Furnace Add-On Quality

Solar+coal
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Post Tue. Jan. 20, 2009 2:24 pm

Hello. First post here.

I am looking at a few different models of wood & coal burning furnaces to add onto my current duct work. Does anyone have a user's rating on the following manufacturers:

Fire Chief http://www.woodheatpro.com/
Us Stove http://www.usstove.com/products.php?cat=4
Voglzang
**Broken Link(s) Removed**Any others???????

I'm looking for a quality product. I think the Fire Chief is the only company that has a lifetime warranty on grates and casting. Us Stove has a conditional warranty. Vogelzang's Norseman 2500 is an unknown

I'm looking to heat a 3,000 sq ft cabin home in Colorado. I'm between two mountains at 9,000 above sea level in a steppe environment (windy, sunny, almost no trees on my property). I have access to soft wood nearby and have to purchase hard wood.... coal is from the Hiawatha (sp?) vein in Utah (bituminous?). I don't know how much coal I would burn, but I'm guessing 50% to be cautious. Oh.... any thoughts on the quality of the coal from that vein, etc?

I'm off the grid; so, electrical loads are a consideration but not a true driving force in this equation.

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?... Bueller?... Bueller?

Thanks in advance!
Newbie

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WNY
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Post Tue. Jan. 20, 2009 2:26 pm

Access to coal has to be established. Anthracite (hard) or Bituminous (Soft)and the pricing in your area could determine which type of stove works best.

Solar+coal
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Post Tue. Jan. 20, 2009 2:42 pm

Thanks for such a quick reply.
Access to coal has to be established. Anthracite (hard) or Bituminous (Soft)and the pricing in your area could determine which type of stove works best.
Access to coal has to be established. ......
That's been established. Found a place on the RR tracks that sells it. I pass by there all the time.

Anthracite (hard) or Bituminous (Soft)and the pricing in your area could determine which type of stove works best.
I have only found what I believe you guys and gals call "soft coal". He sells it for $180 a ton... more if you hand pick. In Denver, it's around $220 a ton.... more if you hand pick. The place by the tracks said it was from the Hiawatha vein in Utah and I believe that kind of coal is bituminous coal.

I'm still researching options for purchasing. I'm closer to Colorado Springs than I am to Denver, but I drive to Denver about twice a month.

So........ if my only real option is Bituminous coal....
Which of those buggers are better built for coal...?
Better built period?
Any others I should be looking at?

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Freddy
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Post Tue. Jan. 20, 2009 2:59 pm

I've not heard anything good about Volgelzang.

Anthracite is "hard coal". It's much cleaner than bituminous. Anthracite is clean and burns clean. about the only people that burn Bituminous are those that can not get Anthracite.

Have you looked at Keystoker, Harmon, Alaska, or Leisure Line? I think they are all better than what you've looked at so far.

Pete69
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Post Tue. Jan. 20, 2009 3:26 pm

I hope I'm not mistaking but I don't think Alaska, leisure line, or keystoker make a wood and coal furnace.
Harmon sounds like a good choice or maybe Energy king, although I couldn't comment on how well they would burn Bitt. coal . Being off the grid maybe they would be better off getting a wood/coal radiant stove.
I don't know if you can get them in the state's or not but I hear good things about those Dunsley stoves. They are supposed to be able to burn wood, anthracite or bituminous coal.
Last edited by Pete69 on Tue. Jan. 20, 2009 3:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Solar+coal
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Post Tue. Jan. 20, 2009 3:30 pm

Hello.

Other than Leisure, I have not really looked into those stoves yet. I have all but given up on Anthracite after talking to a buddy of mine in PA. He says that he was paying $350 a ton for it. I can only imagine the price in Colorado after shipping it out. My guess is that I would have to procure an entire freight car to get a good deal. I haven't found it yet out here, but I have not really looked that hard either.

I guess I am looking at the worst case scenario that Anthracite becomes too expensive because of shipping. That Bituminous is more readily accessible.

I'll dig into your suggested manufactures just in case Anthracite is readily accessible and affordable. Any word on the other two add-on furnaces?

Thanks,
Newbie

Solar+coal
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Post Tue. Jan. 20, 2009 3:44 pm

Pete69 wrote:I hope I'm not mistaking but I don't think Alaska, leisure line, or keystoker make a wood and coal furnace.
Harmon sounds like a good choice or maybe Energy king, although I couldn't comment on how well they would burn Bitt. coal . Being off the grid maybe they would be better off getting a wood/coal radiant stove.
Ya. I was looking at pure coal stove options when I got into this and looked at Leisure.

