Switching from Oil...Go with a Coal stove, furn, or boiler?

Switching from Oil...Go with a Coal stove, furn, or boiler?

PostBy: Greentree3D On: Tue Jun 03, 2008 11:39 am

Hello, I'm a relatively new home owner (26, owned my house 2 yrs) of a Cape Cod built in 37'. The oil furnace in my house is a Williamson Temp o Matic, that is on it's last leg. At the beginning of last winter I was hoping to get just one more cold season of out it and I did barely! It's needs to be replaced or have a considerable amount of $ put into to fix it (bad heat exchanger). After getting a quote of $4.89/gal. for heating oil about 2 wks ago I decided I'm not going back to oil. I do supplement with wood but even at 26 I'm finding my back doesn't like all the work plus the time involved with prep and just keeping a fire going is starting to be a PIA. Some people have to me go with a heat pump, but the initial cost, inefficiency below 25 degrees plus the fact the electric companies are taking caps off the cost of electric in 2010 scares me. Luckily I found the website and have been reading as much as I can since. I just need a little more specific direction.

I live about 20 min. west of Harrisburg, Pa, I haven't check specifically on coal dealers in the area but I assume there are several considering how close I am to coal country. I've been researching Harmans and Keystokers. I have to flues on either side of the house, one is used for the oil furnace in the basement the other for the wood stove in the dining room. Currently I only have ductwork for the first floor, on cold days I MUST have that wood stove going to warm up the 2nd floor. So when I come home from work this is the first thing I must do and it usually takes a good hour to warm up the upstairs, wife and daughter hate this. Insulation in the house is ok, not great. It would be real easy to put a coal stove where my wood stove is but my only problem with that is the location of the stove doesn't heat the kitchen and living room on the 1st floor very well (upstairs would be no problem). So I guess my main question for everybody is do I go with a coal furnace or coal boiler and hook up my hot water to the boiler. By the way my house is about 1500 sq ft.

Thanks very much for your time. :D
Greentree3D
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Hyfire II

Re: Switching from Oil...Go with a Coal stove, furn, or boiler?

PostBy: LsFarm On: Tue Jun 03, 2008 1:20 pm

Hello Greentree, welcome to the forum.. If you want to keep the house warm, you can get by with a stoker stove where the wood burner is now. A stoker stove with a thermostat will keep your heated areas at a steady temperature if the hot air distribution is reasonably good.. One of the problems with your wood heat is that it needs tending every few hours to keep the fire going.. With a stoker stove, it will run 24+ hours with minor tending.. just fill the coal hopper and empty the ashpan. If you have a STEADY heat source, the whole house will be warmer,, with your current up and down heating with the wood stove, the house never stablilizes, which is uncomfortable.

If you you want to go with the best system, I'd go with a stoker boiler, use it for heating your domestic hot water, and using a water-to-air heat exchanger, heat the hot air for your ductwork,, this system would be the very best, but will cost probably twice to 3x the cost of the above stoker stove. But these boilers can, depending on which one you install go for days without tending,, and provide unlimited hot water.. and the boiler can be used all summer long to heat hot water for a very reasonable cost as well..

You live west of Harrisburg, so if you want to provide your own coal, you are about 1.5-2 hours from the mines and breakers on I-81, so you could get your own coal if you have access to a truck/trailer.

Hope this helps answer some of your questions.. 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: Switching from Oil...Go with a Coal stove, furn, or boiler?

PostBy: Greentree3D On: Tue Jun 03, 2008 2:06 pm

Thanks LsFarm for the quick reply. I am leaning towards the full system boiler. The way my house is set up I don't think I would get the most out of a stoker stove in terms of distributing the heat. From reading the boards my price range is probably that of a Harman VF3k or a similar Keystoker. I am going to stop into a local dealer this weekend and talk #'s. The water to air heat exchanger sounds like the way to go. I will research that option more and get back to you with any ?'s

Thanks very much for your time. The info. and support on this board is outstanding!
Greentree3D
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Hyfire II

Visit Lehigh Anthracite

Re: Switching from Oil...Go with a Coal stove, furn, or boiler?

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Tue Jun 03, 2008 3:07 pm

Boiler.
coaledsweat
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

Re: Switching from Oil...Go with a Coal stove, furn, or boiler?

PostBy: Lumberjack On: Tue Jun 03, 2008 5:13 pm

Think radiant heating and boiler.

If your sticking to hot air then a furnace is a more cost effective choice.
Lumberjack
 

Re: Switching from Oil...Go with a Coal stove, furn, or boiler?

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Tue Jun 03, 2008 7:33 pm

I vote for a boiler as well.

I did it the hard way with my hodge-podge set-up ("Do it my way...anyone can do it the right way").
Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert

Re: Switching from Oil...Go with a Coal stove, furn, or boiler?

PostBy: Hollyfeld On: Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:49 pm

I came here thinking the same thing. Purchasing a coal stove to heat my house and offset the cost of oil. Within hours I changed my mind to a boiler and I haven't looked back.

Another vote for boiler here.
Hollyfeld
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: KA-6

Re: Switching from Oil...Go with a Coal stove, furn, or boiler?

PostBy: Yanche On: Tue Jun 03, 2008 10:51 pm

Boiler and radiant heat. The radiant heat doesn't have to be in the floor. There are radiant panels installed like baseboards and others that are wall mounted. These radiant panels when combined with baseboards will give you very comfortable heating.
Yanche
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea

Re: Switching from Oil...Go with a Coal stove, furn, or boiler?

PostBy: Hollyfeld On: Tue Jun 03, 2008 11:07 pm

Here are some nice quality wall mounted radiators.

http://www.runtalnorthamerica.com/
Hollyfeld
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: KA-6

Re: Switching from Oil...Go with a Coal stove, furn, or boiler?

PostBy: coalkirk On: Wed Jun 04, 2008 7:57 am

Another vote for a boiler. Most economical and comfortable heat. You would never regret it. Stoves are great and throw off alot of heat. Heat distribution is the problem. Plus there's no "storage" of heat as with a boiler. Add to that domestic hot water and there's no contest.
coalkirk
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000
Coal Size/Type: antrhcite/rice coal

Re: Switching from Oil...Go with a Coal stove, furn, or boiler?

PostBy: Greentree3D On: Wed Jun 04, 2008 10:44 am

Thanks everybody for your input!

Holly...I like the looks of the radiators, are they sold direct only?

CoalKirk.... I see you have a Harman vf3k, would that be to much of a unit for a 1500 sq ft house?
Greentree3D
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Hyfire II

Visit Lehigh Anthracite