Coal/Pellet Comparison

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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joeq
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Post Mon. Sep. 30, 2013 5:47 pm

People that use stoves for augmenting existing heating systems, lean way more to the pellet stoves than the coal. I realize coal produces more heat, and is a little more "high maintenance", but with all it's benefits, you'ld think there'ld be more popularity with coal than there is. Has anyone here known, or have themselves, switched from pellet burning to coal? I know quite a few people with pellets, who rant and rave about them, but wonder what their opinion would be if they tried out an efficient coal stove.
I got coal in my Christmas stocking. (Yey!)
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lsayre
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Post Mon. Sep. 30, 2013 5:54 pm

One advantage for pellets is that the cost factor for pellets is far more uniform across the country than for anthracite. Can you imagine the cost of PA anthracite in a distant place like Montana?
-Larry

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mozz
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Post Mon. Sep. 30, 2013 5:58 pm

Coal, no creosote, twice as many btu's.
Gouldsboro PA.

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joeq
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Post Mon. Sep. 30, 2013 6:03 pm

Don't think creosote is a concern with pellet people, cause the only chimney system is a 4" dryer duct.
I got coal in my Christmas stocking. (Yey!)
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tsb
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Post Mon. Sep. 30, 2013 6:17 pm

Pellet stoves have a lot to offer. They are self starting and can be
regulated with a thermostat. Knock a 4 inch hole in the wall, plug it in,
chuck in some pellets and your ready to go. Your not ready to save much
money, but you got heat and the hardware store has pellets. It's all
about what your comfortable with. If you like pellets, good for you.
Like coal, there are good pellets and not so good pellets. Like coal,
you have to clean the stove now and then. Unlike a hand fed coal stove,
when the pellet stove circuit board poops the bed,you are poop out of luck.
Wait till your dealer opens and start smooching his behind to get a new one.

Most coal stoves and boilers are very simple machines. Got a hammer and a screw driver ?
They also last a life time if you don't ask more than they can give.

So ! Pellets are easy and save some money. Coal is an acquired art that saves a lot of money.
Coal -- It's not a hobby, It's an addiction.

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joeq
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Post Mon. Sep. 30, 2013 6:49 pm

tsb wrote: So ! Pellets are easy and save some money. Coal is an acquired art that saves a lot of money.
And makes more heat. Period. Plus, cosmetically, the looks of a coal stove, to me, is more traditional looking, than these modern pellet stoves. I can't wait for the day I can up-grade to one of those classic base heaters, like a Glenwood style.
I got coal in my Christmas stocking. (Yey!)
http://nepacrossroads.com/about36489.html

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warminmn
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Post Mon. Sep. 30, 2013 7:19 pm

No electricity needed and no blower to listen to with a hand fed coal stove are my main reasons for coal. I have a pellet stove too but only rarely use it at this point.

Theres also the point that pellets are useless wet and need to be stored indoors.

The dust from pouring pellets into the stove bothers me more then the dust from coal. Maybe thats just me.

Also, I need to run a humidifier with pellets vs a pan of water on my coal stove.

Add up the cost of electric and electronic repairs with the pellet stove to make a fair cost comparison. That wont apply to stokers.
I'm just an old chunk of coal now Lord but I'm gonna be a diamond some day - Billy Joe Shaver

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Lightning
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Post Mon. Sep. 30, 2013 9:12 pm

I have a pellet stove insert. I use it between September 15th - late Oct then again around May 1st - early June only as needed. Its easy to start a fire to run over night then shut it down thru the day. Somebody mentioned Pellets are pretty stable.. I think it was about 5 years ago there was a shortage and they ran up over $7.20 a bag and every store was rationing. You could only get 10 bags at a time, if they had any at all.. Pellets don't really compare price wise to anyone near coal country. Pellets have their place, for a few weeks before and after winter :D

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Davian
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Post Mon. Sep. 30, 2013 9:22 pm

Back when I was looking at getting a heating stove for my house, it basically came down to pellets or coal. I didnt want to deal with splitting, stacking, carrying wood so that was out. I don't have natural gas available so it made no sense to get a propane tank for a gas stove (and pay more than my oil furnace would cost). For pellets vs coal, the cost was comparable...pellets are about $220 a ton where I live compared to around $300-330 a ton for anthracite...factor in the BTU difference and its nearly a wash. The thing that tipped it for me was the electricity requirement. I live in an area that loses power pretty often and a few winters ago, I lost power for 4 straight days (not that long but long enough) with only our fireplace and a kerosene stove to keep us warm. The power requirement for the auger in a pellet stove is what made me go with coal.

