Opinions on the US Stove/Clayton Brand??

Opinions on the US Stove/Clayton Brand??

PostBy: deepwoods On: Sun Sep 07, 2008 5:41 pm

Hi Folks,
I'm a newbie here! Recently found this forum and Am hoping some of the more experienced coal burners might care to express an opinion on the US Stoves or Clayton brand Coal/Wood forced air furnaces. I have been looking at the 135,000 BTU model at a local Tractor Supply store. Just wondering about longevity and burning characteristics using strictly coal. I have heated my whole house with wood for 31 years and I'm getting really tired of the yearly hassle of cutting wood, splitting wood, and stacking wood plus the attendant creosote cleaning. Living in Pa., which is a coal producing state I have decided to take the plunge. If anyone here is using one of the aforementioned furnaces what size hard coal would be the best for it? I have a double flue interior chimney which has very good draft. When cold it will generally pull a lighted piece of newspaper straight up. Also is a barometric damper advisable for a coal burning stove? Having shopped around Iam aware that there are some very expensive coal burners. As the old saying goes, "ya get what ya pay for" and would like to know if $2000-$2500 will get me a decent long lasting stove??? Thanks in advance for any and all advice!
deepwoods
 

Re: Opinions on the US Stove/Clayton Brand??

PostBy: BIG BEAM On: Sun Sep 07, 2008 7:32 pm

Hi deepwoods and welcome.
I have the smaller us stove furnace from TSC 119K btu's.I've burned nut coal in mine since it was new and it's been fine for me.Let me say that mine does work well but,they are made to burn wood and coal with an eye toward wood.They are a bit finiky with coal,but when you learn what it likes they heat well.The bigger furnace that you are looking at has a better grate system than the one I have.The grates are more like what harman uses.The big one also has a 3 speed fan(nice touch).Mine was about a grand and the one you're looking at it about 2 grand.They are made of 7 ga. steel and that's pretty thick.If you plan to burn some wood I would say go for it.If you plan to burn just coal I would spend a little more and get a furnace that is set up for just coal.A dedicated coal furnace will also burn wood.

If you post what the btu's of the system you have now is I'm sure other members will chime in and tell you what they have and how well there's work.
DON

BTW I've had mine for 2 seasons.
Happy Hunting

One more thing a baro is highly recomended on this site and although I have one I have it set quite high(.08) I'm getting a manometer soon so I can see first hand what all the fuss is about.
BIG BEAM
 
Stove/Furnace Make: USS Hot blast
Stove/Furnace Model: 1557M

Re: Opinions on the US Stove/Clayton Brand??

PostBy: deepwoods On: Sun Sep 07, 2008 10:47 pm

Thanks for your input Big Beam. Currently I have a large home made wood stove in the basement. It's made from a length of hi-pressure gas pipeline with 5/8" thick wall. It will take wood up to 34" long and probably weighs close to 1000 lbs. though I've never weighed it. BTU's, I have no idea but it has no trouble heating my home. What it lacks in "tech" it makes up for in sheer size. My house is single story with full basement for a total of 2500 sq. ft. Built in 1986 with thermal-pane glass and 6" insulation in walls and 12" overhead. It's a fairly tight house. I most likely would not need the larger coal furnace if just heating the upper level but I spend a fair amount of time in the basement so would probably need it. Most likely will burn some wood just to ease the wallet bite that price of coal is now. I do not mind cutting a couple months worth of wood but do want to get away from generating a full winter's worth (around 16 face cord). I think the wood/coal would be a satisfactory system for me but Iam wide open to other brands and ideas. I noticed that the TSC furnace has a domestic water heating option which would be nice as I already have it in my current wood eating monster. Do water coils in coal stoves pose any particular problems?
deepwoods
 

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Re: Opinions on the US Stove/Clayton Brand??

PostBy: LsFarm On: Mon Sep 08, 2008 12:17 am

The main problem with the US Stove products is, as stated above, they are wood burners first, and a coal burner second.. Go to the many coal burning stove sites, and look at the design of the firebox.. For coal you want a firebox with near vertical sides, a deep firebox with nothing but shaker grates on the bottom..
Most of the US stove products have a 'V' shaped firebox that is not very deep.. coal needs to be 8-10" deep in a furnace the size you are looking at..

The US stove product that looks closest to being a good coal burner are the Clayton brand,, the sides are nearly vertical, and the grates large.. Compare to the Harman hand feed furnaces and boilers..

With a really good chimney like you describe you have, and a barometric damper, you may have good luck with one of these stoves.. but it will require some learning and they often are finicky.. Most made for coal stoves are light it and feed it, empty the ashpan and that's it..

