Which boiler to buy?

Which boiler to buy?

PostBy: sterling40man On: Sun May 04, 2008 12:46 pm

Hello,

Been looking and reading on this site for a couple of months now. Everyone seems to be very happy with coal stoves.

I live in northern Maine. I own a raised ranch home and heat about 2400 sq ft. I usually use about 1000 gallons of heating oil a year with a 6 year old HWBB boiler. With oil at just about $4.00 a gallon, we are struggling to make ends meet! I can get rice coal for about $280 a ton. I have no room in my house for a new system since my furnace room is also my laundry room. I just bulit a new garage attached to my house and I'm seriuosly thinking of buying a coal boiler and installing it in there, thus eliminating the need for another brick chiminey. Also, I wouldn't have to worry about carrying coal bags in and taking ash out. I could stack the bags in my garage. I was told, by a licenced plumber, that I would need a boiler that could produce approx 140,000 BTU's since it get's very, very cold here in the winter time. One of my problems is that I want to tie into my existing system, but my existing boiler is at the opposite end of the house. I'll have to run my feed and return lines underground and then into the house (about an 80ft run). Could be costly. I heard the Keystoker KA-6 would be a good buy at about $4400. I don't know much about this stuff. My questions are, Is the KA-6 a good buy or is there something else comparable? Could I tie the KA-6 into my existing system? Do I need to get the optional coil for domestic HW? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Bob
sterling40man
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker K6
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: KA-6

Re: Which boiler to buy?

PostBy: gaw On: Sun May 04, 2008 1:13 pm

The KA-6 for $4400 buying new is not a bad buy. Net BTU is rated for about 120,000, I think. The EFM 520 would be perfect for your application. The A-A and AHS would also work provided you have a source of pea coal. Buying something used is the best buy but you would most likely have to come to PA to get it. With oil so high coal boilers are starting to become desirable again. Good luck.
gaw
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Coal Size/Type: Rice from Schuylkill County

Re: Which boiler to buy?

PostBy: stoker-man On: Sun May 04, 2008 2:08 pm

PM forum member scrapper_23jr

He has used efm equipment.

On the efm section of the forum, there is a list of efm dealers who might have used efm boilers.
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

Visit Lehigh Anthracite

Re: Which boiler to buy?

PostBy: LsFarm On: Sun May 04, 2008 2:34 pm

I use a remote boiler, and pipe my heat to both my home and shop,, the boiler is in centrally located outbuilding,, and I send hot water 150' each way to the house and the shop.. so I have 600' of burried, insulated Pex-al-Pex pipe in the ground..

I would say that with the moving of coal and ash, the garage is the best location. I would look into a reconditioned EFM, as suggested above.. The efm uses an auger to feed coal from a hopper,, this hopper can be pretty much as large/small as you want.. some use a 55 gallon plastic barrel for the hopper,, so use a big wood box for more capacity..

A good used Axeman Anderson or AHS would also do the job, as 'gaw' said above,, but they burn pea size coal, not rice size.


Read around on the site,, there are several members with remote boilers.. they work fine.

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: Which boiler to buy?

PostBy: Freddy On: Sun May 04, 2008 4:27 pm

I think you're heading to do something smart! With oil at $4 you could spend almost any amount of money to get set up and have it pay for itself in 3 or 4 years. I'm in Maine, Bangor area, and am investing in a coal boiler. Go for it!

How do you make your hot water now? If it is an indirect tank heated by the boiler you could skip the coil in the coal boiler. If you have a coil now you might keep your oil in line and let the coal keep that boiler hot. Not the most efficient in the summer, but in the winter it's all just heat in the house. If you used a coil in the coal boiler you'd have to wait a while for hot water to get to the bathroom.

I considered a Keystoker, but wanted auger feed. From all I've read they are a good boiler for the money. You have a dealer near you.
Freddy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined

Re: Which boiler to buy?

