franco b wrote:All three are primitive junk. Guaranteed smudge pots with undersized ash pans and ineffective grates. They will work after a fashion but you will not be happy. Lifetime guarantees are not much help if the company only lasts a few years.
If I were in your position I would much rather have several stoves, for better heat distribution, that did not rely on electricity. It could be a real disaster if your generator fails.
The stoves that have the potential to burn the cleanest and most efficient are the stoker designs, whether for pellets or coal. A small fire box fired at a high rate. They need the least tending and have large ash pans. I don't know if any are meant for soft coal, and of course they need electricity. It's a shame that with the exception of the stoker designs have regressed from what was available in the 1920s and 30s.
Wow.... haven't heard anything like that..... but then again know almost nothing about coal stoves/furnaces. Do you know of anyone that has any of these stoves? I would love to chat about any of these furnaces and their experiences.
As for multiple stoves.... yep. Had/have two. Due to high altitude, stove pipe and STRONG
winds, did I mention strong winds, my stove in the basement became unreliable. My upstairs stove limped along (Phoenix) and it was suggested I add some Vacu Stacks .... and add an outside air kit to the Phoenix. I had to wait a couple weeks before I would get any of the parts, so I had to take "drastic" measures to keep things unfrozen and installed a propane furnace. Luckily my solar system can handle it without having to run the generator...... but I haven't gone without sun for more than a day. Anything more than that and the generator will probably have to run for a few hours to get my batteries fully charged.
Again, if you have anyone that I can chat with I would be grateful. I was leaning towards the Fire Chief out of the three.
Read the bituminous forum. There is a lot of good information there including stokers for bit.
Before doing anything you have to solve the draft problems with your present stoves because a new stove could have more of the same problems. I understand that at your altitude the air is thinner, and so requires more of same than at lower altitudes. Chimneys should be insulated or be inside the structure and ideally no larger than the outlet of the stove. Venting a small stove into a large outside chimney will only keep draft with a high firing rate. Coal also tends to have lower stack temperatures than wood. A barometric damper should control the wind problem.
About the Fire Chief furnace. Very nice illustration, but all down hill after that. A big sheet metal box with vee shaped fire box that the ash will refuse to settle to the grate. One long grate pre-supposes that the ash will settle evenly along its length, which it will not do, resulting in part of the bed of coal not burning. That long narrow ash pan will be hard to handle and is undersized. A secondary burn chamber has to be very hot to work and needs air directed to it. This one will not work.
My experience is with anthracite stoves and boilers as well as wood stoves. I have converted many to oil (what a shame) that were far better than what is available today. Even though I have never burned bituminous coal the conditions for a good burn are similar in most fuels. Bituminous is high in volatiles (as is wood) and so requires particular attention to the design of the secondary chamber to avoid throwing away a good portion of the heat as smoke. You might try to find one of the old Warm Morning stoves used. These stoves have a very unique firebrick design that probably could handle bituminous very well. Might make a good replacement for one of your present stoves and to try soft coal inexpensively before investing thousands on a pig in a poke. They were made in three sizes with the largest also available with a sheet metal enclosure to act as a convector stove.