Recommended setup for my house

Recommended setup for my house

PostBy: speerstra On: Wed Jul 02, 2008 11:36 am

Guys,
Been looking over this forum. Trying to figure out the best way to convert over to coal. My heating oil bills are killing me! Here is what I got...
2000 sq ft rancher 30 yrs old with central air, big basement
7 year old oil furnace (90k BTU) with A/C (3 ton)
unknown age oil hot water heater
Oil furnace has one chimney in basement. Two other chimneys on first floor. My requirements are:
Must be able to have full backup heat in winter (visit relatives for a week)
Would love to ditch oil hot water heater (Its on its last legs)

What would you do?
Thanks. Speerstra.
speerstra
 

Re: Recommended setup for my house

PostBy: Richard S. On: Wed Jul 02, 2008 11:45 am

Whats your budget?

If you want to put the coal in the basement what most people are doing is hooking the coal stove/furnce/boiler to the chimney and either power venting the oil or leaving so they can easily disconnect the coal flue pipe and hook the oil up.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Recommended setup for my house

PostBy: Devil505 On: Wed Jul 02, 2008 11:45 am

Sounds like a boiler would work well for you. There are plenty of coal boiler experts here that can give you good advice on which one & how to plumb it so that you can use your original heating equipment when you are away.
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

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Re: Recommended setup for my house

PostBy: speerstra On: Wed Jul 02, 2008 11:50 am

Good Question. $7000 would be nice but it sounds like the good stuff might be more. Is there a cheap solution? All I see is an expensive boiler...
speerstra
 

Re: Recommended setup for my house

PostBy: LsFarm On: Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:16 pm

A ~ $4500 Keystoker Kaa2 or a Harman VF3000 would provide the required BTUs, then pipe in a water-to-air heat exchanger just under your A/C coil in the hot air plenum.. just above the furnace.. install an indirect hot water heater to use boiler water to heat your Domestic hot water..

Do you have a good source for coal? and a place/method for storing it??

Welcome to the forum!!

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: Recommended setup for my house

PostBy: katman On: Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:51 pm

I think coalkirk has the Harman vf 3000 with an exchanger in his duct and is very pleased. I looked at the Harman last April when I was quoted around $4,000. Very nice unit but I thought it would be on the margin for my needs.
katman
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Magnum
Other Heating: Harman PB 105 Pellet Boiler

Re: Recommended setup for my house

PostBy: Lumberjack On: Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:22 pm

A furnace like the keystoker koker in parallel with your oil furnace would also work.
Lumberjack
 

Re: Recommended setup for my house

PostBy: speerstra On: Wed Jul 02, 2008 2:09 pm

Guys,
Thanks for the recommendations. A few questions for you guys.
1)Coal Storage: I have 4 acres. Could I just have a 20+ ton truck load dumped on the property? I could then use the tractor to move 5 ton into the basement every year. Is it ok to store coal in the open? Or would all 20+ ton need to be in the basement. It is a big basement.
2)I would need a pro to do the install. I don't have the time and have questionable skills in this area. Would a pro be willing to hack in a boiler to my setup?
3) If I use a boiler I assume I need it fired year round for hot water. Correct? Slightly annoying but possible.
4) Is there a unit that has oil heat? Something that could replace my oil furnace with a oil/coal boiler/furnace. Cleaner solution but obviously $.
Appreciate the insights..
speerstra
 

Re: Recommended setup for my house

PostBy: LsFarm On: Wed Jul 02, 2008 2:14 pm

There are units with oil backup,, for vacations, running out of coal,,getting lazy etc..

A small boiler would be the most efficient,, a larger coal hot air furnace would be overkill, and I don't think there are any 100K BTU furnaces. There are many ways to have domestic hot water in the summer,, an inexpensive electric DHW heater comes to mind... escecially if your oil water heater is on it's last legs..


