Estimated yearly savings by using coal

PostBy: MrP57 On: Fri Feb 16, 2007 9:22 pm

Last year we had a 5 week stretch that we spent $1300. For propane. $3300. for the year. And the house temp was 67* in the day and 64* at night, with some of the rooms shut off. At that point I told my wife, we need to do something different. I knew wood was ok, but too much work. So I looked into corn and coal. Coal won out, the house is 69/70* ALL The time, ALL the rooms are heated, and we do not turn it down at night. All with just a little work. $800. worth of coal will do it this heating season. We love it. And our elect bill dropped about $20. a month. (We are drying some of the cloths on racks in the basement, where the coal furnace is.)
Should have a stove payback in 2 years.
Gary
MrP57
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystroker
Stove/Furnace Model: Koker

PostBy: stockingfull On: Tue Feb 20, 2007 4:34 pm

We just bought this house last summer, and it's been heated by a retro-fitted "Yellow-Flame" stoker warm-air unit for almost 20 years. (Built 1973; original elec baseboards still in place.) It's a straight 2-story colonial, about 3500 ft. I started a thread when I first lit it:

http://nepacrossroads.com/viewtopic.php?p=8267#8267

So time to check the economics: I estimate that I'm only about 2/3 through the $1200 of coal I bought last August. I know that the degree days are lagging behind because of all the warmth we had on the front end of this season here in the NE. But I also know that we're catching up with this recent cold snap.

Happily so far, I have figured out that, even on the very coldest day, my 150K BTU furnace can keep this house quite warm with roughly 150# of coal. That's $15 for 24 hrs in brutal cold (not counting electricity for the blowers, but with no need for supplemental heat from the elec baseboards). On warmer days, like today, I throttle back the fuel feed so the firebox doesn't burn as hot and less fuel is wasted.

So about $800 for fuel so far this season. (That works out to be about $235/1000 ft² up to now. Make it $250 to account for two brief absences w/ furnace off and baseboard covering.)

My "fuzzy" estimate is that I'm saving about 40%, all things considered.
stockingfull
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Yellow Flame
Stove/Furnace Model: W.A. 150 Stoker Furnace

PostBy: LsFarm On: Tue Feb 20, 2007 5:22 pm

Stockingfull, your house must have been built for electric heat. At one house I helped build, the electric company came by to give us a quote and estimate of yearly bills for electric heat.

The amount of insulation that electric heat required and better windows told the tale. With the same insulation and windows [expensive] natural gas still won the pricing war.

So if your house was designed for electric heat it is a tight, well insulated house with good windows. That is why you have such low coal usage. It is amazing to heat that much house for that little.

My ~4000 sqft farmhouse is the opposite, drafty and poorly insulated, I have improved the insulation and windows where I could. but my place still would cost $6-7000 per winter season to heat to 62* burning propane.

With coal, I burn 2-3tons per cold month, so lets say $600/month, the house is at 68-70*, and I have unlimited hot water too. So my coal bill for the year will be about $1800, not bad at all.

My propane company isn't happy=I'm happy :) :lol:

Greg L

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Last edited by LsFarm on Sat Mar 03, 2007 8:34 am, edited 2 times in total.
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland


PostBy: cheapheat On: Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:26 pm

This is my second year with the Alaska Channing 3 And the wife and I love it. This is the third winter weve been in our house...the first year with natural gas forced air we spent I would say about 1500 dollars and we kept the heat set at 62. When I switched to coal we burned about 3.5 tons last year and this year with the wife working only part time and a newborn in the house(someone is here 24/7) Ill burn about 4.5 tons...still a savings of at least 600 dollars a year and downstairs is always 75 and the bedrooms are around 70. Boxers and a tshirts all winter for me while the naysayers at work "relax" at home in long johns and sweat pants and spend 3 times that much. Jim
cheapheat
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska Channing 3
Stove/Furnace Model: Bagging my own rice coal

PostBy: stockingfull On: Wed Feb 21, 2007 2:04 am

Yes, LSFarm, it was built in 1973 as an all-electric house. And, for the most part, it's insulated to a fare-thee-well, w/ very tight doors and storm windows over thermopane "low E, high R," replacement windows.

