Advice

Advice

PostBy: epd1088 On: Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:00 am

Currently heating a 1600 square foot brick ranch with older windows and doors with electric baseboards and a wood-burning fireplace. I would like to make the jump to coal and am looking at getting an Alaska Kast Console III and placing it in an unfinished basement with concrete walls. The home has two masonry chimneys with three tile liners and the one for the the Alaska is a solo chimney. I am considering placing the Alaska in the basement and attempting to heat the entire home that way and by using the fireplace on the main floor. Is this a feasible method or am I wasting my time and money? The total square footage would be about 3200. Could the Alaska keep up with the demand on heat? I would like to replace the fireplace with a Hitzer 503 insert down the road (not definite as I could keep the fireplace) and quite possibly add an EFM boiler in the future with under floor PEX radiant heat. Would this be overkill? The electric bills last year were astronomical per month and I really do not want to go through that again this winter. Would I need to run SS liner up the chimney or could I keep the masonry chimney with the tile liner (which is in excellent condition)? Would like to do this as cheaply as possible and get to burning the black gold to provide heat. I had originally planned on going with a pellet boiler and insert but after reading everything on this site, have decided that coal is the way to go and is much cheaper than pellets. I would probably start by using bagged coal until I got better at it as I have no experience with burning coal but like the idea of steady warmth. Any and all advice is greatly appreciated, especially with the stoves themselves and my plan to implement my jump into the coal heating lifestyle. Thanks.
epd1088
 
Other Heating: Electric baseboards


Re: Advice

PostBy: Rob R. On: Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:37 am

Most people are not happy with the results when they try to a heat the large of a home & basement with a single stove in the basement. The Alaska would keep your basement cozy and assist with heating the upstairs, but I don't think it would keep the main floor of the house as warm as you would like. A lot of it depends on the layout of the main floor of the house. Is it fairly open?

If you want to start out with a single stove and save the most $ on your heating bill, I suggest you put the stove on the main floor of the house. If you just want a warm basement and to take a bite out of the electric bill, the basement stove is probably fine. The tile lined masonry chimneys should be fine as long as they are in decent shape, no SS liner needed.

I think you would be much happier with the results from a boiler and radiant heat, but of course the cost is going to be considerably higher. A friend of mine has a house the same size as yours, build in the early 70's with electric baseboard. He put staple up pex with transfer plates on the entire first floor, and I hooked up an EFM for him. Now his entire house is cozy, and they have lots of domestic hot water.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Advice

PostBy: epd1088 On: Wed Nov 23, 2016 7:31 am

The house was built in 1980 and had a boxy layout but upon purchase, I took down some walls and the layout is fairly open and there is a hallway right where the basement stairs come up to the main level. The three bedrooms are at the end of the hallway and the stove would be on a hearth that is already in the basement but is below the bedrooms which leads me to believe that they may get fairly warm from the heat below the floors and the heat would rise if I left the basement door open. Is the Alaska Kast a good stove? Would love to do the boiler and radiant right away but it is pretty cost prohibitive right now and I can get a fairly decent deal on a used Alaska Kast. I am pretty handy and have a friend in the HVAC business that could oversee putting in the stove and am hoping that between the stove and fireplace, I may be able to offset the electric heat costs considerably, at least until I can afford to do something else.
epd1088
 
Other Heating: Electric baseboards

Re: Advice

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:17 am

The home's foundation is a giant heat sink. Plan on a toasy basment and running your electric to stay comfy upstairs. Put the thing where you plan on living, cellars are for furnaces and boilers. It is an ungodly nightmare trying to move air throughout a home.
coaledsweat
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

Re: Advice

PostBy: epd1088 On: Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:29 am

That's not what I want to hear. There is nowhere to put the unit upstairs, hence the fireplace.
epd1088
 
Other Heating: Electric baseboards

Re: Advice

PostBy: Rob R. On: Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:36 am

What are the other chimney flues being used for?
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Advice

