I'm torn between KA-6 and Harmon VF3000

I'm torn between KA-6 and Harmon VF3000

PostBy: Hollyfeld On: Tue Jun 03, 2008 11:11 am

I have called and talked to both dealers.

I have a price from both - VF3000 - $4400 (with tax) KA-6 - $4563 (no tax in PA)

The wait for KA-6 is 2-3 months and the Harmon is about 2.

Keystoker has the better Warranty and has been around a lot longer.

The KA-6 holds a little more coal.

The KA-6 (122 Btuh) is sized larger than my oil boiler(114 Btuh). The Harmon is smaller (90 Btuh). Both are larger than the calculated heat load for my house (60 Btuh).

I still have some researching to do...

Any help or persuasion is welcomed.
Hollyfeld
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: KA-6

Re: I'm torn between KA-6 and Harmon VF3000

PostBy: Hollyfeld On: Tue Jun 03, 2008 12:40 pm

Would the KA-6 burn more coal in the the summer supplying me with hot water?

Can the KA-6 be hooked up to my existing boilermate hot water tank which is already hooked up to my existing oil boiler?

I know the KA-6 can he hooked up inline with my oil boiler, but since it comes with a hot water coil, is there a benefit of keeping the boilermate tank?
Hollyfeld
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: KA-6

Re: I'm torn between KA-6 and Harmon VF3000

PostBy: LsFarm On: Tue Jun 03, 2008 1:06 pm

Hello Hollyfeld, the advantage to keeping the boilermate is that it provides storage of hot water, you can hook it up as a dedicated zone off the boiler and keep the tank's volume of water hot, providing a buffer for large use of hot water..

I'd buy the Keystoker without the coil but with the tapping or adapter plate for the coil,, I don't think with your boiler mate you want to bother with the coil.

I doubt that the Keystoker will burn any more coal during summer DHW heating than a Harman. Very minor difference if any.

I took a tour of the Keystoker factory last week and was quite impressed with the strong, heavy duty design of the stoker mechanism, and the solid design and build of the boilers..

To answer your plumbing questions: pretty much anything can be hooked up to the boiler, the real question is what will work best,, since you already have the boilermate, I'd take advantage of it and use it..

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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Re: I'm torn between KA-6 and Harmon VF3000

PostBy: Hollyfeld On: Tue Jun 03, 2008 1:35 pm

Thanks, Greg. It does indeed help.

I called Keystoker back and asked about getting a KA-6 without the coil. There is a $100 savings, but the person I talked to said I should get the coil. He said the boiler holds 55 gallons of water which is enough to use for everyday usage at one time and will still allow the boiler to heat up the incoming cold water in case I would need more. He also said that once I realize how great the Keystoker is, I would remove the oil boiler completely.

Thanks also for filling me in on your tour and the construction of the boilers. That certainly weighs in on the decision.


edit - 50 to 55
Hollyfeld
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: KA-6

Re: I'm torn between KA-6 and Harmon VF3000

PostBy: LsFarm On: Tue Jun 03, 2008 1:59 pm

I would go with Keystoker's advice,, a $100 savings is nothing in the big picture,, You can use the coil or have it in reserve for the future, if your boilermate tank dies. There are many ideas about using, storing and heating hot water.. there are several threads on this topic on the forum.. It all depends on how much hot water at any one time you may ask for from the system..

I agree with Keystoker's comment about eventually thinking about getting rid of the oil boiler,, providing you don't have any issues getting and storing coal,, it is a great system and much less expensive... I've decided to buy another 2-year's supply of coal this month,, I don't think anything is going to get cheaper... and having three years of heating fuel in storage is a wonderful feeling !!



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: I'm torn between KA-6 and Harmon VF3000

PostBy: Richard S. On: Tue Jun 03, 2008 2:19 pm

Well i wouldn't agree with getting rid of the oil boiler. No matter which way you slice it having a spare furnace is ideal especially with coal. If you want to go away for the week being able to shut the coal furnace down and flip a switch for oil heat is very convenient, then you'll also have in the event of mechanical failure on the keystoker. A simple part breaking can shut you down until you get a replacement even common ones like motors. As always these things tend to break on Saturday night about 5pm right after the last store closed. :lol:

Edit: Usually with Christmas on monday and massive nor'easter moving in Monday morning. :P
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: I'm torn between KA-6 and Harmon VF3000

PostBy: coalboy On: Tue Jun 03, 2008 3:15 pm

I agree with richard.I bought a KA-6 and plan on running it in a series with my oil boiler.I hope i don't have to burn one drop of oil but it's there if i need it.
Richard S. wrote:Well i wouldn't agree with getting rid of the oil boiler. No matter which way you slice it having a spare furnace is ideal especially with coal. If you want to go away for the week being able to shut the coal furnace down and flip a switch for oil heat is very convenient, then you'll also have in the event of mechanical failure on the keystoker. A simple part breaking can shut you down until you get a replacement even common ones like motors. As always these things tend to break on Saturday night about 5pm right after the last store closed. :lol:

