Who Switched From Wood to Coal

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.
orrsmills
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Post Tue. Jul. 02, 2013 10:42 am

Hi,

Question to those of you who have switched from wood to coal burning. Do you find that coal puts out more heat then wood? I was under the impression wood produces a better heat. Do you find your home warmer heating with coal? Draw backs of coal over wood heat if any?

Thanks,
Mark

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McGiever
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Post Tue. Jul. 02, 2013 11:01 am

Only draw back I can think of is that a ton coal produces a little bigger ash pile than a ton of wood.
But that doesn't mean squat to me or most anybody else here. :)
SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE

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ONEDOLLAR
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Post Tue. Jul. 02, 2013 11:01 am

The only draw back I really see with coal over wood is now for the first time I am paying for a fuel. However I don't miss the mess of wood, the extra body pains not to mention the nagging splinters I would always get. Being able to sleep through the night without needing to arise to feed a woodstove is PRICELESS.

Coal may not burn as hot as wood depending on the stove but you cannot beat the true burn times. My little Chubby Jr will burn 12 hours at 450f. Like to see a wood stove burn that long at those temps. As a result my house is warmer and the temps don't vary much. Go with coal you will be happy you did.
It is the small things in life that push us over the edge........

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anthony7812
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Post Tue. Jul. 02, 2013 11:26 am

Grew up burning wood. Let me say this, I miss burning wood.... not so much burning it I guess. It was all the extra exercise that kept this extra 20lbs ive gained since burning coal :doh: . Coal knocks wood outta the water. Yeah you can burn wood as hot as coal if not hotter but try to keep that fire for 12-16 hrs.
Anthony

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VigIIPeaBurner
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Post Tue. Jul. 02, 2013 11:42 am

Wood might burn hot more quickly but it really doesn't burn hotter than coal. If combustion air was left unrestricted a coal fire would create just as much havock as a wood fire. Likely more because , pound for pound, coal has more BTUs available. Smoke pipe temperatures are higher when comparing wood to coal. That's heat lost up the chimney. Blacksmiths prefer coal. Colonial iron forges and glass makers used charcoal until the coal deposits were developed.

Personally, I used wood for nearly 25 years until I began to heat with anthracite. The BTU output is consistently higher than wood when one averages out the highs and lows. This consistency results in my house being warmer and more comfortable than wood heat provided. There is more ash produced on a daily basis with coal but when comparing the labor involved in simply feeding and emptying the heating appliance of your choice, coal will require much less labor. That doesn't even include the fuel storage effort in the equation which would place the effort to heat with wood way past what the same effort to heat with coal.

If you procure your own wood for the heating season, take the advice that others have posted elsewhere on this forum:
  • :!: Sell the wood and buy coal to heat your house with. You'll come out ahead in more ways than one :)
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Lightning
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Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Overmodified/Bored out Clayton 1537
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite/Awesome Size
Location: Olean, NY

Post Tue. Jul. 02, 2013 2:20 pm

I love coal. Burning it has become a winter time hobby. There is more science involved with tweaking the burn. Maintaining a consistent natural draw in the chimney which is attainable thru the use of a draft gauge and either a barometric or manual damper is key to achieving a long burn time with consistent heat output. I reload my furnace every 12 to 18 hours.

My 5 tons is poured into the basement in one delivery and will last the whole winter. Just be patient. Wood and coal are totally different. Some learning thru trial and error is expected. It took me a full season to gain confidence and knowledge in my technique of operating my appliance.

I credit this site and the unselfish sharing of others here that helped me thru the curve. The people here are great and the knowledge is plentiful.

Coal is only a third the price of propane and my average house temperature went from 68 to 74 degrees thru the winter.

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Lightning
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Post Tue. Jul. 02, 2013 2:29 pm

Also, no fear of chimney fires with coal. Creosote is non existent. No bugs, splinters, sore backs or wasted time and effort splitting, stacking, hauling. No mess other than some dust which is controlled by having a little finesse handling it.

Think of coal as being stored Sunshine from 300 million years ago lol.

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Rob R.
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Post Tue. Jul. 02, 2013 6:19 pm

I burned wood for 20 years. 15 full cords per year just to heat the farmhouse, probably another 10 cords in the farm shop. Countless hours splitting and stacking, a few chimney fires that almost made us homeless....now I burn 9-10 tons of coal per year....ZERO fuel oil or propane, no chimney fires, no 2 am reloads, no bugs, no hot then cold cycles, just 72 degrees all winter long.

