New to Coal

New to Coal

PostBy: dennis8483 On: Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:28 pm

Hi there, been reading many of the posts on the forum for a few days now, and thought someone might be able to provide some insight. I do not have a coal stove yet, but am planning on getting one in the next few months. I just bought a 1700 square foot mill house built in the 1820's. Basement can only be accessed from doors built into the porch. We have about a 12 year old propane forced air furnace. Heats the house well, but from mid-march to mid-april, we burned through 25% of our propane tank (unsure of size, buried tank). We are expecting a little one in August, so we want to be able to keep the house warm next winter without breaking the bank with multiple propane fill-ups. As of now, we are looking to get a stoker.

Here are a few questions I have.

I've been looking at purchasing a used stove to save money. What should I be looking for to make sure the stove functions safely?

Any suggestions for an appropriate size/brand? I've been eyeing the Baker Phoenix Stoker if I need to purchase new. They are a local company. Any other affordable suggestions? (http://www.bakerstoves.com/stoves4.htm)

Is there a way to tap into the existing chimney for the flue? Is a masonry chimney a must? Or can I run stove pipe on some sort of bracket up the back of the house?

Any suggestions for coal suppliers? I live in Adams county, PA, and would probably buy 2-3 tons for a heating season.

What sort of costs can I expect for installation of stove? I dont know what I am doing and plan on paying someone to install. I know costs will vary, but what can I expect... ballpark? Anyone familiar with local installers I should contact?


Appreciate any help you seasoned coal veterans can offer. Thanks in advance!!!
dennis8483
 
Other Heating: Propane

Re: New to Coal

PostBy: labman On: Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:52 pm

welcome to coal. I live in Franklin County, so we are near neighbors. Frist you need to determine what type of stove you need/ can afford. A hand feed unit will most likely be cheaper to buy than a stoker unit. Plus, a stoker requires electricity to function. This can be a factor depending on where you live and how dependable the power company is.
A masonry chimney is a must, but it needs to be dedicated to only one heating device. The chimney should be inspected to make sure it is safe to use. The very first thing you must have is some GOOD CO detectors; at least one on each floor. Everything else is secondary!
I buy my coal at the Coal Shed which is part of Forrester's Farm Supply ( Ford tractor Dealer) in Scotland, Pa. Near the Chambersburg Mall. Current price is $210.00 a ton, plus delivery. Pretty good quality coal. We have been using it for 6 years now with no complaints.
Good luck with your switch. I don't think you will regret it.
labman
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: harman mk II
Stove/Furnace Make: harman
Stove/Furnace Model: MK II

Re: New to Coal

PostBy: whistlenut On: Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:22 pm

Firstly, welcome to the forum, and then congrats for the new addition arriving soon...... You need to share a little more info before we can make definitive recommendations. If you are sure of the electric supply reliability, AND you would like 'hands off ' then a stoker stover would be a no brainer. Leisure Line, Keystoker,Hitzer and Alaska and (grrrrrrrrr..Harman) make very good stoves.

If a hand fired unit is in your future, that includes Alaska, Baker, Hitzer, Keystoker to name a few....yup, Harman too.
The general layout of heat distribution you would like.....and what other details that would make advise more relevant. You obviously know we must talk about chimney flue provisions, but a power vent could be a simple solution. One other thing is how handy are you with your hands? You must not be afraid to get dirty once in a while......... :idea:
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: New to Coal

PostBy: dennis8483 On: Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:49 am

whistlenut wrote:Firstly, welcome to the forum, and then congrats for the new addition arriving soon...... You need to share a little more info before we can make definitive recommendations. If you are sure of the electric supply reliability, AND you would like 'hands off ' then a stoker stover would be a no brainer. Leisure Line, Keystoker,Hitzer and Alaska and (grrrrrrrrr..Harman) make very good stoves.

If a hand fired unit is in your future, that includes Alaska, Baker, Hitzer, Keystoker to name a few....yup, Harman too.
The general layout of heat distribution you would like.....and what other details that would make advise more relevant. You obviously know we must talk about chimney flue provisions, but a power vent could be a simple solution. One other thing is how handy are you with your hands? You must not be afraid to get dirty once in a while......... :idea:


Not too concerned about electric going out. Planning on getting a small generator or battery with inverter set-up anyways in order to power sump pump (high water table) if we do have an extended power failure. I'd really like to get into the stoker models. The ease of use is something the wife can handle. I have no problems getting dirty and using my hands, or else I wouldnt have bought a 200 year old house. I'm pretty handy, and can use tools, but I'm no craftsman by trade. Little iffy on tackling projects I know nothing about, which is why I came here.

A masonry chimney might be an option for me, but we are planning on placing stove in downstairs living room, and would require 25-30' chimney. Any ideas on how the initial cost of a power vent compares with installing masonry chimney? Im figuring about $100 a foot to pay to have chimney built. The downstairs is a pretty open floor plan, and heat spreads easily throughout the house. Dont know much about the power vents, but read a post or two about them.
dennis8483
 
Other Heating: Propane

Re: New to Coal

PostBy: titleist1 On: Fri Apr 25, 2014 3:13 pm

Welcome to the forum!! I think you have already made a move in the right direction by looking into coal for heat! One initial comment I'll make is that 2-3 tons may be on the light side depending on insulation, windows and draftiness of a house that old. I'd look into getting about 4 ton for your first year and adjust from there for the followup years. If next winter is anything like this winter you don't want to be caught short in Feb when supplies are tight. Coal won't go bad sitting outside so you don't need anything fancy to store it in, a pile covered by a tarp will work out ok.