I have a nice wood stove upstairs, but my basement stove took a dump so I quickly lined up a propane furnace. I hope to build in a radiant heating system in the next few years. I'm hoping to use solar to mainly heat the place, but am reluctant to have only one heat source in a remote area. I was interested in the water heating coils of the add-on furnaces since it could be tied into the hot water system without using a boiler (GF issues of ease of use). The solar would only use hot water tank(s)... no bolier... no GF problems. ;> The coal and wood options really give me a warm fuzzy (pun intended).

Again, I want to have a separate system just in case since my place is remote. I liked the idea of those add-ons since I could just plug into my duct work. Solar is my next project after installing something more tried.... wood and coal are known quantities.

FWIW, I had a Harman corn/bio burning stove and really liked it when I was in Iowa, but I was surrounded by corn. Out here I really have a lot of sun. Wood and coal are my next natural resources that I can tap into...... so.... here I am. Setting up today while looking into the future.

Thanks again,
newbie

franco b
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Post Tue. Jan. 20, 2009 3:55 pm

All three are primitive junk. Guaranteed smudge pots with undersized ash pans and ineffective grates. They will work after a fashion but you will not be happy. Lifetime guarantees are not much help if the company only lasts a few years.

If I were in your position I would much rather have several stoves, for better heat distribution, that did not rely on electricity. It could be a real disaster if your generator fails.

The stoves that have the potential to burn the cleanest and most efficient are the stoker designs, whether for pellets or coal. A small fire box fired at a high rate. They need the least tending and have large ash pans. I don't know if any are meant for soft coal, and of course they need electricity. It's a shame that with the exception of the stoker designs have regressed from what was available in the 1920s and 30s.

Richard

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Pete69
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Post Tue. Jan. 20, 2009 4:26 pm

Ya I just got my second stove, and hoping for a third soon.
As far as water heating capabilities I don't know if they work or not, but I see, being sold on E bay a small bucket a day coal stove just for heating water. Sounds interesting anyway

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Post Tue. Jan. 20, 2009 4:27 pm

franco b wrote:All three are primitive junk. Guaranteed smudge pots with undersized ash pans and ineffective grates. They will work after a fashion but you will not be happy. Lifetime guarantees are not much help if the company only lasts a few years.

If I were in your position I would much rather have several stoves, for better heat distribution, that did not rely on electricity. It could be a real disaster if your generator fails.

The stoves that have the potential to burn the cleanest and most efficient are the stoker designs, whether for pellets or coal. A small fire box fired at a high rate. They need the least tending and have large ash pans. I don't know if any are meant for soft coal, and of course they need electricity. It's a shame that with the exception of the stoker designs have regressed from what was available in the 1920s and 30s.

Richard
Thanks Richard.

Wow.... haven't heard anything like that..... but then again know almost nothing about coal stoves/furnaces. Do you know of anyone that has any of these stoves? I would love to chat about any of these furnaces and their experiences.

As for multiple stoves.... yep. Had/have two. Due to high altitude, stove pipe and STRONG winds, did I mention strong winds, my stove in the basement became unreliable. My upstairs stove limped along (Phoenix) and it was suggested I add some Vacu Stacks .... and add an outside air kit to the Phoenix. I had to wait a couple weeks before I would get any of the parts, so I had to take "drastic" measures to keep things unfrozen and installed a propane furnace. Luckily my solar system can handle it without having to run the generator...... but I haven't gone without sun for more than a day. Anything more than that and the generator will probably have to run for a few hours to get my batteries fully charged.

Again, if you have anyone that I can chat with I would be grateful. I was leaning towards the Fire Chief out of the three.

Cheers,
Newbie

Pete69
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Post Tue. Jan. 20, 2009 4:36 pm

Like I said Harman and Energy King have wood/coal furnaces that will be better than any of your original 3 options.

Solar+coal
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Post Tue. Jan. 20, 2009 4:43 pm

Pete69 wrote:Like I said Harman and Energy King have wood/coal furnaces that will be better than any of your original 3 options.
Thanks.... going there now. Looks like the Fire Chief may be Anthracite only... Dunno.

Thanks again,
Newboe

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gitrdonecoal
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Post Tue. Jan. 20, 2009 4:53 pm

solar and coal, feel free to pm me about any questions you might have with the USSC. got a hotblast

Pete69
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Post Tue. Jan. 20, 2009 4:53 pm

Try posting on the using bituminous coal section of the form and ask what Bit. coal burners are using.
Didn't mean to o fend anyone using a USSC. stove I never used one. I only hear they burn wood well and need some mod's or special techniques to burn coal well.

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DOUG
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Post Tue. Jan. 20, 2009 5:20 pm

In my opinion the best bang for the buck is the Clayton 1600 from U.S.Stove. There are a few members on this forum that own them and can really pump out some long burning serious heat from their Clayton's. Check out the pictures in the post (Slow Blue Dancing with Red Dressed Ladies). It shows how to and what a anthracite coal fire does in a Clayton 1600. You'll definitely will be impressed! :idea: :) DOUG

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