Changing from oil to coal boiler

Changing from oil to coal boiler

PostBy: huntabsarokee On: Fri Apr 18, 2008 10:47 am

Hi Guys! Jumped over to this site from the hearth forum a few weeks ago and found it very informative. Wood is just too much work and and oil is too expensive so I want to get a coal stoker. I currently have an oil boiler with cast iron radiators and to save money burn wood in the winter. Houes is about 2K sq ft with new windows and doors and decent insulation. My original plan was to take out the wood insert and replace it with a L.L. hearth stoker which would be in my living room. The more I read here it seems like the general consenus is to utilize the radiators and install a boiler. The added bonus is I could add a 4th zone and heat about 600sq ft in my basement. I checked out all the boilers and mostly due to cost I narrowed it down to the Harman and Keystoker. I think the Keystoker KA-4 would be about the right size but I read here it is discontinued. Is it? Its still on their website. I may go check them out next weekend since the factory is just a short drive away. Even if the smallest (KAA2) keystoker would have the right amount of btu's the hopper is a little small for my liking. I prefer to get the oil burner add on to the coal boiler even if the oil burner is less efficient just for times when I have to travel and something happens so my wife isn't left without heat. I already have an oil tank so why not. Oh yeah I only have 1 flu so I would be taking out my 20year old current boiler and replacing it with the coal boiler not adding it in series. I am pretty handy but I think I would hire someone to do the work unless the cost would be too high then maybe I would just attempt it. I know there are some people from the PA coal belt on here so does anybody have any recommendations for keystoker installers near 18071? The Harman has a list on their website. Thanks for any info you can provide.
huntabsarokee
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Lopi - Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: Reveere Wood - KA6 dual fuel

Re: Changing from oil to coal boiler

PostBy: LsFarm On: Fri Apr 18, 2008 11:08 am

Hello Hunta... welcome to the forum.. I would look into a refurbished EFM boiler with the oil burner option. There is an EFM rebuilder right near you who has been selling rebuilt boilers for several decades.. I'll find his name and post it.. I would also PM member 'coal berner' he has the phone number for the EFM rebuilder..

I'm not fond of oil burners attached to coal boilers.. they seem to be a compromise.. by far the most popular method is leaving the old [if servicable] oil boiler in place, and adding the coal boiler in series.. the single chimney can be handled.. But since you want to go with a single unit,, I think I'd prefer the EFM. Especially since the EFM can have as big a coal hopper/storage bin as you can make.. it is only limited by your space.

Member gaw has a keystoker in your area, coal berner is installing an EFM, so you have several knowledgable boiler users in your area.

The EFM rebuilder's forum name is scrapper_23jr

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: Changing from oil to coal boiler

PostBy: huntabsarokee On: Fri Apr 18, 2008 11:50 am

Thanks for the quick reply. Now that you said it I do remember reading on here about an outlet for used EFM coal boilers. My old oil boiler was an EFM and it was good to me. I also have a friends mother who just had a new EFM coal boiler installed and they are thrilled with it but the cost new with installation would be a little more than I wanted to spend. Maybe reconditioned is the way to go.
I did see where it is possible to power vent my existing oil burner and use the flu for the coal boiler but the current location in my basement would mean the power vent would have to exit through a stone wall in the front of my house and I am not sure if I would like that look or the idea of trying to make a hole in the stone.
huntabsarokee
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Lopi - Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: Reveere Wood - KA6 dual fuel

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Re: Changing from oil to coal boiler

PostBy: Mark (PA) On: Fri Apr 18, 2008 4:02 pm

Hi Hunta.


I just wanted to jump in here and comment on your situation as mine is very similar. I am purchasing a Refurb'ed EFM from the mentioned gentleman. I was down to see them last month. Coal Berner and Scrapper are great guys and very informative and I would doubt seriously that there is a question they can't answer. So if you can go visit with them and have a look at those units. I don't know if it is breaking the rules by saying so but these rebuilt units are great. I believe there are at least 2 other guys on this forum that have recently bought them also so maybe they will jump in and comment.

In any case about the power vent. I am in the same boat. To power vent my oil boiler it would take going thru a stone foundation. My home is an old farm house from 1890. So honestly I don't want to do that. I believe I am just going to take the oil boiler pipe out of the chimney and insert the EFM pipe. if something comes up that I wouldn't be around to tend the EFM I would just shut it down and reinsert the Oil boiler flue pipe. I have gone over a ton of options but I think I will try this for now and see how it does.

There is a link to an article done by Burnham about hooking up and oil and coal boiler out 1 chimney but that it against code in most area's. I looked at that info and considered that as well.

Anyway that is what I plan to do with my EFM and exhaust setup later this year when I get it all hooked up in my basement. we'll see how it goes!

Good luck in your search.
Mark (PA)
 
Stove/Furnace Make: 1953 EFM SF-520 High Boy
Stove/Furnace Model: Fitzgibbon Boiler

Re: Changing from oil to coal boiler

PostBy: huntabsarokee On: Fri Apr 18, 2008 5:26 pm

Thanks for the info Mark. I will have to contact the guyes about the used EFMs. Since my oil boiler is already 19years old and my space is limited I would prefer just to buy a EFM with the oil burner option even if I don't use it on a regular basis and get rid of my existing oil boiler.
huntabsarokee
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Lopi - Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: Reveere Wood - KA6 dual fuel

Re: Changing from oil to coal boiler

PostBy: cArNaGe On: Fri Apr 18, 2008 9:19 pm

Palmerton eh?

