I'm Thinking of Going Back to Natural Gas

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leowis1
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Post Sat. Dec. 18, 2010 9:43 pm

Hello--I've been burning coal for 5yrs now. I installed my efm520 stoker the summer after katrina. My house is hooked up for dual fuel; natural gas and coal. I heated with gas in November because it was too warm for coal. Looking at my gas bill it appears that I'm paying $1.10 per CCF. My coal supplier raised their prices and by the time the coal gets delivered into my basement I'm paying $236.5 per ton. Doing the math to convert coal btus to natural gas, I am paying .89 cents per CCF. Or I'm saving .19 per CCF. That's about $400 per year.

I'm not sure if that's worth it? I think I used to save around $1000 per year. Please tell me that I'm doing my math wrong. Is anybody else thinking about going back to natural gas? Thanks.

Leo


jim d
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Post Sat. Dec. 18, 2010 9:57 pm

if your heating w/ a 96% nat gas furn or boiler your way ahead of the game unless you live in nepa and get your anthracite pretty cheaply jim

leowis1
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Post Sat. Dec. 18, 2010 10:01 pm

my gas boiler is 83% effecient. You think I'm going good? I live in SE PA (outside of Philly).

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av8r
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Post Sat. Dec. 18, 2010 10:52 pm

Ya, coal keeps going up and gas seems to have stabilized some. When you consider the work involved with coal you have to allow for your time and effort as part of the equation.
"Fools you are. To say you learn by your experience. I prefer to profit by others' mistakes and avoid the price of my own."

- Otto von Bismarck

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brckwlt
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Post Sat. Dec. 18, 2010 10:58 pm

When you look at your ng bill bill did you take into consideration all of the extra charges like distribution charges and whatever else they sock you for. You can never go by their price to compare. I alwYs took my total ng bill then divided that by my therma or ccf or whatever it is on the case. That will give you your true cost per ccf. Then compare to coal.

I switched from ng to coal last year and my ng bill per year was roughly 5500 a year and for coal I'm paying less then 2500 a year. I pay roughly 190 - 200 a ton delivered.
burning pea coal from harmony mine, picked up in my 2002 Pontiac "Coalfire"

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coalkirk
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Post Sun. Dec. 19, 2010 6:47 am

Yes, if I were you I'd go back to natural gas. And by the way I'll give you $400.00 for that EFM520 coal dinosaur in your basement. 8-)
You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. Winston Churchill

"I would rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me." —General George S. Patton

Burning rice coal in a 1981 EFM DF520, nut coal in a hand fired Jotul 507.

leowis1
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Post Sun. Dec. 19, 2010 7:28 am

That $1.10 is the total charges per CCF. The natural gas part of the bill was like .60 cents. I think for a few years after Katrina a CCF cost around .90 cents. If I heated with oil, it would be a no braniner to heat with coal. Boy, I feel like a fool. I should go and talk to my supplier to let him know that his prices are not cost competitive with natural gas. Damn.

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brckwlt
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Post Sun. Dec. 19, 2010 7:36 am

who is your ng supplier. I had UGI and their total price last year was no where near that. it was around 1.45 a ccf
burning pea coal from harmony mine, picked up in my 2002 Pontiac "Coalfire"


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europachris
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Post Sun. Dec. 19, 2010 9:04 am

I just looked at November's gas bill - 112 therms, $72.56. That is $0.65 per therm TOTAL. :oops: And I'm paying $375/ton for bagged Blaschak. Who's the idiot now????

I knew I wasn't saving money with coal, but it wasn't bad when NG was over $1.30/therm a few years ago and I was paying $300/ton and pellets were $5/bag. At least it's nice having the stove in the basement where I can pop in some music or a DVD and relax by the glow when the wind is howling outside.

However, it just gives me more motivation to finish up my latest project that will definitely be cheaper than NG:
P1000489.JPG
Almost ready for the EFM 350 boiler top
P1000491.JPG
Need to fill in around retort and place firebrick and refractory cement.
Economic Stimulus = Supporting your local Miners
I love the smell of Illinois bituminous in the morning.
Have you hooked a clinker today?

