Coal Vs Wood Pellets

Coal vs Wood Pellets

PostBy: AlanK On: Sat Feb 18, 2006 4:17 pm

I hear a lot of moaning and groaning about wood pellets being in short supply. I am looking for a stove as suppllemental heat and started with rice coal- then wood pellets - and now back to rice. Is there really going to be a shortage or cost increase in the price of good wood pellets. Hear now they may bring them in from China. The BTU value of coal is known but what about the supply in Western PA.

PostBy: madrmc On: Sat Feb 18, 2006 5:45 pm

I'm in Western PA, and made the same decision (coal vs. pellets) October 2005, going with Rice Coal. I'm trying to find 4-5 suppliers. At this point I have 3. The closest is 10 miles down the road. Just becuase I can get it now doesn't mean its gauranteed that I'll be able to in 10 years, but if I had to guess I'd say I will be able to in 10 years.

I think there will be plenty of supply of pellets (maybe some shorter run shortages), so long as they are an economic alternative to natural gas and oil. Pellets produce less heat per pound and would require more storage space, but they produce a lot less ashes than coal. Otherwise I'd imagine the only other benefits are that pellets would burn more completely and are probably cleaner.
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing III

PostBy: Richard S. On: Sat Feb 18, 2006 6:13 pm

There's the cost benefit too, coal is cheaper. At least in this neck of the oods.
Richard S.
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

PostBy: AL-53 On: Sat Feb 18, 2006 6:43 pm

I burnt wood for 20+ went over to coal...wish I did 20 years ago...the heat is so hot spots..

A friend of mine is a pellet burner and had a hard time getting pellets this year..I would assume they will up production but what happens when the trend ends or slows down.

The BTU output of pellets will not come close to coal...also coal is cheaper to buy....

Buying coal keeps Americans working and money back into America....buying Chinese pellets will not help Americans and what quality will they be...they have no regulations there so you never know what you may be burning....

I believe coal will always be here has for over 200 years...


PostBy: Oo-v-oO On: Sat Feb 18, 2006 10:54 pm

To offer a differing opinion - wood is a renewable biomass that does not release any additional carbon into the atmosphere. That which is released was removed by the trees that the pellets are made from as they grew, similar to burning biodiesel.

Coal will probably always be here for my lifetime, I'll agree, but not forever - at least the economically feasable reserves of it.

Pellets are a great way to utilize what would have been a waste product. As a thrifty Yankee, I've got to appreciate that.

Disclaimer - I have never burnt wood pellets; I've always used wood cut from my property or a friend's, or occasionally waste from a birch veneer factory. A friend of mine does burn wood pellets and he says that the quality can vary greatly from supplier to supplier.
Stove/Furnace Make: Ashley

PostBy: Mlou On: Sun Feb 19, 2006 12:05 am

Coal costs less, is cleaner, is easier to get, easier to store and if you go with nut size usually doesn't require electricity. Coal -lower initial cost, lower maintainance, lower cost for fuel. Gotta reccomend the coal!!

PostBy: lime4x4 On: Sun Feb 19, 2006 12:59 am

i use to burn wood pellets. Went thru 2 bags a day. At that time pellets were around 3.50 a bag so that was 49 bucks a week or 196 bucks a month. Currently burning around 100 bucks worth of coal a month plus on the average I have the house temp 10 to 15 degrees warmer then with pellets..

PostBy: Chris On: Sun Feb 19, 2006 8:54 am

I burned pellets for 13 years and switched to coal this year. I use about one third less coal per week than pellets, coal is hotter, a lot less maintenance and was eaiser to obtain than pellets (this year).

The comparison? - There isn't one.

PostBy: Mike Wilson On: Sun Feb 19, 2006 9:12 am

I don't have garbage pickup at the house, its not available. Everything has to be hauled to the dumps, by me. So how many Hefty bags of coal ash will I be hauling per week? Can you even put the stuff in a hefty bag, or must I use cans. Will the people at the dumps arrest me for dumping it!?!? Sounds strange, I know, but they are serious concerns for me. Looking towards installing a stoker this summer for next season.

