Season Report

Season Report

PostBy: wgpringle On: Tue Feb 14, 2006 1:33 pm


First year burning coal. I have used 1/2 tank of fuel oil this season. In the past, with cold Jan. and Feb. weather, I would have needed 2+ tanks. The oil company has called twice to make sure our furnace was o.k.!

My Harman Mark II is in our basement and I had hoped that the heat would rise up the stairs, but I was disappointed at first. Even after cutting a heat register into our livingroom I was not getting good distribution. The solution turned out to be a return vent for cooler air to subside into the basement. This made all the difference in the world. I am now in the process of tweaking the heat distribution. I am thinking of adding a ducted fan into our kitchen and perhaps a powered return vent as well.

My only regrets is that I should have ordered more than 2 tons of coal. Next year, I will shoot for 3 tons.


PostBy: BinghamtonNY On: Thu Feb 16, 2006 12:20 pm

3rd year burning coal. First year in my new house with my new used Magnum stoker. Gone through about 2 1/2 tons so far. I'm picking up another ton tomorrow and will get me through the rest of the year. I've burned about 200 gallons of oil. In the past seasons the previous owner ( my father ) would burn about 1100 gallons of oil. Makes me feel good to stick it to the oil guys.... Like others have stated, people look at you funny when you say you heat with coal. I also enjoy it and think of it as a hobby than a chore. Even though It's a stoker I still check on it 3 or more times a day. Little adjustments here and there to make sure it's running at peak efficiency. I LOVE the warm floors and the consistant heat. Thanks to this forum for great people and their ideas and tips. -Ryan
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman Magnum Stoker

PostBy: AL-53 On: Thu Feb 16, 2006 3:00 pm

Glad to see everyone is doing great with the coal....My stove dealer told me that Harman said more coal stoves were sold in New England than any where else...That is just Harman coal stoves...not including pellet stoves.... My coal dealer sells Keystoker and Alaska and he also said the area was tops for selling coal stoves..

New York and PA. were also top areas...

now with all these stoves we need more coal suppliers in New

I have people in work ask me all the time about first they thought I was a nut burning coal...then when they ask me how much I spend to heat for the winter..they got interested...after fuel oil and natural gas went high..

Some went to dealer's to try to get a stove...but none till spring at the earliest..and pellets are hard to find and also are at premium price...lot more than coal...

Outdoor furnaces were big for awhile..and they gobble up wood...and if you have to pay for is more than coal also....

So sit back and enjoy the warmth and comfort of Coal...


PostBy: stelradCoal On: Mon Mar 06, 2006 4:48 pm

This is my first real season of using coal and my first post to the forum. I have been a lurker here since September. I have used a lot of the information garnered here to guide me. Thanks to you all.

I (my wife actually, but that’s another story) bought the house we are living in July of 2004. It’s a really nice large home built in 1918. When I got there in August I was interested to discover that alongside my huge gas furnace there was a slightly smaller coal / wood boiler. It had been disconnected from the household heat system (gravity fed hot water radiators). The previous owners had installed it in 1980 when gas prices had gone up at the time, used it for some time but disconnected it after it got too much of a burden (they are in their early 80’s now).

The coal boiler is made by Stelrad and is rated at 120,000 btu’s – I have the original manual, but have only ever discovered one other person mentioning using a Stelrad and they were burning wood (its rated for wood or coal)

I was able to purchase coal in the next town over. So last winter I reconnected the stove and attempted various methods of getting a coal fire started. Getting that coal fire started was quite a learning experience. I tried all sorts – matchlite charcoal seemed promising – but I found that a well fired wood fire worked best. I burned about 5-600lbs of coal last year.

This year was the real test. I didn’t start the stove until mid December, but I have had it burning more or less constantly since. I have killed it a few times but really don’t have a problem relighting it. I burned about 3 tons this year so far. I have been burning nut but think I might try some stove.

My big discoveries have been these.
1. I have kept my house warmer than last year by about 5 degrees – and I also have heated more of my house this year. This is great (particularly with a new baby at home)

2. I estimate that I have save slightly over $1000 – this is with picking up my coal at the yard for $200 a ton.

I am still experimenting and have discovered that the stove really is a little undersized for my house. I have to supplement on the coldest of days with the gas furnace. If not, and I keep the water temperature too high, and am unable to tend the coal at 8 hour intervals, then the fire will die.
I was having some issues during the warm period and was using a small fan to assist the draft – I have since stopped.

