Newbie Looking to Install Coal Stove in Basement.

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.
Post Reply
User avatar
Rob R.
Site Moderator
Posts: 11358
Joined: Fri. Dec. 28, 2007 4:26 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy
Location: Chazy, NY

Post Sat. Jul. 06, 2013 7:37 am

orrsmills wrote: I gotta tell you I don't really like the baseboard heat today with the oil boiler, the current setup with wood stove on main floor gives better heat then baseboard.
Just curious - What don't you like about the baseboard system? If it wasn't properly designed or installed, hooking up a coal boiler won't fix any of those existing issues.

Lots of talk about expense and budget...do you have a figure in mind for this project?

I don't intend to "push" one system over the other, but I do try to prevent people from making the same mistakes I did. The bright side is that you live in an area with a reliable coal source, there is equipment available in your area, and some others and have experimented with different systems are willing to educate you.

Visit Hitzer Stoves

User avatar
coalkirk
Member
Posts: 4681
Joined: Wed. May. 17, 2006 8:12 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1981 EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: anthracite/rice coal
Location: Forest Hill MD

Post Sat. Jul. 06, 2013 8:02 am

coalnewbie wrote:
I think you'll be very disappointed in using coal stove in basement to heat your house.
Hmmm, an interesting opinion considering that you have never even seen his house. I do the basement thing and am very happy with the result. No two installs are the same and this guy seems to have an unusual layout and is very budget driven.

orrs, continue your research you are doing just fine. 23' ceiling :o so is this an A frame design? I love learning about other peoples houses. There are some interesting homes along that road as I remember. If I have a next house it will have a massive great room with a tall ceiling and an exotic antique coal stove right in the middle. I would not give a plugged nickle for a coal hydronic system in my application. There goes that rectum speaking again.
It's the rare home that can be heated with any degree of real comfort by using a stove in the basement. A split foyer has about a half a chance but otherwise you are peeing into the wind. Hydronic heating is widely considered by knowledgable professionals as the most comfortable. It is certainly more efficient. We've seen many folks come to the forum and make the mistake of buying a stove for their basement only to discover that the result in the floor(s) above is unsatisfactory. If anyone here bought a coal boiler and was disappointed with the result, please step forward. :yearight:
You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. Winston Churchill

"I would rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me." —General George S. Patton

Burning rice coal in a 1981 EFM DF520, nut coal in a hand fired Jotul 507.

coalnewbie
Member
Posts: 6204
Joined: Sat. May. 24, 2008 4:26 pm
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL AnthraKing 180K, Pocono110K,KStokr 90K, DVC
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Invader 2
Baseburners & Antiques: Wings Best, Glenwood #8(x2) Herald 116x
Coal Size/Type: Rice,
Other Heating: Heating Oil CH, Toyotomi OM 22
Location: Chester, NY

Post Sat. Jul. 06, 2013 8:07 am

If anyone here bought a coal boiler and was disappointed with the result, please step forward.
and if anybody missed that $10000 they spent in these economic times please step forward. Anybody, anybody? (especially if you don't have that cash stuffed in the mattress)...... So the 100% solution is $10K and the 90% is say $500, hmmm. Conventional wisdom is sometimes an a$$.

So let's see, he buys that 100000 BTU stove for $500 (like my used Hitzer 50-93 or a Koker/Vigilante combo like Vig) and puts in a cold air return through the bedroom to the basement, Bailey and Tuttle air floor vents (pretty) and now only needs a squirt of HO for a few days a year.... Next year he is still not happy and sells the stove for $500, little money lost, and then he thinks about hydronics some more. Read what the guy says, he is in no rush.
Posted by an unreasonable adult.

User avatar
coalkirk
Member
Posts: 4681
Joined: Wed. May. 17, 2006 8:12 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1981 EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: anthracite/rice coal
Location: Forest Hill MD

Post Sat. Jul. 06, 2013 8:22 am

Well first I disagree with you numbers but we'll leave that for now. The variables are how many of the guys that spent $500.00 (your figure) for a stove are still having to use oil, gas, etc? Also I define comfort as the ability to maintain a desired even temperature in the entire home versus rooms that are 80, 70, 60, ?? as you go through the home. Survial is one thing, comfort is quite another.

