Best Choice for Asthma Sufferer

Best Choice for Asthma Sufferer

PostBy: evancopp On: Sat Aug 23, 2008 3:01 pm

Hi everyone. My first post here after reading tons of great info. I am purchasing a 2400 sq ft colonial built in 1980 with a good quality 12 year old oil forced air furnace in the basement. It also has a large brick fireplace in the family room on the first floor. I know there are a thousand ways to heat this house with coal, but I would like some specific advice based on my living situation outlined below:

1. My wife has Asthma! Is coal out of the question for us? I am concerned about dust and am willing to take extraordinary measures to eliminate it as much as possible, but should I abandon this coal idea? If not, how do I minimize her exposure?

2. The family room with the fireplace will be the bedroom/apartment for my mom. If I put a stove or insert in there hoping to heat the entire house, won't she get too hot sleeping in the same room?

3. I will be using the basement a lot for my hobbies, so I would also like to keep that at normal room temperature. I am concerned that it will also get too hot if I put a stove down there.

Any suggestions and advice is greatly appreciated!
evancopp
 

Re: Best Choice for Asthma Sufferer

PostBy: Richard S. On: Sat Aug 23, 2008 3:36 pm

I don't have asthma nor does anyone in my family so I can't speak from experience. However from a previous thread I gather its not an issue. That is just the opinion of two people though with experience. What works for them may not work for you.

Asthma concerns

To minimize the exposure you should place you unit as far way from the living space as possible. There is some dust, this occurs when you move the coal and the ashes. To minimize the dust you lightly dampen the coal before moving it to the stove. some dealers also have coal thats been oiled with a vegetable base oil. As far as the ashes the only thing you can really do is be careful.

The stoker stoves are thermostatically controlled so if you're going tom be putting it in a small space you should look at purchasing one of them. Ideally you want to move the air around the house. Since you already have a hot air distribution system you could tie it right into that.

For example Leisure line has a hot air Jacket for their stoves, scroll down a little on this page: http://www.leisurelinestoves.com/

There's directions here, the concept is pretty simple and you could even rig up your own system to achieve this: http://www.leisurelinestoves.com/1904137.html
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Best Choice for Asthma Sufferer

PostBy: evancopp On: Sat Aug 23, 2008 3:50 pm

Ok, so I guess the stove would have to go in the basement to keep it out of the living area. So I could work with a coal forced air furnace in parallel (or replacing) the oil forced air furnace, or a free standing stove piped into the existing ductwork. Would the free standing stove (or the furnace) make it too hot to work in the basement for extended periods?

One thing I forgot to mention is that there is a 2 car attached garage right on the other side of the family room on the first floor and the chimney goes right up in between them (You see the back of the chimney inside the garage).This is probably a stupid question, but would it be possible to put the stove in the garage (keeping it out of the living area completely) by tying into the existing chimney and then somehow connecting or directing the heat into the house? I don't know how this would work or if it is even a good idea.
evancopp
 

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Re: Best Choice for Asthma Sufferer

PostBy: Rob R. On: Sat Aug 23, 2008 6:39 pm

Hello evancopp. I have strugged with asthma and lots of allergies my whole life. I literally respond to everything in the allergist test kit, molds, pollen, dust mites, pet dander...you name it. I take advair for asthma and other inhalers when needed.

I started burning coal last winter, and it was probably one of the easiest winters (in terms of asthma) that I've had. My stove is in the basement, so the ash dust stays down there. Even when I accidentally dumped the ash pan on the basement floor and engulfed myself with dust, no issues...no inhalers. I guess the coal dust/ash is inert with no common allergy "triggers".

Burning coal is a relief for my asthma compared to wood and all the dirt/mold that comes with it.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: Rice/buck
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Best Choice for Asthma Sufferer

PostBy: rberq On: Sat Aug 23, 2008 8:21 pm

I have had asthma "forever" but I had no trouble in my first winter heating with coal, with the stove in the living room and near the bedroom door. As markviii said, the dust apparently is not an allergen in and of itself.

