Go coal boiler or stay radiant?

Go coal boiler or stay radiant?

PostBy: djackman On: Tue May 06, 2008 8:00 pm

I'm considering options for next year's heating season, and would like some input on where to go. I comfortably heated a 1200sq/ft split ranch house last year on just an ancient Godin stove in the basement even with no air returns - just a warm floor and open stairway to basement. Upstairs stayed a little cool but was "good sleeping weather"

Here's what impacts the decision:

1. Basement is small, and I need to keep the existing gas (hydronic baseboard) furnace for when I'm not here. No qualified friends to manage a coal stove/boiler. No room for inside coal bin, no access from outside for a bulk delivery.
2. Hard to plumb return ducts to the upper part of the house.
3. Probably be moving in the next 3-5 years. Therefor don't want to go crazy with ductwork and holes in walls/floors.
4. Have ~6 tons of range coal (anthracite) on hand, another few tons for the taking if I can find room.
5. When I sell the house coal stove/furnace will have to go - would scare away a "turn the dial" buyer in these parts. ("go" = remove and store off site)
6. The Godin is pretty weary would need a full rebuild if I was to use it next season. (I can do myself)
7. I have no problem with daily feeding & care of a hand fed unit.

I'm torn between a coal boiler tied into the existing hydronic system or a better used radiant stove eg Hitzer, Harmon, etc. Next house will have room for coal bin and a stoker, no question.

What would you do?
djackman
 
Stove/Furnace Make: 1980 vintage Tarm
Stove/Furnace Model: FT22 (aka 202) installed!

Re: Go coal boiler or stay radiant?

PostBy: Freddy On: Tue May 06, 2008 8:35 pm

"What would you do?"

I'd rebuild the Godin over the summer and keep doing the same. If you weren't going to be moving, I'd get a boiler & tie in. But, for 3-5 yrs then have to un-plumb it, I'd keep doing what I've been doing.
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: Go coal boiler or stay radiant?

PostBy: LsFarm On: Tue May 06, 2008 10:32 pm

I agree with Freddy, providing the Godin can be rebuilt, and providing you can put up with 'good sleepiing weather'... Otherwise,, I'd keep a lookout for a good handfeed stove, a Hitzer, Harman, or other in your local papers, eBay, papershop.com or other sources like our classifieds.

If you plumb it correctly, you could make the removal of a small boiler relatively easy, just put in a few good shut-off valves, and unions in the piping... But a boiler is probably going to be harder to find than a good hand feed stove, maybe not, but I'm guessing that more and more oil/gas boilers are going to become standby units to coal boilers this summer and fall... oil and propane are just too expensive.

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

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Re: Go coal boiler or stay radiant?

PostBy: djackman On: Wed May 07, 2008 2:43 pm

Thanks for the input, much appreciated.
djackman
 
Stove/Furnace Make: 1980 vintage Tarm
Stove/Furnace Model: FT22 (aka 202) installed!

Re: Go coal boiler or stay radiant?

PostBy: Devil505 On: Wed May 07, 2008 6:25 pm

djackman wrote:I'm considering options for next year's heating season, and would like some input on where to go. I comfortably heated a 1200sq/ft split ranch house last year on just an ancient Godin stove in the basement even with no air returns - just a warm floor and open stairway to basement. Upstairs stayed a little cool but was "good sleeping weather"

Here's what impacts the decision:

1. Basement is small, and I need to keep the existing gas (hydronic baseboard) furnace for when I'm not here. No qualified friends to manage a coal stove/boiler. No room for inside coal bin, no access from outside for a bulk delivery.
2. Hard to plumb return ducts to the upper part of the house.
3. Probably be moving in the next 3-5 years. Therefor don't want to go crazy with ductwork and holes in walls/floors.
4. Have ~6 tons of range coal (anthracite) on hand, another few tons for the taking if I can find room.
5. When I sell the house coal stove/furnace will have to go - would scare away a "turn the dial" buyer in these parts. ("go" = remove and store off site)
6. The Godin is pretty weary would need a full rebuild if I was to use it next season. (I can do myself)
7. I have no problem with daily feeding & care of a hand fed unit.

I'm torn between a coal boiler tied into the existing hydronic system or a better used radiant stove eg Hitzer, Harmon, etc. Next house will have room for coal bin and a stoker, no question.

What would you do?



I have been heating my split entry ranch with a radiant coal stove for over 25 years & it works out great. Use the coal you can get for free or buy bagged coal that you can store near the basement entry. A couple of small holes cut in the floor would help with heat distribution but you can get away without that in a pinch. If you can't fix your stove you could look for a good quality used stove.
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: Go coal boiler or stay radiant?

PostBy: Steve.N On: Wed May 07, 2008 6:55 pm

The flip side of this might be to install a companion boiler keeping the existing gas furnace as backup and use it as a selling point when you eventually sell. Fuel prices are not going down and having an alternate fuel would make an attractive package. If the new owner didn't want to burn the second furnace there would always be the gas for turn the dial :D .


Steve
Steve.N
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman mkII
Stove/Furnace Model: Axeman Anderson 260 at store

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