Heating With Coal in the Midwest

Got Coal? You can make dealer inquiries here for both anthracite and bituminous coal. Co-op information for those looking to purchase in bulk as a group. Reviews on different brands and dealers.
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europachris
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Joined: Sat. Dec. 09, 2006 5:54 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM 350/Iron Fireman
Stove/Furnace Model: Custom bituminous burner
Location: N. Central Illinois

Post Wed. Jan. 06, 2010 2:27 pm

Unbagged will be a lot cheaper and I don't know how the bags will hold up if stored where sunlight can get to them. Some plastics photo-degrade with sun exposure. Bulk anthracite can just be dumped in a big pile and forgotten. Only the amount you plan to burn in a single winter should be kept covered and dry so it doesn't freeze into a solid mass.

I'd build some sort of 3-sided structure to contain the pile so it doesn't spread out so far. Lots of ways to do it, just be sure it's STRONG.
Economic Stimulus = Supporting your local Miners
I love the smell of Illinois bituminous in the morning.
Have you hooked a clinker today?

Visit Lehigh Anthracite

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Sting
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Joined: Mon. Feb. 25, 2008 4:24 pm
Other Heating: OBSO Lennox Pulse "Air Scorcher" burning NG
Location: Lower Fox Valley = Wisconsin

Post Wed. Jan. 06, 2010 3:03 pm

Us "midwest guys"

hey we need and area and a moderator just for us :D

We likely will not be able to pay a trucker enough to bring a bulk load over and dead head back -- So bagged Ant Tracks coal it must be. If I had a strong modern - even dependable fork truck - I might buy and resell. or I could have before I invested in a different infrastructure.

Like europachris found - its just going to be easier to go with the flow and find Bit coal equipment to stay warm with. The next best "Midwest" alternative would be corn, or barley burning. The wood pellet industry is far to retail stove driven.

I just had 6 ton of corn delivered this afternoon into the Space Shuttle. ill load a ton of waste paper pellets into the pellet bin tonight. That should hold me for a couple weeks.
When you turn your boiler on -Does it return the favor?
I have finally lost my mind. Don't bother to return it. It wasn't working properly anyway!

voterone
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Post Wed. Jan. 06, 2010 6:08 pm

Sting wrote:Us "midwest guys"

hey we need and area and a moderator just for us :D

We likely will not be able to pay a trucker enough to bring a bulk load over and dead head back -- So bagged Ant Tracks coal it must be. If I had a strong modern - even dependable fork truck - I might buy and resell. or I could have before I invested in a different infrastructure.

Like europachris found - its just going to be easier to go with the flow and find Bit coal equipment to stay warm with. The next best "Midwest" alternative would be corn, or barley burning. The wood pellet industry is far to retail stove driven.

I just had 6 ton of corn delivered this afternoon into the Space Shuttle. ill load a ton of waste paper pellets into the pellet bin tonight. That should hold me for a couple weeks.
You know Sting, I was thinking along the same lines.

I wonder if there is a business in coal stoves, coal and supplies geared for mid westerners. I think an 'agent' business model, with authorized reps throughout the region and a central support and inventory/storage system might be viable.

Just a thought.

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lowfog01
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Mark II & Mark I
Coal Size/Type: nut/pea
Location: Springfield, VA

Post Wed. Jan. 06, 2010 7:26 pm

Hi Guys,

Allow me to point out that Voterone doesn't have to go to PA to get his coal. He only has to go as far as the closest anthracite dealer; it would most likely be bagged but it would be closer then PA. A quick check of the Reading Dealer Locator shows a dealer in SW Minnesota and one in Wisconsin. That's still more then a day trip but it's not going to PA either. In fact, someplace that close may be worth renting a truck and making a weekend trip once a year for that year's supply.

Voterone - Just a note about Reading or Blaschak bagged coal - it generally burns great and I have no complaints about the quality but the bags do degrade quickly. Any bag left from year to year is going to split when you try to move it. It's all I burn and why I have my bagged coal stacked on "lawn fabric" so when the bag splits I can easily recover the spilled coal. I just have to take the dust pan and sweep it up so to speak. It's also why my dealer gives me a price break when I buy the "old coal" in the spring. He knows the bags are going to degrade over the summer. Just something to consider if you brought a truck load of bagged coal. Lisa
“The media class is the wall that we have to climb over for our voices to be heard. Once our voices are heard, then democracy will happen.” Andrew Breitbart.

