Coal Burning Update

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e.alleg
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Posts: 1285
Joined: Fri. Feb. 16, 2007 10:31 am
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM
Stove/Furnace Model: 520
Location: western ny

Post Mon. Apr. 17, 2017 10:13 pm

Well it's been 10 years since I installed my used Efm520 and it's been lit 99.99% of the time with no problems. I had to replace the motor once, the aqua stat once, and had to clean out the auger tube twice. Base is rusted pretty good, but still serviceable. Original flu pipes. Not bad if I must say. Last week the domestic water coil sprung a leak so I fired up the propane tank and it got me thinking.

In 07 propane was well over $2/gal. With propane at $1.00/gal on average I'm thinking about shutting the efm down for a while. With bagged coal at $300/ton average which includes transportation costs I'm questioning the savings. Plus most of my helpers are off to college so it's actual work for me. I'm wondering how many dormant coal boilers are around since the affordable gas came back?
Burning coal is definitely worth the extra work involved.
"Good enough" is not good enough.

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blrman07
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Posts: 2379
Joined: Mon. Sep. 27, 2010 3:39 pm
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Bucket a Day
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vigilant Casting 2310
Coal Size/Type: Pea/Nut/Wood in the VC and anything that will fit in the Bucket a Day. It's not fussy.
Location: Girardville Pa.

Post Tue. Apr. 18, 2017 7:27 am

Is that a dollar a gallon or a dollar a pound. That would mean it costs you only about $4.50 to refill a bbq grill cylinder??? Did you get that right? If it is a dollar a gallon I wouldn't hesitate to switch :o

For it to be cost effective for me to burn propane it would have to get down to under $0.10 a pound. Currently my bulk coal costs me $.065 per pound for an average 12,500 btu/lb. The propane in my area is running about $5.18 per pound with a pound of propane running around 21,600 btu/lb. To normalize the cost I will multiply the cost per pound of propane by .578 and get $2.99 for 12,500 BTU equivalent for propane vrs coal.

Now I may have done this wrong but my feeble brain tells me that even if I did do the math wrong it would cost me a BUNCH more to heat with propane than it does coal in my area or your area. Even if I went with the average price around here of $5.99 a 50 lb bag it's still saving me over propane.

When propane gets under the price of coal, I'll switch. Until then I burn the black rocks.

You can challenge my math but not the logic :clap: :clap: :clap:
Rev. Larry
Ashland Pa.

1 John 1:9... If we sin and we confess that sin He is faithful and just and will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

top top
Member
Posts: 444
Joined: Sat. Apr. 13, 2013 5:40 am
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Kodiac Hand Fired with hopper.

Post Tue. Apr. 18, 2017 8:19 am

I had my tanks filled about a month ago, I have three 420 tanks, which hold about 95 gallons each at 80%. Cost was $2.29/gallon plus about $9.00 "environmental" fee which they add on for running the truck out. I don't remember the exact numbers, it was a little under 300 gallons for a little over $600. I usually fill them in the summer when the price is down, but I was getting low.

On those grill tanks, the tank exchange is more expensive than refilling your tank, plus I see the exchange tanks are sometimes filled to 18 lbs instead of 20. I had my 20lb grill tank filled at my local TSC, cost just over $11.00. Around here I think the exchange tanks run about $21 plus tax, over $22 total.
Last edited by top top on Tue. Apr. 18, 2017 1:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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blrman07
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Posts: 2379
Joined: Mon. Sep. 27, 2010 3:39 pm
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Bucket a Day
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vigilant Casting 2310
Coal Size/Type: Pea/Nut/Wood in the VC and anything that will fit in the Bucket a Day. It's not fussy.
Location: Girardville Pa.

Post Tue. Apr. 18, 2017 10:35 am

Wow.....refill a BBQ tank for 4 and change? Around my neck of the woods it's about $18. Hence we appear to be completely reversed on fuel cost. Propane is really propain here. Anthracite coal is cheap because I live where it comes from.

If propane around here was only $1.00 a gallon I would be all over it.
Rev. Larry
Ashland Pa.

