Lady freezing to death in Michigan

Lady freezing to death in Michigan

PostBy: Annabelle On: Wed May 14, 2008 5:02 pm

Please help me... I purchased an Alaska Coal Furnace, Model 140 and I'm not sure it was hooked up to my existing furnace duct work (fuel oil) correctly. This winter I went through 4+ pallets of anthracite coal to heat just under 1,000 square feet. It cost me roughly 1500. to heat my home this winter, including the electricity to run both furnace fans. I had the thermostat set at 65 degress. This does not seem right to me that it should cost so much to heat this amount of space. I have an upstairs but no duct work up there. I realize that heat rises but it still seems excessive. I've got to find a better way to efficiently heat this house or I will have to sell and get something smaller. I live in central Michigan. Any one out there... please give me some advice. Thank you...
Annabelle
 

Re: Lady freezing to death in Michigan

PostBy: LsFarm On: Wed May 14, 2008 5:18 pm

Hi Annabelle, welcome to the forum,, I agree that something is wrong,, but.. is your house reasonably well insulated?? Decent windows?? some homes take a lot of heat to keep warm if they are not insulated or sealed well.

Was the furnace installed with a barometric damper?? If you don't know what that is,, it is a device like a flapping door installed in the furnace's chimney flue pipe..

I'm near Flint Michigan,, I'm going to PM you with my phone number so I can ask a few questions quickly.. So look for a message coming your way.

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: Lady freezing to death in Michigan

PostBy: Freddy On: Wed May 14, 2008 6:18 pm

How much oil did the house use per year before you converted?
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: Lady freezing to death in Michigan

PostBy: Annabelle On: Wed May 14, 2008 10:29 pm

When I was heating with fuel oil, I used an average of 650 gallons of fuel oil to heat the house per year. Yes, it does have a barometric (sp) damper. My house is old; it's a double brick two story farm house, approximately 1800 square feet. The attic is well isulated with vents but I can't get insulation in the walls because of the double brick structure. It has old windows but I purchased new storms for all of the windows. I notice when the coal furnace is running that the chimney is quite warm and it seems to me more heat is going up the chimney then what is coming into the house. The air that comes out of the registers feels cool so it seems drafty in the winter. I hope I answered your questions. I really appreciate the quick response back from both of you!
Annabelle
 

Re: Lady freezing to death in Michigan

PostBy: gambler On: Wed May 14, 2008 10:41 pm

If the coal is 1 ton per pallet that seems like a reasonable amount for 1800sqft. Maybe you just need to find a cheaper source for coal.
gambler
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Pioneer

Re: Lady freezing to death in Michigan

PostBy: Freddy On: Wed May 14, 2008 11:00 pm

There may be some sort of issue. I'm betting that Greg's experience will help you out. I'm just starting to use coal, but have worked on other types of heating systems. 650 gallons would equal around 4 ton of coal. Hopefully there's a way to burn more efficiently, or keep the heat that you make. 650 gallons of oil is going to be over $2,600 this year so you're still ahead of the game.
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: Lady freezing to death in Michigan

PostBy: Richard S. On: Wed May 14, 2008 11:15 pm

1 ton of anthracite is equal to about 180 gallons of oil if as suggested above the each pallet is 1 ton then you're in the ballback. 650 gallons comes out to about 3.6 tons. However it would seem you should be able to get that down. On the other hand if it cost you $1500 for 4 tons of coal that comes out to $375 per ton which is quite expensive. That is by far the highest I've seen anyone post. That's not to say its unreasonable, I don't know what others are paying in your area.

Do you know what the weight of the pallets were?

Having said that 4 tons to heat a 1800 sq foot home is about right. You mentioned 1000 sq foot in your first post... typo?
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Lady freezing to death in Michigan

PostBy: Annabelle On: Wed May 14, 2008 11:17 pm

There are 50 40lb bags on each pallet. I went through four pallets and close to five as I had to make coal runs when I ran out. My house is 1800 square feet but I don't heat the upstairs. I didn't heat the upstairs when I had fuel oil either. I agree that I'm still ahead of the game as far as not paying the high fuel oil costs but it seems that it is not as efficient or as warm as I had hoped. I miss the warm heat coming from the registers... Another problem I've encountered is a smell when it becomes warmer outside. I came home one evening to the CO detector going off with a number of 83 registered. I quickly opened the windows and let the poor dog out. She seemed fine but it was a little scary. I haven't turned it back on since. I need to call and have someone come out. It became plugged last year as well. Thanks for the responses!
Annabelle
 

