Questions to the hand fired crowd.

Questions to the hand fired crowd.

PostBy: Carbon Unit On: Sat Nov 08, 2008 9:36 am

I am leaning in the direction of a hand fired unit.
I am curious to know:
Why you chose hand fired over a stoker?

If you were buying a new stove today what would you buy (type, brand)?

What should I be aware of/stay away from?

Just looking to tap the knowledge and experience embedded in this most interesting forum. I fully realize that any unit will present a learning curve.

Any thoughts or comments most appreciated.

Al
Carbon Unit
 

Re: Questions to the hand fired crowd.

PostBy: Devil505 On: Sat Nov 08, 2008 10:20 am

Carbon Unit wrote:Why you chose hand fired over a stoker?


1. Less expensive to buy
2. Needs no electricity to run. (will work during power failures)
3. Is silent in operation
4. Can burn many different sizes of coal & wood
5. Seems to burn less coal than stokers over the heating season (not positive about that??)
6. Durability.......Practically no moving parts to break.



Carbon Unit wrote:If you were buying a new stove today what would you buy (type, brand)?


Any of the major brands people like here. I like Harman but read some reviews here.


Carbon Unit wrote:What should I be aware of/stay away from?



Big Box store brands & low quality coal.
Last edited by Devil505 on Sat Nov 08, 2008 11:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: Questions to the hand fired crowd.

PostBy: tsb On: Sat Nov 08, 2008 10:36 am

Devil just about covered it. Stokers are a good choice, but hand fed stoves are just more back to basics. No oiling, no coaltrol, no thermostats, no coal mice. Light it, shake it, take the ashes out. Couldn't be any easier than that.
tsb
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Binford 2000
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL Pioneer top vent
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Saey Hanover II

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Re: Questions to the hand fired crowd.

PostBy: Dallas On: Sat Nov 08, 2008 10:42 am

Good advice so far.

You may also want to look at your present heat and where this new unit can go. Can it be integrated into your present system? ... hot water or air. Many of us are trying to heat a house with a "room stove", which can be problematic. Of course, a "whole house system" can be hand fired or automated.
Dallas
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Modified Russo C-35
Other Heating: Oil Hot Air
Stove/Furnace Make: Russo
Stove/Furnace Model: Modified C-35

Re: Questions to the hand fired crowd.

PostBy: titleist1 On: Sat Nov 08, 2008 10:44 am

Same reasons as Devil505 mentioned, no required power (although I would recommend a blower), less moving parts to go bad, lower initial cost.

I have a Harman Mark III and am happy with the performance of the stove, but I would look seriously at other brands as their customer service really stinks if you need it. I had an issue with a shaker arm weld breaking about 1 month after purchase and they and their dealer told me to make arrangements to get it fixed with a welder who would make housecalls and then submit the bill for re-imbursement. I forget exactly how long it took, but I think around 2 months to finally get the check from them. They are not eager to talk with customers as other companies are from what I have read here.
titleist1
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Mag Stoker (old style) one in basement, one in workshop
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III on standby for long power outages
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite; Nut/Anthracite

Re: Questions to the hand fired crowd.

PostBy: zeeklu On: Sat Nov 08, 2008 10:46 am

Everything Devil said. I like simple things that are easy to figure out. Maybe in the future I'll look into a stoker but I doubt it. All brands seem pretty good but some good deals on used stoves are on Craigslist . Chris
zeeklu
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman TLC2000
Coal Size/Type: nut
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC 2000

Re: Questions to the hand fired crowd.

PostBy: dtzackus On: Sat Nov 08, 2008 11:07 am

I was "see-sawing" between a stoker and a hand fired, I opted for the hand fired when I thought about living out in the middle of no where and we do loose power on occasions, so I opted for a unit that doesn't need any power except for the blower. Plus as others have stated, you can burn different types of coal (nut, stove, pea). Many will state that you can purchase a genertor, well might as well run the heat pump on the generator as well....

Plus it takes you to the basics of heating, no moving parts (except the shakers), no electricial components (except for the blower) to break down or be replaced. The simplier the better in my book. Also, I throw in on occassion a piece of firewood, I have cut down a lot of trees and have the wood just rotting, so I may as well enjoy the heat from it as well. Plus spilting wood is a GREAT stree reducer. Atlhough I must admit, the coal fire, aka the blue ladies, is alot nicer to look at than the orange devil flame of wood.

I walked into a great deal, I got an old Gibraltar LCC, they don't make them like this anymore. Heavy and Big.

Regardless of which you go with, you will enjoy the heat from coal.
dtzackus
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Gibraltar LCC
Stove/Furnace Make: Gibraltar
Stove/Furnace Model: LCC

Re: Questions to the hand fired crowd.

PostBy: DavidL On: Sat Nov 08, 2008 11:16 am

Al,

I was originally looking at the Harman Central Heating Wood/Coal Hot-Air Furnace SF-2500-A, but the dealer said they wouldn't be able to get it for months. They recommended the Energy King Wood/Coal Hot-Air Furnace 480EK as an alternative. I bought the 480EK and they had it in 3 weeks; rock solid unit. I didn't know crap about coal stoves when I first started looking and didn't really look into the stokers before ordering the 480EK. After I got the 480EK, I started reading about the stokers and was wondering if I made the right decision. I'm glad I got the hand fired just for the reasons Devil505 mentioned. After a couple weeks of burning coal and getting the furnace tweaked, it was very easy to maintain. Takes me about 10min in the morning and evening to keep it going. I did buy it with the forced draft blower and hot air fan, so it does require electric. If the electric goes out, I still have heat slowly coming up through the registers.