1 John 1:9... If we sin and we confess that sin He is faithful and just and will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Sunny Boy
Member
Posts: 12596
Joined: Mon. Nov. 11, 2013 1:40 pm
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Anthracite Industrial, domestic hot water heater
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood range 208, # 6 base heater, 2 Modern Oak 118.
Coal Size/Type: Nuts !
Other Heating: Oil &electric plenum furnace
Location: Central NY

Post Tue. Apr. 18, 2017 10:55 am

blrman07 wrote:Wow.....refill a BBQ tank for 4 and change? Around my neck of the woods it's about $18. Hence we appear to be completely reversed on fuel cost. Propane is really propain here. Anthracite coal is cheap because I live where it comes from.

If propane around here was only $1.00 a gallon I would be all over it.
Same here in NYS.

Pro-pain is $19 - $20 for a BBQ tank refill. And about $2.50 a gallon delivered for home heating/cooking. Cheaper for me to keep the coal range burning 24/7 instead of using the pro-pain kitchen stove or BBQ.

Paul
So many stoves - so few chimneys. I must be coal-stone crazy.


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davidmcbeth3
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Posts: 5402
Joined: Sun. Jun. 14, 2009 2:31 pm
Coal Size/Type: nut/pea/anthra
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: 503

Post Wed. Apr. 19, 2017 3:55 pm

blrman07 wrote:Is that a dollar a gallon or a dollar a pound. That would mean it costs you only about $4.50 to refill a bbq grill cylinder??? Did you get that right? If it is a dollar a gallon I wouldn't hesitate to switch :o

For it to be cost effective for me to burn propane it would have to get down to under $0.10 a pound. Currently my bulk coal costs me $.065 per pound for an average 12,500 btu/lb. The propane in my area is running about $5.18 per pound with a pound of propane running around 21,600 btu/lb. To normalize the cost I will multiply the cost per pound of propane by .578 and get $2.99 for 12,500 BTU equivalent for propane vrs coal.

Now I may have done this wrong but my feeble brain tells me that even if I did do the math wrong it would cost me a BUNCH more to heat with propane than it does coal in my area or your area. Even if I went with the average price around here of $5.99 a 50 lb bag it's still saving me over propane.

When propane gets under the price of coal, I'll switch. Until then I burn the black rocks.

You can challenge my math but not the logic :clap: :clap: :clap:
https://coalpail.com/fuel-comparison-calculator-home-heating

For re-checking !

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Rob R.
Site Moderator
Posts: 11343
Joined: Fri. Dec. 28, 2007 4:26 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy
Location: Chazy, NY

Post Wed. Apr. 19, 2017 4:20 pm

No shame in burning propane over the summer. If will give you a chance to get the EFM in top shape for next winter.

I'd love to know how you are getting propane that cheap if you haven't been using it for years.

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warminmn
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Posts: 2474
Joined: Tue. Feb. 08, 2011 5:59 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Chubby Junior, Efel Nestor Martin, Frankenstove
Coal Size/Type: nut and stove anthracite
Other Heating: wood and a little LP
Location: Land of 11,842 lakes, not 10,000

Post Wed. Apr. 19, 2017 5:12 pm

The cost varies a lot by where you are. I know we had a long post about it once. I could heat cheaper with propane but choose not too, at least not yet. I think about it every year then I light a fire :)
I'm just an old chunk of coal now Lord but I'm gonna be a diamond some day - Billy Joe Shaver

Sunny Boy
Member
Posts: 12596
Joined: Mon. Nov. 11, 2013 1:40 pm
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Anthracite Industrial, domestic hot water heater
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood range 208, # 6 base heater, 2 Modern Oak 118.
Coal Size/Type: Nuts !
Other Heating: Oil &electric plenum furnace
Location: Central NY

Post Wed. Apr. 19, 2017 5:20 pm

top top wrote:I had my tanks filled about a month ago, I have three 420 tanks, which hold about 95 gallons each at 80%. Cost was $2.29/gallon plus about $9.00 "environmental" fee which they add on for running the truck out. I don't remember the exact numbers, it was a little under 300 gallons for a little over $600. I usually fill them in the summer when the price is down, but I was getting low.

On those grill tanks, the tank exchange is more expensive than refilling your tank, plus I see the exchange tanks are sometimes filled to 18 lbs instead of 20. I had my 20lb grill tank filled at my local TSC, cost just over $11.00. Around here I think the exchange tanks run about $21 plus tax, over $22 total.
It's been many years since refilling BBQ tanks around here was $11.00. We own our BBQ tanks and get them refilled at local fuel oil/pro-pain dealer, which is the cheapest price around. End of last summer it was $15.00, Last week it was $16.00.

