I'm new to the forum, I was just reading around when I stumbled upon this thread.
I have been burning coal for about 5 years now.
I have a 6300 sq.ft house built before 1850. We don't use all of it in the winter because the plumbing freezes and it cost too much. 7 years ago it cost about $550 a month for the part we were heating, plus electric and natural gas hot water.
This was pretty good, and if we kept wood fires in the fireplaces, we could keep the temps in the high 60's or low 70's for whichever room we were in. I think we were already saving a considerable amount by using the wood and not heating everything. Previous owner was paying over $800/month for hot water baseboard that hardly worked, and they were freezing.
They had bills from the owner before them who used #2 heating oil and had an older furnace. She was buying 600 gals of oil every month, but it was for steam heat that probably heated the whole house.
I can't even tell you what we save. We're enjoying 75-80 degrees in the rooms we use with about 55-60 degrees in between (hallways, foyer, rarley used parlor), and nothing has frozen, even in the wing we don't use in the winter.
Every 24 hours we burn about 100#, less if it's warmer out (2 50# bags). We're switching from bagged to pickup, so we'll save even more. Current cost is about $15.50 day or $465/month. Picked up the cost will be 10.50/day or about $315/month.
We paid $400 for the two smaller stoves, and the Locke was given to us by a friend who bought the house it was in and didn't want it. I think we broke even in the first winter.
I estimate I'm heating 3500-4000 sq.ft to an average of 60 degrees at that price, and my gas/electric is down to under $40/month.
I really want to install a new steam system for central heating. Soon I will have elderly grandmother living here, and I'd like to heat the back wing with something less obtrusive than a coal stove. It would also be nice to tend just one fire.
I'd love to know if anyone has seen a modern steam boiler that can be coal fired and still back up with gas if necessary. That would be perfect for me.
Chris in upstate NY.