Found a House-Now I Need a 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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Posts: 15
Joined: Mon. Jan. 07, 2008 11:15 pm

Post Tue. May. 27, 2008 11:37 am

After a search that lasted almost an entire year we found a place in High Bridge, NJ (Hunterdon County) which is just shy of two hours from Pottsville and the coal region in general. My original plan was to find a home with an aging boiler that we could replace with a coal boiler, but this house happens to have a practically brand new oil furnace. I can't in good conscience replace it since it's so new, so now I'm looking for a good hand fired stove. I guess I should start with a profile on the house:

-1 floor ranch
-2 bedroom
-Compact layout (1100 SF)
-Attached garage (currently unheated)
-Full basement
-Built in 1968 (reasonably well insulated, but probably not "airtight")
-Current heat is forced air oil with electronic multifunction thermostat

I see that there is a good discussion going on the Harman TLC 2000 but I didn't want to hijack it. Is this the only stove that can reliably burn coal and wood? I guess it's not a "must," but I like the idea of having the flexibility. I'm also planning on taking down two large trees in the backyard which which will supply me with a fair amount of fuel once seasoned. Anyway, all that being said, I like the Harman, but if it's not a good match to the house, I'm open to suggestions. My initial thought was to place the stove in the living room on the shared wall with our bedroom. The second bedroom is across the hall from ours so that room should receive plenty of heat as well.

My next question deals with acquiring the coal. I am in the process of converting my Ford Powerstroke to run on straight vegetable oil in light of the absolutely obscene diesel prices that have now become the norm. Once the kit is installed (Vegistroke-by Dino Fuel Alternatives) I will running on 100% free vegetable oil obtained from local restaurants. I mention this because it means that the only cost to me for picking up coal at the breaker is time and some wear and tear on the truck. With a trailer I could easily pick up 3 tons at a time. Considering the fact that I will also be burning wood (when I can find it free/cheap) and that the oil furnace will serve as backup for extended times away from home/emergencies, could 3 tons get me through one heating season? If so, I certainly wouldn't mind taking one Saturday a year out to head out to coal country. Even if we had to go more than once a year we enjoy roadtrips and since we don't have to worry about diesel costs we'll make a day of it. So should I put in an order for a Harman before the fall or not?

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Posts: 7385
Joined: Sun. Nov. 20, 2005 8:02 pm
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 Tue. May. 27, 2008 4:14 pm

Any coal burning hand feed stove will burn wood.. It may not be 'rated' for wood by the EPA, but that doesn't mean it won't burn it very well, Much better in fact than the older design wood stoves from the 80's.. So you can use any of the Harman hand feed stoves, the Mark I, II, III, the SF 250 [way too big for your application] or other brands of hand feed stoves... I personally like the hopper feed Hitzer stoves,, I think the 30-95 model has a removable hopper so you can burn wood if desired. Alaska has a few good hand feed stoves, I'd check them all.

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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Posts: 842
Joined: Tue. Feb. 12, 2008 7:18 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 30 - 95
Coal Size/Type: pea and nut/ anthracite
Other Heating: Jotul #3 wood stove in garage. Oil backup in house. Electric backup in house.
Location: Whippleville, NY

Post Wed. May. 28, 2008 9:59 pm

Dito Greg L. I like my Hitzer 30-95 a lot. I was considering the Harman Mark1 also. either would heat your house easily I believe. You can take the hopper out of the Hitzer, or better yet I think it will work better with wood if you turn the hopper arround ( it is normaly slanted towards the front of the stove) so that it acts as a baffel in front of the flue, to stop the flame and heat from going staight out without circulating.

I started heating my 1200 sq ft of living space with the Hitzer just last March, and at just above 0* F. It was heating the house easily.

If price is an issue, I have seen a couple of good used Harman Mark 1s on ebay for the month and a half I was looking there. I have only seen one Hitzer free-standing stove on ebay, and it was out west someplace. :)
The only redeeming value of winter is that I can have a fire in my stove.

Posts: 60
Joined: Thu. Jan. 24, 2008 2:35 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Mark1
Location: Hunterdon County, NJ

Post Wed. May. 28, 2008 10:57 pm

Sent you a PM; seems we are neighbors!
Harman Mk1 in the living room, Hitzer 30-95 in basement

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