Edit: Usually with Christmas on monday and massive nor'easter moving in Monday morning. :P
coalboy
 
Stove/Furnace Make: AxemanAnderson
Stove/Furnace Model: 1949 AA130

Re: I'm torn between KA-6 and Harmon VF3000

PostBy: Hollyfeld On: Tue Jun 03, 2008 3:25 pm

coalboy wrote:I agree with richard.I bought a KA-6 and plan on running it in a series with my oil boiler.I hope i don't have to burn one drop of oil but it's there if i need it.
Richard S. wrote:Well i wouldn't agree with getting rid of the oil boiler. No matter which way you slice it having a spare furnace is ideal especially with coal. If you want to go away for the week being able to shut the coal furnace down and flip a switch for oil heat is very convenient, then you'll also have in the event of mechanical failure on the keystoker. A simple part breaking can shut you down until you get a replacement even common ones like motors. As always these things tend to break on Saturday night about 5pm right after the last store closed. :lol:

Edit: Usually with Christmas on monday and massive nor'easter moving in Monday morning. :P



Yes, all that certainly does make sense. If I were to go away in the summer, I would simply turn off the coal boiler, if it was winter I would turn off the coal and fire up the oil.
Hollyfeld
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: KA-6

Re: I'm torn between KA-6 and Harmon VF3000

PostBy: thoule On: Tue Jun 03, 2008 4:27 pm

I've been trying to make the exact same decision. One factor I found is that the VF3000 can burn oil itself if I run out of coal- there's a $600 oil burner option. So I can use only 1 flue (I don't have to install another one), and remove or at least disconnect my existing oil boiler. If I run out of coal, the VF3000 will auto swap to oil for that December vacation. Has anyone had experience with such a setup? The info came from the NJ Gardens to Grow shop owner.
thanks
Todd
thoule
 
Stove/Furnace Make: nothing...
Stove/Furnace Model: How Sad!

Re: I'm torn between KA-6 and Harmon VF3000

PostBy: LsFarm On: Tue Jun 03, 2008 4:38 pm

Hi Thoule,, check with your dealer,, some of the oil burner options cannot be left installed in the coal boiler. So to use the oil burner you would have to remove a panel or the current stoker, install the oil burner, hook up the oil line, check for leaks and test run it.. not a really big deal,, but it isn't a 'flip the switch' opperation.. I think it is a great option to have, and once you have done the swap a few times it won't take much time or be too much of a bother..

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: I'm torn between KA-6 and Harmon VF3000

PostBy: syncmaster On: Tue Jun 03, 2008 5:15 pm

another differance between the K6 and vf3000 is the K6 requires a 8" flue and I think the stack pipe is 8"
the VF3000 requires a 7" flue and has a 6" stack pipe.

Check the size of your existing chimney- that may be the deciding factor.

Another thing to concider, Harman won't talk to you... you have to talk through a harman dealer who usually dosen't know much about coal boilers (they know the harman stoves real well).

The harman dealer I talked to would write down my questions word for word and then would call me back after they called the harman factory and then repeat the answer he got from the factory.
I don't know if you are able to contact a tech at the keystoker.
syncmaster
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: harmanVF3000 Coal/oil option
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: VF3000
Stove/Furnace Model: Harman VF3000

Re: I'm torn between KA-6 and Harmon VF3000

PostBy: thoule On: Tue Jun 03, 2008 7:31 pm

The dealer I spoke with said that it was indeed and automatic switch from coal to oil. I'll call again to confirm that before I order and report back. I just measured my existing flue and found it is 7". I guess that clinches the Harmon for me.. :P
thoule
 
Stove/Furnace Make: nothing...
Stove/Furnace Model: How Sad!

Re: I'm torn between KA-6 and Harmon VF3000

PostBy: Richard S. On: Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:06 pm

There must be more to it than just a a switch, any oil burner parts are going to take a beating if they aren't protected somehow. I think the EFM's for example have a cover or as Greg described you have to install it.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: I'm torn between KA-6 and Harmon VF3000

PostBy: syncmaster On: Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:30 pm

The VF3000 does not switch to oil automaticly.
you must manually flick a switch from coal to oil and you must remove a metal shield that covers the oil gun nozzle.

I don't think any of the multifuel boilers switch automaticly.

The K6 has a lever you must push..... it probly uncovers the oil gun nozzle but I am not positive.
syncmaster
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: harmanVF3000 Coal/oil option
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: VF3000
Stove/Furnace Model: Harman VF3000

Re: I'm torn between KA-6 and Harmon VF3000

PostBy: Sting On: Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:34 pm

If you truly want automatic and fault tolerant fail over from coal boiler to oil hot water heat - install one appliance for coal and one for oil in parallel on your load. (This can be as automatic or as manual a fail over installation as you wish for - or can afford - of care to tinker with) The coal boiler will work better because its designed for one fuel use and so will the oil boiler. In the long run you will save $$$$$

Dual fuel appliances are dual headaches -- but there goes my opinion again :oops:
Sting
 
Other Heating: BurnHAM=NG-gas

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