Convert From HVAC LP to Koker Keystoker Coal Furnace

Convert from HVAC LP to Koker Keystoker Coal Furnace

PostBy: JoeD On: Fri Apr 28, 2006 10:23 am

Hi My Name is Joe, I'm a new user found this site doing re-search on Keystoker furnaces. I live in Syracuse New York and built a 2,650 SQ ft. ranch approx. 3 years ago 10" ceilings and vaulted ceilings in Family room. Blown in insulation 6" outside walls and ceilings 14". The house presently heats using a Forced Air Carrier High Efficiency furnace and is a Propane system and we have a Propane Hot Water tank. From October 2005 - April 27 2006 propane usage 640 gallons propane costs approx. $1150.00 total. I'm missing not having any independence from the propane company and saw the Keystoker furnace at the Syracuse home show a few months ago and have not stopped researching them since.
I'm hearing 'Nothing but good things" and want to know if this site can help me verify my fears of switching to coal. I'm looking at the Koker 160,000 BTU with a direct vent, 1,500CFM motor and the Hot Water Coil option. (we do not have a chimney). I want to install this furnace in my basement and hook it directly into my HVAC System and run it like a furnace. I have a drive in basement garage door on the rear of my house and feel I have the perfect system for bringing the stove and coal in and out of my house. My oldest brother who is a boiler operator for many years keeps telling me how dirty coal will be, it will create much dust in my house, (my wife will kill me is he is right we have light carpets throughout the house). I'm also concerned about the direct vent system as will it dis-color our vinyl siding the vent will be on the rear of the house, but will it dis-color the siding. Also because of the sulfur in the coal will the direct vent fan and exhaust rot out after a few years of use? I'm looking to burn the anthracite coal.
Can anyone help with the concerns I have listed and or any other area's I should be looking at.. Thanks and sorry for being so long on my first inquiry.. Warm regards, Joe
Coal Size/Type: Anthricite
Other Heating: Forced Air Natural Gas
Stove/Furnace Make: Key Stoker Furnance
Stove/Furnace Model: Koker 165

Going coal Joe

PostBy: Gilmore On: Sun Apr 30, 2006 6:17 pm

Going coal Joe
Joe, only recently I had the same questions and concerns that you are having. I did the research and the soul searching. I posed my questions on the NEPA forum and got very useful feedback that made my decision that much easier. Let me give you my two cents worth of what I have done and learned.
The Koker is an excellent unit for your forced hot air system. It should be able to heat your home plus roast some marshmallows to boot.

The little bit of dust that you will get should be the least of your concerns.
Since I also heat my home with LP this is what I did: I prepared a spreadsheet listing my monthly LP consumption for an entire year. This way I can compare my heating needs during a COLD winter vs a light winter like the one we had this year. For a bigger picture you can go from October 2004 to April 2006 or from Dec 04-05. I like to use a year as a measurement of my potential savings.
I used the same simple formula to analyze your situation. Using the heating calculation that one gallon of LP yields 91333 Btu(s) you multiply 640 by 91,333 = 58,453,120. This tells you how much coal you’ll need to replace your LP usage over a six-month period.

Using the industry numbers that one-ton of coal will yield 26-28 million Btu’s you can then plan on needing about 2.5 tons of rice coal. I use 25 million Btu’s to be on the conservative side. 58 million divided by 25. If your delivered ton of coal were $200 then your seasonal heating cost would be $500 bucks. Hopefully, you’ll use less and pay less.

The next question is where would you store the coal. Or better yet, where would your wife let you put it. Would you buy the coal bagged or in bulk. Would you store it in makeshift shed or lay down a cement slab. I would buy all the coal for the season and way before the onset of winter.
Final consideration. If you paid $2.15 for a gallon of LP, like I’m currently paying, your heating cost would’ve been $1376. If you dish out $4,000 to get your coal furnace ready to fire up you can see that it will take over 4 years (using 6 months) to recover your investment.

The cost of LP is likely to go up just like coal may. Proportionately speaking, I’ll bet that LP will go higher than coal. In my case, because I use more than twice your numbers, going coal is a no brainer.
Is it worth it? You’ll have to decide. Nevertheless, the folks on this forum are a lot wiser and experienced than me and will be able to shed more light on you.