Regarding what to look for in used stokers, condition of motors would be the first thing I'd look at. That would be an indication of how well the rest of the unit was cared for. Gaskets are a "replace every two years or so" item and are low cost - no big deal, grates may need to be replaced on some older units, look for rust damage on the hoppers, that would indicate wet damp or wet coal being used. I'm familiar with the Harman pusher block style feeders and I'd look to see how tight the block is to the feeder body. If there is too much play then coal can get back past the pusher block.

Hope this helps....keep asking questions, we're glad to help out....
titleist1
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Mag Stoker (old style) one in basement, one in workshop
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III on standby for long power outages
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite; Nut/Anthracite

Re: New to Coal

PostBy: Rick 386 On: Fri Apr 25, 2014 5:21 pm

Welcome to the forum.

You mention that you already have a propain furnace and that it heats well.
Where is the furnace located ??
If it is indeed in the basement, does it connect to a chimney there ??

It wouldn't be that hard to tie a stoker into the propain furnace ductwork. let the furnace fan distribute the heat. If the chimney is there, connect the stoker to the chimney. Hook the propain to a power vent that only activates when the propain fires. So in the dead of winter run the stoker as hard as needed. If it will not suffice, the propain could come on line to supplement the stoker.

Yeah it could be a PITA accessing only through the porch but you probably would only have to tend to the stoker once daily.




Rick
Rick 386
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AA 260 heating both sides of twin farmhouse
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL Hyfire II w/ coaltrol in garage
Coal Size/Type: Pea in AA 260, Rice in LL Hyfire II
Other Heating: Gas fired infared at work

Re: New to Coal

PostBy: dennis8483 On: Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:07 pm

Rick 386 wrote:Welcome to the forum.

You mention that you already have a propain furnace and that it heats well.
Where is the furnace located ??
If it is indeed in the basement, does it connect to a chimney there ??

It wouldn't be that hard to tie a stoker into the propain furnace ductwork. let the furnace fan distribute the heat. If the chimney is there, connect the stoker to the chimney. Hook the propain to a power vent that only activates when the propain fires. So in the dead of winter run the stoker as hard as needed. If it will not suffice, the propain could come on line to supplement the stoker.

Yeah it could be a PITA accessing only through the porch but you probably would only have to tend to the stoker once daily.

Rick


Rick - yeah propane furnace is in basement. Wonder if tapping into chimney on the first floor would be an option...

Just wanted to say thanks to all for the warm welcome and the advice offered by all. Im learning more everyday. Still probably a month or two away from a purchase. Having an HVAC friend come check things out in the next few weeks before I commit to anything.
dennis8483
 
Other Heating: Propane

Re: New to Coal

PostBy: Lightning On: Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:47 pm

dennis8483 wrote:Wonder if tapping into chimney on the first floor would be an option...


Is the propane furnace using it? I have read about others that have tapped into a chimney. Its doable. So whats your plan? are you considering a hand fed free standing stove on the first floor? A friend of mine has a free standing Harman stoker coal stove. He loves it. It uses rice sized coal and does 90% of the home heating. He only uses a little propane on the shoulder months. He has it piped out the side of his house. I don't know if its a direct vent or power vent, I get them mixed up.. The exhaust pipe is inside a bigger pipe that brings in combustion air and keeps the pipe cool..
Lightning
 
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Clayton 1537G
Coal Size/Type: Nut Size / White Ash

Re: New to Coal

PostBy: dennis8483 On: Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:56 pm

Lightning wrote:
dennis8483 wrote:Wonder if tapping into chimney on the first floor would be an option...


Is the propane furnace using it? I have read about others that have tapped into a chimney. Its doable. So whats your plan? are you considering a hand fed free standing stove on the first floor? A friend of mine has a free standing Harman stoker coal stove. He loves it. It uses rice sized coal and does 90% of the home heating. He only uses a little propane on the shoulder months. He has it piped out the side of his house. I don't know if its a direct vent or power vent, I get them mixed up.. The exhaust pipe is inside a bigger pipe that brings in combustion air and keeps the pipe cool..


I believe so, but I may be wrong. HVAC is one thing I know next to nothing about. Thats why I started reading here on the forum and want my HVAC buddy to come look at it while we solve the worlds problems over a few cold ones. Id really like to do a free standing stoker in my living room to do a majority of my heating, with propane as a supplemental heat. Whether I am able to tie in to existing, or power vent, I have no idea, and its raining and getting dark or I'd hit the basement to take a closer look. Probably wouldnt know what I'm looking at anyways. Short of replacing air filters and starting a wood fire in a stove, I'm pretty useless right now when it comes to that line of work.
dennis8483
 
Other Heating: Propane