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europachris
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Joined: Sat. Dec. 09, 2006 5:54 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM 350/Iron Fireman
Stove/Furnace Model: Custom bituminous burner
Location: N. Central Illinois

Post Wed. Jan. 06, 2010 8:57 pm

voterone wrote: I wonder if there is a business in coal stoves, coal and supplies geared for mid westerners. I think an 'agent' business model, with authorized reps throughout the region and a central support and inventory/storage system might be viable.

Just a thought.
I'm sure there is a business in it, but there is a serious lack of proper equipment to burn it and education and knowlege of using it properly. In my opinion, to burn our coal (provided you have neighbors within a mile) REQUIRES a stoker. I've done the handfed Indiana bituminous deal as a kid - and while I thought the great plumes of black smoke were cool (I love steam engines, too), I vividly remember the soot strings everywhere outside, and cleaning the 40' chimney with my father every 3 or 4 weeks. :cry: It sucked.

Therefore, while yes you could keep people warm by churning out reproduction Warm Morning stoves, not many would put up with the mess and soot. The ticket is going to be stokers - and I'm not sure people would go for a repro Combustioneer or Stokermatic stove in a modern living room. They are kinda fugly, but would make a dandy small add-on furnace for modern, well insulated homes. Or, as I am doing, build a stoker boiler and put it in an outbuilding. There are several commercial units made with the Prill style pot that might work with our clinkering coals, but they are also HUGE at 300,000 BTU and up. I could heat my house and both my neighbors with that. There needs to be a version starting around 100,000 or 130,000 BTU for a "normal" home. I've not heard a peep about the bituminous burning EFM that they developed, but that would be a good possibility.

Right now my natural gas is practically free. Last bill was in the area of $.40/therm. It's going up again, but nothing like the $1.40/therm it was July 2008. Even bituminous isn't going to save me money at these prices. Farmers in the country who are burning LP will instead just burn the corn they farm. Nobody really uses oil around the midwest much, most cities and towns are on natural gas.

But, the price of pellets is just stupid, and we have several pellet mills in the region. I'm doing better burning bagged anthracite from 800 miles away rather than pellets from 100 miles away by quite a margin. Once you could demonstrate that local coal consumption would help the economy, not smoke out the neighborhood, be relatively clean with either basement or outbuilding installations, and be a reliable heat source that saves money over any other except maybe free firewood, it might make a go as a business.......

Not to stir the pot - but anthracite is "easy". No smoke, little smell, no soot, easy to tend, long burning, clean to handle the fuel - almost anyone can do it. Bituminous will take a "special breed" of coal lover that's just a little more weird than the rest of 'em. "My name is Chris, and I burn bituminous...." :D But when my gas hits $1.40 a therm and keeps going up, I'll let my neighbors come over and sniff my stack.... :P

Chris
Economic Stimulus = Supporting your local Miners
I love the smell of Illinois bituminous in the morning.
Have you hooked a clinker today?

voterone
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Joined: Tue. Jan. 05, 2010 7:14 pm

Post Wed. Jan. 06, 2010 9:45 pm

europachris wrote:
voterone wrote: I wonder if there is a business in coal stoves, coal and supplies geared for mid westerners. I think an 'agent' business model, with authorized reps throughout the region and a central support and inventory/storage system might be viable.

Just a thought.
I'm sure there is a business in it, but there is a serious lack of proper equipment to burn it and education and knowlege of using it properly. In my opinion, to burn our coal (provided you have neighbors within a mile) REQUIRES a stoker. I've done the handfed Indiana bituminous deal as a kid - and while I thought the great plumes of black smoke were cool (I love steam engines, too), I vividly remember the soot strings everywhere outside, and cleaning the 40' chimney with my father every 3 or 4 weeks. :cry: It sucked.

Therefore, while yes you could keep people warm by churning out reproduction Warm Morning stoves, not many would put up with the mess and soot. The ticket is going to be stokers - and I'm not sure people would go for a repro Combustioneer or Stokermatic stove in a modern living room. They are kinda fugly, but would make a dandy small add-on furnace for modern, well insulated homes. Or, as I am doing, build a stoker boiler and put it in an outbuilding. There are several commercial units made with the Prill style pot that might work with our clinkering coals, but they are also HUGE at 300,000 BTU and up. I could heat my house and both my neighbors with that. There needs to be a version starting around 100,000 or 130,000 BTU for a "normal" home. I've not heard a peep about the bituminous burning EFM that they developed, but that would be a good possibility.