There are several forum members who have spend lots of time and effort to redesign a US stove product or have given up on them and bought a made-for-coal product..

To me buying a US stove product is a gamble,, about 50/50 that you will have good luck with it.. If you were asking about buying a Hitzer, Keystoker, Harman, Baker, NewYorker furnace or stove,, I'd say you are about 98% likely to have good luck with it..

Hope this helps.. 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: Opinions on the US Stove/Clayton Brand??

PostBy: jumperjoe On: Mon Sep 08, 2008 6:49 am

I've had my little USSC Hot Blast, 119k for 5 yrs now, I burn about 2 tons of coal and about a 1/2 cord of wood per year.
I have no problems with it. No burn outs, no broken parts.
I paid $600.00 for it and had my money back the 1st year.
If you burn wood and coal, it's not a bad stove in my opinion.
jumperjoe
 
Stove/Furnace Make: USSC Hotblast 1300

Re: Opinions on the US Stove/Clayton Brand??

PostBy: BIG BEAM On: Mon Sep 08, 2008 10:22 am

I like mine too.If it was that bad I would have taken it out and sold it.When it dies I might get sonething that just burns coal(depending on the price)If the USSC is still cheap as h#ll when I need a replacement I'd buy another.
I just mesured the thickness of the steel in my hotblast furnace(.134") that's a little more than 1/8".Not bad for a cheapy furnace!
DON
BIG BEAM
 
Stove/Furnace Make: USS Hot blast
Stove/Furnace Model: 1557M

Re: Opinions on the US Stove/Clayton Brand??

PostBy: Linc On: Mon Sep 08, 2008 11:37 am

I see there is a Clayton model 1600M 135,000 BTU listed on Craigslist for $1000. In the Rochester,NY area. (Victor) Appears to be in good shape by the picture. It may be worth getting used. It would save you $1000.
Linc
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Alaska Kodiak Stoker

Re: Opinions on the US Stove/Clayton Brand??

PostBy: LsFarm On: Mon Sep 08, 2008 12:49 pm

Please understand that I'm trying to help.. My only personal interest in this is that I copied the US Stove firebox design for my 'Big Bertha' boiler I built, and had to live with the limitations that that style firebox has.. You CAN burn coal in them.. but they are designed to burn wood best.

For the Dollars, especially right now with all the real coal stoves, furnaces and boilers sold out untill next spring,, I'm sure there will be a lot of people buying the TSC US Stove products.. I just hope we can help them get through the night without an out fire.. or overheating the house. there often is no middle ground.

Look at the shipping weight of the furnaces, you will see the difference in the materials..

These furnaces and boilers MUST have a good chimney.. a marginal chimney just won't work.

Look up US Stove, Hotblast, and a few other search topics.. and read about the products.. one guy took his back to TSC, got his money back, installed a Hitzer Furnace, and started it once for the remainder of the heating season,, instead of every day or two.. all of his frustration was over..

The used one on Craigslist sounds like a good deal. The Clayton furnaces are, like I mentioned, pretty close in design to a coal burning firebox..

Hope this helps.. 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: Opinions on the US Stove/Clayton Brand??

PostBy: BIG BEAM On: Mon Sep 08, 2008 10:51 pm

Yeah Greg 2 things you MUST have is good coal and good draft,And it will take you 5 or 6 mins to shake it down.


One member had good luck with stove coal and USS says that's what you should burn.I tried stove coal but it was Reading coal so needless to say it didn't work out so well.Mine works well with most coal(nut) and very well with superior(nut).But then again I think you could burn superior coal on a grate in a fireplace.That stuff is really something else.
DON
BIG BEAM
 
Stove/Furnace Make: USS Hot blast
Stove/Furnace Model: 1557M

Re: Opinions on the US Stove/Clayton Brand??

PostBy: deepwoods On: Tue Sep 09, 2008 10:13 am

A couple questions, in regard to coal quality, what are some questions a fellow should ask his friendly local coal dealer when plopping down $220.00/ton? It truly is "black Gold" these days! I have a chance to purchase a Clayton approx 10 years old for $300.00 Was going to buy new but have decided to take a look at it. Owner says he never had a coal fire in it, only wood. The grates and firebox metal are in good shape but it will need re-bricked. What I've gathered in some replies the Clayton might be better suited for coal than the US Stove? For firebrick, is there a certain type or grade needed for coal burning or is all firebrick mostly the same? I'm not afraid of working on it but in the same sense I do not want to do a total rebuild either. I can buy a lot of coal for the cost savings compared to a new one! I will report back here on my findings soon.
deepwoods
 

Re: Opinions on the US Stove/Clayton Brand??