PostBy: epd1088 On: Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:40 am

one is for the fireplace, the other two are not hooked up to anything
epd1088
 
Other Heating: Electric baseboards

Re: Advice

PostBy: lsayre On: Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:47 am

epd1088 wrote:..., the other two are not hooked up to anything


Well, you have two free ones to tap into upstairs then.
lsayre
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
Coal Size/Type: Blaschak Anthracite Pea
Other Heating: Resistance Boiler (13.5 KW)


Re: Advice

PostBy: epd1088 On: Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:51 am

fireplace chimney shares two, one of which was for an old furnace, I believe, and is in the basement. The other one is also in the basement as it was finished at one time and had to be gutted due to a flood.
epd1088
 
Other Heating: Electric baseboards

Re: Advice

PostBy: CoalisCoolxWarm On: Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:54 am

You mentioned using the fireplace upstairs and a wood burner.

Is your wood burner an insert at the fireplace, or elsewhere?

Our house is about the same as you describe. We were remodeling for an extended period, so put a hand fed coal furnace in the back part of the basement. Then we added ductwork. Then more, and more, and more. Each one a patch until we had rooms finished enough for the radiant to be reinstalled to use the boiler.

You can "survive" this way, but it was NO fun ;)

It is MUCH easier to run hot water lines to each zone through walls and floors than it is to retrofit a PROPER ductwork system in these old houses.

How comfortable are you with computers/software?

About how much is your electric heat run you for a heating season?
CoalisCoolxWarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: old Sears rebuilt, bituminous- offline as of winter 2014
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Buckwheat
Other Heating: Oil Boiler

Re: Advice

PostBy: 2001Sierra On: Wed Nov 23, 2016 10:05 am

I had a neighbor years ago with a coal stove installed in his basement with a configuration just as yours. Yes it was a total fail, basement was 80 degrees upstairs not! I too have a stove in the basement, walls where stove is are insulated, the otherside of the basement has 1 wall insulated. It used to take a full day for the basement to warm up with a 60 KBTU Buderus hand fed (with internal hopper). I now run a Keystoker90 and heat everything including the garage. 2200 sq ft plus attached garage of 400 sq ft. I duct off the top of the stove to the upstairs of our ranch house with a Panasonic fv-220, (220 CFM Fan). I would recommend maybe a Keystoker Koker 160, with some ducting to upstairs, just a thought.
2001Sierra
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90 Chimney vent
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Other Heating: Buderus Oil Boiler 3115-34
Stove/Furnace Model: Keystoker 90 Chimney Vent

Re: Advice

PostBy: Lightning On: Wed Nov 23, 2016 10:14 am

You already did yourself a HUGE favor by passing up wood pellets and electric sucks. Pellets only have 2/3rds the BTU'S and can cost 50% more per ton depending on where you are. Not to mention the pellet shortages that occur.

Any chance of putting a coal stove in the fireplace on the first floor? You mentioned finding a good deal on a Stoker unit for the basement but usually good deals can be had on Craigs list all day long if yer willing to run for it.
Lightning
 
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Overmodified/Bored out Clayton 1537
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite/Awesome Size

Re: Advice

PostBy: epd1088 On: Wed Nov 23, 2016 10:25 am

Upstairs is just a fireplace alone, not an insert. I was thinking about getting the stove in the basement in the hopes of finishing the basement in the future and that it would help to heat the upstairs but that doesn't seem to be the case here. Insert in the fireplace would work well for the living room, kitchen and probably the den but the bedrooms would probably still be cold. Can't afford to do radiant at this juncture unfortunately because that is ultimately the way I want to go.
epd1088
 
Other Heating: Electric baseboards

Re: Advice

PostBy: Lightning On: Wed Nov 23, 2016 10:27 am

Can't that Alaska be put in the fire place? Too big?
Lightning
 
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Overmodified/Bored out Clayton 1537
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite/Awesome Size

Re: Advice

PostBy: Lightning On: Wed Nov 23, 2016 10:30 am

If you could get the stove on the first floor half the battle of distributing heat is already won. Then you could push air around with a couple small fans in the right places.
Lightning
 
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Overmodified/Bored out Clayton 1537
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite/Awesome Size