-- Mike
Mike Wilson
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker 90 DV
Stove/Furnace Model: Jøtul Kennebec Wood Insert

PostBy: Pap On: Sun Feb 19, 2006 10:24 am

I burned pellets for about six years. Pellets cost about $3.50 per 40lb bag. The pellets worked good I used about two bags a day to heat the house, that wasn't bad compared to oil the last couple of years.

The main reason I went to coal this year is when the power goes out I can't use the stove unless I drag the generator out. I am not sure why but in my area when the weather is bad the power goes out. The wind blows the power goes out. Maybe only a couple of hours but you can bet it will go off.

So I sold the pellet stove and bought my Harman Mark III (I love it) hand fired stove. If the power goes out the blower won't work but we still stay warm. It cost less to use and the exersise of hauling coal is good I guess :roll: . Best move I made in a long time.

Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III
Other Heating: Oil

PostBy: Chris On: Sun Feb 19, 2006 12:20 pm

don't have garbage pickup at the house, its not available.

Do you have a gravel driveway? The ash makes excellent fill. If I didn't use it in my driveway, I'd probably spread it in the weeds or a field. Don't think a dump would have a problem with it but you may want to ask.

PostBy: SMITTY On: Sun Feb 19, 2006 1:39 pm

A guy I work with pays alot less for pellets, but he burns more, so we're about even.

I love the fact that everyone around here bought pellet stoves when the price of oil went thru the roof--it was so predictable: most people around here are well-heeled, and of course, will buy a stove that only requires you to turn a dial. None of them have a clue what "work" actually is -- they pay people to do that for them. So when everyone and their sister went out and bought pellet stoves, and then ran out of pellets, I sat back and laughed, WARM!! :twisted:

I'm just a blue-collar guy who enjoys seeing the wealthy is misery, `cause it doesn't happen that often!! :lol:

As far as the ashes go, I just dump them down a hill in the woods. Got quite the pile now, 2 1/2 tons of coal later! I would estimate the pile of ash is about 1/3 the amount of coal I burned -- so if you look at what you have for coal, picture 1/3 of it being ash.
Stoker Coal Boiler: Patriot Coal - (custom built by Jim Dorsey, Taunton MA - RIP 4/18/13)
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III (SOLD!)
Coal Size/Type: Rice / Blaschak anthracite
Other Heating: Oil fired Burnham boiler

PostBy: Richard S. On: Sun Feb 19, 2006 7:34 pm

Mike Wilson wrote: So how many Hefty bags of coal ash will I be hauling per week? Can you even put the stuff in a hefty bag, or must I use cans.

You'll go through a lot of bags if you go that route, cans would be a lot more feasible and easier to handle.

Will the people at the dumps arrest me for dumping it!?!?

Don't see why they would, locally many customers have there ashes picked up by the garbage collector. It's usually a yearly fee.
Richard S.
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

PostBy: WNY On: Tue Feb 21, 2006 8:15 am

Same here, they are limiting the bags to 10 for Pellets and some places for coal too (but that is at hardware stores, Home Depot, etc..) The coal dealer here gets (2) 20 tons loads a week! He is keeping up no problem last time I checked.
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90K, Leisure Line Hyfire I
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker, LL & CoalTrol
Stove/Furnace Model: 90K, Hyfire I, VF3000 Soon

PostBy: wally61 On: Wed Feb 22, 2006 7:36 pm

from what I understand about coal vs wood pellets is wood pellets is a supplemnt heat where as coal is a primary heat source I just started burning coal this year and am glad I did it vs pellet. my friend has a pellet stove and when it gets cold out he burns 3-4 bags day to heat me I bag a day and am toasty warm this is my take on it.
Stove/Furnace Make: alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: channing III dv coal-trol