Looking to replace our 1974 oil furnace

Looking to replace our 1974 oil furnace

PostBy: rab On: Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:22 am

I am so glad that I stumbled upon this site. We need to replace our oil furnace that supplies baseboard heat and DHW. We are a family of 3 (including a very mechanical teen aged boy) in central PA. Our home is a bi-level. I am considering the multi fuel unit (coal, oil and wood) from alt. energy systems.Does anyone have experience with this type of unit? What do you do for DHW in the summer? Could we get hot water using oil or should we consider a tankless electric unit?
I also see mentioned that coal is delivered on pallets. Does that mean that you have to unload the pallets to get them into your basement? If so, how heavy are the bags? Or could we build a bin in the basement and have loose coal delivered?
We do have a flue that I believe is tile lined. We have one chimney with four flues- 2 fireplaces, one furnace, and one "extra" in our dining room. We also have another chimney on the bedroom side of the house to which is connected a wood burner that we haven't used. There is no water supply there.
In addition to being near to coal suppliers, we have access to biodiesel, used cooking oil, and wood. That' s why I was considering a multi-fuel unit.
Any help to these questions would be greatly appreciated!
rab
 

Re: Looking to replace our 1974 oil furnace

PostBy: Richard S. On: Tue Jun 03, 2008 12:16 pm

rab wrote:I am considering the multi fuel unit (coal, oil and wood) from alt. energy systems.Does anyone have experience with this type of unit?


Do you have link, the general rule of thumb is if you want to burn coal as you mian source of heat you get a stove/furnce made to burn coal. If it has add-ons for other fules or can burn other fuels that's great but generally and multi-fuel unit works very well with one type of fuel. What I'm saying is you can burn wood in coal stove but you can't burn coal in a wood stove. ;)

rab wrote:What do you do for DHW in the summer?


If you get something like a EFM with a coil they are insulated, we burn a similar unit called a Van Wert no longer made year round. It burns about From now unitl the end of August. It's cheaper than anything else for use. Plus it will add considerable life to the unit. There's digram here of the way we used to do it in combination with a hot water heater, if you need to shut the furnce off the hot water heater will still be able to supply you with DHW: http://nepacrossroads.com/kb/Hot_Water_Coil

rab wrote:I also see mentioned that coal is delivered on pallets. Does that mean that you have to unload the pallets to get them into your basement? If so, how heavy are the bags? Or could we build a bin in the basement and have loose coal delivered?


Generally if you're getting bags you pick them up yourself but i'm sure many places deliver them. Bulk may be avaialble too and is always cheaper. Once you get into coal country bags area bout double the price.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Looking to replace our 1974 oil furnace

PostBy: LsFarm On: Tue Jun 03, 2008 12:55 pm

Hello rab, welcome to the forum.. I'll try to answer your questions.. the AHS multi-fuel boiler is a good design, we have at least one member here using one, his forum name is ' ktm rider ' you could PM him if you wish with specific questions or he may reply here.

The AHS multi fuel boiler is a hand feed boiler, and will require daily tending, in really cold weather maybe twice a day.. The boiler is very well built, and it does burn wood, anthracite and Bituminous coal.. and if you buy the oil burner option can burn oil as a backup fuel source. I don't know about burning the bio diesel, or other fuel-oil replacements in oil burners,, there may be some nozzle changes needed,, just not sure.

If you want a boiler that only needs tending every day [cold weather] to several days [warm weather] consider a stoker boiler,, they burn only anthracite coal, and some have an oil burner backup available.. a stoker, depending on which one usually only needs feeding of coal every few days or as long as once a season if it feeds from a big coal bin. the ashes need to be taken out and the ashpan kept clean every day to every week,, depends on the burn rate.

As Richard mentioned,, if you get a stoker, you can run it all year,, they idle down to a maintenance or pilot fire very well, and can provide Domestichot water all year round for a very reasonable cost.,, this may be cheaper than an electric water heater, depends on your water useage and electric rates.

Bagged coal can be purchased by the pallet, usually around 2600#, each bag is either 40# or 50#, so it can be carried fairly easily. If you are near enough to I-81 40 miles south of I-80, that is the heart of Anthracite country, and if you have access to a truck/trailer, you can go buy bulk coal from the breakers directly, and save the cost of the middleman. Or just have it delivered to a bulk coal bin at your location.

Your location of a boiler is mostly dictated by the chimney availability and ease of access to a coal bin, and outside door for taking the ashpans out. connecting the plumbing from the other side of the basement is not a big deal.. Just remember, you will be tending this boiler daily or weekly,, make sure it is easy to access..

That's it for now, Hope this helps.. 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

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