Everyone has to do what their budget dictates. Inmy case the savings over oil were such that I was able to see how the boiler would pay for itself in short order and continue to save me thousands every year. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to see how that works in the long haul.
You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. Winston Churchill

"I would rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me." —General George S. Patton

Burning rice coal in a 1981 EFM DF520, nut coal in a hand fired Jotul 507.

coalnewbie
Member
Posts: 6204
Joined: Sat. May. 24, 2008 4:26 pm
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL AnthraKing 180K, Pocono110K,KStokr 90K, DVC
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Invader 2
Baseburners & Antiques: Wings Best, Glenwood #8(x2) Herald 116x
Coal Size/Type: Rice,
Other Heating: Heating Oil CH, Toyotomi OM 22
Location: Chester, NY

Post Sat. Jul. 06, 2013 8:34 am

As spoken from the tropics of MD. So the MD moderator says hydronics and yet the NJ moderator uses hot air..... Follow the moderators as they are the illuminati.... Another PA moderator (that winged predator from the Poconos) uses a 507 and B&T floor vents and is rebuilding a 100 year old gorgeous mica blaster stove.... The VA moderator uses a stove too ... rectums, rectums, rectums. Psst, 60F is not survival....
Posted by an unreasonable adult.

orrsmills
Member
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue. Jul. 02, 2013 8:08 am
Stove/Furnace Make: Quadra-Fire
Stove/Furnace Model: 4100I

Post Sat. Jul. 06, 2013 8:57 am

Just curious - What don't you like about the baseboard system? If it wasn't properly designed or installed, hooking up a coal boiler won't fix any of those existing issues.
With the high ceilings, baseboard just never seemed to provide enough heat. After installing the wood insert it was a world of difference. wood stove is right there in front of us in living room and pumps out the heat. Sure it doesn't push heat back to bedroom but I guess we can live with that. Were are not filling up the oil tank every month like I was before wood insert.
Lots of talk about expense and budget...do you have a figure in mind for this project?
If I didnt have a wood stove or not able to install a coal insert I would have no problem spending $4000 on coal boiler, but I feel its not necessary to spend that much as I think I would be happy with replacing the wood stove with a coal insert. Although I understand where people are coming from with the boiler solution.

I'm appreciating everyones help trying to figure out the best approach, again about a year away from pulling trigger on coal solution, whatever that may be, I have a big pile of wood in back for this winter.

orrsmills
Member
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue. Jul. 02, 2013 8:08 am
Stove/Furnace Make: Quadra-Fire
Stove/Furnace Model: 4100I

Post Sat. Jul. 06, 2013 9:01 am

I love learning about other peoples houses. There are some interesting homes along that road as I remember.
coalnewbie, I will send you a PM with my street number and cell number, feel free to stop by whenever you'll be around Cornwall.

coalnewbie
Member
Posts: 6204
Joined: Sat. May. 24, 2008 4:26 pm
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL AnthraKing 180K, Pocono110K,KStokr 90K, DVC
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Invader 2
Baseburners & Antiques: Wings Best, Glenwood #8(x2) Herald 116x
Coal Size/Type: Rice,
Other Heating: Heating Oil CH, Toyotomi OM 22
Location: Chester, NY

Post Sat. Jul. 06, 2013 9:17 am

Yes orr, the ability to bum a free cup of coffee does wonders and I will read my PM. Get this discussion in perspective, we are all good friends here and we help each other out a lot when the going gets tough. When its 90F and no coal is burning we are mostly just bored and like to argue with each other. Coal burning is like chewing gum, it comes in many different flavors.
With the high ceilings, baseboard just never seemed to provide enough heat.
BINGO, every application is different, do I hear the words ceiling fan from hell.
Last edited by coalnewbie on Sat. Jul. 06, 2013 9:36 am, edited 2 times in total.
Posted by an unreasonable adult.

Visit Hitzer Stoves

User avatar
VigIIPeaBurner
Site Moderator
Posts: 2293
Joined: Fri. Jan. 11, 2008 10:49 am
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace
Location: Pequest River Valley, Warren Co NJ

Post Sat. Jul. 06, 2013 9:20 am

coalnewbie wrote:As spoken from the tropics of MD. So the MD moderator says hydronics and yet the NJ moderator uses hot air..... Follow the moderators as they are the illuminati.... Another PA moderator (that winged predator from the Poconos) uses a 507 and B&T floor vents and is rebuilding a 100 year old gorgeous mica blaster stove.... The VA moderator uses a stove too ... rectums, rectums, rectums. Psst, 60F is not survival....
Ah, on the contrary my friend. My main heat is the fully radiant VC Vigilant II 2310! The oil furnace makes up the difference at the usage rate of ~ 100 gal of #2 a year. Just refilled the tank after 2.5 years back in June. The radiant stove on the first floor does us well but our house has a huge foyer that easily moves heat to the second floor rooms as needed (door-stats ;) ) and minimal headers impeding the movement of hot air on the first floor. The rooms we frequent are comfortable enough but there are some cold spots. I love the radiant heat from the Vig II. I'd never dissuade someone from going that route but for real comfort, I agree with Coalkirk. Whole house systems are the goal if there aren't other limitations such as space and budget.