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Wiz
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Post Tue. Jul. 02, 2013 6:31 pm

Been there done it, sore back and all. Switch to coal last year and happier then a bum on a baloney sandwich.
Randy
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waldo lemieux
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Post Tue. Jul. 02, 2013 8:45 pm

if you miss the free wood and the exercise , Cut the wood, split it , then sell the damn stuff and buy your coal. Its way better.... :) I don't have enough years left to ever start missing burning wood :roll:
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dcrane
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Post Tue. Jul. 02, 2013 10:09 pm

My dad would always say the ONLY people who should ever burn wood to heat their home are those few people who seriously can obtain all the quality hardwood they wish for free (that's it). Its not even a close debate otherwise...
How and why most the people outside the PA. have been fooled, tricked, kept in the dark I do not know because you will not find one person who would seriously say quality wood beats quality coal unless its 100% free (and even then wood is still a pain in the arse compared to coal).

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KLook
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Post Tue. Jul. 02, 2013 10:16 pm

I am only going to reply.....Hahahahahahahaha! Do some research on this site.

Kevin

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titleist1
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Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Mag Stoker (old style) one in basement, one in workshop
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Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite; Nut/Anthracite
Location: Cecil County, MD

Post Tue. Jul. 02, 2013 11:43 pm

Installed my Harman Mark III in '93 and burned a lot of wood in it over the years. Started at about 80% wood and 20% coal and gradually shifted that percentage in the hand fed to 80% coal and 20% wood and now 98% coal in the stoker and I run the propane furnace about 2% just to exercise it in case it is ever needed. The only good thing about burning wood was the physical nature of cutting, splitting, stacking, hauling, stacking warmed you 5 times and worked off a lot of frustration from a job I didn't like and saved money on the health club membership.

The wood fire temps were comparable to coal but would not last very long. 4-5 hours in my less than optimal wood burning appliance - so there was lots of middle of the night and very early morning loading. As mentioned, coal produces more ash than wood.

No other negatives for coal in this comparison, there are many positives....less mess, more consistent heat, no chimney fires, easy delivery, easy loading (bucket or vac system to load the hopper).
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!!

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Post Wed. Jul. 03, 2013 8:03 am

orrsmills wrote:Hi,

Question to those of you who have switched from wood to coal burning. Do you find that coal puts out more heat then wood? I was under the impression wood produces a better heat. Do you find your home warmer heating with coal? Draw backs of coal over wood heat if any?

Thanks,
Mark
I been burning coal for a few years now, was wood. I have the coal stove down to a twice a day tending schedule. Wood was an every time you walked past it tending schedule.

Do you find that coal puts out more heat then wood? Coal puts out a more even consistant heat than wood.
I was under the impression wood produces a better heat. Don't understand "better"? A low consistant heat sorce makes my home more comfortable than a hot sometimes, cold othertimes heat, IE. wood
Do you find your home warmer heating with coal? My house gets a more even temp inside burning coal. The floors and all of the mass inside of the house need to reach the air temp for it to be comfortable. Easier to do with coal.
Draw backs of coal over wood heat if any? None that I can think of. Other than ignorant people and tree huggers giving me a hard time because I am burning that "Dirty coal" :lol:

I developed land for a long time and was able to get "free" wood, the free wood needed to be trucked home,bucked,split,stacked and seasoned. All of this before I could burn the "free" wood.
Gas $ for the saw, blades $ for the saw, gas $ for the splitter, $1,500 for the splitter. all to process "free " wood. Not to mention the time devoted to processing the "free" wood. I'd rather be fishing than stacking and splitting.

I now drive 30 minutes, the coal man loads my truck for $200 and Im ready for a year of warm affordable heat. No chimeny, fires no bugs, no sweating while carrying firewood to the shed.
James,

orrsmills
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Post Wed. Jul. 03, 2013 8:15 am

I developed land for a long time and was able to get "free" wood, the free wood needed to be trucked home,bucked,split,stacked and seasoned. All of this before I could burn the "free" wood.
Gas $ for the saw, blades $ for the saw, gas $ for the splitter, $1,500 for the splitter. all to process "free " wood. Not to mention the time devoted to processing the "free" wood. I'd rather be fishing than stacking and splitting.

I have been burning wood for last 10 years from the wood I get free on my property, your right about the gas, saw blades, etc and the cost for everyone once in awhile calling in a tree guy (usally $200) to have him take down a tree I don't feel comfortable cutting down.

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