PostBy: stoker-man On: Sun May 04, 2008 5:43 pm

I use a coal/wood boiler in my garage to circulate hot water to my oil boiler which is over 50 feet away. My oil boiler has all the controls and a coil to supply all my hot water and heating needs. It works flawlessly. Haven't used oil for a year and a half.
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: Which boiler to buy?

PostBy: sterling40man On: Mon May 05, 2008 10:23 am

Thanks for all the replies! Yes, my oil boiler has all the controls and circulators for 4 zones. I have a HW holding tank that is digitally set. It is lite blue and about 4 ft high. I have been told that this tank has a coil in it. Like I said, I don't know much about this stuff and my existing oil system is only 6 years old. So, I guess I wouln't have to get a coil for the new coal boiler. I would just have a feed and return line from the new boiler going to and from my old system. That way I could still use the my old system as a backup.

I have to run my feed and return under ground. I was looking at insulated PEX pipe (THERMO-PEX). Quite expensive, but looks worthwhile. Any other suggestions? The frost line in my area is about 6 ft deep, so I would need something good.

Bob
sterling40man
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker K6
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: KA-6

Re: Which boiler to buy?

PostBy: stoker-man On: Mon May 05, 2008 11:11 am

You could use heating glycol in your boiler to prevent freezing. Be sure to use heating grade pex with the oxygen barrier.
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: Which boiler to buy?

PostBy: Freddy On: Mon May 05, 2008 12:19 pm

I did a bunch of research on insulated pipe before the wife said I can put it in the cellar. I had decided I'd make my own. 1" Pex-al-pex, a layer of "donkey dink" insulation on each pipe and put them together in 4" flexible drainage pipe....the kind without the holes. Do not put the pipes together and insulate them as a unit. If they are touching each other you would be making a long heat exchanger. I saw some insulated ones on ebay that were just that way. I didn't like that idea.
Six feet of frost? HA! I know darn well in Northen Maine it never goes more than 5 1/2. ;) I spoke with a guy in Saskatchewan, they have to go down 8 feet!
Freddy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined

Re: Which boiler to buy?

PostBy: Scottscoaled On: Tue May 06, 2008 11:32 pm

The outdoor wood boiler guys around here seem to think that 18" is a good depth. Lower brings ground water into the equation. If the pipe is insulated correctly it wouldn't matter. I'm not sure I would agree with them, but it is their business. :) Scott
Scottscoaled
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM 520x4, 350, 700. Van Wert 400 x 2, 800, 1200.
Coal Size/Type: Lots of buck

Re: Which boiler to buy?

PostBy: Freddy On: Wed May 07, 2008 6:04 am

18"? The frost around here would rip it apart. I would hope the underground pipe does not loose enough heat to keep the ground around it fromfreezing. I was planning on my outbuilding moving and the pipe 4 feet down. My idea was to have a few horrizontal feet out of the boiler,slack above the floor, then straight down while still inside the outbuilding. That will allow the building to raise up with the frost if it feels like it.
I snow blow lot of paths around my yard. In places those paths will be lifted 10 to 12" come springtime. Outbuildings usually lift 3-4" if not heated. I'd think a boiler building would not move, but the pipe going from it sure will.
Freddy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined

Re: Which boiler to buy?

PostBy: LsFarm On: Wed May 07, 2008 7:49 am

The insulated underground pipe is in a plastic tube.. a seamless plastic tube.. so even if it was burried in mud, and the mud froze,, there would be no damage to the pex pipes inside... and yes, nomatter how good your insulation is, it is just an 'R' factor, a resistance to heat travel... so some heat always travels through insulation. The ground around the pipes usually stays frost free, but only for a few inches around the burried pipe.

The amount of heat lost to the ground through the insulation is a result of the 'delta-t' the temperature differential between the ground temp and the water temp... if you are piping 200* water, you will loose more heat, and have more thawed ground than if you are piping 140* water.