If I took that 100 gal/year money and put it toward hooking up a furnace to my hot add ducts, I could have paid for the install several times over. But by simply running the hand fed on the first floor, over the years the savings has been immense :) My plan is to upgrade. I haven't been able to do the upgrade but after seeing LL's 110 furnace/SWG Powervent/new Coal-Trol system, I'm convinced that is the way to go for my system. I figure that the savings in running oil-only would pay for the system in less than two years. I'm game!
3 Videos: Chavez can shov(el) it . . . & he's @ it full time now!

User avatar
titleist1
Member
Posts: 4404
Joined: Wed. Nov. 14, 2007 4:06 pm
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Mag Stoker (old style) one in basement, one in workshop
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III on standby for long power outages
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite; Nut/Anthracite
Location: Cecil County, MD

Post Sat. Jul. 06, 2013 9:21 am

I didn't look back through all pages to see all the already discussed details, so my apologies if this is simply a re-hash....(probably is a re-hash since if I am 5 pages late to a thread these guys around here cover everything pretty well! :) )

As stated already (I did read some of the thread) the layout of the house and what you do about air circulation will determine how well a stove in the basement will heat the house and how efficiently it will use coal. Your experience will be different than everyone else to some degree.

I have a had a stove in the basement of our ranch for the last 20 years. Started with a hand fed Mark III and now have a Mag Stoker. The house has grown to over 2500 sq ft over the years (including basement space). Our floor plan and air return setup allow for temps within 5 degrees from warmest upstairs room right by the open basement stairs to the coolest back bedroom. We don't mind that delta T and in fact prefer it cooler for sleeping. My basement is all unfinished with block walls so I am certainly using up more coal than what I could. I use about 4 - 5 ton per year depending on weather severity, but I am in MD a little south of most everyone here so keep that in mind when predicting your coal usage. I had to experiment mostly with the air return to get it to this point and since I am happy with it I don't mess with it anymore.

Went with a hand fed initially because we would lose power for long periods of time and I didn't have a good generator setup for the first 5 years or so. Actually, still don't have the best since it isn't an automatic start up and switch when we lose it...I have to manually start it and switch over the panels by hand but at least I don't have to lug it to the house and run extension cords anymore to keep the stoker running. Switched to this stoker because I got it for less than $1k and it only took adjusting the flue pipe layout for 30 minutes to install it.
I drive a VW TDI, heat my home & workshop with two coal stokers and have two vintage JD diesel tractors....
The EPA just loves me!!

coalnewbie
Member
Posts: 6204
Joined: Sat. May. 24, 2008 4:26 pm
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL AnthraKing 180K, Pocono110K,KStokr 90K, DVC
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Invader 2
Baseburners & Antiques: Wings Best, Glenwood #8(x2) Herald 116x
Coal Size/Type: Rice,
Other Heating: Heating Oil CH, Toyotomi OM 22
Location: Chester, NY

Post Sat. Jul. 06, 2013 9:41 am

... and now a little levity..









Feel anything like ... cccooooolllll. Yep, coal heat can be part emotion too. Confusing isn't it? The good new is you're at the fun part... designing the system.
Posted by an unreasonable adult.

User avatar
dlj
Member
Posts: 1267
Joined: Thu. Nov. 27, 2008 6:38 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Castings Resolute
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood Baseheater #6
Coal Size/Type: Stove coal
Other Heating: Oil Furnace, electric space heaters
Location: Monroe, NY

Post Sat. Jul. 06, 2013 10:04 am

coalkirk wrote:Well first I disagree with you numbers but we'll leave that for now. The variables are how many of the guys that spent $500.00 (your figure) for a stove are still having to use oil, gas, etc? Also I define comfort as the ability to maintain a desired even temperature in the entire home versus rooms that are 80, 70, 60, ?? as you go through the home. Survial is one thing, comfort is quite another.

Everyone has to do what their budget dictates. In my case the savings over oil were such that I was able to see how the boiler would pay for itself in short order and continue to save me thousands every year. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to see how that works in the long haul.
Oh man how I love it when I'm one of those darned statistics that folk say don't exist... Yeap, I'm one that spent the low $'s and don't have to use oil if I don't want to... Yeap, I did a seat of the pants install through my existing fireplace, 100 year old stove on the first floor that can't for the life of me figure out how it keeps my entire house delightfully well heated - per what I interpret as your definition above and I don't use my fuel oil furnace, unless I'm lazy... So, being somewhat lazy, I go through 1 tank of fuel oil every two to three years, depending upon just how lazy I happen to be... HaHaHa.... I live with a house-full of women that are tropical in nature and it's a happy household... Hey, they say if Momma's happy, everyone is happy and here, we have happy winters... LOL

Did I hear someone say a suggest a local coal users get-together??? I'm on board!!! Who's got the coffee pot on? Orrsmills - I'd love to see your house and current set-up. I'm with Coalnewbie on that one, love seeing other's peoples set-ups... They are indeed all different...

dj

rberq
Member
Posts: 5015
Joined: Mon. Apr. 16, 2007 9:34 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine 1300 with hopper
Coal Size/Type: Blaschak Anthracite Nut
Other Heating: Oil hot water radiators (fuel oil); propane
Location: Central Maine

Post Sat. Jul. 06, 2013 11:49 am

coalnewbie wrote:... and now a little levity..

