"Good Quality" coal? How to tell the difference?

"Good Quality" coal? How to tell the difference?

PostBy: KTMDude On: Mon May 12, 2008 7:53 pm

I'm assuming my Hawken HE4000 will be good for burning anthracite (see me other post here). On that assumption, I've been reading a couple other posts and noticed references to "good Quality" coal. So far I have only recieved 1 qoute from the Reading/Pottstown area of PA (I'm in upstate NY). The company name is Penn Keystone.Is this a "good Quality" coal company? Being a newbie I haven't a clue. I am considering buying a whole tractor trailer load (22 -24 tons). If this turns out to be a good company to buy coal from, can I store it outside under a tarp? I figured I'd build a 1 ton or 2 ton coal bin next to the unit and just use the tractor to fill it up from the pile a couple times a year.

Please advise if I'm way off base. The economics of burning coal really seem to be the way to go, wood is getting really expensive and takes a lot of work! With the economics worked out, it's just a matter of the technical aspects of it.
KTMDude
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hawken Engergy HE-4000

Re: "Good Quality" coal? How to tell the difference?

PostBy: CapeCoaler On: Mon May 12, 2008 9:09 pm

Look for posts from 'coal berner' he names the "good quality" mines.

http://nepacrossroads.com/about1043-90.html#p40092
CapeCoaler
 
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Re: "Good Quality" coal? How to tell the difference?

PostBy: Devil505 On: Mon May 12, 2008 9:35 pm

I've been burning Blaschak for years with good results. I tried a ton of "Reading" coal last winter & it jammed my stove every few weeks. Good coal will leave finer ash that is easy to shake down. (Reading was like trying to shake down gravel & stones.)
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
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Re: "Good Quality" coal? How to tell the difference?

PostBy: Rob R. On: Tue May 13, 2008 6:52 am

22 tons is a big commitment if you have never tried burning coal in the boiler. I would recommend getting some bagged coal locally and giving it a try before you call for the big load.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
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Re: "Good Quality" coal? How to tell the difference?

PostBy: Devil505 On: Tue May 13, 2008 7:11 am

markviii wrote:22 tons is a big commitment if you have never tried burning coal in the boiler. I would recommend getting some bagged coal locally and giving it a try before you call for the big load.



Good advice!....& run it for at least a week to see how it does. (I tried a few bags of Reading coal b4 I bought a ton. Tbhe few bags seemed to be fine but the problems took a few days to really show up by jamming the shaker mechanism)
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: "Good Quality" coal? How to tell the difference?

PostBy: coal berner On: Tue May 13, 2008 9:54 am

KTMDude wrote:I'm assuming my Hawken HE4000 will be good for burning anthracite (see me other post here). On that assumption, I've been reading a couple other posts and noticed references to "good Quality" coal. So far I have only recieved 1 qoute from the Reading/Pottstown area of PA (I'm in upstate NY). The company name is Penn Keystone.Is this a "good Quality" coal company? Being a newbie I haven't a clue. I am considering buying a whole tractor trailer load (22 -24 tons). If this turns out to be a good company to buy coal from, can I store it outside under a tarp? I figured I'd build a 1 ton or 2 ton coal bin next to the unit and just use the tractor to fill it up from the pile a couple times a year.

Please advise if I'm way off base. The economics of burning coal really seem to be the way to go, wood is getting really expensive and takes a lot of work! With the economics worked out, it's just a matter of the technical aspects of it.

Penn keystone Is a coal broker they will buy from anyone that has the cheapest price if you are going to commit to a
Truck load I would go dierect to the coal breaker cut the middel man out it will cheaper for you and you will get Better Qaulity coal here are links to the 4 breakers I buy from Reading is deafinitely is not one I would buy from call any of these breakers for good Quality anthracite they will either have there own trucks or will have companies that they use or if you have your own Trucking company that you want to use :)




http://www.local.com/details.aspx?listingid=8977804&keyword=coal&location=17901
This link is broken, either the page no longer exists or there is some other issue like a typo.




coal berner
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1986 Electric Furnace Man 520 DF
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Re: "Good Quality" coal? How to tell the difference?

