Coal Used in Pellet Stoves

 
43Yankee
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Post by 43Yankee » Thu. Mar. 06, 2014 1:01 pm

New to the forum so be kind! I have a Harman Advance auger fed pellet stove. Looking to feed bagged rice coal into it. I have read all about 'melting' the stove down and killing my family. I don't see the technological difference other than BTU's / # difference. Since the feed is regulated by stack temp how will I melt anything?? Exactly how will this meltdown occur. Harman coal stokers have the same style burn pot and combustion air screen. Has anybody experimented w/this and documented the results? If someone can show me facts other than dealer hype I'd love to discuss! Thanks in 'Advance'!!


 
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Post by NJJoe » Thu. Mar. 06, 2014 1:28 pm

coal burns much hotter than wood pellets, is more dense and therefore burns longer and creates more ash than wood. Who knows what will happen? it may work correctly or you may drop unburned coal into the ash bin. or you may damage the stove...

All that being said, I have heard some guys mixing rice coal in with their wood pellets but never heard of someone running 100% rice coal in a pellet stove. Proceed at your own risk...

 
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Post by Lightning » Thu. Mar. 06, 2014 1:31 pm

Its likely the auger would bind up.. other than that, coal produces 10 to 15 times more ash than wood so it wouldn't take long for the fire pot to become saturated with ash..

Welcome aboard partner.. :D

 
43Yankee
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Post by 43Yankee » Thu. Mar. 06, 2014 1:42 pm

Thanks for the welcome. Sometimes the internet has no real answers to specific questions but forums will at least spark the debate. My problem is that there is a shortage of pellets due to the severity of the winter. Box stores close out their inventory way too soon also. Now if there are pellets to be had they are ridiculously expensive. Most likely I will switch to coal when finances allow. For now I may experiment with a bag. It will be fun if I don't burn my house down!

 
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Post by titleist1 » Thu. Mar. 06, 2014 1:55 pm

Welcome to the forum. I can understand the need to look at alternative fuels with the shortage of pellets, there is quite the pellet panic going on. Have you looked at horse bedding pellets? I understand they are close to wood pellets, but not quite the high quality you would be used to.

http://www.tractorsupply.com/en/store/tractor-sup ... ding-40-lb

How about shelled corn, I know some pellet stoves can burn both.

http://www.tractorsupply.com/en/store/sportsmans- ... _vc=-10005

Some thoughts regarding rice coal in a pellet stove.....
I'd be a little concerned about the operating temps the stove can handle too. What do you generally run the pellet stove at? My rice stoker can get to 600* on the sides and front routinely when burning flat out for an hour or so. You may not hit that burning coal in your pellet stove if the amount of coal being burned is less.

Also, be prepared to do an extensive & thorough cleanout of your exhaust pipes when you are done burning this year. The fly ash will eat away at the metal flue pipe and will not be kind to your stove either as the summer humidity hits it.

I'm curious what gauge steel or " thickness is used on your pellet stove body.
Last edited by titleist1 on Thu. Mar. 06, 2014 2:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

 
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Post by mikeandgerry » Thu. Mar. 06, 2014 1:56 pm

Pellet stoves are a great idea because of the convenience of the pellets, low ash, no creosote, etc. However, I always advise people against them for anything other than supplemental heating. They do not heat "cheaper" than coal or wood.

The perennial problem of the pellet heating unit is the fuel. The fuel has an effective shelf life if it isn't stored completely air tight making large quantity purchases a risk. Usually people don't buy enough for the season. Pellets are always produced as a byproduct of other wood production, there is no "virgin" pellet production. Thus, quite often, when the heating season is at its peak demand, the production sources will be at their low, or no production point. That makes for fuel shortages at the time when the stove is most needed.

To effectively use the stove or furnace, you need to buy all of your fuel needs at the beginning of the season and be sure that it is packaged air tight and that you have a dry place to store it.

I would NOT risk destroying your pellet stove burning rice coal. It simply wasn't designed for that fuel.

 
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Post by titleist1 » Thu. Mar. 06, 2014 2:09 pm

I just looked at the feed mechanism / burn pot for your stove and it is much different than a Harman coal stoker.

The coal stokers have semi curved grates with air holes that the burning coal feeds across as it is pushed up to the grates via the verti flow stoker. These grates are pretty heavy duty. The combustion air comes up through these holes. I'm not sure your burn pot would handle the heat from coal, how heavy duty is its construction?