The ash dust is very, very fine and I suppose it might trigger asthma spasms in one who is right on the edge. When I would slide the ash pan out of the stove, I could often see a bit of fine ash carried upwards by the convection currents along the front of the stove. I considered clipping a vacuum cleaner hose near the front top of the stove during ash removal to suck in the dust; I didn't' do it, but if you want to go to "extraordinary lengths" I think that would work. I have seen the same dust coming out of the air inlet during shaking and carried up by convection, if the inlet wasn't completely closed.

The other source of dust is from the unburnt coal, mainly when dumping from one container or bag into another container. Unless the coal was wet I could often see a fine cloud of black dust rise up when I poured from bag to coal hod. I did all that in the garage, wearing a dust mask. (Excuse me, I don't know how to say this without sounding crude, but without the dust mask I found my boogers next day were black. Even though I didn't think I was inhaling the dust, obviously I was.) Coal dust was never a problem in the house because my nut coal was poured directly into the firebox and any dust was sucked away by the chimney draft. I have no experience with rice coal poured into a hopper for a stoker stove -- I would imagine that could make considerable dust -- but others on the forum have mentioned ways to cut down that dust.
rberq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine 1300
Coal Size/Type: Nut -- Kimmel/Blaschak/Reading
Other Heating: Oil hot water radiators, propane

Re: Best Choice for Asthma Sufferer

PostBy: gambler On: Sat Aug 23, 2008 10:30 pm

You can use a device like this to load a hopper on a stoker stove. And with damp coal you get zero coal dust.
My son has asthma and the coal stove has not caused him any greif.
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gambler
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Pioneer

Re: Best Choice for Asthma Sufferer

PostBy: Richard S. On: Sun Aug 24, 2008 5:38 am

evancopp wrote:Would the free standing stove (or the furnace) make it too hot to work in the basement for extended periods?


I guess that depends on how big of an area its in and how well you're distributing the excessive heat. Probably not an issue if you're tieing into your existing ductwork. If it becomes an issue you could always install some registers in the floor above there to help alleviate it.

As far as putting it in the garage people have done that but they have done it with full boiler systems. I don't recall anyone doing it with a smaller stoker or stove. The boilers are insulated so you'll have very little heat loss inside the garage, just enough to keep it comfortable. The smaller stoves are all radiant heat. If you did it with one of them you'll have the warmest garage in town.

The other source of dust is from the unburnt coal, mainly when dumping from one container or bag into another container


Put the bag in the container, cut the bag with a razor knife from one end to the other and pull the bag out. If your stove has a hopper you can put the bag right in the hopper and do this.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Best Choice for Asthma Sufferer

PostBy: syncmaster On: Sun Aug 24, 2008 8:32 am

evancopp wrote:3. I will be using the basement a lot for my hobbies, so I would also like to keep that at normal room temperature. I am concerned that it will also get too hot if I put a stove down there.


I would say look into a coal boiler like the kaa2 keystoker or vf3000 harman.
you would have it in your boiler room and next your main boiler .

you will need to install a circulator pump and a hot water coil in your existing hot air duct.
this will:
heat your whole house.
keep all the dust in the boiler room.
have the whole house at a normal tempeture.
allow you to filter the air in the house by changing the existing cold air return filters.
allow you to easily add a humidifier in the duct if needed(air gets very dry in the winter)

and if you are not running the coal boiler or it runs out of coal your main boiler will turn on automaticly .
syncmaster
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: harmanVF3000 Coal/oil option
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: VF3000
Stove/Furnace Model: Harman VF3000

Re: Best Choice for Asthma Sufferer

PostBy: evancopp On: Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:14 am

Thank you everyone for your incredibly helpful and reassuring input. I am excited that I will be able to use coal by taking some common sense precautions with the dust!

I am a little confused over having a boiler with the hot water coil hooked into a forced air system. How does that work and is it an efficient method?

Thanks!
evancopp
 

Re: Best Choice for Asthma Sufferer

PostBy: Richard S. On: Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:30 am

They make full boilers, the hot water coil is additional. It's a significant investment. To hook it into your existing ducts you'd have to add a heat exchanger. From my understanding its not as efficient as running hot water baseboard. It's some serious $$$ if you go that way but well worth the investment in the long run.

