Switching from Stoker to Hand Fired

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Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90K
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Post by NY_TunnelJet » Tue. Apr. 20, 2021 10:19 pm

I am brand new to this forum. I was a member of this I think in a previous format probably 10 years ago. Forgot password or user name and that was it.

Anyway, I have a Keystoker 90K with a 350 cfm blower out a 6" collar on top. I have been using this for last 15 years or so and it has been an outstanding heating appliance. Primary heat is oil h/w baseboard as long as oil is reasonably priced. Cost per million BTUs is always a factor.

Stoker can easily keep my 1000ft downstairs and 2000ft upstairs 70+ when its below zero with a wind. I live in upstate NY and house is well insulated.

Want to replace with a non electric alternative so when I lose power we have heat. I burned wood for many years and much prefer coal for all of the obvious reasons.

However, the ash trees on my property got hammered by the emerald ash borer and have lots of easy wood around my house and pond. I see them and I want to burn them but older I get I want to say no. Dealing with the ticks and minimal $$$ savings I easily talk my way out of burning wood.

Originally I was looking for the best coal stove that can also be capable of burning up some easy ash until its gone. I know the EPA regs have changed and nobody can advertise a coal/wood combo.

My alcove setup is fixed in stone so I have to go with a top vent or add a heat shield to accommodate a rear vent hopper stove which seems like the ideal choice. Looking at all the websites I am leaning heavily twd Hitzer 30-95 or 50-93.. I think the 30-95 is the right size because the typical burn on my stoker when used to supplement my oil hw baseboard is about 25-35# on a normal winter day give or take 5# depending on outside temp and wind.

The most my stoker ever burned in a day with stoker is 80# and that is when it heated the whole house. Now it supplements cause oil is not $4.50 a gallon. I really question the ratings of the manufactures when it comes to BTUs. No way is my Keystoker 90K. The max the feed the pusher was capable of pushing out was 4.5# an hour and that doesn't equal 90K at approx 12.5K BTU/lb.

Now it dries my hunting clothes and snowmobile gear in fall/winter.

I also looked at the DS Comfortmax 75 cause it looks like a capable wood burner. Looks very interesting but nobody has one near me to look at and it has alot of features that pushes the envelope on keeping it simple. No hopper either.

From what I read the hopper feed is a no brainer for the working man who has to get out the door in the morning with minimal time for tending. Since I don’t want too get cooked out of my downstairs I am thinking the 30-95 better sized to slow burn than the 50-93 or the Keystoker 90K or Alaska Kodiak 100K. DS alot of extra $$$ for what extra benefits?

Anyone with direct experience with any of these stoves please provide feedback.
Chimney is block with terra cotta liner 8". Prolly 25-30ft up thru middle of house. Always have a good draft.

Thanks in advance for your input!

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Rob R.
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Post by Rob R. » Wed. Apr. 21, 2021 7:32 am

Welcome back. Hitzer 30-95 sounds like a great choice to me.

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Post by Den034071 » Wed. Apr. 21, 2021 8:15 am

Second 3095 .I have mine 22 years.Hopper is a must .Feeding a batch stove one must wait for the coal to ramp up anget started .With the Hopper the coal Is Pre warmed .Jack

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Post by waytomany?s » Wed. Apr. 21, 2021 9:13 pm

Just a suggestion, read the hitzer 254 thread that's a little farther down the list in hand fed section. Good info there.

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Post by CorrosionMan » Wed. Apr. 21, 2021 9:36 pm

I'd go 50-93 and use the oil much less. Oil will at some time in the future go way up. The larger 50-93 gives more options AND you can idle it way down.

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Post by NY_TunnelJet » Wed. Apr. 21, 2021 10:10 pm

Thanks for the input. I like the 254 cause its top vent and has 2 grates and no additional heat shield for alcove. I don't know if I want to spend the extra tending time in morning before work, going hunting, going snowmobiling, etc. Can I get away with 1 tending in evening? I don't know.

I burned wood along time and feeding the beast when pressed for time still lingers in the back of my memory.

Easy is good at this stage of my life. If retired....I may enjoy the process more.

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oliver power
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Post by oliver power » Wed. Apr. 21, 2021 10:18 pm

You are heating 3000 square feet. I'd go 50-93 for the speedy tending, and out the door. That 3000 square feet is all up in the living quarters, and not the basement. You may be able to get away with the 254. Only thing is; the 254 has no hopper, and takes longer to tend. The good part, I tend my 254 every 24 hours throughout the winter. I had both the 50-93, and the 30-95. I always tended them every 12 hours. So you can tend the 254 when you get home from work, where time is less of a factor. That's what I do. 254 is top vent. 50-93 & 30-95 are rear vented. The 50-93 & 30-95 are both great stoves. I can't say enough good about either one of them. That being said, the 254 really does impress me. It's Very fuel efficient. I go through between 30 - 40 pounds of coal in a 24 period. The learning curve going from hopper to no hopper isn't too far off as going from wood to hopper coal stove. Get the fan model!!! you don't have to use it, but it's there if you do.

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freetown fred
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Post by freetown fred » Thu. Apr. 22, 2021 6:33 am

A BIG +1 on the 50-93

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Post by Spacecadet » Sat. Apr. 24, 2021 9:29 am

To put my two cents in. I’d suggest the 30/95. I’ve had a few stoves and my keeper choice is the 30/95. In my house I had a tlc2000 which was an awesome stove. Top vent, blower and 2 load doors. One on top and the huge glass front. It burned both wood and coal. It had side air vents high on the sides to burn wood. I was doing 24 hour emergency service work after my regular job. Typical hand fed takes about 1/2 hour to tend. Give or take 5 minutes or so. A few times I’ve gotten calls mid tend and I had to pass the call - loosing work. Loosing cash. I looked around and bought a 50/93. I tried to put it on my hearth but physically it was too big. So I kept it and put it in the garage. I bought a 30/95 and have kept it. It’s perfect. 5 minute tending and I didn’t have to worry about getting called mid tend. I don’t do ems work anymore but I won’t switch from the 30/95 back because tend time is just too easy. Now as for the 50/93. I put it in my garage. The 5 minute tend time is again awesome. However for me, I found I couldn’t burn it low and slow. It would just go out. Also. For me, my garage it would heat it but it seemed to need extra coal physically added to the sides to get heat output from it. Basically in my gator would burn low during the week and crank it up for the weekends. To me it wasn’t efficient enough for my 24x40 poorly insulated steel building garage. I know many many guys here love the stove. I personally think the 30/95 works better and is more efficient than its big brother. In my garage I switched back to a stoker. Channing 3. During the week I kept it on it’s lowest setting and could burn as little as 10lbs a day. Friday morning I’d turn it up and burn 25-50lbs a day. Buying and storing 2 different coals is a pia. But for efficiency and and cost that is what works best for me. I’ve sold lots of firewood. Those betals have made firewood quite plentiful. I probably have 10 cord worth that still has got to find a new home and a number of trees that still need to be taken down. And yet with the wood plentiful I’ll still choose coal over the wood.

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