Right now my natural gas is practically free. Last bill was in the area of $.40/therm. It's going up again, but nothing like the $1.40/therm it was July 2008. Even bituminous isn't going to save me money at these prices. Farmers in the country who are burning LP will instead just burn the corn they farm. Nobody really uses oil around the midwest much, most cities and towns are on natural gas.

But, the price of pellets is just stupid, and we have several pellet mills in the region. I'm doing better burning bagged anthracite from 800 miles away rather than pellets from 100 miles away by quite a margin. Once you could demonstrate that local coal consumption would help the economy, not smoke out the neighborhood, be relatively clean with either basement or outbuilding installations, and be a reliable heat source that saves money over any other except maybe free firewood, it might make a go as a business.......

Not to stir the pot - but anthracite is "easy". No smoke, little smell, no soot, easy to tend, long burning, clean to handle the fuel - almost anyone can do it. Bituminous will take a "special breed" of coal lover that's just a little more weird than the rest of 'em. "My name is Chris, and I burn bituminous...." :D But when my gas hits $1.40 a therm and keeps going up, I'll let my neighbors come over and sniff my stack.... :P

Chris
Interesting info, Chris.

Seems to me that done well, an anthracite stove/coal business might have legs. I suspect there are stove manufacturers who would be more than a little interested- new markets for coal stoves aren't easy to come by. Same would apply to coal suppliers. Obviously, quality products are key.

Winter in the Mid West isn't an iffy proposition. A well educated consumer would make anthracite very attractive, I'd imagine. This past year has changed people in a big way. Saving some money here and there isn't a passing subject any more. The inevitable rise in fuel costs will hold people's attention.

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rockwood
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Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Stokermatic coal furnace
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Rockwood Stoveworks Circulator
Baseburners & Antiques: Malleable/Monarch Range
Coal Size/Type: Soft coal: Lump and stoker (slack coal)
Location: Utah

Post Wed. Jan. 06, 2010 10:28 pm

Sting wrote:hey we need and area and a moderator just for us :D
Yeah, one for further west too. :)
Chris is right about fuel costs. Here in Utah if I had to pay $200+ per ton of coal it would be cheaper to use natural gas. Utah has among the lowest rates in the Country for natural gas and electricity and it might be similar in eastern Nebraska??. You need to calculate how much hard coal you would need to heat your home and if you find hard coal to be cheaper then you could pursue it. Soft coal would be lots cheaper but it can be difficult to find a decent stoker (automatic soft coal furnace) in some areas...if you're patient you can find them and they last forever if properly maintained.
"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." -Goethe

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Sting
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Other Heating: OBSO Lennox Pulse "Air Scorcher" burning NG
Location: Lower Fox Valley = Wisconsin

Post Wed. Jan. 06, 2010 10:39 pm

lowfog01 wrote: A quick check of the Reading Dealer Locator shows a dealer in SW Minnesota and one in Wisconsin. That's still more then a day trip but it's not going to PA either.
Lisa

There are at least three Blackjack dealers in WI

Two are only minutes away from me -- Both of those are Amish farmers with NO STOCK and they charge THREE prices per bag of coal.

How they or the coal company can consider them dealers is beyond me.
When you turn your boiler on -Does it return the favor?
I have finally lost my mind. Don't bother to return it. It wasn't working properly anyway!

Visit Lehigh Anthracite

voterone
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Joined: Tue. Jan. 05, 2010 7:14 pm

Post Wed. Jan. 06, 2010 10:40 pm

rockwood wrote:
Sting wrote:hey we need and area and a moderator just for us :D
Yeah, one for further west too. :)
Chris is right about fuel costs. Here in Utah if I had to pay $200+ per ton of coal it would be cheaper to use natural gas. Utah has among the lowest rates in the Country for natural gas and electricity and it might be similar in eastern Nebraska??. You need to calculate how much hard coal you would need to heat your home and if you find hard coal to be cheaper then you could pursue it. Soft coal would be lots cheaper but it can be difficult to find a decent stoker (automatic soft coal furnace) in some areas...if you're patient you can find them and they last forever if properly maintained.
Well, here's a thought, rockwood: An anthracite stove supplier in the mid west/west would more than likely be the only supplier of coal. A dealer would have a locked in, ongoing source of regular income.