Thanks for that link. First time I saw an advertisement for Big Ass Fans I thought it was a joke, but I see they are what they say they are. :)
Simple answers for simple minds.

User avatar
coalkirk
Member
Posts: 4681
Joined: Wed. May. 17, 2006 8:12 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1981 EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: anthracite/rice coal
Location: Forest Hill MD

Post Sat. Jul. 06, 2013 1:03 pm

coalnewbie wrote:As spoken from the tropics of MD. So the MD moderator says hydronics and yet the NJ moderator uses hot air..... Follow the moderators as they are the illuminati.... Another PA moderator (that winged predator from the Poconos) uses a 507 and B&T floor vents and is rebuilding a 100 year old gorgeous mica blaster stove.... The VA moderator uses a stove too ... rectums, rectums, rectums. Psst, 60F is not survival....
Jeez newbie...did the wife wash your drawers in hot water and make them shrink? You seem alittle more tightly wound than normal. No one died and named me one of the illuminati. :lol: But I have an opinion. That doesn't make it any more or less valid than yours. It's just different. We can differ without getting snarky. If you are happy with your heating arrangements, tout it as much as you like. We obvioulsy have a different definition of comfort when it comes to home heating. Tropics of Maryland. :lol: I liked that one. But 60 degrees in winter time is not comfortable by my definition. Neither is 80 degrees. And in my experience of heating with stoves, of which I have plenty, that's what you end up with. It doesn't make it wrong, just well...less comfortable. I don't really care what this new guy ends up heating with or how he does it. Just offering him my 2 cents so he can make an informed decision.
You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. Winston Churchill

"I would rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me." —General George S. Patton

Burning rice coal in a 1981 EFM DF520, nut coal in a hand fired Jotul 507.

Pacowy
Member
Posts: 2741
Joined: Tue. Sep. 04, 2007 10:14 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: H.B. Smith 350 Mills boiler/EFM 85R stoker
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/anthracite
Location: Dalton, MA

Post Sat. Jul. 06, 2013 1:27 pm

coalnewbie wrote:
If anyone here bought a coal boiler and was disappointed with the result, please step forward.
and if anybody missed that $10000 they spent in these economic times please step forward. Anybody, anybody? (especially if you don't have that cash stuffed in the mattress)...... So the 100% solution is $10K and the 90% is say $500, hmmm. Conventional wisdom is sometimes an a$$.

So let's see, he buys that 100000 BTU stove for $500 (like my used Hitzer 50-93 or a Koker/Vigilante combo like Vig) and puts in a cold air return through the bedroom to the basement, Bailey and Tuttle air floor vents (pretty) and now only needs a squirt of HO for a few days a year.... Next year he is still not happy and sells the stove for $500, little money lost, and then he thinks about hydronics some more. Read what the guy says, he is in no rush.
A lot of people have gone through a process of starting with a stove and a simple set-up to get comfortable with coal before getting too involved, and I'm one of them. That said, I'm a little concerned that CN's numbers seem to be comparing a large and possibly new coal boiler to used stove without accounting for important differences. Hitzer says a 50-93 maxes out at around 100k btu/hr, but that is about the size of the smallest coal boilers. Even for a new unit, you normally wouldn't need to spend anywhere near $10k to get and install a boiler of comparable capacity. For people who would consider used equipment - as CN assumes would be the case for the stove - a good used boiler would be even less. For example, forum members have advertised boilers like a Keystoker K-6 in good used condition for well under $3k, and those units produce far greater usable output than does a 50-93 (sorry, manly men). The numbers also get murkier if you have a big DHW load and use the boiler for that. In our old house we saved $100/month off our NG bill as soon we switched to a tankless coil on the boiler (the gas company actually sent someone to our house to inspect our equipment because they thought we were fooling with the meter :lol: ). In that house we started with coal stoves installed in fireplaces and wound up with an EFM 900 in the basement.

It's great that the forum helps newcomers to see the options in light of the experiences others have already had. I agree with CN that you can get a lot of benefits from coal heat without getting into central heating, but I think his numbers make central heating with coal look like a scary proposition when, in fact, it is a step that many coal stove users find rational to take.

Mike

Visit Hitzer Stoves

Post Reply

Return to “Hand Fired Coal Stoves & Furnaces Using Anthracite”