What's the Smallest Stove?

Modern and vintage hand fired coal stove are similar to a wood stove and in some cases can burn either. They need to be regulated and fed by hand usually every 12 to 24 hours depending on your usage. They require no power to operate making them ideal for rural settings with long power outages.
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Post Sat. Nov. 25, 2006 9:53 pm

I have one room in my house that's chilly, and I'd like to find a small (tiny) coal stove.

Besides heating the room, I'd like to experiment with it before deciding if I should get a larger stove to heat the whole house. I can get some experience in keeping a coal fire going, and see how messy it is, and how much I enjoy it.

It's the room I hang out in, and so I'd be around to watch the stove and mess with it if required.


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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman SF 250, domestic hot water loop, heat accumulator
Coal Size/Type: Nut and Stove
Other Heating: Heat Pumps
Location: Lehigh Twp, PA

Post Sun. Nov. 26, 2006 10:06 am

Hello Moose and welcome.

Coal stoves throw out a lot of heat so you will not need much of a firebox. I always liked the Harman Mark Series of stoves. The Mark I is very small and very well built but expensive if bought new. There are many other brand stoves too which cost less than the Harman models. Do the google search for coal stoves. You can find Leisure Line, Keystoker, Harman, Alaska and many others. Is price a consideration? I often see used units on Ebay or in local papers. Be careful not to go too large as you will overheat the one room. Or go bigger for future growth and install a firebox reducer. I find the Harman unit very easy to reduce the firebox.

Living near the coal region of PA as I do, it boggles my mind as more folks do not take advantage of coal as a *primary* source of heat as I do. If you are in the coal region and/or can aquire anthricite easily, consider heating your entire castle with coal. It truely is a warm & steady heat with little changes in temperature inside the living area once you have it set up what works for you. Update us as you study up on the idea. Ask many questions right here on this forum and at the dealers.
Lehigh Twp.
Northampton Co., PA

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Post Sun. Nov. 26, 2006 2:27 pm

Maybe I'll actually try to heat the whole house, although the prices I've seen for these stoves are pretty high.

I'm in Middletown NY, and there's a Harman dealer close to me. I'll have to ask him if coal is available in this area. I have a feeling I'm too far from PA to get it for a reasonable price. I checked pellets, and they're very expensive around here ($250-300/ton), so coal is probably the same.

Here's my situation:

My house is about 3,720 sq ft., 2 floors, old but fairly well insulated, and has an amazingly large thermal mass. If it's 30 degrees outside, the house will lose about 1°/hr.

I currently have municipal natural gas heat, which I plan to keep. I'd like to get a fireplace insert that:

1. is nice to look at and have fires in when I have guests
2. heats the house if the power fails
3. saves some money

I'd like to be able to burn wood so I can get it going quickly (mainly for decoration) as well as coal and be able to burn with no power. I also want something that's very controllable. If it's 50 outside, I want it to be 65 inside, not 70 or 75.

Which insert would you guys recommend?


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Ken L
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Post Sun. Nov. 26, 2006 3:49 pm

Hello Moose, just a note about coal prices. I live in Maine which isn't really near any coal country and I pay about 224$ a ton and will burn about 3 and 1 half ton this winter. If I was burning oil it would cost me about 1100$ more! And, if I can figure out a way to make my firebox smaller I will burn a few hundred $ less! I live in a small ranch and the coal heat blows me right out of here. Not that I'm complaining. I use to have my thermostat at 60-68 burning oil and wore an extra sweater in the house. Now I walk around in a T shirt cos my house is 75-80 all the time and it costs me less than half what it used to. And its a steady even heat. Oh and I've been getting my coal at Aubochon Hardware in bags by the pallet and just found out about 2 companies that sell it in bulk around here by the ton. So that will most likely cost even less next winter. Coal is an excellent choice.

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Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland
Location: Michigan

Post Sun. Nov. 26, 2006 4:56 pm

Moose, take a look at the Hitzer 503 fireplace insert. It has a gravity fed hopper so it can function without electricity. It has glass in the door so you can see the fire. They are well made and reasonably priced too.

Forum members 'davemich' and ' bigdog' both have this insert. Take a look on the 'pictures of my stove' thread, there are photos of both of the member's stoves.

As for coal prices, you get twice the BTU's from coal as from wood pellets. If you can get bagged for around $200-225 per ton, that 's not too bad. You will love the coal heat.

Hope this helps. Greg L


Burning Pea/Buckwheat through an antique stoker [semi retired SSboiler],
Running an Axeman-Anderson 260M boiler burning Pea, About 150-250#per day
Farming, Fixing, Fabricating and Flying: 'spare time' what's that?

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Post Mon. Nov. 27, 2006 1:23 am

Doesn't the 503 insert need power for the blowers? Or can it run (perhaps less efficiently) without them?

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Location: St Joseph, Mi.

Post Mon. Nov. 27, 2006 6:46 am

Moose, yes the blowers require power but if power is out, the unit still radiates heat. My 503 heats my entire 1800 SF 2 story home without any difficulty. The 503 Hitzer is about $1500 and will heat a good portion of your home if located centrally. Wood really isn't an option as the damper is located at the bottom of the unit making it truly a coal burner. Wood needs an air source at fire level as you know. Hope this helps and let us know what you eventually do...Dave

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Post Tue. Dec. 12, 2006 7:25 am

The Morso 1410 is probably the smallest stove out there. You must purchase the coal version since it comes in specific wood or coal versions.

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Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea
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Post Tue. Dec. 12, 2006 8:17 am

A coal appliance will cost more initially because they are VERY well built, they have to be. However they last just about forever, not a bad return considering what it will do in it's lifespan. Coal in your area should run about $200-250 @ ton but would have about 2-3 times the heat of pellets and take up a lot less room.
Coal could double in cost and still save you money, the only cheaper heat source would be Uranium or Plutonium and I doubt you want an insert for that stuff.

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