Help Me Out Here, Guys...

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.
mom-hfa
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Location: Middlesex Cty, MA

Post Thu. Sep. 18, 2008 6:47 pm

I'm looking to move from forced hot air to anthracite. Dealer in Nashua (about 10 minutes from us in Mass.) recommends a stoker. I want something off-the-grid. When the apocalypse or armageddon strike, I want to know we can survive without electricity and battery back-up will only go so far. Stocking up on guns, ammo and home pressure canning gear. I'm even considering an old-fashioned coal stovetop/oven for cooking. (Yes, I will try to remember my tin foil hat also).

Is a hand fed really that bad? We have two flues already - one feeds fireplace, the other natural gas. A boiler would be overkill at 900 sq. ft.ranch (if you count the basement say 1500 sq ft of usable space).

Looking for something relatively inexpensive which will get us through. I checked craigslist but am not sure how well we can trust something bought second-hand since I don't know what I'm looking at or for.

One of four kids has autism. Not sure how well he'll do with the whole "stay away, it's hot" thing. Ideally, the stove would go on the poured concrete foundation storage room floor which is in the basement behind locked louvered doors, and would tie into the existing duct work. If worse comes to worse, I have more than 12" clearance in front of the fireplace and can try to tie a hearth stove in. I'm on a tight budget so really need to watch how much I'm spending on this.

I'd love advice on what would work best and am open to suggestions...I've done many home improvement projects so although I am a beginner I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty and get the work done. I'm also not a girly-girl afraid of loading a little coal every day. ;)

The way the economy is going, old-school homesteading is looking better and better. Too bad I have to do it from the middle of a blue state on just a half acre of land...

(q: can you use the coal ash in your garden as a soil amendment like wood ash, or no?)
Denise
Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. (Albert Einstein)

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Devil505
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Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000
Location: SE Massachusetts

Post Thu. Sep. 18, 2008 6:54 pm

mom-hfa wrote:Is a hand fed really that bad?
I've been burning hand-feds for 26 years & they really aren't much more work than stokers. Total time spent on the stove is maybe 15-20 mins per day & I love not being tied to electricity. No Noise & no power needed. Don't let the Girlie-Men here scare you! :lol:
War is a game that is played with a smile. If you can't smile, grin. If you can't grin, keep out of the way till you can.
Winston Churchill
Shaking & Poking The TLC2000 Video

syncmaster
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Posts: 300
Joined: Sat. Apr. 19, 2008 1:29 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: harmanVF3000 Coal/oil option
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: VF3000
Stove/Furnace Model: Harman VF3000
Location: long Island,NY

Post Thu. Sep. 18, 2008 7:57 pm

Don't let the Girlie-Men here scare you!
Where does this "Girlie-Men" come from? What does it mean ? I see it alot on this forum.
Last edited by syncmaster on Thu. Sep. 18, 2008 8:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Freddy
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Posts: 6606
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined
Location: Orrington, Maine

Post Thu. Sep. 18, 2008 8:12 pm

Girlie-men are those that use mechanical, electrical things to make coal burning so easy that no he-man would admit it. I am a girlie man....other than I admit it.

Momfha... I'm new to this coal burning thing, but I am doing an automated boiler. From all I've read you should do just fine with a hand fired unit. There's a bit of a learning curve, but by coming here and reading and asking questions, I'm sure you can make inexpensive, dependable heat.
Orrington, Maine
Fred

"If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all".

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Cap
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Posts: 1581
Joined: Fri. Dec. 02, 2005 10:36 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman SF 250, domestic hot water loop, heat accumulator
Coal Size/Type: Nut and Stove
Other Heating: Heat Pumps
Location: Lehigh Twp, PA
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Post Thu. Sep. 18, 2008 8:21 pm

I'm also not a girly-girl afraid of loading a little coal every day. ;)
Come on, you for real? Guns and all?
Cap
Lehigh Twp.
Northampton Co., PA

mom-hfa
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Post Thu. Sep. 18, 2008 8:26 pm

Guns and all. I have a Class A LTC to prove it. :D
Denise
Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. (Albert Einstein)

syncmaster
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Posts: 300
Joined: Sat. Apr. 19, 2008 1:29 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: harmanVF3000 Coal/oil option
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: VF3000
Stove/Furnace Model: Harman VF3000
Location: long Island,NY

Post Thu. Sep. 18, 2008 8:33 pm

Freddy wrote:Girlie-men are those that use mechanical, electrical things to make coal burning so easy that no he-man would admit it.
Thanks freddy.
So if you shave with a electric razor your a Girlie-man.
But if you pull your facial hair out with a pair of pliers your a real man !

