Thanks for the quick reply.
Money is a big concern. With current economics and natural gas prices going crazy, bagged anthracite seems like a way to ride the storm. Around here wood is plentiful but a recent infestation of Emerald Ash Beatles has moved down from the Michigan area and is threatening northern Ohio. I guess it wiped out 95% of all the Ash trees around and south of the Detroit area and is spreading quickly. It’s a nasty little bugger, (no pun intended). So now there is a moratorium on moving firewood from one place to another with hefty fines if you’re caught. But even the cost of a coal-burning fireplace insert is a financial burden although I suppose it will last a long time.
But I also wonder, just how “hot” does the coal fire in an insert burn?
Could my current wood burning insert be modified to burn coal?
It also has a blower and I agree with you, I would not want a new insert without a blower!
I’ve had my current wood burner insert “cooken pretty good” burning some old tulipwood. I have even trashed the quarts glass windows (twice) over the last 15 years because of some hot fires. I will have to replace them again with something else or fasten a plate of steel over the window holes.
Based on the comments in the blog, the Hitzer 983 seems like it would be a nice unit for my purposes. And the option to burn wood is nice too. I will have to do some more research and look at pricing and availability but I will look at the workmanship of the Harmen as well. No need to rush into it.
My biggest concern will be obtaining the fuel. I am in what “was” a semi-rural neighborhood 15 years ago. They have now put in no less than 3 subdivisions within 500 feet of me, each with 50-75 homes. Moving out is not an option right now because of home prices sliding, (this home is worth a lot more than I can get right now). So I’ll have to sit on this for a minimum of 4-5 years (or longer).
After a bunch of sniffing around, I did find the link to: http://www.baggedcoal.com/
That company may be the answer for me but it sounds like I might have to rent a truck and foot the cost of picking up several pallets unless I can find a local supplier or some others in my neighborhood thinking along my lines. As far as storage, I have about 2 acres so storing the bags once I get them here won’t be an issue.
You mentioned that your unit has “gravity feed”, is this method something that automatically feeds the fuel down to a burning chamber as the coal is burned?
Or do you fill the hopper and you manually feed (via gravity) the coal to the burning chamber?
You have to forgive me because although I have made many a campfire and have burned wood in my fireplace for over 15 years, I am a neophyte with coal. My only experience with a coal stove involved an experience in a small shack up in Canada and after getting the fire going I stacked up some fist size pieces into a little mound and I awoke to 95 degrees and a “cherry red” coal stove. I was real lucky not to of burned down the shack!
We bought the house as a fixer upper. The guy that built the house was a mason and the stonework inside is very nice for a ranch. I think the chimney is ok but I will probably have it inspected before proceeding. I’m not sure I want to have it professionally installed (pulling a permit and all), (just incase they have some law against coal). ;~) I have remodeled the kitchen and blew out a wall to open up a room and fixed up a workshop for me. I would like to do the work on the fireplace myself to hold down costs, but this old house has so much that is still needed (new roof, new driveway).
With your suggestion, for this project, I will have to pull out the old insert to view the fireplace dimensions before proceeding. I will probably put the old unit in the basement fireplace, as they are identical.
The tip on an extra ash pan sounds like “you think like me”! Great Idea! The cleaning of the current wood-burning insert is not user friendly as there is no “ash pan”. You have to wait until the whole thing cools down and clean it out or risk hot embers falling from a hand shovel or metal ash container, (plastic garbage cans – not so good, but that’s another story).
Thanks for the advice, and I would love to hear from others mistakes and successes so my learning curve can be shorter.
Have a healthy, prosperous and Happy New Year!
Ps - For our Honeymoon, my wife and I went up to Maine and camped and backpacked the coastline. I had a feast I will never forget at the Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound. We saw the first light that touches the USA up on Cadillac Mt. in Acadia National Forest. Then we continued north all the way to Quebec City. Beautiful country you have up in that part of the world! Someday I’m going to head back to Maine and enjoy it again!