I missed one in the papershop by a couple of hours a few months ago.

It had the oil burner back up. $950

I believe it was someone on this site that snatched it up.
cArNaGe
 

Re: Changing from oil to coal boiler

PostBy: gaw On: Sat Apr 19, 2008 6:27 am

huntabsarokee wrote:Thanks for the info Mark. I will have to contact the guyes about the used EFMs. Since my oil boiler is already 19years old and my space is limited I would prefer just to buy a EFM with the oil burner option even if I don't use it on a regular basis and get rid of my existing oil boiler.

If your existing oil burner is that old chances are it is not that efficient anyway. In the summertime my Keystoker can go 7 - 10 days before the ashes need removed and in the winter 2 - 3 days. I can fill 2 ash tubs before I have to fill the hopper with coal. An EFM feeding from the coal bin you only have to change ash tubs. The transition from coal to oil is not automatic on the EFM or the Keystoker from what I understand. This makes me wonder if the oil burner option is worth having unless you take long vacations and/or have nobody to tend the boiler when you are gone for a few days.
gaw
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Coal Size/Type: Rice from Schuylkill County

Re: Changing from oil to coal boiler

PostBy: huntabsarokee On: Sat Apr 19, 2008 1:20 pm

GAW

Thats interesting about the oil burner option. I was under the impression that if the coal went out the oil just kicked in but maybe I am confusing and oil and coal hooked up in series. I guess there shouldn't be an issue with running oil if we are away on summer vacation since if no one is home hot water is not needed and there is no fear of frozen pipes. How do you like your keystoker? I kind of like the simplicity of just having a hopper and not a screw but I guess it would be nice to put the screw in the coal bin and just have to empty ashes and not fill coal. I am so close to the keystoker factory I may as well as stop in and talk to the guys about them. I know my father in law bought a stoker last year and he stopped in there and said they were real nice.
huntabsarokee
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Lopi - Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: Reveere Wood - KA6 dual fuel

Re: Changing from oil to coal boiler

PostBy: stoker-man On: Sat Apr 19, 2008 8:20 pm

The switch from coal to oil is done manually. No automatic switchover.
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: Changing from oil to coal boiler

PostBy: huntabsarokee On: Sat Apr 19, 2008 8:59 pm

Well you often read that having a multi fuel boiler is a compromise on efficiency so does EFM list the efficiency of the oil burner add on to the coal boiler? Most oil boiler I looked at have about 85%-87% efficiency except for a few of the newer designs which are closer to 90%.
huntabsarokee
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Lopi - Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: Reveere Wood - KA6 dual fuel

Re: Changing from oil to coal boiler

PostBy: gaw On: Sat Apr 19, 2008 11:45 pm

huntabsarokee; I am pleased with the operation of the KA-6 I put in. It would not hurt to stop by and talk to the guys there if you are considering one. The Keystoker is very simple and I think a little easier to clean and maintain than the EFM. I think yearly coal use would be about the same with either one. The feed from the bin feature on the EFM is nice too. You just have to see what fits the space better and what you want to spend and what features are important. Either way you will be happier burning coal rather than oil.
gaw
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Coal Size/Type: Rice from Schuylkill County

Re: Changing from oil to coal boiler

PostBy: stoker-man On: Sun Apr 20, 2008 7:01 am

The Beckett AFG, which is on all new efm boilers (Riello is optional) runs at about 85/86% efficiency. That doesn't mean it will run as well in a stoker boiler because it's large heating area will be less efficient than a boiler with a refractory combustion chamber and horizontal tube design. The stoker was meant to be fueled by coal.

The oil kit was developed so you could go away on vacation and not worry about emptying ashes, or as a backup fuel. The efficiency with the oil kit is probably in the high 70s.
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: Changing from oil to coal boiler

PostBy: huntabsarokee On: Sun Apr 20, 2008 9:11 am

Thanks for the clarification on the oil burner. That clears things up.
huntabsarokee
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Lopi - Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: Reveere Wood - KA6 dual fuel

Re: Changing from oil to coal boiler

PostBy: keithonline On: Thu Jun 19, 2008 4:57 am

My first post. Researching moving from oil to coal.

Huntabsarokee-
I"m in a similar situation, except I'm considering moving from oil furnace to a coal boiler (with added air handler of course). I need the oil back-up as we travel often for a week or more. Did you learn anything more about the efficiency of the oil option on the Keystoker? Which side is the burner on (above the ash door or opposite side)? What did you decide?

Everyone else-
I also have an oil DHW heater, which is new. Does anyone here think it is better to keep the oil DHW, figure out a way to vent a coal boiler and oil DHW to same chimney, or should I just ditch it all and let the KA-6 handle the hot water in summer? It seems to me to be much more inefficient to keep the whole boiler hot for DHW than a little oil for the DHW tank. Us the KA-6 even insulated?

Thanks for any help.
keithonline
 

Re: Changing from oil to coal boiler

PostBy: Yanche On: Thu Jun 19, 2008 10:23 am

stoker-man wrote:The Beckett AFG, which is on all new efm boilers (Riello is optional) runs at about 85/86% efficiency.
Are you quoting oil burner combustion efficiency or boiler operating efficiency using oil?
Yanche
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea

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