This is my first post on the coal forum after lurking around for a few days. My hubby and I were set on a pellet stove until a guy at work told him that you can direct vent some coal stoves. Now we're leaning heavily toward coal (don't worry--I know what you guys think about pellets and I'm starting to agree the more people I talk to--the wet pellet issue, inconsistency in quality, lower BTUs, etc.).
I'm writing to ask for a bit of guidance about BTUs on stoker stoves. We live in Down East Maine where it's COLD like I've never experienced before. Spent more than $3,000 this winter on fuel oil. With current prices, we'd be at $4,500 next winter. Not an option--we're already broke from this winter! We're in a 2,144 sq. ft. Victorian two story built in 1890. It's got newish windows but has high ceilings, is pretty drafty, and there's almost no insulation (besides what we added in the attic). So I think we need a fairly hefty stove. We've got forced air, so can't do the boiler I see you guys recommending. I know at least one Leisure Line will tap into an air furnace but I don't like the power vent idea AND we don't have an extra, lined chimney to add the coal furnace to anyway. So it's a stoker stove for us.
After months of digging around, I'm pretty sold on Harman quality (even though I saw the complaints about getting in touch with them, seems like they make a great stove). We really like the DVC-500 Direct Vent stove. Kept our house at 64 this past winter (60 at night). Brrr--thank God for down comforters!
So here's my question finally (is there a word limit on these things?): the Harman DVC-500 says 75,000 BTUs and it will heat up to 2,200 sq. ft. BUT Leisure Line stoves go up to 90,000 BTUs and higher--and a local-ish dealer told me the Pioneer LE Back Vent is only good for 1,800 sq. ft. I thought Harman was pretty careful about their estimates. So is their stove just good enough that it can heat more house with fewer BTUs? Or is Leisure Line underselling themselves or making a lower quality stove? (unusual--Quadra Fire is busy saying 45,000 BTUs of pellets can heat 4,200 sq. ft--overselling IMVHO) Why such a huge discrepancy between the BTUs and what they say the stoves will heat?
Because we live in the middle of nowhere, we've got few options for dealers. Can get to Harmans here in town (a small miracle) or Leisure Line/Reading through a guy 2+ hours away but I think that's it. I know this is all approximate--I just wanted to know what you guys think about a 75,000 BTU direct vent coal stove for our application. Sound OK?
Oh yeah--I'm also a bit worried about getting our hands on rice coal. Got one guy willing to deliver here but what if he changes his mind in a few years? Do you all see anthracite coal growing enough in popularity (especially way up here in Maine) that it's a safe way to go? We can get pellets from six people right here in town but NO coal. Think that'll change since it seems to be catching on again?
THANK YOU for reading my ridiculously long post, and for any info you can give me!