Hello Anthracite burners! I’m new to the forum and have gotten bit ever since I saw “Anthracite Rice Coal” at our Lowes Store 3 weeks ago here in Southern Ohio. This was new to me! I’m 55 years old and had never heard of or seen it before. Yea, I grew up with neighbors that had stoker boilers that used soft coal and old farmers that used lump coal in potbelly stoves, but nothing like this. So the past 3 weeks I have been cramming for the big test, which has lead me to this section of this forum!
Some back-ground…I’ve been burning wood all my adult life and currently have a Firechief FC700E that heats appr 1800 sq ft ranch style single level house. The Firechief replaced a 20 year old “Hot Blast” from TSC that served me well! The stove sits in an attached insulated garage with duct work in the attic and cold air return also in the attic. I installed all this about 25 years ago when I wasn’t near as wise as I am today. Yea I know, ductwork and return air in the attic is not the most efficient, but it is the only way I could do this and keep the mess out of the house. There is slab between the garage and main living quarters, so my options are limited…Also, I have a hybrid system where the “A-Coil” for my central air-conditioning sits right above the stove in the plenum. The wood furnace blower is also used to cool the house in the summer! Before I get backlash, the A-Coil has been in there and working flawlessly for 25 years! It costs me less than $50 a month to run the air conditioning, so it is very economical!
Moving on…The firechief has a rated capacity of 150K BTU and has a 1500 CFM Blower. I know there is CFM loss going through the A-Coil along with heat loss in the main trunk and losses in the cold air return. But it heats my house (and cools) with ease. Even down to a tested minus 15° (Below zero)…I also have propane gas fireplace logs and a 3 burner ceramic heater in the house I use for backup for when the furnace dies down or we’re away from home any length of time…It all works for me….Currently….
If I had known about the Anthracite burners 3 years ago when I replaced the Hotblast, I would have looked into this at that time. But now I’m getting older and for the first time in my life, I feel dragged down by how much work the firewood is. I burn between 8-10 cords a year. Even though I purchase most of the wood, stacking it away and hauling it in to the garage every day is more and more a chore. Let alone filling the furnace at least 4 times a day….Its Not fun like it used to be….I need to start minimizing the amount of work I have to do! I need to prepare for the next 20 or more years while I can still pay for the change!!
So, after all that, I am here…I believe the AK 110 is the best coal stoker furnace that fits my circumstances in comparison to all its competitors...And I have looked at them all, online only! I will add, if I go this route, I will be changing the cold air return for the coal furnace to its own system down low at floor level into the house. I will be adding a new Central Air system in the Walk through attic above the garage and will keep the cold air return in the ceiling which will be optimum for my layout…Both systems will share the same main ductwork with dampers to redirect flow between winter and summer. Again I know this is not optimum, but it will be better than what I had.
I would like to know if anyone else out there has a similar setup as I do running the AK 110? I think would be very happy with a system like this and the amount of work it will save…Plus I like to have things to do every day, I just don't want it to consume my time! But I also know I have to weigh out the cost and cost of the Coal…Right now its $6.00 for a 40# bag for what Lowes and TSC sells. Same price for Blaschak and Reading about 2 hours North of me….Decisions…Decisions…Sorry for such a long post! See attached Pictures of my current setup…..