Introduce Yourself

PostBy: Jersey John On: Thu Sep 07, 2006 11:58 pm

It seems I skipped this section when I joined this forum........

My name is John, 53 and I live in NW Jersey with my twin 14 year old sons. Having purchased my house in 1990 with electric baseboard, felt then that I could heat with wood by purchasing a Vermont Casting's Defiant Encore. Little did I know that a radiant stove placed inside a fireplace would do little more than heat my basement to an almost intolerable level, and not have much impact elsewhere.

Over the years, I have heated with a high efficiency direct vent kerosene heater, and an inefficient Fisher, a Whitfield Pellet and and Englander Pellet stove. Heating with kerosene was affordable up until 2 years ago, and the tank hasn't seen a drop of fuel since. Last year, when pellet stoves escalated, and my supplier ran out, I had to drive all over and pick up a bag or two... or ten or twenty, instead of the convenient 3 ton delivery I have been taking the last 5 years.

Now that both kerosene and pellets have nearly doubled, and in some cases tripled in price, I am ready to cut off my power altogether. I have my own well, and septic, and would love to go solar, but the very least I plan on doing is reducing my dependence on the fuel mongers!

I would be happy enough burning wood in a large efficient stove, only no matter how large it is, it will never burn much more than 12 hours...and so, I have turned to this forum, to learn everything there is to know about coal, and it's benifits, as well as any shortcomings..

I have enjoyed reading everyone's comments and sharing their passions for affordable heat as well as simply enjoying the wonderful and soothing fire.

When I am not concerned about my utilities and work (Scholastic sales), I spend much of my free time outdoors... hiking, camping, kayaking, motorcycling and maintaining a section of the Appalachian Trail with my girlfriend Katie.

Thank you for the opportunity to be part of this forum. You all have given me quite a bit of knowledge the last several weeks.
Jersey John
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS 1500
Coal Size/Type: Nut, Pea
Other Heating: Regency Wood Stove

PostBy: Motor Stoker On: Sun Sep 10, 2006 11:40 pm

I live in Williamsport Pa in a 2000+ sq ft home. I have lived in this house for about 6 years. The house has been heated with a Kozen boiler and a natural gas gun for a long time. I have seen my gas bills rise steadily since I moved in and paid over $2300 last year for heat, hot water, and gas cloths dryer. After Katrina hit last year I said enough is enough. When the previous owner switched from coal to gas some time ago, he slid the Motor Stoker automatic coal stoker to the other side of the basement (see photo in other section of this web site). I had to repair the stoker; it was leaking oil out of the transmission and needed a new oil seal. I also replaced the domestic hot water coil in my boiler. I found a company on the Internet that makes new replacement coils. I bought 15 tons of buckwheat directly from the mine in Mt. Carmel PA. I paid $102 a ton and $200 to have it delivered to my home. I am hoping to burn 7 or 8 tons a year but I will not know for certain until next spring. I placed the stoker back in the boiler on 9-9-06 and am currently using to heat my water only. It felt so good to hand a check to a hard working coal miner from my home state instead of paying the gas company or worse yet some mop head from the Middle East. God bless the USA.
Motor Stoker

PostBy: beaverman On: Mon Sep 11, 2006 4:22 pm


I live in northcentral Pennsylvania and am a forester. During the day I mark trees to be cut, bid out standing trees to loggers to cut, and cut trees off roads to get to where I have to mark trees to be cut. The last thing I want to see when I get home in the evening is firewood, so I decided to burn coal!!

I started burning anthracite in my Alaska Channing stoker last winter. I used to heat my house with a gas steam boiler until it became way to expensive to operate. I paid for my stoker in one winter in savings from swithcing over to coal.

This site is great and I have learned alot here.

