Next Door Neighbor Looking to Burn Coal

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BIG BEAM
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Stove/Furnace Make: USS Hot blast
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Location: upstate NY

Post Sun. May. 11, 2008 9:47 am

My neighbor is thinking of putting in a coal stove and asked me for help(I have a USS furnace in the celler)I was thinking about a harman.I see they make some direct vent type stoves because he has no chimney.He needs about 85K for heat,he's only looking to cut down on his oil bills not so much to heat the whole house.I think he's nuts not to heat the whole house but that's up to him.I think he should go with a hand fired because I don't think he would maintain a stoker,(year end cleaning and all).Does anyone on here own one of these stoves running it with a direct vent and what is involved to maintain these stoves and vents.
THANKS DON

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Richard S.
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite
Location: NEPA

Post Sun. May. 11, 2008 10:07 am

BIG BEAM wrote:I think he should go with a hand fired because I don't think he would maintain a stoker,(year end cleaning and all)
A stoker and a hand fired stove are going to require the same basic maintenance at the end of the season, a smaller stoker with smaller flue pipe may require more during the season because of the increased fly ash but that depends on the model, your setup, how hard you are running it.

Cleaning it out well can be done to both types, it extends the life of the stove.

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spc
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Post Sun. May. 11, 2008 10:20 am

I would recommend a LL Pioneer with the SWG Power Venter. As Richard said you need to do year end maintenance on all stoves & if they are new to coal burning the Coal-trol, which is standard with LL stoves, is a must IMO, you just set it & forget it.

BIG BEAM
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Post Sun. May. 11, 2008 12:00 pm

I think he should use the KISS theory.With a stoker don't they have a motor and linkages and more moving parts and with a coal trol isn't that another part to fail.With a DV can't you just set the combustion air to make like 50K BTU's and use the oil burner in the spring and fall and maybe a little on cold nights?
DON

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Richard S.
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
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Post Sun. May. 11, 2008 12:07 pm

BIG BEAM wrote:With a stoker don't they have a motor and linkages and more moving parts and with a coal trol isn't that another part to fail.
Yes they do have moving parts but they are very robust simple time tested designs. You can expect decades of use from them.The coal-trol is a computerized thermostat that increases the efficiency of the stove, it has no moving parts. ;) Concerns about break downs even with minimal care is really not part of the equation.

BIG BEAM
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Post Sun. May. 11, 2008 12:15 pm

I guess my question is how much work is it to maintain a stoker and is it just a yearly thing or more often.I know with my hot blast(I know stop laughing) all I do is shake the hell out of it, pitch in 2 buckets of coal set the air for how cold it is and your set for 12 hours.I do clean the smoke pipe every mo. just to be safe.
DON

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LsFarm
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Post Sun. May. 11, 2008 12:39 pm

If your neighbor gets anykind of direct vent or powervent, instead of installing a chimney, there WILL be maintenance.. The maintenace of the powervent and the flue pipe are critical to safety. The stoker unit will last for years even if ignored.. They appear to be complicated but in fact are quite simple however I certainly recommend cleaning/vacuuming it once a year.

If your neighbor is expecting a 'flip a switch' heating appliance then tell him to keep using oil or gas. Coal does require daily work. At the very least top up the hopper and empty the ashpan.

I wouldn't steer him away from the stokers,, In fact I agree with the above statements, a LL Pioneer with coaltrol, once set up will be the closest to 'flip a switch' heat available from coal [in a stove, not a boiler].

A coal burning appliance is like a pet that needs food and water, and a walk twice a day !!

Greg L

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Richard S.
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Post Sun. May. 11, 2008 12:45 pm

Depends on the model, with a large furnace like a efm or one like my Van-Wert you only have to do it once a year. You still have to do the basics like cleaning out the pipes. In addition a couple drops of oil on the motors and in my case the chain. Check the transmission oil... realistically about an extra half hour at the most. I'm not recommending anyone go that long, ours is set up perfect so fly ash is no problem.

The smaller stokers require more maintenance because they have less tolerances for fly-ash build up and again it varies by model and other things.

What will wear out is motors, drive belts if any, water pumps but that's to be expected.

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BIG BEAM
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Post Sun. May. 11, 2008 1:22 pm

I have to plede ignorance to stokers and if it were my house I would learn what has to be done to maintain the unit and do it.But in this situation I think he will be calling me to adjust and clean things and I don't want to spend my weekends doing that.

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gambler
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Post Sun. May. 11, 2008 2:10 pm

I heat my house with a Leisure Line Pioneer and a prefab chimney that goes straight up from the top of the stove and out through the roof. With no elbow pipes to collect the ash it falls back into the bottom of the stove. I vac this ash out about once a week through the winter. Other than oiling the motors twice a season and emptying the ash pan and filling the hopper that is all of the maintenance that my stove requires. When I finally get done burning for the year I will have to clean all ash from the stove and chinmey and wait for next fall to fire it up again. With my chimney going straight up from the stove I should be able to sweep it from the bottom up with the aid of my shop vac but I have not tried it yet so maybe it will work or my wife will be bitching about all of the fly ash in the house. :shock:

BIG BEAM
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Stove/Furnace Make: USS Hot blast
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Post Sun. May. 11, 2008 4:31 pm

Thanks everybody
If I'm lucky he'll be to lazy to look at stoves.when you mentioned a stove is like having a pet I rembered how I bring water to the dog he has a lot.
Thanks again DON

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Richard S.
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Posts: 12755
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite
Location: NEPA

Post Sun. May. 11, 2008 10:31 pm

Well someone asked in a PM why the fly ash is not such an issue with the Van-Wert. It really comes down to large tolerances and the setup of the pipe. I've attached a picture. I rhought the pipe was bigger but its only a 9 inch pipe. In any event we get about 2-3 inches of fly ash build up at the bottom near the T through a year.
  • 1.Is the barometric damper, this section goes right into the chimney. You can suck the ash out from this section here.
  • 2.This is not elbow but a T. The end of the pipe has a cap on it. You just slide a shop vac hose up the entire length of the long pipe. No need for removal. The small section going to the furnace can also be cleaned from here.
  • 3.There's a large cleanout here not visible, clean it out once a year and use a mirror to check up the chimney for obstructions.


Where the pipe is connected to the furnace its unhooked once year to run a wire brush down inside the furnace. This is the only thing that gets disconnected, the entire section of pipe is never removed or disassebled. We of course check for soft spots and other problems but as I mentioed before this pretty heavy gauge and it's ran all year so the chances of corrosion are greatly reduced.
Attachments
flue_pipe.jpg

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