Below is a photo of my insulated pipe system.. two pex-al-pex pipes, inside a 3" corrugated, seamless pipe, wrapped with circular foam insulation tubes, all this inside another seamless 6" diameter corrugated pipe... Seamless is important,, you want to keep any water out of the insulation... water conducts heat very well, air doesn't..that his how insulation works,, it has closed air cells .

So burying the pipe 18-24" works fine,, just insulate it well and seal it from any water.

My water looses 3* F over a 150'run when the water is 180*, and the ground is frozen. Not bad at all.

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: Which boiler to buy?

PostBy: Matt the Builder On: Sun May 11, 2008 8:09 am

Mornin guys,
I live in the Finger Lakes regin of NY, can get very cold here. I am also looking at installing a coal boiler. I heat about 2000 sq.ft. not including my brand new (30 x 34) garage which has a 4 1/2" thick concrete floor with pex tubing in it. I have a Buderus oil boiler with side arm in the basement. I would like to put the coil boiler in the garage for ease of loading and clean up. I would need to pipe approx. 50 - 75 ft to the oil boiler. The pipe can travel inside to the oil boiler. I am not sure which boiler or manufacture to use. I am looking for your input, tips, tricks, etc. Any and all feed back is welcome!
Best regards, Matt
Matt the Builder
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Buderus boiler

Re: Which boiler to buy?

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Sun May 11, 2008 8:27 am

Matt the Builder wrote:Mornin guys,
I would like to put the coil boiler in the garage for ease of loading and clean up. I would need to pipe approx. 50 - 75 ft to the oil boiler. The pipe can travel inside to the oil boiler.

I am not sure which boiler or manufacture to use. I am looking for your input, tips, tricks, etc. Any and all feed back is welcome!


The plumbing is a none issue if inside the home, if outside it would just need insulation to be effiecient.

Any stoker that is manufactured today is fine, the differences are the way they are fed coal primarily. The mechanics vary, but they all work well and are quite robust to say the least. Find one that you like and fits your lifestyle. If you are frequently away from home, you will want one fed from a coal bin.

I would get a used or rebuilt unit, post in the for sale section as there are members that can supply you with the info and units you would want. Remember, the money you save may be your own. :)
coaledsweat
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

Re: Which boiler to buy?

PostBy: p_dunfee On: Sat May 17, 2008 3:50 am

sterling_40man wrote:Hello,

Been looking and reading on this site for a couple of months now. Everyone seems to be very happy with coal stoves.

I live in northern Maine. I own a raised ranch home and heat about 2400 sq ft. I usually use about 1000 gallons of heating oil a year with a 6 year old HWBB boiler. With oil at just about $4.00 a gallon, we are struggling to make ends meet! I can get rice coal for about $280 a ton. I have no room in my house for a new system since my furnace room is also my laundry room. I just bulit a new garage attached to my house and I'm seriuosly thinking of buying a coal boiler and installing it in there, thus eliminating the need for another brick chiminey. Also, I wouldn't have to worry about carrying coal bags in and taking ash out. I could stack the bags in my garage. I was told, by a licenced plumber, that I would need a boiler that could produce approx 140,000 BTU's since it get's very, very cold here in the winter time. One of my problems is that I want to tie into my existing system, but my existing boiler is at the opposite end of the house. I'll have to run my feed and return lines underground and then into the house (about an 80ft run). Could be costly. I heard the Keystoker KA-6 would be a good buy at about $4400. I don't know much about this stuff. My questions are, Is the KA-6 a good buy or is there something else comparable? Could I tie the KA-6 into my existing system? Do I need to get the optional coil for domestic HW? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Bob

I live near bangor and I am trying to decide as well which boiler to purchase it is not a mater of if but which one i seem to be leaning twoards the keystoker k6
but i am also concerned about a good supply of caol i would need around 6 ton who gave you the quote 280 ton much cheaper than anything around here and they would have to drive by me to get to you
p_dunfee
 
Stove/Furnace Make: keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: keystoker ka-6

Visit Lehigh Anthracite