PostBy: wenchris On: Tue Sep 12, 2006 2:42 pm

Started burning coal last Dec. here on the Island Of Long. Been burning wood for 20 yrs. Would leave the wife with 3 days worth of wood and go into work for a 24 and come home and the fire is out and the wood is gone. She could never grasp the concept of dampering down at night. Should have switched 20 yrs ago. I have very short arms (I'm cheap) saved a ton of work and money by getting my Harman mag stoker. Love it, the wife no longer calls me the Heat Nazi. I tell her if your cold turn up the thermostat. Hoping to install a coil in the stove for domestic hot water and I will be off oil from Nov. thru April. Have a mint 1984 Mercedes 300 diesel running on waste veg. oil for over a year now. Have spent about $300 on diesel in 20,000 miles. I am a NYC fireman and commute about 100 miles round trip. The car has paid for it's self already. Seven other firemen in my house also have veggie burners, all the naysayers are moaning about gas prices. Its funny all the money I'm saving with coal and gas I still have no money in my pockets!!! This is a great forum and I have learned a ton here. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to a cold winter. Jimmy
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Magnum stoker with water coil

PostBy: Bunky On: Mon Sep 25, 2006 5:46 pm

Hello! This wasn't here long long ago when I first logged onto this fine site. I've worked in hardware for 9 yrs. My screen name came from daughter when she was about 4 or so. I'm a bit silly so it stuck. I have found a lot of help here with many different things over the years (holy cow coalman! way to go!). We have had a few different coal stoves & I enjoy checking out how everyone else runs theirs. I've picked up some valuable tips & many thanks to those who have helped & didn't even know it! I live in NEPA. Love country living. But don't mind traveling. Have a wonderful husband & just had our second child 11 weeks ago. Well...tis the season! Lets get those chimnys ready, shall we? :)
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaskan
Stove/Furnace Model: Kast Console II

PostBy: LsFarm On: Sun Oct 01, 2006 11:02 am

Hello, my name is Greg. My home is a farm in Michigan, my last name starts with ' L ' so my site name is L's Farm with out the spaces and apostrophe. I fly for a living.

I'm 53 yrs old, single with many hobbies, projects and skills, I pretty much do everything for myself unless it is a big project that makes sense to bring in outside help. Like re-roofing and re-siding this big place, that was done with outside labor. I hate ladders and being on a roof.

My old drafty farmhouse dates from 1849 with numerous additions dating ~1890, ~1950's and my latest work on the place starting right after I purchased it in 1997. I have replaced windows, insulated etc, but it is just a large ~4000 sqft place with too many windows [41] and doors [5]. the place has many areas that just can't be accessed to insulate, and sections that need some 'bulldozer renovation'.

I call my place the 'Michigan Money Pit' The first year [1997-98 winter] with propane at $0.82 I burned $1200 for the season. In 2003-4 season I burned all of my $4500 propane pre-buy [@ $1.15] plus a little more. I had added an apartment, and a heated shop. I kept the house at 60*, apartment at 40* and the shop at 35-45*.

In the fall of 2005 [propane pre-buy was $5600] I burried insulated pipes from an existing outbuilding to the house and installed a small wood/coal boiler. I planned on burning wood, but found that I had to feed the boiler every 3-4 hours to keep the house at all warm. So I found and tried some local coal. This was only marginally better.

So I designed and built [with help, it weighs 2700#] a much bigger, more efficient boiler to burn both wood and coal. I've pretty much decided that coal is the way to go. No Creosote, longer burn time, easy to load the firebox, and much less wood splitting and stacking.

My boiler design has worked well enough that I'm adding burried pipes to the shop this fall, this will eliminate the propane bill to keep the shop above freezing. I'm not sure if I'll ever try to heat the apartment this way, I may just re-plumb the apartment so I can completely drain the pipes and let it go each winter.

I found this site when searching for information on burning coal, and it has become one of my favorite sites for a daily visit., Thanks Coalman! And thanks to all the members for making it a great site to visit and learn from.

I've made one of the two drives to Pa/Md to buy and bring back coal, I have 4.5 tons in my coal bin now, and will double that next week.

Best of luck and good health to all, Greg L.
Last edited by LsFarm on Fri Dec 29, 2006 5:15 am, edited 2 times in total.
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

PostBy: tiogacounty On: Sun Oct 01, 2006 4:40 pm

crmoore live right down the road in Millerton just ordered my keystoker boiler yesterday from boychucks, said it would be here by the end of said the company is gonna be in the area I would like to know where and when

PostBy: davemich On: Wed Oct 04, 2006 12:25 pm

My name is Dave and I live within 2 miles of Lake Michigan in St Joseph, Mi. We are in the proverbial "snow belt" off from Lake Michigan, similar to Buffalo NY is to Lake Erie. I'm 49 and have my first child nearing the birth canal.
I've been burning anthracite in my Hitzer EZ Flow fireplace insert for 2 years and am an addict to this type of heating. Love the comments here on this great site (yeah Coalman, take a bow!) and learning new stuff all the time. I personally met LS Farm and he is getting a bad case of anthraciteitis so please bear with him as he weens himself off from 100 % bituminous. This site is constructive and informative. Next purchase for me will be a stoker running to my forced air ductwork. My NG bills were about $35/month last year as our local NG supplier dropped trou and bent over for a change rather then me doing that all thses years. Anyway, here's to a great heating season!!

