Harman Mark III newbie. Looking for some help

Harman Mark III newbie. Looking for some help

PostBy: craig2000 On: Sat Aug 16, 2008 10:41 am

Hey everyone, I have a 2 family in MA that I plan to install a HArman Mark III stove in.

I found this stove in perfect shape in the garage of this house when I bought it a few months back. I have a number of questions I am curious about. If anyone has a minute I am dying for some answers on this stuff.

Ive never had a wood/coal stove installed, and I plan on power venting my forced hot water furnace to open up the chimney for the coal stove, which I plan on installing in the basement.

1
Do you suggest I get a chimney expert to make sure the chimney can handle coal? I have heard that it burns hot and any cracks could cause a fire... but ive been reading temps on here in the 300F range which I imagine would be borderline for a chimney fire.

2
What is the best possible coal I can buy? I dont want to skim on this part

3
How often do I have to fill the stove?

4
As a first time user of a wood/coal stove, am I getting into too much I can handle here? Should I trade to sell or trade this for an automatic fed one?

5
Does everyone reccomend a heat reclaimer?

6
Is it easier to manage a coal stove using a automatic damper? If it is then I would spend the $ on it. It sounds like a lot of people on here spend a lot of effort messing with the damper.

Just a few basic questions... thanks a lot guys... im learing here.
craig2000
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Mark III

Re: Harman Mark III newbie. Looking for some help

PostBy: Rob R. On: Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:11 pm

1. Yes, it is always a good idea to have the chimney inspected/cleaned when installing a new stove. Coal stoves generally run a lower stack temperature than most wood stoves, but they do produce fly ash which must be periodically cleaned from the flue pipe and/or chimney.

2. Are you looking to buy bagged or bulk coal? In MA I would guess that bagged Blaschak is available and is considered good coal.

3. Depending on how hot you are burning the stove, you should be able to go 12 hours between reloads.

4. No, save your money to buy coal. There is a learning curve but nothing you can't handle with a few tips.

5. That is up to you, if you aren't burning the stove real hot the stack temps won't be hot enough to justify the reclaimer.

6. A barometric damper will make the stove easier to control, I would highly recommend it.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Harman Mark III newbie. Looking for some help

PostBy: Steve.N On: Sun Aug 17, 2008 1:08 pm

The MK III is a nice stove and a serious heater, finding one you didn't have to buy is great.
Steve.N
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman mkII
Stove/Furnace Model: Axeman Anderson 260 at store

Visit Hitzer Stoves

Re: Harman Mark III newbie. Looking for some help

PostBy: CapeCoaler On: Sun Aug 17, 2008 2:49 pm

Where in MA are you near? West/Central/Worcester/Boston/Cape/SEMA? Someone may be able to recommend a good dealer with a fair price for bulk. If you are in an older neighborhood there may be the remnants of a coal bin. Maybe even help you fire that bad boy up the first time!

You want an inspection of the chimney to make sure it is sound and that should be in your home inspection report when you bought the house.
It will need to be permitted/inspected when you are done so your insurance remains in effect. You do rent out the other half?
The power venter needs certain setbacks so you do not gas yourself. Electric safety switched circuit also needs installing to the oil burner.
Pass on the heat reclaimer. Spend the money on a barometric damper and Dwyer manometer.
CapeCoaler
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: want AA130
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine BS#4, Harman MKII, Hitzer 503,...
Coal Size/Type: Pea/Nut/Stove

Re: Harman Mark III newbie. Looking for some help

PostBy: Devil505 On: Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:19 pm

My 2 cents:


craig2000 wrote:1
Do you suggest I get a chimney expert to make sure the chimney can handle coal? I have heard that it burns hot and any cracks could cause a fire... but ive been reading temps on here in the 300F range which I imagine would be borderline for a chimney fire.