Re: Lady freezing to death in Michigan

PostBy: Richard S. On: Wed May 14, 2008 11:28 pm

A coal stove requires yearly maintenance, some even more. When you burn coal it produces fly ash, this fly ash will build up on any horizontal surfaces such as in inside the flue pipe or in the bottom of your chimney. You have to clean this out a minimum of once a year but this will vary by model and setup. Some require it every month. It's not all that hard to do, you just take the flue pipe apart and vacumn it out. Put the pipe back together. The pipe was probably semi clogged and the reduced draft with the warm temperatures will exacerbate the situation. I'd suggest getting it done mid season or do it yourself.

When the guy comes to do it now it should not be more than 1/3 filled with ash. If its more you need to get it done more frequently.

------------------------------

Each pallet weighs 1 ton. 5 tons of coal, is not excessive for your size home if you have no insulation in the walls and old windows. That is probably your biggest problem however it still doesn't add up to the oil bill. you should have plenty of heat compared to the oil especially considering you are burning more coal. something is not right.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Lady freezing to death in Michigan

PostBy: jpen1 On: Wed May 14, 2008 11:37 pm

Can you get us some pics of the install including pic of the duct work and chimney piping. The reason you are getting fumes is lack of draft probably due to a plugged up flue pipe. Since you have had problem with that I think you definitely need to clean that pipe at least 3 times per season. However mine seems to stay pretty clean as long as I vacuum to the first elbow weekly . That 140 is a bottom vent like mine and the flue pipe should never be above 200* on the surface if the baro is setup correctly. Most of the time I can hold my hand on the pipe and not need to pull it away. What is the suppliers name on the bags of coal, ie Blashak, Reading, Kimmels etc?
jpen1
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: 110 Boiler

Re: Lady freezing to death in Michigan

PostBy: coal berner On: Thu May 15, 2008 1:06 am

Reading are 40lb bags aswell as Blaschak 60 40lb bags is a Pallet from blaschak them has 50lb bags some coal dealers buy bulk loose and bag there own so they could be 40lb to 50lb bags at any rate 5 tons seems alot for 1800 sq ft. expeclly when she is not heating all of that 1800 sq ft. I would check the draft in the Pipe clean the pipe check all gaskets for
leaks and try different coal if Possibly I heat 3140sq ft. with 5 tons and thats with a hand fed stove that 140 should throw alot more heat she should not feel any cool air coming out of that Greg take a ride and check it out for her :lol: something is not right for sure
coal berner
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1986 Electric Furnace Man 520 DF
Stove/Furnace Make: Electric Furnace Man
Stove/Furnace Model: DF520

Re: Lady freezing to death in Michigan

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Thu May 15, 2008 2:34 pm

Annabelle wrote:I notice when the coal furnace is running that the chimney is quite warm and it seems to me more heat is going up the chimney then what is coming into the house.


That may very well be your problem. Get a stick on (magnetic) thermometer for the stovepipe, you need that to know what is going on. How tall is your chimney above the coal furnace? The baro will also need to be set properly.

Just for a test, lift the baro's flapper and stick something in it to hold it open about an inch or two and wait about an hour. If the heat in the furnace goes up a bunch, that is the problem, the heat is going up the chimney and not heating the house. Do not leave it like that unattended however, get someone to set the baro with a meter.
coaledsweat
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

Re: Lady freezing to death in Michigan

PostBy: coal-cooker On: Thu May 15, 2008 6:27 pm

This winter I went through 4+ pallets of anthracite coal to heat just under 1,000 square feet. It cost me roughly 1500. to heat my home this winter, including the electricity to run both furnace fans.


That is not very far off for the price of 4 pallets. In Maine we pay around $350 per pallet which is 2400 lbs of Blashak or 2500 lbs of Kimmel. It's just plain expensive away from the mines. That does seem high though to burn 4 + pallets on a 1000 sq ft home. I have 3000 sq ft (1500 basement and 1500 main floor) and I only burn between 4 and 5 tons a year. I suspect something is just not set quite right. One of these guys will get you set up right I'm sure. They have a wealth of information.
coal-cooker
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Crane/Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Coal Cooker/Mark II