Obviously, at some point that would require large train car size loads. If the anthracite coal mines would be willing to play ball (and why wouldn't they for a new market), maybe there is a game here.

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efo141
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Stove/Furnace Make: New Yorker/Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: WC90-----/Kaa-2
Location: Western MA

Post Wed. Jan. 06, 2010 10:59 pm

Sting wrote:I just had 6 ton of corn delivered this afternoon into the Space Shuttle.
Sting, how are the paper pellets working for you? Just got back from your neck of the woods (Green Bay) My father in law says he did the math and natural gas is cheaper than corn. First year I have been out there when the corn stove was silent. Are you burning any of that cheap mid west gas?
Ed

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Sting
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Other Heating: OBSO Lennox Pulse "Air Scorcher" burning NG
Location: Lower Fox Valley = Wisconsin

Post Wed. Jan. 06, 2010 11:30 pm

Yes NG and corn are very close in therm costs. I am burning corn because I contracted for two 6 ton deliveries last spring when I rolled the dice and decided it was the market sweet spot - I wasn't too far off. But then NG came down. So I am burning what I own vs buying some more.

The paper pellets are crap - I never have bridging in the appliance hopper regardless of what ratio I ran corn or corn an wood pellets mix - But these paper pellets -- OMG any amount more than a little added and the fuel bridges _ I have out fires - the ash is lots

I spend 100.00 bucks and Last night installed an agitator above the fall out in the hopper to solve the drama - so what I saved on the cheep fuel -- I just spent on an upgrade to use it! :?
When you turn your boiler on -Does it return the favor?
I have finally lost my mind. Don't bother to return it. It wasn't working properly anyway!

voterone
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Joined: Tue. Jan. 05, 2010 7:14 pm

Post Wed. Jan. 06, 2010 11:38 pm

Sting wrote:Yes NG and corn are very close in therm costs. I am burning corn because I contracted for two 6 ton deliveries last spring when I rolled the dice and decided it was the market sweet spot - I wasn't too far off. But then NG came down. So I am burning what I own vs buying some more.

The paper pellets are crap - I never have bridging in the appliance hopper regardless of what ratio I ran corn or corn an wood pellets mix - But these paper pellets -- OMG any amount more than a little added and the fuel bridges _ I have out fires - the ash is lots

I spend 100.00 bucks and Last night installed an agitator above the fall out in the hopper to solve the drama - so what I saved on the cheep fuel -- I just spent on an upgrade to use it! :?
Question: Can you burn bio bricks in a coal stove?

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efo141
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Posts: 505
Joined: Thu. Jun. 05, 2008 8:25 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: New Yorker/Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: WC90-----/Kaa-2
Location: Western MA

Post Wed. Jan. 06, 2010 11:42 pm

Sting wrote: so what I saved on the cheep fuel -- I just spent on an upgrade to use it!
I hate when that happens! The guy told my father in law people either hate them or love them. They jammed his auger, needless to say he hated them.
Ed

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Sting
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Posts: 2967
Joined: Mon. Feb. 25, 2008 4:24 pm
Other Heating: OBSO Lennox Pulse "Air Scorcher" burning NG
Location: Lower Fox Valley = Wisconsin

Post Thu. Jan. 07, 2010 8:16 am

I know we all like pictures :D

Here is what a ton and a half of paper pellets looks like --

Image

That was over the top
Here is the side shot of the bin
Image

And for a bench mark
This is what I built the bin out of
Image
When you turn your boiler on -Does it return the favor?
I have finally lost my mind. Don't bother to return it. It wasn't working properly anyway!

User avatar
Sting
Member
Posts: 2967
Joined: Mon. Feb. 25, 2008 4:24 pm
Other Heating: OBSO Lennox Pulse "Air Scorcher" burning NG
Location: Lower Fox Valley = Wisconsin

Post Thu. Jan. 07, 2010 8:55 am

Superior has a turn key Dealer deal - coal - stoves - training -

Just send money! :D

And then wait for the truckloads of stuff.
When you turn your boiler on -Does it return the favor?
I have finally lost my mind. Don't bother to return it. It wasn't working properly anyway!

Visit Lehigh Anthracite

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