barley, Buck, Rice ,Nut, Stove
Other Heating: Oil HWBB

### Re: I need help.. Keystoker KA-6 install.

Sting,
The KA-6 will be a stand alone unit. My Oil boiler is damaged beyond my "want" to repair it. Maybe some day in the future there will be more to the system, but for now..... that's gonna be it.... If things really went pear shaped and the KA-6 was struggling (I think it would really have to get bad...) I could start disabling Zones until things got better. (Not a favorite option.. but it's in my back pocket if needed).

Wistlenut,
If nothing else your posts are entertaining (Sting as well, I have laughed at a fair share of his too). About 2.5 years ago I went from knowing almost nothing about Hydronic heating systems (could not even solder copper) And now Im comfortable enough in my knowledge that I KNOW that I could install my KA-6 tomorrow and it would make the house warm next year. But, That's not my goal, I want the install to be correct, and efficient. "good enough" is not good enough, It needs to be right... That's why I want to know more, I want to know what makes a good system good And a bad one bad. I have learned a lot here on the forum, (do a lot of lurking) and I learned a great deal installing my current hand fired. I expect I will learn even more installing my new system.

as for your last Post, I have been to Keystoker. I went saturday to pick up my boiler, I did discuss sizing with Don very briefly. The conclusion of our discussion was that the KA-8 is too big for my needs. Although we never discussed any heat loss calculations.

Lightning,
That looks like it was a brutal conversation to have, Bruised the ego no doubt. I hope with a lot of research and the proper amount of planning I can, and will avoid having that conversation with my wife.

Mike,
That looks like good information you have posted, The formulas you used to explain your reasoning are much beyond my current understanding of boilers and hydronic heating. I trust that these formulas don't really have any room for "interpretation" so that does make me wonder, Why would they use more that one method for their ratings?
Boots

Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Burnham SFB 101 (sold)