The coal plant and ductwork were installed in the late 80's. The air circulation system isn't perfect but, all in all, the system works quite well and, so far as I can tell, quite economically.
stockingfull
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Yellow Flame
Stove/Furnace Model: W.A. 150 Stoker Furnace

PostBy: stockingfull On: Wed Feb 21, 2007 3:18 pm

Yesterday's posts have prompted me to sharpen the pencil on my data for the good of the enterprise here.

Because I'm new in my house and because of my curiosity about the coal system, I have been weighing the coal in and logging it daily, together with noting ash removals (which I haven't yet weighed but can estimate). My bin is 3 sections long; the impetus to post up was empirical: that I'd pretty much cleaned out two of those sections.

So, after yesterday's responses, I ran a "sanity tape" of my raw data to verify my ball-park representations. I should add the caveat that the furnace has been off 3 times this season: from Nov 8 to Dec 16 due to mild weather and travel, from Jan 4-8 due to mild weather, and from Feb 1-7 due to travel. However, having said all that, I'm pleased to say that the "tale of the tape" shows my actual total coal consumption to date to be just over 6900#!

This is half a ton less than I estimated yesterday!
And the one thing I can say on the other side of the ledger is that we never touch the thermostat: the first floor is at a constant 70-72 degrees, upstairs about 3 degrees cooler for comfortable sleeping. As was surmised correctly by LsFarm yesterday, the house structure is well-built, well-maintained and seemingly well-insulated. The previous owner, an engineer (like I used to be), replaced the original thermopane windows with new thermopane windows a couple years ago. And there are storm windows all around to boot. So there's a lot of "belt and suspenders" here -- and I'm pleased to report that it seems to work.

Since this is a national forum, a note on our location is in order for climate perspective. We're just north of West Point in Orange County, NY. This is about 60 miles north of NYC and it's outside the band of warm coastal air which usually surrounds the city. Almost always 5 to 10 degrees cooler here. As a point of reference, our most recent bill from the electric supplier noted 1884 degree days this year through Feb 5, compared to 2044 for the same period last year. FWIW.
stockingfull
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Yellow Flame
Stove/Furnace Model: W.A. 150 Stoker Furnace

PostBy: stockingfull On: Wed Feb 21, 2007 7:27 pm

P.S. -- My coal supplier says that a rule of thumb is that coal will cost about half. The conversion chart in my furnace manual (based on unit BTU values and typical heating efficiencies) is more optimistic: it has coal at $200/ton being equivalent to oil at about $1.20/gal, electricity at 4.5 cents/KwH, or propane at $0.81/gal.

Even half price is nice. :thumbleft:
stockingfull
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Yellow Flame
Stove/Furnace Model: W.A. 150 Stoker Furnace

PostBy: Yanche On: Wed Feb 21, 2007 9:07 pm

stockingfull wrote:My coal supplier says that a rule of thumb is that coal will cost about half. The conversion chart in my furnace manual (based on unit BTU values and typical heating efficiencies) is more optimistic: it has coal at $200/ton being equivalent to oil at about $1.20/gal, electricity at 4.5 cents/KwH, or propane at $0.81/gal.

Your numbers are a bit off. Using coal as a base and calculating the cost for 1 million BTU's of energy you get. Equipment efficiencies are indicated.

Coal (24,916,000 Btu/ton)..$200/ton........75%..$10.70
Oil (138,690 Btu/gallon)......$1.12/gallon...78%..$10.67
Electric (3,412 Btu/kWh).....$0.0275/kWh..99%..$10.72
Propane (91,333 Btu/gal)...$0.735/gal......78%..$10.78

Yanche
Yanche
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea

PostBy: stockingfull On: Thu Feb 22, 2007 12:25 am

:magnifyglass: Here are the formulae upon which the numbers I posted are based:

Fuel Oil: 138K BTU/gal, 65% efficiency; $/MBTU = 11.15 x $/gal
Propane: 93K BTU/gal, 65% eff.; $/MBTU = 16.54 x $/gal
Electricity: 3412 BTU/KwH, 100% eff.; $/MBTU = 293 x $/KwH
Coal: 12,500 BTU/lb, 60% eff.; $/MBTU = $/ton / 15

Except for the assumed efficiencies, very little difference from yours. And even the character of the assumed efficiencies is similar, only the degree varies, my source data being more conservative for coal.