PostBy: Richard S. On: Mon May 01, 2006 1:13 am

I'm not going to tell you there is no dirt but it's not that bad. If you're putting it in the basement and it's unfinished then it won't be any real at all in through the house. If it is finished (or even isn't) and you isolate it with a wall I think I can truthfully say you won't see any in the rest of the house.

All of the dirt comes from moving the coal, maybe a little from taking the ashes out. If you didn't have to put the coal in the hopper there wouldn't be any. You can alleviate most of that by slightly dampening it with one of those garden sprayers. You don't have to soak it just make it damp. The water won't affect how it burns.
Richard S.
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

PostBy: JoeD On: Mon May 01, 2006 10:43 am

Thanks Gilmore and Coal Miner can anyone speak to the direct vent and if it will stain the siding ?. Also has anyone had any problems with the the direct vent fan, direct vent parts, or exhaust pipes rotting out ?. Thx. Joe
Coal Size/Type: Anthricite
Other Heating: Forced Air Natural Gas
Stove/Furnace Make: Key Stoker Furnance
Stove/Furnace Model: Koker 165

PostBy: Complete Heat On: Tue May 02, 2006 5:44 pm


If you can install a "Class A" system, you will be better off. No motors, less maintenance and totally away from the siding. But, if you have to go direct vent there might be some slight staining, depending on the color of your siding. There are things that you can do, such as a shield around where the pipe comes out to keep the exhaust away from the siding. Remember that hard coal produces no visible smoke so it should only take a small effort on your part to make such a shield.

The Keystoker direct vent units are built like a tank, and should last for many years, and parts are replaecable. There is some weekly maintenance, but it is quick and easy.

Complete Heat
Stove/Furnace Make: Axeman-Anderson
Stove/Furnace Model: AA-130/FHA

PostBy: FedFire47 On: Tue May 02, 2006 8:40 pm

I bought a Keystoker about 4 years ago and it RAWKS. Like the admin said most of the dust comes from moving the coal to the hopper. I just spray mine with a garden hose about every 2 days and it alleviates about 99% of it. You will not regret your decision. I had an all electric heating system before the coal. During Jan and Feb my electric bill was almost 700 bucks, 400 bucks the other heating months, and about 100 for the summer. Since I put the coal in my electric bills haven't been above 100 and I burn about 7 ton a year so it cost me less then 1000 to heat the house and domestic water for the whole year. You can't go wrong brother the savings and quality of heat are AWESOME!


PostBy: JoeD On: Wed May 03, 2006 9:42 am

I would just like to say Thanks for all the Great feedback..
Coal Size/Type: Anthricite
Other Heating: Forced Air Natural Gas
Stove/Furnace Make: Key Stoker Furnance
Stove/Furnace Model: Koker 165

PostBy: alexw On: Sat Dec 02, 2006 5:47 pm

how do these units work in the summer? do they blaze up the basement?

PostBy: FedFire47 On: Mon Dec 04, 2006 9:15 pm

My Keystoker lets off a little heat in the summer but it isn't noticeable upstairs. They are very well insulated and they only time they really blow off any heat is when you take the covering off.

PostBy: Yanche On: Mon Dec 04, 2006 10:24 pm

My opinion is you need a masonry chimney for long term coal use. I know people recommend class A chimneys but I have read and re-read NFPA 211 and it makes no distinction for coal vs. other solid fuels. It also makes no clear distinction between central heating (furnaces and boilers) vs. room appliances (fireplaces and stoves). Class A chimneys and some power vents permit use with solid fuels but all the metal chimney development was done with wood stoves in mind. None that I'm aware of specifically say it's approved for use with coal or with a central heating appliance which has much more BTU output than any stove. Depending on the quality of your coal you will have a certain amount of sulfur in it. The process of coal combustion is such that sulfuric acid can be formed when the flue gas temperature is below the sulfur combustion products dew point. Over time even stainless steel chimneys will fail. Some say ten years. I don't know. I do know clay lined masonry chimneys in residential use with coal central boilers or furnaces last 75+ years.

