coalnewbie wrote:My third winter with coal. Looking around this is my impression. I don't want hydronics - too complex and the more I fiddle around the more sure I am of my choices but I respect those that have a different opinion. If I did change my mind, AA, EFM and AHS seem well made units. However, when I look at AHS I see a hopper 8 feet from the ground and I am a girlie man that is too fragile to shovel hundreds of pounds a day into the hopper. There must be auger set ups to do this but it looks to be too much trouble. So AHS remains a best kept secret, well made, long lasting and very efficient. If I am President of AHS and one of my products is a best kept secret I would fire the head of sales and marketing. If it's so good, the promotional material is wrong. Look on Ebay and Craigslist, the world is full of coal stoves being sold. Why? Coal is too much trouble for them and they lack the knowledge and of course are swayed by popular opinion (sheeples). Now I am lazy, untrained and stupid but I understood the need to get off of oil but I got the message somehow and went to coal college, got a minimal passing grade and now I will never go back. That is the marketing challenge and you are not rising to it. Oil is over $90 and headed north and a lot of people are getting the message. That presents a great opportunity to create more business for yourself but whining on this board perhaps shows you are not up to the challenge. HAH, and my wife tells me I lack sensitivity.
Sooo, marketing 101 - set up a focus panels from board members here mixed with other neophytes and include those that have bought coal stoves and given up, craft questions carefully and pay attention to the output. Oil will be $150 by the end of 2012 and you have a product that solves a lot of problems. As Charles Darwin said - "adapt or die".
Personally, I am not sure why AHS doesn't take a more aggressive role in marketing their products. What a shame becasue they are truly a game changer for those, like me, that want to stay warm and comfortable without having to waste a personal fortune.
As stated earlier in this thread, the newer hopper is only around 6' or less. Even my version is just barely over that. I do have an auger system that feeds the hopper when I choose to do it that way. I have a 8 ton bin and other than wasting time loading the hopper and removing the ash I don't find problems with their setup at all.
I have my system routed through my Oil furnace's (shut off 99% of the time) hydronic system and the heat is evenly distributed through 4k feet of living space and the basement area stays warm and so does the garage area though they are not heated to the level of the living quarters.
I think that there are so many stoves on the secondary market because many of those purchasing coal units think that simply burning coal makes for great heat. Well it doesn't. Many people, myself included in my first foray into coal burning 25 years ago, just burned the stuff hoping to get gobs of heat from the machine. Sure, plenty of heat if you were in the room where the system was located (Alaska 90K unit) but you couldn't get that heat to any other part of the house for the most part. I didn't know how to burn it efficiently and so, I gave up on it after two years and threw away (can't believe I did it) the Alaska. 3 years ago and 20 years after the Alaska I got the AHS 130. It took me until the first full winter (last year) to more fully understand how to burn anthracite correctly. I set up draft with a manometer and supplied fresh airflow, tracked coal usage, boned up insulation where I could and cut the amount of coal I used in a day by nearly 40%. I can now keep my house at 70F down to 9F outside on 110 pound of pea per day. That's about $10 per day. My oil burner burns 1.5 gallons per hour and would surely be on half the day to keep the house at 70F (that's 18 gallons @ $3 per gallon or $56 per day). That is efficient burning and savings.
I attribute my satisfactionand success in using coal now in large part to the people on this forum that take the time to share their wealth of knowledge with the new guys. Had this forum been around twenty or twenty five years ago there is no doubt I would have stayed with coal over all those years instead of burning through all those valuable (then) greenbacks.