Since there probably is data supporting a range of efficiencies on everything but electric, I'm content using the "worst case" for coal in this discussion. Your numbers suggest that the coal savings may be even greater. Nothing wrong with that.
stockingfull
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Yellow Flame
Stove/Furnace Model: W.A. 150 Stoker Furnace

PostBy: WNY On: Sat Mar 03, 2007 7:59 am

Since moving into our new (old Victorian) House Around Dec-Jan...

The Gas bill started out for Dec. - $99, Jan - $178, Installed the Coal Stove the end of Jan, approx. and Feb gas bill was $58!! The furnance did come on to help, since it was sub zero and really cold for a while. But, at least it really dropped it.!! Hopefully when I get the the bigger stove hooked up, and the Keystoker moved into the garage to heat the back of the house, that will help even more...so far so good!
WNY
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90K, Leisure Line Hyfire I
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker, LL & CoalTrol
Stove/Furnace Model: 90K, Hyfire I, VF3000 Soon

PostBy: e.alleg On: Tue Mar 06, 2007 6:03 pm

I did my calculations for last year, congrats to all you propane stock holders. 1800 gallons of propane @ 1.79.9/gal. = 3240 + 259 tax = $3499. The thermostat is set at 60. I figure 1800 gal. of propane = 7 ton of coal, $215/ton last time I checked = $1505. (not sure if coal is taxed), that's $2000 per year savings and (hopefully) a warmer house. I don't think the price of propane is going to go down this year, I probably could save my pennies and buy a 23 ton load of coal in the summer and save quite a bit more as long as the good wife doesn't mind a pile of coal in the barn. Also I didn't include the $400 a year we spend on gravel for the driveway, the ashes should take care of that issue.
e.alleg
 
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM
Stove/Furnace Model: 520

PostBy: Complete Heat On: Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:03 pm

I was paying over $650 a month last year for propane heat. I installed an Alaska Model 140 Auger feed and this year I burned 5 tons of coal. The house last year was kept at 60 degs most of the time. This year it was kept at 68 degs from 6 am until 10 pm, then went down to 62 degs for the night. Plus I had all the hot water I could use, even with a broken hot water heater (which I just replaced, as it is starting to warm up now and the furnace is not running enough to heat the water). An added plus is the basement stays at 72 degs by default, where as last year it was always cold.

Cost for the furnace, duct work and a full class a system through two floors and the attic $6,200. Savings this year alone = $2,500 (even more if I were to have kept the house at 60 degs).

Mike
Complete Heat
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Axeman-Anderson
Stove/Furnace Model: AA-130/FHA

PostBy: blue83camaro On: Wed May 30, 2007 2:29 am

I didn't burn it this year as I said in another thread. I was only paying $.97 a therm and coal was $210 a ton which is slightly more than natural gas for me. I did burn wood instead. If I had burned gas my worst bill would have been about $190. Natural gas just went up to $1.20 a therm and The coal is on sale for $193/ ton so I might get 5 ton. I can always sit on it if gas goes down.
blue83camaro
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Us Stove
Stove/Furnace Model: 1600G

PostBy: jpen1 On: Sun Jun 03, 2007 5:27 pm

I haven't used the oil for heat for at least five years but my average oil consumption was around 1050 gallons for heat at last years $2.25 a gallon average my bill for heat would have been $2362.50. Using coal 3 tons at $150 a ton $450 which made for a savings of $1912.50 .
jpen1
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: 110 Boiler

PostBy: jpen1 On: Sun Jun 03, 2007 5:29 pm

I haven't used the oil for heat for at least five years but my average oil consumption was around 1050 gallons for heat at last years $2.25 a gallon average my bill for heat would have been $2362.50. Using coal 3 tons at $150 a ton $450 which made for a savings of $1912.50 .
jpen1
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: 110 Boiler