Paul
So many stoves - so few chimneys. I must be coal-stone crazy.

top top
Member
Posts: 444
Joined: Sat. Apr. 13, 2013 5:40 am
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Kodiac Hand Fired with hopper.

Post Fri. Apr. 21, 2017 11:46 am

Sunny Boy wrote:
top top wrote:I

It's been many years since refilling BBQ tanks around here was $11.00. We own our BBQ tanks and get them refilled at local fuel oil/pro-pain dealer, which is the cheapest price around. End of last summer it was $15.00, Last week it was $16.00.

Paul
In my opinion, propane companies are the worst people to do business with. They won't publish their prices, and seem to take advantage of people whenever they can. Like the "Environmental Fee" they tack onto my bill. I used to have five tanks and they tried to hit me with five fees at each delivery. All five tanks could be filled without moving the truck. And everyone pays a different price. The price per gallon is always higher than a local vendor filling a grill tank, so when the truck arrives I have to get on the phone and argue about it until I get a better price. And a guy I know, who buys a lot more gas, pays half what I do. If I buy my own tanks the price is cheaper, but they make it up by charging to inspect it every five years. I do like the convenience of delivery and I only fill the tanks once per year, so I deal with it. I think the Tractor Supply Store price to fill my grill tank was $2.499/gallon, which is about $10.75 plus tax, just over $11.00 total.


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David...
Member
Posts: 72
Joined: Sun. Nov. 06, 2016 9:48 am
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Chubby clone
Coal Size/Type: Nut
Stove/Furnace Make: Penn
Location: RI

Post Thu. Apr. 27, 2017 11:49 am

When I use the comparison calculator here and plug in $2.29/gal and $300/ton I get propane almost twice the coal cost. Propane needs to go down to $1.18/gal to about equal coal. Fuel oil here (RI) is running $2.40/gal. It's still more than coal, but not by much. I think many people are burning oil over coal now because the difference isn't that great. Certainly using coal in the summer must lower it's efficiency and that changes the figures.

Sunny Boy
Member
Posts: 12596
Joined: Mon. Nov. 11, 2013 1:40 pm
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Anthracite Industrial, domestic hot water heater
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood range 208, # 6 base heater, 2 Modern Oak 118.
Coal Size/Type: Nuts !
Other Heating: Oil &electric plenum furnace
Location: Central NY

Post Thu. Apr. 27, 2017 4:07 pm

Dave,

Oil close to coal ? :o I think you may have plugged in the numbers wrong ?

Using the site's calculator, at $300.00/ton verse $2.40/gallon, I get coal is cheaper by a difference of $9.10 per million BTU.

Even swapping the default 80% for coal with the 70% oil efficiency, I still get a difference of coal is cheaper by $3.77 per million BTU.

No disrespect intended, I'm curious why you would think coal becomes less efficient as the weather warms up. Are you getting unburned coal in that Chubby ? If it's all burning to ash like it does in cold weather, the efficiency should be very close to the same.

Paul
So many stoves - so few chimneys. I must be coal-stone crazy.

User avatar
David...
Member
Posts: 72
Joined: Sun. Nov. 06, 2016 9:48 am
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Chubby clone
Coal Size/Type: Nut
Stove/Furnace Make: Penn
Location: RI

Post Thu. Apr. 27, 2017 4:15 pm

I changed the figures to: coal $6/40lb bag at 520000 BTU and 70% eff for $16.48/million btu
Oil, $2.49/gal, 87% eff for $19.89/million btu.

That's what I come up with.

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KLook
Member
Posts: 3633
Joined: Sun. Feb. 17, 2008 1:08 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF 3000
Coal Size/Type: rice, bagged, Blaschak
Other Heating: Gas boiler backup/main
Stove/Furnace Model: VF 3000
Location: Chattanooga, Tenn

Post Thu. Apr. 27, 2017 7:32 pm

Last summer I was refilling my bbq tanks at Costco for $7.67? It was 7 and change anyways....filled completely.....the local Ace hardware half filled it for $20+..... :x First and last time...

Kevin

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