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HEM
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Post by HEM » Sun. Feb. 04, 2024 7:58 pm

Hello.

I am new to this forum (posted a brief introductory note earlier).

Just a few minutes ago, I read some of the responses to SpazHammer, but did not see any other information. My situation is similar – we purchased property in Newcastle, WY; the plan is to build a single level home; no more than 2000sqft; looking into a passive/net zero home (provided the costs are reasonable); at the very least, we plan on making it as energy efficient as possible (insulation of foundation, walls, attic, etc; proper orientation of home to capitalize on sun; etc.); unfortunately, we are limited to electrical and/or propane. That’s the background.

My intent is to explore the possibility of using a coal burning furnace to heat the home and reduce the reliance on propane (we would like to use propane for cooking and heating water for bathing). Wyoming is coal country, but I’m at a loss as to how to begin researching the pros/cons which brought me to this forum.

Any advice would be appreciated.

 
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warminmn
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Post by warminmn » Sun. Feb. 04, 2024 9:20 pm

You have whats called sub bit coal in Wyoming but unsure what part of the state. newcastle is near the Black Hills so Im not sure if any mines are nearby. Theres also lignite in ND. Both are cheap as long as its close by so you can haul it yourself. There have been a few posts thru the years here from people in Wyoming. Even searching the forum (top right hand corner) for the word Wyoming might get you some info and Im sure other unwanted results.

FWIW, I'd burn it in a heartbeat if it were near me for the cost of it. Anthracite coal (most of the type of coal I burn) is going to be expensive that far west, 1600 miles from the source in PA as a bird flies, but it is doable.

Pro's, might be cheaper if close to the mines. You may or may not enjoy burning it.

Cons, it smells and smokes when you open the door if your not careful, excluding anthracite. It can be done without smell and smoke but theres a learning curve. You have to clean chimneys. Have to haul it, load the stove, general stove things. Im sure I forgot 100 things.

 
HEM
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Post by HEM » Mon. Feb. 05, 2024 8:34 am

warminmn. Thank you very much for the feedback. I will do the research on this forum as you suggested. Thank you again.

 
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franpipeman
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Post by franpipeman » Mon. Feb. 05, 2024 8:45 am

i live 40 minutes from Pa Anthracite For the past three years it cheaper for me to use propane rather than anthracite coal for a hydronic heating system. A furnace provides hot air and is useful because it easy to provide air conditioning because you'll have ductwork.
I would investigate
a modulating condensing propane boiler and radiant heat for your home .if you use propane purchase your own storage tank preferably a 1000 gallon to buy fuel off ease. if your building a new home I consider coal is 65 percent effeienct but propane can be 95 percent efficient . You must provide suitable heat emitters to accomplish this . Investigate by searching the web , as my fingers aren't up to the typing task of full information


 
HEM
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Post by HEM » Mon. Feb. 05, 2024 8:54 am

Franpipeman. Thank you so much for your information. The only 2 forms of energy available to us in Newcastle, WY are propane and electricity. I'm not going to invest in geothermal heating or solar panels because of the cost and I don't believe we will realize the ROI before we pass on to heaven (or hell in my case, LOL). Thanks again for your feedback, I will definitely research it further.

 
nut
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Post by nut » Mon. Feb. 05, 2024 9:09 am

If you build a net zero home or close to it, mini splits probably could pull the load with a wood stove for backup. Put some panels on the roof or in the back yard and the net electric produced can cover the load.

 
HEM
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Post by HEM » Mon. Feb. 05, 2024 9:12 am

nut. Thank you for your message. Yes, we are looking at Net Zero/Passive home as well, but we have a budget. We were actually looking into a wood furnace. Lots of options. Thank you again.

 
nut
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Post by nut » Mon. Feb. 05, 2024 9:23 am

The added cost of building a net zero home would pay for itself over time depending on your age. I built an overly insulated house in the 80s. I looked for a stock house plan that oriented the windows mostly south facing and a design that lent itself to heating from a central point, in my case a coal stove in the basement with a central staircase to spread the heat naturally. If I were to build a ranch style I wood berm the rear and have mostly south facing glass. Radiant floor heat probably.


 
HEM
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Post by HEM » Mon. Feb. 05, 2024 9:27 am

Nut. We are planning the same concept you address in your post -- house orientation is critical to having a well insulated home.

 
nut
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Post by nut » Mon. Feb. 05, 2024 9:36 am

Installing the insulation is very important. A lot of contractors sub it out to crews that stuff it in the walls as fast as they can. Compressed insulation cuts the r value. Inspectors only look for gaps. If you are not building it yourself shop around for a well recommended builder and make it clear attention to detail is important to you. Good luck.

 
HEM
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Post by HEM » Mon. Feb. 05, 2024 9:48 am

Nut. Trust me, I'm conducting an extensive amount of research on how to build a home from start to finish, and it is almost overwhelming how information is out there. And I have a checklist on what to ask builders. Additionally, I recently purchased a book ("Builder's Guide to Cold Climates" by Joseph Lstiburek -- although it is 20 years old, some of the information remains relevant). Thank you again.

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