Looking for a little advice on stokers

Looking for a little advice on stokers

PostBy: TSox On: Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:24 pm

Hello!

My wife and are in the middle of buying a nice old farm house in southern PA and I have some questions.

The house is a foreclosure so I can't really ask the previous owner how well the system worked. I do know the oil has to go. I'm not made of money. :shock:

It is currently heated with a Burnham oil boiler in the basement. The house has copper fin baseboards through out, 3 zones, mostly good windows and the bad ones will be replaced shortly. Little to no insulation but I plan on getting it blown in.

There is a Garage about 75 feet from the house and my plan is to put a boiler of some kind in there and pipe it into the house. The idea being the garage will stay warm in the winter to work in and it will also keep the dirt out of the house. Also the chimney looks suspect to me so I would like to stay away from it.

I know you can't answer sizing questions with so little info. I have a local guy that will be looking at it as soon as we close. I'm more trying to decide which type of boiler I should lean towards. I would like to get some type of stoker but which kind. Hard or soft coal?

I have a Royall coal / wood add on boiler in the basement of our current house and my wife loves the heat but hates the dirt. I'm not a big fan of the hand firing and the soft coal does make smoke. Hand firing might not be as bad if I didn't have to carry the coal down in 5 gal buckets but I'm leaning towards a stoker.

I like the cost of soft coal in our area (about half of the price of hard coal per ton) but I realize a hard coal unit will use much less coal and be easier to locate.

My mother in law has a EFM 520 in her house and it seems to do a great job. I also have seen a few Keystoker boilers for sale in my area. My Pap had a few older soft coal stokers that I helped with growing up but I don't remember much about them except they were messy.

So what say the experts? what should I be looking for? Have I made my intentions clear as mud? :funny:
TSox
 

Re: Looking for a little advice on stokers

PostBy: Carbon12 On: Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:30 pm

Generally, heating appliances located in a garage are frowned upon by the code officials. It is always best to locate the boiler in the primary dwelling. Lots of hard coal stokers available new. Not sure there are any soft coal specific stoker boilers being made today.
Carbon12
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite
Other Heating: Heat Pump/Forced Hot Air Oil Furnace

Re: Looking for a little advice on stokers

PostBy: TSox On: Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:39 pm

Thank you for the reply.

I'm 99% sure codes won't be a problem. Where I live half the time you don't even need a building permit.

The nearest neighbor I'll have is 250 yards away.
TSox
 

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Re: Looking for a little advice on stokers

PostBy: Sting On: Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:42 pm

Carbon12 wrote:Generally, heating appliances located in a garage are frowned upon by the code officials.


Lets emphasized this just a bit --- open combustion appliances in the garage make things like gas fumes go

Image
Sting
 
Other Heating: BurnHAM=NG-gas

Re: Looking for a little advice on stokers

PostBy: Carbon12 On: Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:44 pm

If you do put the stoker in the garage make sure you have really good quality insulated PEX with an oxygen barrier buried below the frost line. Also very important to use 1 inch PEX or better yet 1.25 inch PEX. Smaller diameter pipe just can move adequate BTU's to the house. Insulated PEX can be very expensive but it's not the thing to skimp on.
Carbon12
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite
Other Heating: Heat Pump/Forced Hot Air Oil Furnace

Re: Looking for a little advice on stokers

PostBy: TSox On: Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:54 pm

When I say "garage" it will be more of a workshop. I know about a dozen people locally who have different forms of boilers in their garages without issue. Obviously care needs to be taken.

Thank you for the advice on the Pex tubing. I worked in construction for several years and have run boiler lines like this many times.

My cousin just recently bought a house where the owner put the outdoor furnace on the other side of a small creek. The pipe was over the creek and exposed. When my cousin asked the PO why he did that, he told him so the cold water in the creek didn't steal away the heat in the pipes. He got mad when my cousin said "No I mean put it on that side". :shock:
TSox
 

Re: Looking for a little advice on stokers

PostBy: Rob R. On: Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:57 pm

Is the house currently being heated? Would be nice if you could ask the fuel company how many gallons they have delivered.

By the way...welcome to Nepacrossroads. :)
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: Rice/buck
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Looking for a little advice on stokers

PostBy: Carbon12 On: Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:57 pm

Carbon12
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite
Other Heating: Heat Pump/Forced Hot Air Oil Furnace

Re: Looking for a little advice on stokers

PostBy: Rob R. On: Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:01 pm

I think if I ever have to run some pex underground for heating I will just suspend it in a trench and call the local spray foam insulation guy and have him put about 12" in the trench & around the tubing.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: Rice/buck
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Looking for a little advice on stokers

PostBy: TSox On: Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:05 pm

The house has not been heated for the last 2 winters.

I already know some of the pipes froze and broke but I won't know how bad it is until we close and I can get in it and check it out. We bought the property $100,000 under market value so some repairs are to be expected.
TSox
 

Re: Looking for a little advice on stokers

PostBy: windyhill4.2 On: Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:36 pm

TSox,welcome to the coal forum. If you install in a garage with possible gasoline fumes ,building codes & insurance often call for isolation of the boiler or have it on a pedestal so the fire is minimum of 18 " off the floor where gasoline fumes concentrate .
windyhill4.2
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Oaktree (OWB)!!!!
Stove/Furnace Model: 600

Re: Looking for a little advice on stokers

PostBy: TSox On: Tue Feb 11, 2014 12:19 pm

Sorry for ducking out.

My family all picked up the FLU somewhere. It has been a long couple weeks.

Ok, so I've talked it over with the local building inspectors and they don't see any problem with putting a boiler in the garage.

Just so I don't have any problems in the future, I'm thinking about a small addition on the garage to house the boiler and possibly a small coal bin. I'll put a window or possibly a door into the main garage to let the heat in.

I have a line on a refurbished EFM 520 and a Axmen Anderson 260 that is still in use. Just going to look for now. I have been told by more than one "expert" either one will do the job without any problems but I don't know for sure how many BTU's I'm going to need. I'm a little leery to buy something without knowing as best I can what I need.
TSox
 

Re: Looking for a little advice on stokers

PostBy: Pacowy On: Tue Feb 11, 2014 8:19 pm

TSox wrote: I don't know for sure how many BTU's I'm going to need. I'm a little leery to buy something without knowing as best I can what I need.


As belabored in a couple of other threads, an easy starting point to make sure the system will work properly and to its capacity is to size the boiler to carry the load associated with the installed radiation (plus any DHW load). If you have any reason to suspect the radiation may be too much or too little you can investigate changing it (e.g., using heat loss computations), but IMO that is the load the boiler needs to be able to carry to avoid all kinds of problems, especially during very cold periods. If you're going to go through the effort an expense to put in a coal boiler, I would guard against undersizing it.

Mike
Pacowy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: H.B. Smith 350 Mills boiler/EFM 85R stoker
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/anthracite

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