TimV
Member
Posts: 312
Joined: Wed. Dec. 26, 2007 10:06 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Older Ashley Cabinet ( pre US Stove gobble up)
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Energy King 480 EK
Coal Size/Type: Warm weather smaller coal. Cold weather larger coal.
Other Heating: Oil Furnace Backup when repairs are needed
Stove/Furnace Make: Energy King Furnace
Stove/Furnace Model: 480 EK
Location: Glens Falls NY Area

Post Thu. Sep. 18, 2008 8:46 pm

Ok :D
I give up ...Whats a Class A LTC ?
Are you in Mass or NH? Your fuel oil in that neck of the woods is always a tad cheaper than in my TAXXED TILL YOU DIE NY State. Boy are the politicos crying poverty now the big thieving brokerages have sucummed to their own greedy ways in death by STUPID LOANS. BUT HAVE NO FEAR JQ SCHMUCK US TAXPAYER WILL YET AGAIN SAVE THE DAY :roll:
Coal has to be pretty pricey in Mass or NH .
Former NH resident myself Should have my noggin looked at for leaving the the No Income Tax and No Sales Tax state
I have a hand fed furnace and I think burning coal is a thousand times better than firewood and about 999 times less work than wood....but filling a hopper might make me lazier than I already am ;) PS Do you clean fish also ?? :)

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Devil505
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Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
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Location: SE Massachusetts

Post Thu. Sep. 18, 2008 8:54 pm

syncmaster wrote:But if you pull your facial hair out with a pair of pliers your a real man !
Not just any pliers..........They have to be old, rusty pliers! ;)
War is a game that is played with a smile. If you can't smile, grin. If you can't grin, keep out of the way till you can.
Winston Churchill
Shaking & Poking The TLC2000 Video

mom-hfa
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Post Thu. Sep. 18, 2008 9:17 pm

TimV wrote:Ok :D
I give up ...Whats a Class A LTC ?
Are you in Mass or NH? Your fuel oil in that neck of the woods is always a tad cheaper than in my TAXXED TILL YOU DIE NY State. Boy are the politicos crying poverty now the big thieving brokerages have sucummed to their own greedy ways in death by STUPID LOANS. BUT HAVE NO FEAR JQ SCHMUCK US TAXPAYER WILL YET AGAIN SAVE THE DAY :roll:
Coal has to be pretty pricey in Mass or NH .
Former NH resident myself Should have my noggin looked at for leaving the the No Income Tax and No Sales Tax state
I have a hand fed furnace and I think burning coal is a thousand times better than firewood and about 999 times less work than wood....but filling a hopper might make me lazier than I already am ;) PS Do you clean fish also ?? :)
Class A License to Carry a Concealed Weapon (In Mass)

Those stupid loans were a product of the Clinton Era in the typical far-left-extremist fashion of forbidding the banks from denying obviously unqualified people from obtaining outrageous home loans. So what do you think happens? Exactly what we have now...bailing out the lenders AND the taxpayers, while those of us smart enough to sign a bitty loan for a bitty house we could afford get stuck paying for everyone else's, too.

Bagged anthracite is about $750 delivered for two tons, which would last us one winter. Natural gas via Keyspan costs us about $2k for a winter, so it is still a savings.

p.s. Yes, I can. Love fried catfish by the side of the river cooked to perfection in a Loge skillet over a campfire stove.
Denise
Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. (Albert Einstein)

mom-hfa
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Post Fri. Sep. 19, 2008 10:58 am

So what is the best way (read: easiest and least expensive) to set up in this case? Should I look for a used unit or not? If I go with a used stove, how can I be sure it is safe?
Denise
Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. (Albert Einstein)

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titleist1
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Posts: 4404
Joined: Wed. Nov. 14, 2007 4:06 pm
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Mag Stoker (old style) one in basement, one in workshop
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III on standby for long power outages
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite; Nut/Anthracite
Location: Cecil County, MD

Post Fri. Sep. 19, 2008 11:29 am

You could check around at some dealers in your area for a Hitzer or Harman (others will have other suggestions, too) hand fired. But they will likely not have any in stock and you would have to wait until spring for delivery.