 
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Post by Flyer5 » Thu. Mar. 06, 2014 2:22 pm

mikeandgerry wrote:Pellet stoves are a great idea because of the convenience of the pellets, low ash, no creosote, etc. However, I always advise people against them for anything other than supplemental heating. They do not heat "cheaper" than coal or wood.

The perennial problem of the pellet heating unit is the fuel. The fuel has an effective shelf life if it isn't stored completely air tight making large quantity purchases a risk. Usually people don't buy enough for the season. Pellets are always produced as a byproduct of other wood production, there is no "virgin" pellet production. Thus, quite often, when the heating season is at its peak demand, the production sources will be at their low, or no production point. That makes for fuel shortages at the time when the stove is most needed.

To effectively use the stove or furnace, you need to buy all of your fuel needs at the beginning of the season and be sure that it is packaged air tight and that you have a dry place to store it.

I would NOT risk destroying your pellet stove burning rice coal. It simply wasn't designed for that fuel.
Very good write up.

I would not suggest burning coal. Trust me if it would readily burn coal and pellets they would say it in their literature. It may be a very expensive experiment with very little return.


 
43Yankee
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Post by 43Yankee » Thu. Mar. 06, 2014 2:34 pm

Interesting ideas on the bedding and corn! I visit TS almost daily! A little pricy but I won't go back to using propane as a primary heat source. I've had the pellet stove since 2002 so it may be time for me to explore a coal unit. The burn pot design IS the same as the Coal Stoker. Has a curved ramp up to the combustion screen/plate (w/the holes). I woory that maybe the holes would be too small for coal and would ignite and stay lit, etc. I also would worry about the exit gasses and ash buildup. Like I said maybe an experiment is in order this weekend.

 
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Post by ONEDOLLAR » Thu. Mar. 06, 2014 2:48 pm

43Yankee wrote:The burn pot design IS the same as the Coal Stoker. Has a curved ramp up to the combustion screen/plate (w/the holes)
That doesn't mean they are made from the same materials or thickness. The concept may be the same but not the end product.

I would urge you to explore coal for next season. Either a stoker or a good hand fed unit. If you do decide to try some coal in your pellet stove please make sure you have a fire extenquisher close and the CO detectors are working.

 
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Post by 43Yankee » Thu. Mar. 06, 2014 3:03 pm

'one dollar' wrote:
"That doesn't mean they are made from the same materials or thickness. The concept may be the same but not the end product."

I figured it might be a little more robust in construction!

BTW - I always keep a CO2 extinguisher handy. I have boats too!!

 
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Post by michaelanthony » Thu. Mar. 06, 2014 3:05 pm

[quote="43Yankee"]Interesting ideas on the bedding and corn! I visit TS almost daily! A little pricy but I won't go back to using propane as a primary heat source. I've had the pellet stove since 2002 so it may be time for me to explore a coal unit. The burn pot design IS the same as the Coal Stoker. Has a curved ramp up to the combustion screen/plate (w/the holes). I woory that maybe the holes would be too small for coal and would ignite and stay lit, etc. I also would worry about the exit gasses and ash buildup. Like I said maybe an experiment is in order this weekend.[/quote]

Sounds like back in the day when you register you daily driver for the demolition derby. Maybe send the family to the mall and keep any firefighting equipment close at hand. Take plenty of pictures for forum archive and keep the C.O. detector hand. This is sounding like a planned train wreck and I will look through my fingers. If this works I'm going back to grilling hot dogs in my toaster!
I forgot to mention, best of luck!
Last edited by michaelanthony on Thu. Mar. 06, 2014 3:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

 
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Post by Lightning » Thu. Mar. 06, 2014 3:15 pm

That's funny.. I used to cook hot dogs with wall current. Cut an extension cord in half wire it to two forks, jab forks in each end of the hot dog and plug it in. Don't touch anything till cooked, unplug and enjoy... :lol:

 
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Post by titleist1 » Thu. Mar. 06, 2014 3:19 pm

43Yankee wrote:The burn pot design IS the same as the Coal Stoker. Has a curved ramp up to the combustion screen/plate (w/the holes).
My bad, I must have looked at the wrong model on their website or the link to the manual was incorrect.

I'd do the bedding before i'd do rice coal, just my opinion. Where are you located, generally? Are you close enough to NEPA to make getting a stoker and sourcing rice coal economically a good decision?

 
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Post by Flyer5 » Thu. Mar. 06, 2014 3:29 pm

I use the pellet bedding for my daughters horse l, It works great. No one has any of that left either. A lot of people have the same idea.


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