Wood Pellets Vs. Anthracite Coal

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av8r
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Post Thu. Dec. 27, 2007 7:51 pm

I guess it depends on what your definition of "heat" is. My wife's definition is 70-72 when it's cold outside!! Maybe these pellet stove manufacturers have a different standard? :D :P :roll:
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rberq
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Post Thu. Dec. 27, 2007 8:17 pm

A friend of mine has a pellet stove, granted it was a "cheap" one, and it has been out of service multiple times while he waits for failed parts. Outlet smoke pipe discolors the siding on his house, spits sparks sometimes, clogs with creosote. If he loses power the house fills with smoke because the exhaust fan stops but the pellets in the hopper keep burning. I keep telling him about coal, but he thinks I am raping the environment.
Simple answers for simple minds.

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SuperBeetle
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Post Thu. Dec. 27, 2007 8:33 pm

rberq wrote: Outlet smoke pipe discolors the siding on his house, spits sparks sometimes

Yeah he has white siding except where the stove exhausts it's a brown color and it was "sptting" sparks. I asked him about the sparks and he said "yeah it does that all the time" He also said the dealer told him not to worry about it..............I said bop2
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europachris
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Post Thu. Dec. 27, 2007 8:40 pm

rberq wrote:A friend of mine has a pellet stove, granted it was a "cheap" one, and it has been out of service multiple times while he waits for failed parts. Outlet smoke pipe discolors the siding on his house, spits sparks sometimes, clogs with creosote. If he loses power the house fills with smoke because the exhaust fan stops but the pellets in the hopper keep burning. I keep telling him about coal, but he thinks I am raping the environment.
My uncle in CT has two pellet stoves. One is an insert in the basement fireplace which I think is a Quadra-Fire which he's had good luck with and the other one he just had installed is a Thelin Gnome. The Gnome is cute as a bug, but it soots up the glass within a few hours and has to be shut down almost daily to clean out the burn pot and ashes. On top of that, the normal suggested setting is LOW, which is a pound an hour, which will allow it to burn about 24 hours. It's barely 65% efficient because it's so small, and really doesn't put out any more heat than a little electric portable heater.

I tried to convince him to ditch both and put in a coal furnace. He has oil forced air in a large 70's vintage home. An A150 EFM hot air furnace would be perfect, or even a Keystoker hot air unit, but I don't think I sold him on the idea yet. Wait until he gets a few more $$$ oil bills and maybe he'll reconsider.....
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e.alleg
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Post Fri. Dec. 28, 2007 1:29 am

I keep telling him about coal, but he thinks I am raping the environment.
I tell people that coal came from organic matter, so in 100 million more years I'll be supplying the next guys coal. Pellets are renewable short term, coal is a long term goal :D
Burning coal is definitely worth the extra work involved.
"Good enough" is not good enough.

rberq
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Post Fri. Dec. 28, 2007 1:54 pm

Right, organic matter. Like Bob the Dinosaur in the Dilbert strip, whose goal is to become a can of WD-40.
Simple answers for simple minds.

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coaledsweat
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Post Fri. Dec. 28, 2007 2:26 pm

e.alleg wrote:
so in 100 million more years I'll be supplying the next guys coal. Pellets are renewable short term, coal is a long term goal :D
You better add about 200 million years if you want to be antracite. :) At the age your talking lignite or sub bituminous, maybe bituminous with enough pressure. :D
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Post Mon. Dec. 31, 2007 12:34 pm

It may sound strange, but I use an old coffee can full of pellets to start my coal stove when it goes out (which is rare).

I put down a layer of coal so the pellets don't fall through the grate. I then pour a 10# can full of pellets on top, and within a few minutes, the burning pellets fall between the coal (I burn stove coal).

All in all, it work well. I haven't even gone through one bag of pellets yet this year :)

Storage of pellets I think would be VERY important. Get pellets wet, and they become a large, wet, puffy mess.
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Post Mon. Dec. 31, 2007 12:40 pm

Let them dry out and use them to soak up oil on the garage floor, then they will burn again!

BK
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smith10210
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Post Mon. Dec. 31, 2007 1:13 pm

JJLL wrote:It may sound strange, but I use an old coffee can full of pellets to start my coal stove when it goes out (which is rare).

I put down a layer of coal so the pellets don't fall through the grate. I then pour a 10# can full of pellets on top, and within a few minutes, the burning pellets fall between the coal (I burn stove coal).