PostBy: Mega_Me On: Thu Oct 05, 2006 7:11 pm

Hello all!

Joe, here from SE ohio, a firefighter who was sick off the gas company bending me over every month. I installed a US Stove Co. "Clayton" 1600 model furnace. This furnace works well heating out 2500+ sqft. 2 story home. Last winter our gas bills averaged $35, down from $200 the year before. Although I mainly burn wood (oak, cherry) I occaisonally burn the good old Ohio bituminous coal when it get really cold!


PostBy: endinmaine On: Thu Nov 02, 2006 5:50 pm

Hi, my name is Eric, screen name endinmaine because I will be moving to the great state of Maine next year from “tax my pay check dry” Massachusetts !
I am 57 years old and have been burning wood since my teenage years. I recently move out of my side of my two family home, now renting that side out, and into my parents ranch while our new home is being built. I burned wood in a soap stone stove in my side of the two family /1800 sqft for 23 years which helped keep my oil bill less that $200 per year and that’s with 2 teenage daughters and a wife.
That house was pretty well insulated, 6” of insulation in the walls and 12” in the attic. The ranch we live in now, built in 1955, is 85’ long with NO insulation. The oil bills from
previous years averaged less than $2000/year. My Harman Mark III at one of the house does a great job keeping the whole house toasty with the use of a 9” 3 speed fan in the door way. Now the oil bills for the year will be less than $600/year.
My new home will also be well insulated, using 8” SIP/R30 walls and 10” SIP /R45 roof. Since my Mark III can burn both wood and coal I use wood during the more mild weather then switch to coal. I like the fact that coal burns 5x longer than wood with much less mess and hauling wood at my age is getting old ,, no pun intended.
Thanks to everyone for all that I have learned here and to Coalman for creating and maintaining this site.
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Margin Gem Cook Stove and Harman Mark III
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman and Margin Gem
Stove/Furnace Model: Mark III and CookStove

PostBy: Matthaus On: Fri Nov 03, 2006 1:21 am

Hi all :) , been looking at the great info on this board for a little over a month now so figured I should introduce myself. My name is Matthaus (you can call me Matt or anything else that suits your fancy) am 48 and live in Carbondale PA with my wife Hope, moved back to the NE from Florida in 2001 after having been gone for over 30 years. Between Hope and I we have six kids in age from 5 to 33 (girl 5, boy 15, girl 16, boy 21, girl 23, girl 33), there are three of them left in the house. Love being back in mountains with a change of seasons. Work for The Boeing Company as an engineer, have projects all over the US so work from home mostly and only go into my office in Riddly Park about two or three times per month. Am currently building a garage and upstairs addition on the house, in my spare time I collect cars, motorcycles, and anything else with a motor I can get a good deal on. Over the past year or so have been spending as much time as possible on the race track with two of my bikes. Hope says I have enough projects to last me well past the end of my life, but that doesn't stop me from starting new ones (like coal stove tinkering).

Bought a used Alaska stoker in September, then bought another. Sold one of them to a buddy. Have the Alaska I kept set up in our two story 2,200 sq ft house, controlling it with a Coal-trol. Bought a used keystoker 90 direct vent a few weeks later to heat the garage (when I get it finished it should keep it warmer!). Bought a smaller size Alaska that needs work a couple weeks ago Going to put that one in a 400 sq ft addition that will be finished this winter.

Last year our house was not really a home because we kept it around 62 degrees to save money. This year it has already been warm and toasty for the past two weeks (72 during the day and 75 at night in the kitchen where the stove is, upstairs stays 70 or so). Hope looked at my science project of a stove installation with much skeptisim, but now smiles contently in her warm house.