PostBy: KTMDude On: Tue May 13, 2008 10:31 am

Coal Berner Thanks for the links! I wouldn't have thought finding a good dealer for coal would be so dang hard in this age of google searches!

This forum seems like it will be invaluable. I think I will try to get a few bags of Reading Anthracite (from either Cornwall coal or Tricounty coal here in the Hudson Valley area of NY) and see how it goes. When I got the nut coal from the local agway I kinda gave it a half hearted try, less than 1/2 a bag to try and get it going, which I now realize won't cut it in my firebox. I'm thinking now it's gonna take something like 200 or 300lbs to get a good bed on the shakers (you have to remember my firebox is 6ft+ deep).

With the provided links do you have a problem getting anyone to return calls? I called several places I found on the internet and Penn Keystone was the only one to even return my call (and they took a week or so to do that!). Also, how do you guys arrange payment for a big load like that?
KTMDude
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hawken Engergy HE-4000

Re: "Good Quality" coal? How to tell the difference?

PostBy: LsFarm On: Tue May 13, 2008 10:58 am

Hi KTM,, what I do is send the breaker a check for the planned amount, say 24 tons... since they have a pretty good chunk of your $$, if the load goes under, they send you a refund check,, if the load goes over, they will bill you. OR, one trucker paid the breaker for the coal,, and charged me upon arrival for the whole load and transportation.. I guess it depends on how you want to do it, or who you are dealing with..

Reading coal is marginal.. I bought a lot, and had my share of problems., but should be ok for you to see if you can get your firebox to burn anthracite well... I built a big boiler,, with a long firebox like you have..I call it 'Big Bertha'. Mine is 54" inside with 'V' shaped sides... Lucky for you your grates look pretty agressive, and should be able to shake and grind up hard ash. I ended up converting it to a stoker feed.. then rebuilt and installed a coal-only boiler.

Do a search for 'firebox reducer' , there have been several threads about doing this.. The problem with burning coal is that coal wants to be in a deep fire... It would burn very well in a firebox shaped like a 5 gallon bucket... grates on the bottom to let air in, and the heated surfaces for air or water above. If you try to burn the same amount of coal as in the 5 gal. bucket but spread out only 3" deep over a 18"x24" grate, it would probably go out, and only burn about halfway.. lots of partially burnt and unburnt coal..

So with your firebox, you need to make as deep a fire as possible, with no exposed grates where the combustion air can get past the coal. All combustion air must go through the coal bed... This is why I built a firebox reducer,, I built a cover over the back half of my grates, blocking the air flow from below.. then built a new 'back wall' to the fire box, with a stainless steel structure to hold a stack of firebrick, the allowed me to have a 22"x24"x 16" deep fire. This worked much better than the long shallow fire I had.

I'm not sure what your firebox looks like,, do you have a link to a site with a good photo, or a parts drawing??

Greg L
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Long, shallow firebox, the firebrick not installed in this photo.
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False back wall to reduce the firebox to about 1/2 the length of original.
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LsFarm
 
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Re: "Good Quality" coal? How to tell the difference?

PostBy: coal berner On: Tue May 13, 2008 11:05 am

KTMDude wrote:Coal Berner Thanks for the links! I wouldn't have thought finding a good dealer for coal would be so dang hard in this age of google searches!

This forum seems like it will be invaluable. I think I will try to get a few bags of Reading Anthracite (from either Cornwall coal or Tricounty coal here in the Hudson Valley area of NY) and see how it goes. When I got the nut coal from the local agway I kinda gave it a half hearted try, less than 1/2 a bag to try and get it going, which I now realize won't cut it in my firebox. I'm thinking now it's gonna take something like 200 or 300lbs to get a good bed on the shakers (you have to remember my firebox is 6ft+ deep).