If your chimney hasn't been checked in a while yes. That being said, coal fires are usually cooler than wood fire & do not deposit creosote so they are easier on your chimney than wood.

craig2000 wrote:2
What is the best possible coal I can buy? I dont want to skim on this part



Bagged = Blaschak (Aubucha Hardware sells it)
Bulk- Read some threads here but stay away from Reading Coal...either bagged or bulk!

craig2000 wrote:3
How often do I have to fill the stove?


At least every 12 hrs (top it off more often if you're around)



craig2000 wrote:4
As a first time user of a wood/coal stove, am I getting into too much I can handle here? Should I trade to sell or trade this for an automatic fed one?


If you are handy at all, it's easy. If you're all thumbs (like my brother-in-law :lol: ) Use your furnace.


craig2000 wrote:5
Does everyone reccomend a heat reclaimer?



No


craig2000 wrote:6
Is it easier to manage a coal stove using a automatic damper? If it is then I would spend the $ on it. It sounds like a lot of people on here spend a lot of effort messing with the damper.



I haven't used one in years bvut many others swear by them.



Welcome & Good Luck
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: Harman Mark III newbie. Looking for some help

PostBy: craig2000 On: Wed Aug 20, 2008 12:07 pm

Hey thanks a lot guys. This info is a huge help.

My location is Central MA. I think I plan on buying bagged coal. Mostly because if things didnt work out so well itd be easy to sell as well as easier to handle. Im guessing I will need at least 2 tons of the stuff to get through the winter? The house is about 2000 SQF with about 1000 SQF per floor. With this thing in the basement (fully insulated) I hope I can get this stove roaring and keep the 1st floor to about 70-75 and maybe pass on something to the 2nd floor as well. I have a pretty open floor plan on the 1st and could do duct from the basment to the 1st if needed. Im pretty confident I can do the ducting myself. My kitchen and living room are essentially 1 room. In the worst case Id only be ducting 2 BRs and the kitchen/living room.

The existing heating system is one huge oil/steam boiler with radiators heating the whole house. After filling the oil tank 3 times last winter I want absolutely nothing to do with this situation (not to mention removing the damn steam pipes makes the basement usable). At some point in the next year I will have moved out of this place and will be renting the 1st and 2nd floors. With all of the huge rebates from the gas company (natural gas line in the street) I can probably pull off buying two separate modern high efficiency forced hot water systems for something close to the price of one system with two zones. This is a benefit as a landlord as well.

But while I am living there I would like to get some alternative fuel going because even natural gas is expensive. It sounds like if I get the chimney checked out and install the power damper I should be in business. I do have some concern about renters using this in the future, but if I can ensure its somewhat fool/dummy proof, Ill pay the upfront cost now as it will be a more attractive rental with the option of coal.

I appreciate all the help everyone.
craig2000
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Mark III

Re: Harman Mark III newbie. Looking for some help

PostBy: CapeCoaler On: Wed Aug 20, 2008 12:45 pm

The 2 family is a up/down rather than side by side?
Are the zones split to each separate unit?
Then if the zones are split to each unit and you get 2 heating units you can make each tenant pay for their own heat without destroying the house to split the system.
Is the electric split also? it is funny how the electric and heat consumption changes when the tenant pays for it!
CapeCoaler
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: want AA130
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine BS#4, Harman MKII, Hitzer 503,...
Coal Size/Type: Pea/Nut/Stove

Re: Harman Mark III newbie. Looking for some help

PostBy: Rob R. On: Wed Aug 20, 2008 1:39 pm

craig2000 wrote:Im guessing I will need at least 2 tons of the stuff to get through the winter?...The existing heating system is one huge oil/steam boiler with radiators heating the whole house. After filling the oil tank 3 times last winter I want absolutely nothing to do with this situation (not to mention removing the damn steam pipes makes the basement usable).