All in all, it work well. I haven't even gone through one bag of pellets yet this year :)

Storage of pellets I think would be VERY important. Get pellets wet, and they become a large, wet, puffy mess.
That's a good idea with using the pellets. I just sold 80 bags of my pellets to buy some more coal. I kept 17 just to have if I decide to fire up my qudrafire. As far as the sparks that is normal its the sawdust in the pellet as long as you have you outside vent within code shouldn't have any problem. I have a horizontal vent and haven't had any problems discoloring my siding. I believe the pellet manufactures over estimate the square footage their stoves will heat. After owning two I would say that they will heat about half of what they claim. I have to admit my QudraFire Castile is a nice unit. I only had to clean it out once a week along with the burn pot once a day, but just had to pull a rod to empty it. Also the glass would barley get dirty compared to burning coal, but in the end I don't use it anymore since I stated burning coal. I would burn wood again over pellets or corn just not enough BTU's.. Coal is the way to go :D just wish it was cheaper where I live :cry: ....

rberq
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Post Mon. Dec. 31, 2007 2:27 pm

JJLL -- Your method is even better than charcoal to start the stove. Fewer steps, and wood pellets are readily available all Winter when charcoal is hard to come by. More details, please! How thick a layer of coal do you put down? Heap the pellets in a pile or spread them over the coal? Do the pellets ignite with just a match? Would it work with nut coal, or are the spaces between the coal too small.
Simple answers for simple minds.

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gambler
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Post Mon. Dec. 31, 2007 2:28 pm

av8r wrote:I guess it depends on what your definition of "heat" is. My wife's definition is 70-72 when it's cold outside!! Maybe these pellet stove manufacturers have a different standard? :D :P :roll:
I don't know what standard they use. Maybe they use a well insulated home in North carolina as a standard. When I purchased my corn stove the dealer told me it was a 70,000 BTU output model and I thought great that is what I am looking for. After I get the stove up and running I think boy this is good heat but just doesn't feel like 70,000 BTU's worth. So I start looking into it and hear my stove is rated at 70,000 BTU input and because U.L. will let them they use 9000btu per pound of corn. Corn only has about 6800 btu/lb @ 15% moisture. To make a long story short What I thought was 70,000 BTU output was reduced to about 45-50,000 BTU output. It worked OK but you had to anticipate the really cold nights and start bumping up the temps in the afternoon. I just sold my corn burner yesterday and now have enough cash for a couple af years supply of coal. (should have seen the guy taking a double take when he walked by my coal bin)
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WIcoal
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Post Tue. Jan. 01, 2008 11:42 am

Devil5052 wrote:Anyone know of a good comparison site or have any info...coal v pellet?
Last year wood pellets went up by 4%, yet coal went up $4.00 a ton. I pay $3.49 for a 40# bag of Marth 8000 BTU wood pellets, made right here in WI. They are the lowest priced pellets and the produce the most ash of all brands. We are told that coal has 65% more BTU's per pound, than wood pellets. Here in WI Blaschak sells for around $6.00 a bag and Reading sells for $5.00 a (40#) bag. Even at the largest wood pellet dealer in the USA, located at Dale, WI; you can purchase with the Spring Early Buy wood pellets for the same cost as coal. Wood pellets must not get wet, while in storage, where as you know; coal can. Both have ash to dump, but pellet stoves require more maintenance. With a pellet stove, the combustion blower blows ash everywhere from the firepot, through to the horizontal stove pipe. That means that the stove pipe must be brushed out with a small round brush, then the heat exchanger area must be opened to be brushed. Then, with the front door open slightly; you have to attach a Black and Decker leaf vac outside and then suck all remaining ash out. If not done bi-monthly, the efficiency drops.
Sure the pellet stove can automatically restart by using using 400 +/- watts of electricity. Or, if you have an old pellet stove, as I do; you can light it just like lighting coal! Keeping coal hot in a idle mode; saves time, makes sense and saves cents!

bigchunk
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Post Fri. Feb. 01, 2008 7:32 pm

i had a Breckwell BigE it certainly cant lift a finger to my Harman no question about it. the coal stoves are completely different animals altogether. but you know I miss it (i sold it). for the warmer months when its just raining and getting a little chilly early fall and spring time I think the pellet stove would work just fine. easy to operate and to have the wood fire is nostalgic. might buy a Harman pellet stove just for those reasons. we"ll see.

driz
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Post Fri. Mar. 28, 2008 9:17 pm

Oh I think many of you guys don't give pellets their due. I heard all the horror stories of both corn and pellets and for the life of me don't see what the problem is is you use your head. Corn causes dust coal causes dust and corn causes dust there is no escaping it. Storing pellets on their pallets doesn't take up hardly any space at all even if you have to move them and restack. Enough to heat my 1400sf house here in the North only takes up about a 10 by 10 area and they keep just fine in spite of what everyone says. Corn is the same thing. I have let it sit all Summer with the cellar door wide open and living in a hay field. Only a couple mice holes in the bag spilled a couple pounds, thats it no big deal. One other observation with corn is that most of what you buy if its bulk is pretty damp so I wouldn't go quoting chapter and verse with how much more BTU value it has. I never saw so much difference and it is nice cleaning my stove once a month rather than every week. With any of these appliances a thermostat really makes a difference. My corn or pellet consumption seemed to go down by about a quarter when I hooked up the stat. Thats something for everyone to keep in mind whatever you use. Must be the stat keeps things on a much more even keel than regulating it by hand or setting. I sure wouldn't be without mine.
Anyways I wouldn't be too quick to berate the humble pellet stove till you have seen one run properly. Mine keeps the place decently down at minus 30 and I know several others who do as well. None of these heaters are perfect, coal included. If you want perfect get electric and a bigger wallet.


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