I would look around Craigslist and eBay for a used hand fired, get the model and a picture and post it here for opinions. We have lots of opinions here!!

Something the size of a Harman Mark II would probably be large enough for your 900 sq ft home if its halfway sealed up & insulated. We have a Mark III in the unfinished basement of our ranch which is sealed and insulated well (about 2000 sq ft upstairs & 1250 sq ft in the basement) and it heats us up nicely. We are not as cold as you are up north, though.

My effort involved in a hand fired is to load it up in the morning, empty the ash pan, load it up at night and empty the ash pan again - total of about 1/2 hour. Once per week, I'll bring in about 15 5 gal. buckets of coal from the pile outside - total of about 45 minutes. I would not use the ash in the flower or vegetable garden. I spread ours on our stone driveway, and out in the woods behind the garage. I noticed the weeds still grow around where I spread the ash.
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!!

TimV
Member
Posts: 312
Joined: Wed. Dec. 26, 2007 10:06 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Older Ashley Cabinet ( pre US Stove gobble up)
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Energy King 480 EK
Coal Size/Type: Warm weather smaller coal. Cold weather larger coal.
Other Heating: Oil Furnace Backup when repairs are needed
Stove/Furnace Make: Energy King Furnace
Stove/Furnace Model: 480 EK
Location: Glens Falls NY Area

Post Fri. Sep. 19, 2008 7:18 pm

Here are some from Craigslist Boston
http://boston.craigslist.org/search/sss?query=Coal
And if you go to the list of all lists and click on Mass and type in "Warm Morning Coal Stove" in search there is one for $200.00 in Plymouth Mass. Even has a pic of it . Not much to look at but very good stoves . My friend heats his large house with 2 Warm Mornings . He swears by them not at them. He hates stokers and has been burning coal in his family for 60 years . He also is a local bulk dealer .
He is the guy who rolled over laughing when I told him I wanted to buy a bag of coal to try it in my furnace. He said "its obvious you never have burned coal ". "It would 3 just to load it full". That almost stopped me from ever trying . Now it the fuel of choice and I also have to hand load but its not near as much work nor as messy as wood.
Make sure if used it has Underwriters Tag on it for "Listed" appliance. Insurance Companies will be clamping down this year for sure . I hope people that burn wood or coal take all precautions needed for safe use.

TimV
Member
Posts: 312
Joined: Wed. Dec. 26, 2007 10:06 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Older Ashley Cabinet ( pre US Stove gobble up)
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Energy King 480 EK
Coal Size/Type: Warm weather smaller coal. Cold weather larger coal.
Other Heating: Oil Furnace Backup when repairs are needed
Stove/Furnace Make: Energy King Furnace
Stove/Furnace Model: 480 EK
Location: Glens Falls NY Area

Post Fri. Sep. 19, 2008 7:24 pm

Here is the Warm Morning I saw. With pic Brockton Mass also a Penn Coal Stove(will have to add to another reply) listed looks like a nice heater reminds me of the old Ashley Oval stove .made from sheet maetal but awesome heaters
**Broken Link(s) Removed**

TimV
Member
Posts: 312
Joined: Wed. Dec. 26, 2007 10:06 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Older Ashley Cabinet ( pre US Stove gobble up)
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Energy King 480 EK
Coal Size/Type: Warm weather smaller coal. Cold weather larger coal.
Other Heating: Oil Furnace Backup when repairs are needed
Stove/Furnace Make: Energy King Furnace
Stove/Furnace Model: 480 EK
Location: Glens Falls NY Area

Post Fri. Sep. 19, 2008 7:26 pm

Here is the Penn Coal Stove
**Broken Link(s) Removed**

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