steam heat

steam heat

PostBy: tvb On: Tue Mar 04, 2008 11:07 pm

Are there any stoker boilers out there that produce steam heat?

My house is single pipe steam. On the eve of having the new Harman installed, my SO comes up with the "original" suggestion of "why don't we just get a big coal fired furnace to replace the oil steam boiler". To which I replied that we would need a retrofit to hot water or duct work for hot air and if we happened to find a bag with $10,000 in it, it might be a really good idea but seeing as we don't have the chimney to accommodate it nor do we have the pipes/duct work to keep us warm, it was probably better to go with plan A which is the replacement stove in our living room.

But it got me wondering, how much does a retrofit cost?
tvb
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing III

Re: steam heat

PostBy: LsFarm On: Tue Mar 04, 2008 11:16 pm

Yes, EFM boilers, AHS, Axeman Anderson, and I think the Keystoker and maybe the Harman boilers can make steam. I'm not sure on the last two. I'd have to check their websites.

I'd guess you'd need that $10k or a significant portion of it to buy new and pay for an install.

Greg L

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

Re: steam heat

PostBy: Berlin On: Wed Mar 05, 2008 12:51 am

keystoker does for sure, as a relative of mine has a ke15 fired with oil to produce steam for a large one pipe system. the reason when it was installed for the use of a keystoker, but fired with oil was that it has a much larger water jacket then most oil boilers available and allows the use of the old steam system, which required a LOT of water to be boiled off, so much so that most oil boilers would reach the low limit before all the huge radiators in the old home were satisfied, thus a ke15 boiler fired with oil, (300,000btu/hr oil!)

(on edit, it's ke15, not ka 6, i got my sizes mixed up, i had to go to the keystoker site. i know it fires at around 300,000btu/hr oil and has a 12" flue pipe, so thus i'm pretty sure it's ke15)
Berlin
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal

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Re: steam heat

PostBy: LsFarm On: Wed Mar 05, 2008 9:32 am

I wouldn't want to be paying for that oil bill !!

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: steam heat

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Wed Mar 05, 2008 6:22 pm

tvb wrote:
My house is single pipe steam. On the eve of having the new Harman installed, my SO comes up with the "original" suggestion of "why don't we just get a big coal fired furnace to replace the oil steam boiler". To which I replied that we would need a retrofit to hot water or duct work for hot air and if we happened to find a bag with $10,000 in it, it might be a really good idea but seeing as we don't have the chimney to accommodate it nor do we have the pipes/duct work to keep us warm


You don't need to fit hot water pipes or duct work for hot air heat.
A coal fired boiler running the steam heating system would be fine. As far as the chimney, if you have room to place the coal boiler beside the oil boiler you could simply switch the stack pipes to the coal boiler or back to the oil unit if need be.
Hot air heat is the worst. I wish I had steam heat here.
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: steam heat

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Wed Mar 05, 2008 7:16 pm

If you have a one pipe system, I would go with the steam. I myself would look for a used or refurbished unit. The boilers that Greg mentioned are all steam rated. If you find a used hot water boiler for 1 or 2,000 dollars, you could probably upgrade it to steam with the right controls for cheap. Even buying new, the install is simple and if you can do it yourself I would bet you can be sweating bullets next winter for $7000 or less. Used, maybe as low as $2-4000. :)

You can power vent either appliance, best to use the chimney on coal. Or, there is way to put both stove pipes into the chimney properly, it is safe but will not pass code. PM me if you want it.
coaledsweat
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

Re: steam heat

PostBy: tvb On: Wed Mar 05, 2008 11:28 pm

You guys realize you didn't give the answer I was hoping for - that heating with steam + coal was not possible!

In any case, how is the efficiency of said steam units?

As it is now, the boiler rarely comes on with us using the VC Vigilant. Early mornings tend to trip it on because the ash buildup cools the stove and I expect that will end with the installation of the new Harman mag stoker. Would doing both be worthwhile or simply redundant?
tvb
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing III

Re: steam heat

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Wed Mar 05, 2008 11:53 pm

tvb wrote:You guys realize you didn't give the answer I was hoping for - that heating with steam + coal was not possible!

In any case, how is the efficiency of said steam units?

As it is now, the boiler rarely comes on with us using the VC Vigilant. Early mornings tend to trip it on because the ash buildup cools the stove and I expect that will end with the installation of the new Harman mag stoker. Would doing both be worthwhile or simply redundant?


I had steam heat when I was a kid, thinking back it was kind of neat. And it was hot! :)

A coal fired steam boiler is up there, 85%+. They are efficient (and cheap to run on coal). One issue is that it provides no heat until it has built up a enough pressure. That shouldn't really be a problem, you just need to wait. They have a little more control features (level, low water cutoff, etc.) to them and will require blow downs on occasion. The valve stems, sight glasses and a few other things will tend to need "fettling" over the years. The beauty of hot water is that it reduces the maintenance issues to the system.

To help in your decision, the boiler is going to have about a 15% efficiency edge on the stove. Your home will be evenly heated. Every hour your oil burner is off, saves you about $3.XX. You empty the ash every 3-5 days. With a bin and feeder, you never touch the coal.

Does this help?

In your case, yes, it would be redundant to have both a boiler and stove. If you want very reliable steady cheap heat with very few trips to tend it, a stoker steam boiler will do that very well.
If you don't mind the fire going out, the oil burner firing and playing with ash in the house every day, just keep the stove.
coaledsweat
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

Re: steam heat

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Thu Mar 06, 2008 11:18 am

I agree with Coaledsweat. As I have said here before I really like steam heat, having lived in 2 places (rentals) that had it. I love the sound of the air vents on the radiators.
Don't tell anyone, but my stoker is connected into the same flue with the oil-fired water heater and the hot air oil furnace (which we don't use). It's not code but it's working fine, the chimney is masonry and tall and can produce a high draft.
I would go with connecting to the chimney, the power vent will work but then you introduce the problem of vent loss in the event of a power failure, adding a UPS, etc. That was one of the factors when I made the decision to connect to the chimney.
Connecting the stoker to the furnace duct work provides a more even heat in this drafty place, actually much better then just the hand-fired. We still need to run both, though, to keep the place warm.
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: steam heat

PostBy: jpen1 On: Thu Mar 06, 2008 11:33 pm

My home was originally heated with a keystoker Ka4 which ran the one pipe steam sytem that is in the house. Sizing a steam boiler is very critical so that is why I think the keystoker has an edge here with more sizes to chose from especially for a one pipe system. The oil boiler that is ther now is oversized and that makes the sytem horribly inefficient.
jpen1
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: 110 Boiler

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