Also, the look of the coal stove is just so nice and I enjoy that it mostly takes care of itself once its going. I also like the super steady heat it provides compared to wood.

I totally get why people like pellets though...other than aesthetics that is. If I had reliable electricity, maybe I would have gone that way. The closet survivalist in me also wanted one that could heat the house even if it was a few weeks without power...and I can cook on my stove so there's that.

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joeq
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Post Mon. Sep. 30, 2013 10:19 pm

Lightning wrote:I have a pellet stove insert. I use it between September 15th - late Oct then again around May 1st - early June only as needed. Its easy to start a fire to run over night then shut it down thru the day. Somebody mentioned Pellets are pretty stable.. I think it was about 5 years ago there was a shortage and they ran up over $7.20 a bag and every store was rationing. You could only get 10 bags at a time, if they had any at all.. Pellets don't really compare price wise to anyone near coal country. Pellets have their place, for a few weeks before and after winter :D
Ease of starting, now that's a plus also. But my house is so small, (1500 sq/ft), that I don't have the option (room) of mounting 2 different stoves. And you say they were charging over $7 a bag for pellets! :shock: They're only getting $4 around here, now-a-days prices.
I got coal in my Christmas stocking. (Yey!)
http://nepacrossroads.com/about36489.html

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joeq
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Location: Northern CT

Post Mon. Sep. 30, 2013 10:21 pm

Davian wrote: I didnt want to deal with splitting, stacking, carrying wood so that was out.
Also, the look of the coal stove is just so nice and I enjoy that it mostly takes care of itself once its going. I also like the super steady heat it provides compared to wood.
X2
I got coal in my Christmas stocking. (Yey!)
http://nepacrossroads.com/about36489.html

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Wiz
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Post Tue. Oct. 01, 2013 5:15 am

tsb wrote:Pellet stoves have a lot to offer. They are self starting and can be
regulated with a thermostat. Knock a 4 inch hole in the wall, plug it in,
chuck in some pellets and your ready to go. Your not ready to save much
money, but you got heat and the hardware store has pellets. It's all
about what your comfortable with. If you like pellets, good for you.
Like coal, there are good pellets and not so good pellets. .

So ! Pellets are easy and save some money. Coal is an acquired art that saves a lot of money.
Good point... I've burn pellets for 3 years and it was easier to store pellets and purchase them since supplier was mile away. Yeah I saved money but coal I'm saving alot more. Only time pellet stove was shut down was to clean it, not because fire went out or clinker jammed grates. Dump pellets in walk away grab a coffee and fire was already going. Would I go back to pellets or wood after burning coal and learning from here no sir.
Randy
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Bootstrap
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Post Wed. Oct. 02, 2013 8:12 am

BTU for BTU, coal is cheaper than pellets even if you spend $300/ton for coal. I can run my Hitzer 30-95 24/7 all winter and not clean it with the obvious exception of taking out the ash pan daily.
People I know have to clean their pellet stove weekly and empty ash out every other day. They "shut down" to do this. I never shut down. The versatility of coal storage is nice but I store all my coal 5 feet away from where I burn it. Using this site's fuel comparison calculator, the price per million BTU goes like so for me: $14.84 for coal @ $285/ton
$19.05 for pellets@ $220/ton
$18.75 for nat gas @ $1.5/therm but this price tends to lean toward $20 per million BTU, and that doesnt count the electric cost of running the furnace blower.

So for me, coal versus natural gas, I save some. And the closet survivalist in me likes heat in the house no matter what.
I pick coal up and put it down.............in my stove!

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Richard S.
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Post Wed. Oct. 02, 2013 8:14 am

Bootstrap wrote: And the closet survivalist in me likes heat in the house no matter what.
I often suggest this to survivalists, stealth coal and they can bury it in the ground. :)
"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."

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coalkirk
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Post Wed. Oct. 02, 2013 9:49 am

joeq wrote:Don't think creosote is a concern with pellet people, cause the only chimney system is a 4" dryer duct.
Just so that no one tries this, pellet stoves do not use a dryer vent. They use a pellet stove vent which is called type L. comes in 3" or 4".
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Burning rice coal in a 1981 EFM DF520, nut coal in a hand fired Jotul 507.

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