How large is your oil tank? A general rule is that 1 ton of coal provides the same amount of heat as 180 gallons of fuel oil. Assuming it is a standard 275 gallon tank, you would need roughly 5 tons of coal to replace the 825 gallons of fuel oil.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Harman Mark III newbie. Looking for some help

PostBy: craig2000 On: Wed Aug 20, 2008 1:48 pm

CapeCoaler wrote:The 2 family is a up/down rather than side by side?
Are the zones split to each separate unit?
Then if the zones are split to each unit and you get 2 heating units you can make each tenant pay for their own heat without destroying the house to split the system.
Is the electric split also? it is funny how the electric and heat consumption changes when the tenant pays for it!


Its up and down. 1st floor and 2nd separate apartments. The place used to be a single but was converted in the 50s. The problem is NOTHING was done right. The steam boiler that exists now heats a huge amount of water to get the steam to the 1st and all the way up to the 2nd floor. Its extremely inefficient and burns oil to boot.

My plan is to rip it all out and run the forced hot water in separate zones, 1st and 2nd. The big decision is... is it cheaper to get 2 natural gas fueled hot water boilers now with all of the great rebates from NSTAR... then as you describe, I will be able to let the tenants handle the heat themselves. More than likely this is what I will do. The 1st floor will benefit greatly from the option of firing up the coal stove to save $ and the 2nd floor will benefit from the heat rising.

The electric is currently separate, with the landlord separate as well. Im pretty close to making this all work. I swear I must have spent $5000 last winter on oil though. Not happening again. Id rather spend 6K on making all that I describe above happen.
craig2000
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Mark III

Re: Harman Mark III newbie. Looking for some help

PostBy: craig2000 On: Wed Aug 20, 2008 1:50 pm

markviii wrote: How large is your oil tank? A general rule is that 1 ton of coal provides the same amount of heat as 180 gallons of fuel oil. Assuming it is a standard 275 gallon tank, you would need roughly 5 tons of coal to replace the 825 gallons of fuel oil.


Very good info.
After adding insulation and replacement windows to the place I bet I will need less. Sounds like I should buy about 4 tons off the bat.
Thanks.
craig2000
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Mark III

Re: Harman Mark III newbie. Looking for some help

PostBy: CapeCoaler On: Wed Aug 20, 2008 5:31 pm

Nstar will give you a 'deal' but they usually just replace what you have. They may only do 1 boiler.
Here is the plan if it were my place:
Split the heat with 2 Nat gas boilers. Tenants pay heat and good for resale. They will be high efficiency units that vent out the sidewall. you now have a free flue.
Use the free stove to heat this year. You added some insulation but get 5 ton of coal it will not go bad and it is better not to be short.
The big question is the re-piping. If you have access and it is not cost prohibitive you can run pex to the separate zones and reuse the radiators. If not use the old pipes and run it as hot water.
If you want to keep the property you could invest in a coal boiler and include heat in the rent as a value added option. You would have to be around more often as the coal will need some maintenance every few days but that is not such a bad thing either.
You mentioned landlord on the electric, is it a three family or is the landlord electric just for the public/common spaces or did you just mean the unit you are currently using?
CapeCoaler
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: want AA130
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine BS#4, Harman MKII, Hitzer 503,...
Coal Size/Type: Pea/Nut/Stove

Re: Harman Mark III newbie. Looking for some help

PostBy: craig2000 On: Wed Aug 20, 2008 6:49 pm

CapeCoaler wrote:Nstar will give you a 'deal' but they usually just replace what you have. They may only do 1 boiler.
Here is the plan if it were my place:
Split the heat with 2 Nat gas boilers. Tenants pay heat and good for resale. They will be high efficiency units that vent out the sidewall. you now have a free flue.
Use the free stove to heat this year. You added some insulation but get 5 ton of coal it will not go bad and it is better not to be short.
The big question is the re-piping. If you have access and it is not cost prohibitive you can run pex to the separate zones and reuse the radiators. If not use the old pipes and run it as hot water.
If you want to keep the property you could invest in a coal boiler and include heat in the rent as a value added option. You would have to be around more often as the coal will need some maintenance every few days but that is not such a bad thing either.
You mentioned landlord on the electric, is it a three family or is the landlord electric just for the public/common spaces or did you just mean the unit you are currently using?