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: Recommended setup for my house

PostBy: traderfjp On: Wed Jul 02, 2008 3:20 pm

A 2,000 sq. ft. house is about what I have. Keep in mind that oIl may drop in half in one year. It looked like the price of tulips and Internet stocks would keep going higher too. You don't know. Anyway, I would start with a coal stove in a central location in your home. A direct vent only requires a hole in the wall, and an outlet. I also had a 40ft. SS coil made for my stove. It cost about 550-600.00. I then ran the water from my boiler through these coils. It is an easy install. So you have the stove on the first floor doing the top two stories and then coil taking the chill out of the basement. It actually keeps it at 68 with the oil burner in frequently turning on when it gets frigid out. If I didn't use the basement all the time I would just turn the heat down to 55 and the coils would be more than enough. The total setup with out coal is about 3,700-4,000 with the coil. A 20 ton truck of coal is about 4k with delivery. If u go the boiler route you'll have to hump the coal into the basement and the ash (which is plentiful with coal) out of the basement. I would imagine the install is going to cost 2-3k. Maybe you can do better on the price-I don't know. I also use bagged coal. It cost more but is so much more convenient unless you do the boiler route then you'll want a shoot going into the basement some how. Pellet stoves cost more to operate and require more maintenance but the one good thing is you can burn it a week before emptying the ash bin. With coal, when it's cold out, you're looking at once a day and it becomes a chore. THere is a reason why coal was replaced with liquid fuel. It does require more effort but it's worth it too.
traderfjp
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing 3

Re: Recommended setup for my house

PostBy: chabbo On: Wed Jul 02, 2008 3:49 pm

Greg L wrote:

"A ~ $4500 Keystoker Kaa2 or a Harman VF3000 would provide the required BTUs, then pipe in a water-to-air heat exchanger just under your A/C coil in the hot air plenum.. just above the furnace.. install an indirect hot water heater to use boiler water to heat your Domestic hot water.."

Greg L:

I also have a FWA system that I am converting to a boiler using water to air exchangers. My installer will be locating the water to air exchangers at the end of the return right before the furnace (at the base of the furnace right before the air filter leading to the furnace). Apparently, he is not sure whether I have the room to install it in the plenum under the A/C coil. Do you know if this is a problem? Will my installation be as effective as the installation you are suggesting?

Thanks

Manny
chabbo
 
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM
Stove/Furnace Model: 520

Re: Recommended setup for my house

PostBy: speerstra On: Wed Jul 02, 2008 3:52 pm

I had thought about a direct vent for the first floor but was discouraged since my house is a long and thin single story. I figured I would end up with a hot area in the middle and cold at the ends. Maybe if I ran the house fan constantly this wouldn't happen. No easy way to know how it would turn out. Was also worried about coal/ash making a mess in the house. Not a heavy basement user so the temp down there doesn't matter. If I went the boiler route I would just dump coal through the basement windows. Getting the ash out of the basement would be ugly. How many pounds a week do you haul out?
As far as pricing I assume a direct vent would run around $3k+. The boiler installed $6k?
speerstra
 

Re: Recommended setup for my house

PostBy: LsFarm On: Wed Jul 02, 2008 4:28 pm

Chabbo, I would not install the heat exchanger before the current furnace's heat exchanger, unless you have an electronic damper that CLOSES the flue completely when the furnace is not running.. Otherwise the furnace flue will constantly have heat flowing up the chimney,, wasteing your heat... The return air will be much cooler and if heated after the furnace's heat exchanger will not preheat the furnace as much.

Check your current furnace for an electronic damper in the flue pipe,, if it has one, then it isn't as important where the water-to-air exchanger is located..

Hope this makes sense.. 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: Recommended setup for my house

PostBy: Richard S. On: Wed Jul 02, 2008 6:34 pm

1. The coal can be stored indefinitlely , you'll need a tarp to keep the moisture out of it in the winter because it will freeze if you're taking it right from the pile. Having said that if you can get it right in the basement I'd do that as you'll save yourself a lot of work.

3. You don't have to fire the boiler year round however if you can do it for reasonable amount of money there's two benefits. First of course is the hot water which will offset the cost of the coal, how much depends on what you're paying and how much hot water you use but you can figure its going to take you roughly a ton to get through the warmer weather where you would turn it off. Secondly you will increase the life of the unit. As a side note most are insulated so you'll get very little heat in the basement and you only have to mess with it once a week.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Recommended setup for my house

PostBy: speerstra On: Wed Jul 02, 2008 10:26 pm

Thanks for all the info, guys. One last question. How many days can you leave this machine unattended? I realize it will run out of coal eventually but how long before you feel uncomfortable? Would you shut it down if going away for 2 days?
speerstra
 

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