So far so good this year – I am planning on using it for a little while longer – probably late April if the weather is there. I have some wood that I will probably use up during the evenings at the end of the season.

I'll put a picture of my stove at the bottom

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Stove/Furnace Make: Stelrad 120k, Coal-o-Matic
Stove/Furnace Model: Glenwood Duplex Kitchen Range

PostBy: LsFarm On: Tue Mar 21, 2006 9:10 pm

This is a long story, so bear with me.

I first decided it was time to hook up my wood/coal boiler when I found out that my pre-buy price for Propane was going to cost $5500 for this season. This is at $1.59 /gal. Regular no-contract price right now is $2.79/gal. My house alone burns 600-900 gallons of propane per month with the thermostats set at 60*.

So I got busy, installed the heat exchangers, buried the insulated pipes, brought the little boiler in from the barn to the new outdoor 'boiler-room' and hooked it up.

I soon found out that it was way too small, and quite ineffecient. I tried Coal to extend my burn times and that is how I found this site. I was trying to learn about coal, and burning coal properly.

I designed and fabricated a new boiler [with help] and installed the new MUCH larger, more effecient boiler in January. I am now able to burn either wood or coal long enough to get through the day or all night. With much lower stack temperatures.

The long and steep learning curve about coal came to this: My 'reclaimed' coal that I found here is very poor quality Bituminous, I paid only $15 a ton, but have to sift out the chunks from the fines, and this results in about a 50% waste. Ths coal smokes very bad, creates a very nasty soot, and the amount of rock, clinker and ash remaining is amazing, so I will not be purchasing any of this 'reclaimed' coal next year.

I found a source for bagged Anthracite coal with the help of a fellow forum member [Thanks Dave!] and gave it a try. WOW, What a difference, burns clean, hot, virtually ash and clinker free. But it is costly by the bag.

So this summer I will make at least one maybe two 'pilgrimages' to PA for bulk anthracite coal. I expect to burn around 8-10 ton to heat my house and shop next year.

Even at $200 a ton, the cost to heat my buildings to a comfortable 70* is about a third of the cost of using propane. So if I buy $2000 of coal I will be happy if it is enough for the winter.

It has been a very educational year here in Michigan!! I have burn only around $400 propane in the house, but the shop has still consumed about $800, and the apartment $600. Next year the shop will be coal heated from the same boiler as the house.

So the heat bill is about $1800 instead of $5500 this year. Not counting the new installed hardware.

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

PostBy: Groucho On: Sat Apr 08, 2006 8:27 pm

First, buying the coal stove was a really smart move. My heat bill for the season will be around $500.00 which is a heck of a savings over gas which has been costing my neighbors 350 - 450 per MONTH! Our gas furnace never came on this year.

Second, I'll buy about 2.5 tons for next year all at once. Since I buy it bagged, I can store it easily in my garage. Yeah, bulk would be cheaper, but then I have no place to store it. That way I'll avoid shortages if they occur and I'll get a nice price break from my dealer.

Third, I'd do it all over again.

Oh yeah, I'm only shaking the grates once a day now. Saves coal and effort. Live and learn

PostBy: lime4x4 On: Sun Apr 09, 2006 9:59 am

First year with the magnum coal stoker burnt just over 3 tons this year kept the house between 70 to 75 after the dealer got the stove to work properly. Spent just under 400 bucks for coal.Last year spent over 2600 buck for natural gas and that was just to keep the house around 65 degrees. Spent 2800 for the stove 400 for coal and 700 for the ss liner. So I figure after the next heating season the stove would've paid for it's self..

PostBy: wenchris On: Sun Apr 09, 2006 1:24 pm

Also first year with magumn stoker. Don't know why I did'nt do it sooner. Beats burning wood and oil by a long shot. The wife was very happy that I am no longer the "HEAT NAZI". Now I tell her if your cold turn up the thermostat. Never said that before!! Will add the water coil for next season and be done with the oilman for the winter at least. This forum has been great, alot of problems were worked out here, saving time, coal and $$$$. Thanks to all for all your help this season. Jimmy :)
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Magnum stoker with water coil