With the provided links do you have a problem getting anyone to return calls? I called several places I found on the internet and Penn Keystone was the only one to even return my call (and they took a week or so to do that!). Also, how do you guys arrange payment for a big load like that?
As long as you are calling them when there open you will be talking to someone Mon - Fri 8am to 3pm No Saturdays in the summer fall & winter Saturdays are 8am to 12pm for some and otheres are 8am to 2Pm Remember you are calling the breakers dierect not any coal dealers you are buying from where the dealers have to buy from you are cutting out the dealer and buying from the source ;) The only one that you might have a problem getting a hold of would be Calvin v lenig leave a message she will get back to you All others will be on the other end of the phone when you call They will tell you how to Pay them all of them around here have Trucking companies that they use so you will probably Pay on delivery unless you are using a outside trucking company then you will have to Pre Pay before you get the load or Unless they know you or you know someone at the breaker then they will let you send a check before you or after you get the load Most if not all of the time they want the load Pre Paid before they deliver
coal berner
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1986 Electric Furnace Man 520 DF
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Re: "Good Quality" coal? How to tell the difference?

PostBy: grizzly2 On: Thu May 29, 2008 8:21 pm

Isn't rust on the surface of the coal chunks a sign of iron which can cause clinkers to form? :blowup:
grizzly2
 
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Re: "Good Quality" coal? How to tell the difference?

PostBy: LsFarm On: Thu May 29, 2008 11:14 pm

All coal has some iron in it,, the amount of iron really doesn't have much to do with clinker formation.. if the ash content is really low, there is too little ash to keep the hot coals insulated from each other,, then the hot coals stick together, and you get clinkers..

So some of the best coal, with low ash can create clinkers,, most coal breakers will add in some high ash coal in with the low ash so it is at least 8% or more..

Greg L
LsFarm
 
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Re: "Good Quality" coal? How to tell the difference?

PostBy: Devil505 On: Fri May 30, 2008 7:00 am

KTMDude wrote: I think I will try to get a few bags of Reading Anthracite (from either Cornwall coal or Tricounty coal here in the Hudson Valley area of NY) and see how it goes.


I had a very bad time with Reading Coal in my stove last winter. You may have better luck but it had so many rocks/clinkers that it would regularly jam my shaker grates & I would have to shut down/cleanout & restart. I would recommend that you just buy enough to run your stove for about a week or so & see how it works out. If you feel your shaker mechanism binding & tough to move freely, don't use any more Reading Coal.
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: "Good Quality" coal? How to tell the difference?

PostBy: NAS On: Mon Jun 16, 2008 10:42 pm

I used to heat my house with an indoor coal fired boiler and warm air furance that sat in the basement with the old coal bin beside it. It heated better than I needed it to, but every time you would shut the damper, it would really belch the smoke out the registers because it would back draft into the house and up into the vents. When ever I had to "clean the fire", it was a smoky mess trying to get the clinkers broke loose. I have recently converted to a Hawken Energy model HE4000 outdoor coal boiler system. When I switched coal dealers, because my old dealer went out of business, I ordered my normal 4 ton of bituminous coal for the whole winters heat, I learned my lesson on not trying it out before I got a whole winters heating amount. The coal had way, way to many clinkers in it and had its fair share of sulphur in it. So If I were you I would try a little bit before I got a whole tractor trailer load of it. DO NOT leave the coal out side in the sun in the hot summer months, because the sun with burn all of the coal oil out of the coal and it will not burn at all. You must keep it covered or house in a building in the summer months. If I were you I would definately not purchase 22 ton at a time, because you will not need that much, and it will crumble and when you burn it, it will fall right between the grates and not burn. Only get what you will need for one heating season at a time.
NAS
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hawken Enerfy
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Re: "Good Quality" coal? How to tell the difference?

PostBy: LsFarm On: Tue Jun 17, 2008 6:51 am

Hi NAS,, wecome to the forum.. your bituminous coal is soft coal.. a complely different animal than Anthracite coal.. Clinker formation is a virtually a 100% likelyhood with Bituminous.. it has a low, ~1400-1700* ash fusion temperature.. Anthracite's AFT is around 2700*... so clinkers are rare, or at least no common.
Bituminous has lots of sulphur,, and lots of volitiles, that create the smells and black smoke so commonly atributed to ALL coal burning.. Anthracite burns like propane or natural gas. Just a blue-white flame,, no soot or smoke,, just some very fine 'fly ash' in the chimney..

While it is a good idea to store anthracite out of the direct sun,, it won't ruin the hard coal for a long time.. but like you said,, bituminous will gas-off a lot of it's volitiles and be difficult to burn after baking in the sun for a season or two.

Greg L
LsFarm
 
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