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freetown fred
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Post Sun. Dec. 19, 2010 9:12 am

Way to go guys--lets keep trying to get everybody in the world to burn coal--supply & demand--yep,go back to gas,way to much work with coal ;)
"A people that values it's privileges above it's principals, soon loses both"--Dwight D Eisenhower

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brckwlt
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Post Sun. Dec. 19, 2010 9:22 am

freetown fred wrote:Way to go guys--lets keep trying to get everybody in the world to burn coal--supply & demand--yep,go back to gas,way to much work with coal ;)
I would rather bust my hump picking up my own coal and tensing the boiler everyday instead of paying the evil ng company.
burning pea coal from harmony mine, picked up in my 2002 Pontiac "Coalfire"

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Hambden Bob
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Post Sun. Dec. 19, 2010 9:43 am

Well,we knew this was coming. In doing the math,you're right,Chris,at this time Natural Blackmail Gas is extremely cheap. And that's the hook,or should I say,REHOOK. Get everyone back on board with gas at home,conduct a rub and suck fest with the EPA using gas to generate electricity and then lets run our buses,cars and trucks on it. Beautiful...Absolutely Green Party Beautiful ! But wait,like that old mule skinner Freetown Fred said...there's the law of supply and demand. Suddenly,I'm sorry,but we're running a little short this year on our gas inventories. Speculators show up at the futures market and bang,you're right back at the reason you rediscovered coal in the first place. I know I can't store a heating season's worth of Natural gas on my property. I sure as hell can with coal. Price spikes,quality issues,and budget issues solved. By the way,nice clean set-up,Chris. And,hello Brockmeister !
Remember,There's No Sight Like Anthracite !......Hambden Bob

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brckwlt
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Post Sun. Dec. 19, 2010 9:58 am

Hello to you Hambden bob

I just looked at an old bill from Ugi from early 2009 and my price to compare was .98 cents per ccf. Now it is roughly .65 cents a ccf. And those prices don't include distribution charges and there other charges they nail you for.

Either way for me coal is still cheaper. A lot cheaper. Whith the old 2009 price I was saving roughly 2500 a year. So unless ng goes down to about .40 cents a ccf I'll stick with coal.

But like bob said by then everyone and their brother will be using ng and the price will sky rocket again.

There is One thin I don't understand before I told Ugi to take a hike in October of 2009 they were going to raise their rates about 10 to 15 percent for the next years heating season.

Has there been a ng revolution ?
burning pea coal from harmony mine, picked up in my 2002 Pontiac "Coalfire"

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DOUG
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Post Sun. Dec. 19, 2010 10:22 am

Well to my surprise, natural gas is also less expensive to use this year here in Pittsburgh, PA than anthracite coal. A few years ago it was the reversed. Currently bituminous coal it is still less expensive to use than natural gas, but the few dollars in cost savings is not worth the extra ash clean up and mess to burn it. So, hard wood has been my current fuel of choice this season so far, just because I have so much free wood available to me this year.

I still have on stock, piles of anthracite and bituminous coal, along with my large wood pile. There isn't any better feeling of security than knowing you have enough fuel on hand and appliances that will burn it effeciently with meeting the heat loss during a power outage.

Last year was a good case in point here in my area when the power was out for over a week during the big snow fall. During that storm, my house became a boarding house for my sister and mother. My mother is all electric and my sister is natural gas, but without electricity, neither had any heat. Even though I also didn't have electricity, my gravity solid fuel heating units supplied all the heat we needed. I still had city water service and natural gas service, so hot water wasn't a problem or cooking meals too.

So, this year has got me rethinking natural gas. Maybe a gravity solid fuel conversion to natural gas using a standing pilot with a milivolt thermostat. Sure I realize that these units were not as efficient as todays units, but it is something to explore for another fun project. :idea: :)

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Sting
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Post Sun. Dec. 19, 2010 11:26 am

hard to find a good standing pilot light appliance anymore

a gen set (ng or propane powered) would be a better option
When you turn your boiler on -Does it return the favor?
I have finally lost my mind. Don't bother to return it. It wasn't working properly anyway!


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