I think this is wrong and misleading to imply that Class A metal chimeys can be used with coal. With the increased re-use of coal as a residential heating fuel NFPA 211 needs to be changed to make that distinction. The Fire Marshals I've spoken with would never consider using metal chimney or a power vented coal appliance in their home. Does anyone on this forum have technical information on the subject?
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea

PostBy: Complete Heat On: Sat Dec 09, 2006 2:51 am


Metalbestos brand chimneys is approved for coal use. In the the warranty it states that it is approved for "certain" coal; I asked Selkirk about anthracite, and that falls under the certain type of coal. A better brand, and what I feel as a professional chimney sweep is the best brand out there is Security pipe. It is listed for all fuels except corn, it has a floating inner liner for the wood burners out there (suckers). The floating liner is more resistant to the ravaging effects of a chimney fire so commom to wood stoves.


Model 140 Auger, heating 3200 sq ft on about a bag and a half a day in NH. (plus my hot water)
Complete Heat
Stove/Furnace Make: Axeman-Anderson
Stove/Furnace Model: AA-130/FHA

PostBy: Complete Heat On: Mon Feb 26, 2007 7:35 am

And Security Pipe comes with a thirty year warranty.

Complete Heat
Stove/Furnace Make: Axeman-Anderson
Stove/Furnace Model: AA-130/FHA

PostBy: MrP57 On: Wed Feb 28, 2007 8:41 pm

Hi Joe, I have a Koker, this is my first year with it, and we love it. I have a two story house and the Koker is in the basement. I have a masonry chimney. I have the unit hooked into my propane furnace cold air return. The main furnace has a blower that is always running at a low speed, so air is always going through the heat runs. The house stays at a constant temp. My dealer has me burning buckwheat coal, have had no problems with it. I asked my wife the other day if she thought the house was any more dusty than before, she said maybe a slight, but not much more. I have inside steps from the garage to the bacement. the steps are removeable. I remove them and stack then width wise to form a end wall to store the coal. The ben holds just over six ton. Works very nice for me. I wish I had a photo to show you, worth 1000 words. Next year I want to hook up a hot water coil.
Good luck and welcome to the forum,
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystroker
Stove/Furnace Model: Koker

PostBy: europachris On: Wed Feb 28, 2007 9:43 pm

Yanche wrote: The Fire Marshals I've spoken with would never consider using metal chimney or a power vented coal appliance in their home. Does anyone on this forum have technical information on the subject?

I do tend to agree that the best bet for a coal appliance is a masonry chimney. There is no doubt they are the best material.

However, some people (like me) cannot install a Class A metal or masonry chimney easily (or at all) due to house design. Therefore, are forced to run a power or direct vent stove.

I just picked up a Keystoker 90 direct vent stove, used. I'd estimate it's 10 years old at least, maybe more. It's not been well loved, and has a fair amount of internal surface corrosion, etc. But, the power vent assembly is in very good shape yet, and just needs a good cleaning, some seal around the exit, and a lube to be ready for more service. In fact, the entire stove will be in great shape after some good cleaning, paint, and TLC.

Do I like the idea of a motorized vent? Nope. Just something else to make noise, use power, and wear out. Is it my only option for a stove install? Yes, unless I take drastic measures to 'remodel' my home to install a 'real' chimney

If the price of natural gas doubles or more, then I can go back and justify the major expense of installing a permanent vertical chimney. For now, a simple thru the wall vent using 4" pellet pipe out of my basement will be the ticket. The Simpson PelletPro vent is both wood and corn suitable (no mention of coal as I'm sure they've not thought of that), factory sealed, and 400 series stainless lined. Should work great.

Stove/Furnace Make: EFM 350/Iron Fireman
Stove/Furnace Model: Custom bituminous burner

PostBy: stockingfull On: Wed Feb 28, 2007 11:45 pm

Here I was all ready to offer JoeD support on the furnace-, and dust-, and economy-related concerns he expressed...

... then I noticed that his last post was in May of last year! :roll:


I think maybe we lost old Joe....
Stove/Furnace Make: Yellow Flame
Stove/Furnace Model: W.A. 150 Stoker Furnace