The panels you see are insulated. This could be placed inside your garage and most of the heat will be contained inside the unit. You won't be heating the garage but there will be enough radiant heat between the flue, pies etc to keep it nice for a garage. If you really wanted you could even build a small shed for it... You'd have to check the building codes to make sure you can do that.

It's just another option but its the best IMO for anyone if you have the money and want to make a commitment to using coal. The ka-6 mentioned is currently selling in the $5K range and that doesn't include installation. It's the cheapest boiler AFAIK. The other issue is finding one. Chances are you won't get a new one until sometime next year.
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Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Best Choice for Asthma Sufferer

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Sun Aug 24, 2008 8:05 pm

evancopp wrote:Thank you everyone for your incredibly helpful and reassuring input. I am excited that I will be able to use coal by taking some common sense precautions with the dust!

I am a little confused over having a boiler with the hot water coil hooked into a forced air system. How does that work and is it an efficient method?

Thanks!


We have several members that have done this, I'm sure some will chime in and either point to there threads or post up some pics. I think it actually will improve the home's feel as the air is circulated slowly and continuously in some cases. No more warm blast and then a chill when the furnace shuts down. Just a nice even temperature constantly. The youngest here had asthma real bad when she was younger. I switched from wood to coal and she improved tremendously, I believe she is almost free of it now at 19. I don't think the coal dust is even an issue, I know damp and drafty are.
coaledsweat
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

Re: Best Choice for Asthma Sufferer

PostBy: evancopp On: Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:41 pm

Richard S. wrote: some dealers also have coal thats been oiled with a vegetable base oil.


Do all sizes of coal come with this option to keep the dust down? I want to make sure that the stove/boiler I eventually buy can use coal already treated for dust by the dealer. One of the stoves I am considering uses "pea" size as the smallest option.

And by the way, this is the friendliest and most informative forum I have ever experienced! Thank you everyone for the great service you provide.
evancopp
 

Re: Best Choice for Asthma Sufferer

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Thu Aug 28, 2008 2:14 pm

I've been thinking about this thread for a couple of days now. This is my spin on it. About half the air on the first floor of your home actually comes from the basement, with it comes mold, mildew, dampness and a variety of other living things, mostly microscopic. Burning coal tends to dry the air considerably making these tiny lifeforms die or vacate the premises. I believe it is healthier for people, especially the young growing ones. I know my home is much more comfy when heating with coal than oil and I'm sure most here would agree.

Asthma was not a problem 100 years ago when everyone was burning coal, it's rise came since WWII and the use of oil fired heating and diesel trucks/buses/cars. Carbon is fairly inert, not so hydrocarbons. Thoughts?

Check with your local dealer to determine oiled coal availability, some offer it and some do not. I don't think you need it, the little one here never had any trouble from it.
Last edited by coaledsweat on Thu Aug 28, 2008 2:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
coaledsweat
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

Re: Best Choice for Asthma Sufferer

PostBy: Richard S. On: Thu Aug 28, 2008 2:17 pm

That option for oil is not widely available, you'd have to check the dealers in your area if they have it. If they have one size with oil they should have all sizes with oil.

coaledsweat , your theory cetainly seems plausible to me. As I've stated before the only place for any coal installation is in the basement IMO. Keeping the dampness at bay is one of the reasons.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Best Choice for Asthma Sufferer

PostBy: evancopp On: Thu Aug 28, 2008 11:24 pm

I think you may be on to something with keeping mold and moisture out of the basement, especially in a forced air system. I am having the house I am buying inspected by a mold expert tomorrow - a medical mycologist I think he calls himself - and I will ask him about your theory and report back.

The house has mold in the attic, and he told me over the phone without even looking yet, (based on the information I gave him) that the attic is not the problem but the mold is almost certainly coming from the basement and just finding a nice home in the attic. It will be interesting to hear what he thinks about putting a coal stove in the bsmt. I will let you know.
evancopp
 

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