Dave
DavidL
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Energy King
Stove/Furnace Model: 480EK

Re: Questions to the hand fired crowd.

PostBy: BIG BEAM On: Sat Nov 08, 2008 1:12 pm

What Devil said is all true,BUT

I was thinking of changing from a hand fired to a stoker.With a hand fired it is much EZer if you can get good coal.If you can only get mystery coal and it has a lot of clinkers and rocks in it,It will be hard to shake down and I even broke a grate once.A stoker is much more forgiving with crap or mystery coal.It just pushes it through the fire and into the ashpan.Also with a hand fired you have to let it burn down when it's cold out to get another full load in.With a stoker you can fill the hopper to the top anytime and get at least a 12 hr. burn.I'm still procrastinating.It's what I do best
DON
BIG BEAM
 
Stove/Furnace Make: USS Hot blast
Stove/Furnace Model: 1557M

Re: Questions to the hand fired crowd.

PostBy: Devil505 On: Sat Nov 08, 2008 1:19 pm

BIG BEAM wrote:With a stoker you can fill the hopper to the top anytime and get at least a 12 hr. burn.I'm still procrastinating.It's what I do best
DON


No doubt about it....A stoker is more convenient to run, but at a price to high for me to pay. If there is someone around to add a shovel full of coal every 4-6 hrs , you can get away with only shaking a hand fired down once a day. I'll spend maybe 20-30 minutes a day tops running my hand fired. I actually enjoy it! :lol:

So, to each his/her own.
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: Questions to the hand fired crowd.

PostBy: Freddy On: Sat Nov 08, 2008 1:42 pm

Any stoker is less complicted than an oil fire unit. We consider them very dependable, which they are. Coal stokers are also very dependable. We lose our power about as often as I get ill. I can't load a hand fired if I'm in bed sick. HA! How's that for a reason for being a girlie man?

Either way is a good way. For some it's a money thing, a stoker is more cost up front. For others it's a convience thing. For one reason or another they can't tend a hand fed, but can load a stoker every now & then. Some like the ease of use, some like being a bit more manly.

Hand fed or stoker, any brand name units are good. I'd keep away from the Volksgerby things from Northern Tool, they are mostly for bituminous & we've had several people have troubles.
Freddy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined

Re: Questions to the hand fired crowd.

PostBy: the snowman On: Sat Nov 08, 2008 4:38 pm

As a former woodburner I decided to go with a hand fired unit. I had looked at stokers, however, as everyone has stated the hand fired have no electric motors to go bad and don't require any electricity. I was already use to tending a fire while burning wood so tending to a coal fire every eight to ten hours was no problem. My wood shop is located only a hundred feet from the house so for me it isn't a problem to go check on the stove every now and then. Burning a hand fired also gave me the option of burning the scrap wood I have from the shop. As everyone has stated any brand name burner whether it is hand fired or a stoker will give years of service. I guess it comes down to the initial cost and preference.

The snowman
the snowman
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Jotul 507
Coal Size/Type: Nut, Stove coal, Egg coal

Re: Questions to the hand fired crowd.

PostBy: Cap On: Sat Nov 08, 2008 4:39 pm

I've never used a stoker. It's not in my genetic makeup. :D But I do know handfired unit creates a lot of dust, no matter how hard you try to prevent it. This is due to the shakedown & removal of ashes which includes the large amount of ash which misses the ash pan. You will have to carefully shovel by hand. This creates the most dust IMO. So if dust is a concern for you, consider the stoker. May not eliminate but will curtail some of the dust.

Add this to your list mentioned above by the others.
Cap
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Harman SF 250, domestic hot water loop, heat accumulator

Re: Questions to the hand fired crowd.

PostBy: captcaper On: Sat Nov 08, 2008 6:00 pm

I never used one but I didn't like that the stoker didn't have room for wood. The way I see it is you still have to load the coal in. It doesn't get in there it's self. I can get a 12 hr burn easy if I shake it down good and fill the box up. During the night and or day the load settles as it's burning.
You still have to empty the ash,shake it down for it to breathe ,carry in the coal and load it.
captcaper
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman Super Magnum
Stove/Furnace Model: Super Magnum Stoker

Re: Questions to the hand fired crowd.

PostBy: ummagumma84 On: Sat Nov 08, 2008 6:47 pm

One thing to consider that has not yet been mentioned is how you plan to vent it. I was seriously considering a hand fired unit for all the reasons listed here, low initial cost being at the forefront. That was until I got an estimate on how much it would cost me to install a stovepipe chimney to vent the thing. Total of a used hand-fired stove and new chimney puts me in price range of a brand new stoker unit, which can be direct vented for far less cost. So now I'm back to square one. If you have an existing chimney you can use, this is much less of an issue, obviously.
ummagumma84
 

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