PostBy: magikk On: Tue Sep 09, 2008 10:45 am

Hey There,I have one of the Clayton 1600's.I bought it at tractor supply ($1600)& it came with just the screw out drafts not the forced draft option.I installed it in a shed outside of a mobile home & buried my ductwork & used 3 sections of stainless fluepipe for a finished height of 12-13ft.It was kind of a gamble cause the system makes it a bit harder to push the hot air.I didn't want to spend alot of money on a more expensive furnace only to find I couldn't push the air through the trailer.It turns out it worked better then I expected the house stays nice & warm if it gets below 76 now my wife is cold.With the oil furnace the year before we kept the temp around 65 & always felt cold.I spent around $2500 on oil & propane the year before last ,but last year burned 6 ton of Bit coal at around $550.I almost paid for the furnace & all other stuff duct work etc in one years savings.This is my first house furnace that I ever fired.I've ran big stokers & hand feds for 16 years or so at my job.The clayton requires some work to get it figured out as to how much draft to keep open.Once I built my coal fire I kept it going all winter.The one batch of coal I had required I checked it at least every 4 or 5 hrs .The next batch of coal burned alot better & I could load it up as full as I could & have fire & a warm house in the morning.I know there are alot better furnaces out there & I plan on getting a Harmon 2500 & putting the Clayton in my garage somewhere down the line.For the money the clayton gets the job done ok & their customer service is pretty good.I broke a shaker handle & they sent me new one no questions asked.It wasn't welded very good.I rewelded the old one & still have it on.Sorry for rambling on.Hope I helped a little Mike
magikk
 
Stove/Furnace Make: US Stove CO
Stove/Furnace Model: Clayton 1600

Re: Opinions on the US Stove/Clayton Brand??

PostBy: LsFarm On: Tue Sep 09, 2008 1:08 pm

deepwoods, for $300 I'd gamble on it.. in the current market for coal apliances, that will be hard to beat.. and, if you have to only replace some missing firebrick, that is a minimal expense.. the firebrick cost only about a dollar each.

Just look the unit over for bad rust issues, make sure the grates work smoothly, and the draft controls and doors seal and operate easlily.. Hook it to a good chimney, install a barometric damper, and with some experimenting, you will figure it out..

As for the coal, no retailer is going to say anything bad about the coal they are selling.. what you want is all fresh mined coal,, not reclaimed coal. Read some of the numerous 'coal quality' topics here on the forum,,, lots of information and opinions..

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: Opinions on the US Stove/Clayton Brand??

PostBy: deepwoods On: Thu Sep 11, 2008 2:08 am

Greg,
Looked at it today and found firebox solid, grates in great shape too. Left wall of firebox has a couple minor waves or wrinkles in the upper portion but where firebrick sits it is perfectly straight. Found some surface rust on outside top of firebox but no pitting or holes. Doors, shaker are in good shape and work easily. All the furnace shrouding is surprisingly nice too, paint looks good. It is a model 7.1 Clayton. I did buy it.
I will replace the door gaskets, rebrick firebox and give the front of it a sandblast job and a coat of hi-heat paint. I think I will get some sample loads of nut and stove coal and try to find out which it prefers. I have read here some recommend one size or the other.
One more item, the owner said he went thru 3 blower motors which were direct drive to the fan. He said dust in the motors was a factor so he converted the blower to belt drive with the motor sitting over the blower and has had no trouble since.
Another question, can barometric dampers be had in stainless steel? I want to use all stainless between the furnace and the chimney.
deepwoods
 

Re: Opinions on the US Stove/Clayton Brand??

PostBy: LsFarm On: Thu Sep 11, 2008 3:39 am

I'm not positive if a Barometric damper is available in SS,, but they are a simple device, and are not difficult to keep clean,, if you keep it clean, it will last for a long time,, the worst thing to do is to forget to 'summerize' the stove and flue pipes..

Get a manometer,, they run usually about $25 off of Ebay.. A dwyer Mark II, model 25 is the one you want.. This instrument will allow you to monitor your draft and adjust your barometric damper..

The furnace sounds like a good one,, with a good chimney you should do fine... I'd go with nut coal,, try to find Blaschak if you are getting bagged coal,, You may find stove to work better, but I'm betting Nut will be the best..

Greg L.

Post a few photos of your refurb on a separate topic,, so we can refer to it for other potential Clayton owners.. make sure you show the firebox and grates..
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

Re: Opinions on the US Stove/Clayton Brand??

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Thu Sep 11, 2008 7:27 am

deepwoods wrote:I want to use all stainless between the furnace and the chimney.


You will change your mind after you buy it and try to drill it. Go with black pipe & standard baro.
coaledsweat
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

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