I am new to this site, but can't resist putting in my 2 cents worth about burning coal. Unfortunately, I haven't had the opportunity to use coal in some years now, but in the winter of '91 during the first Gulf War there were stories about oil going to $3 a gallon, which at that time was horrifying, as I used around 1,600 gallons a year to just barely heat a large store building. I decided to start looking into burning coal. The store I had at the time had been in the family since the '20s, and all of the records were still around, so I looked up what kind of coal consumption I could expect. What I found astounded me, so the next step was to see if the old gravity hot water boiler (circa 1942) in the basement could still be fired with coal. After not much hunting, I found the grates, the shaker handle and even the ash pit door that came off when the burner had been installed back in the 50s. The next winter, I decided to start the fire in December. Once I did, and became familiar with keeping the fire going, as well as regulating it so we didn't have the windows open to let out the excess heat, I couldn't get over how little it cost for so much comfort! With oil, I payed through the nose to heat the office, and shivered everywhere else (people would come in the store and ask if our furnace had quit!). With coal, we were warm not only in the office, but throughout both floors, and at a fraction of the cost! Even days when the temperature was below zero, we stayed comfy and warm! I actually enjoyed tending the fire and coming up with more efficient ways to handle it so that it burned less. In the spring, I would put the oil burner back in, as we only needed it mainly in the fall when it would get cold. After that first winter, I converted back to coal each of the next few years we had the place, and never regretted it. It was the most steady, even heat I have ever felt, and would recommend to anyone that coal is the way to go. Obviously, a more modern stove/furnace/boiler would be even more efficient than the hand-fired 1942 #86 International Heater boiler we had, but this serves to illustrate that those who call you crazy for burning coal have never done it themselves and seen the results!