That is exacty how I planned to do it with the open flu. I guess the boiler my plumber recommends is some kinda wall mounted one so it will free up my entire chimney. I never though about a potential issue with the 2 boiler thing with the gas company. I might want to push that one before I start.

But I was planning on doing forced hot water and just re-running all pex. I just plan to get rid of all of the steam pipes. With the holes were going to have communicating from the basement to the 2nd floor I should be able to chase pex up to the second floor. But if i have to open a wall or two im ok with it. The second floor needs a rehab anyways, so even if things are a bit messy up there my current tennants (which are just friends getting a deal from me because the place isnt in the best shape) probably wont mind it if its a little messy. But the way I look at it... if im already running 2 zones, in terms of plumbing cost, its essentially the same if he hooks it up to one boiler vs 2 boilers. And two boilers is way more attractive if im renting the place to not have to be responsible for the heat cost.

Ya the 3rd panel is the aux lighting in the house. Hallways and stuff. Now the plan for that one is a solar panel!... but thats another battle for another forum.
craig2000
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Mark III

Re: Harman Mark III newbie. Looking for some help

PostBy: CapeCoaler On: Wed Aug 20, 2008 7:18 pm

In MA you can not divide the heat bill with just one boiler each unit must have it's own unit. There is money available if you do affordable housing.
Just do the plumbing so even if you only do one boiler now you can easily split it when the time comes for a second boiler. Thermostats, boiler runs, DHW are all separate.
The gas company also will spec the boiler.
CapeCoaler
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: want AA130
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine BS#4, Harman MKII, Hitzer 503,...
Coal Size/Type: Pea/Nut/Stove

Re: Harman Mark III newbie. Looking for some help

PostBy: craig2000 On: Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:41 am

you guys have been very informative. thanks a ton. so here are some other questions i have...

it appears as though i will be installing a power vented primary forced hot water system which will open up my chimney. after this is complete i will have nothing going through my chimney, except for my coal stove.

what i have is apparently a newly installed chimny liner in my flu. the problem is the liner runs from the 1st floor fireplace firebox up to the roof. the thing looks like its maybe 3-5 years old and is in beautiful shape.

my problem is... i do NOT intend to install the mark iii stove on the first floor, but in the basement... #1 i have an LCD over the mantle and #2 id prefer to do the dirty work with coal in the basement. i plan on making the 1st floor fireplace just a visual from here forward.

so my question is... how can i safely "bridge" this flu from the basement, through the 1st floor fireplace firebox and up the new stainless flu? i want to put the coal stove in the basement and get a clean run out to the roof. are there "dressed up" versions of internal firebox flu's i can use that run through the first floor fireplace firebox? and is there any way to reclaim heat from this flu?

ha i hope this makes sense. here are some photos.

Image
Image
Image
Image
craig2000
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Mark III

Re: Harman Mark III newbie. Looking for some help

PostBy: CapeCoaler On: Sun Aug 24, 2008 2:34 pm

Yes it can be done but must pass code.
Check first with the inspector if he will pass such a setup.
Make a diagram with all materials specified.
Will he treat the drop through the ash pit as an unlined flue with insulated liner?
Drop the tee connector.
Open up the ash pit.
A 6 inch round or squared version can be placed to the basement with 1/2 inch insulation blanket.
Proper connectors at both ends.
Parts link
http://www.chimneylinerdepot.com/store/comersus_viewItem.asp?idProduct=307
This link is broken, either the page no longer exists or there is some other issue like a typo.
CapeCoaler
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: want AA130
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine BS#4, Harman MKII, Hitzer 503,...
Coal Size/Type: Pea/Nut/Stove

Visit Hitzer Stoves