Love burning coal and love tinkering with the stoves, will probably keep on buying different model stoves to see how they work. Thanks for all the great info and the chance to participate. :P
Stoker Coal Boiler: Leisure Line WL110 Dual Fuel, natural gas
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Leisure Line Lil' Heater (rental house)
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Buckwheat Anthracite

Hello from Massachusetts

PostBy: WhereisWareMA? On: Mon Nov 06, 2006 11:41 pm

I'm Dan and a coal burning virgin. This will be my first coal stove burning season. I have an old Riteway that I have restored and 2 ton of coal in the basement. Wish me luck. :o :o

PostBy: byrdy11 On: Tue Nov 07, 2006 4:03 pm

My name is Deb, and I live in Weedsport, NY (about 30 miles west of syracuse). I am in the process of getting divorced and have a 6 year old daughter and a 4 month old son. Like you, LsFarm, I live in a drafty 150 year old farmhouse (~2000 square feet) with various additions. I have 92 acres of land and no neighbors.....perfect setting. Up until last year we burned just heating oil. One of the many projects my husband started and never finished was installing the coal stove and associated duct work. We only ran it for a few months last season and I don't think it ever ran well, and never ran continuously because a steady supply of coal was not maintained at the homestead (I was pregnant so could not do much about this). Since separating from my husband (who refused any form of help around the house paid or family/friends) I've worked steadily to get the house properly insulated, duct work finished, and coal stove regulated so now we seem to be in good shape. In addition to working full time (I am a chemist) I also have a flock of sheep that I want to keep. This winter will tell all for me. I hope I can do it alone. I certainly am mean and bitter enough after putting up with so much crap for 17 years!
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: keystoker 90
Coal Size/Type: rice

PostBy: Sterling On: Tue Nov 14, 2006 1:32 pm

Coal burning goes back to my childhood; whenever we were visiting my grandmother in Gettysburg it was my job to fill the stoker twice a day.

Shortly after purchasing my first house a friend told me about an old kitchen cook stove advertised in a flower shop on Cape Cod. (I'd put out a 'wanted' bulletin.) Looked in decent shape (what did I know, really), so I purchased it and managed to stuff it into the back of a friend's station wagon and bring it home. The first fire proved really smokey as, it turned out, the various internal passages had probably never been cleaned out. They were packed full of ashes and were probably the cause of the previous owner deciding to sell.

When the time came to move, high on my list of requirements was "A place to put the stove." This house is a boring ranch, and there was a near perfect spot in the kitchen, all we needed was access to the flue and a building permit. I called the building inspector, described, very generally, what I was doing; his response, "Is it UL approved.". "No," I said. "It's not one of those cheap Taiwan stoves is it?" "Nope, it's about a 100 year old kitchen cook stove." "Oh, then the good lord approved it!"

We later added a Vermont Castings Vigilant coal unit down in the basement. Ugh. One of those would be sufficient to turn anyone off... That's now (for a long time) been replaced with a Glenwood Home Grand, but that story will have to wait for another time. (You can see a bigger picture of our Sterling on the 'photos' thread.)

PostBy: barley master On: Tue Nov 14, 2006 8:21 pm

hi, im mike and I stumbled across this site by accident today. this is an excellent site for learning the tricks and tips for burning coal. I grew up in mt. carmel and was working a high lift at 16. for the last 22 years I manage the operations of a coal fired power plant and all the underground utility systems for a state university. we burn 6500 tons of barley annually for campus high pressure steam services from oct to mid may. I am not an expert on any particular home stove but my own. I do consider myself an expert on the burning of it and the charecteristics of burning coal from all of the different properties that are found in anthracite coal from different geoghrapical locations throughout northeasten pennsylvania.

i have a vermot casting resolute acclaim in my living room for fall and early winter. I have a Harman magnum stoker in the basement that I use for the winter up until early spring. I just hooked up an antiquated franco belge that was given to me for my pole building and have yet to play with it. to me burning wood is an art and burning coal is an science. I would rather burn coal because its less work but since I have my own trees and have access to lots of wood close by it helps keep the coal bill for the year low. I have burned other fuels in the past but nothing is as solid for heat and lowerer costs than coal, that is if you don't mind a little dust, an occasional sulpher hits and a little work with a shovel. :)
barley master