Keystoker

Dirty Steve
Member
Posts: 243
Joined: Fri. Jun. 18, 2010 8:57 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Other Heating: Oil- Off line
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: KA-6
Location: Finger Lakes Region, NYS

Post Wed. Jun. 23, 2010 10:12 am

New guy here.

This site looks like the place for the most knowledge amassed for coal topics.

I'm currently struggling to make a decision of what boiler size to get. I have a 1 year old modular house with the most insulation in the sidewalls and ceilings we could get. And the windows are supposed to be energy rated also.

1800 square feet on 1st story- radiant under the floor.

700 sq ft on 2nd story- base board and toe kick heater. 28ft of base board length total

900 square foot bonus room (cape like in structure)UNFINISHED with NO HEAT- just used as attic style storage. Will probably not be finished off with heat zone in my lifetime.

Full basement~ 1800 square feet. The basement heat was never turned due to enough heat from the first story and the boiler set up kept it steady at 65 degrees. It is unfinished- mostly project area and storage.

Here is the story. Put in an EXPENSIVE radiant set up with Buderus boiler. Burned 800 gallons from 9/29/09 through 4/1/10 but had to fill tank again due to heating hot water with indirect tank off boiler. So the oil tank is more than 3/4 full today but at a cost of $2900 since 9/29/09. We had some issues with window seals which have been correected but cost us some money- they WHISTLED with air leaks at first. All of them!

I would like to get a coal boiler to save hard earned cash. The wife is on board with the project :D ! The closest 2 coal dealers to where we live carry Keystoker for their boilers. I have a neighbor that has one that raves about it.

Finally the question. What size to get? Most I have talked to at each dealer and the Keystoker company have said the K-6 would be fine. I live on a wind driven hill that is assaulted with frequent 20- 40 mph winds and can be brutal cold wind chill in winter. However the actual temps aren't crazy cold- we're in the finger lakes region and temps can be higher than most other areas beacuase of the lakes- just alot more wind. We rarely see Zero on the thermometer more than 5 times per winter but that damn wind! One guy questioned the K-6 size stating if we finished off all areas the k-6 would not be big enough in the worst weather. What I don't know is if the K-8 would be too much if the weather was mild.

Please help a confused newbie.


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Rob R.
Site Moderator
Posts: 11498
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. Jun. 23, 2010 11:13 am

Finger lakes...my wife grew up on Keuka lake, it is a beautiful area. On to business...

A detailed heat-loss calculation on your house would be ideal, but the BTU rating of your current Buderus boiler will give us a good starting point for further discussion. Does the oil boiler provide adequate heat for your needs? Does it have long firing cycles in cold weather?

It sounds like your home has at least three heat zones, plus the indirect hot water heater. My guess is that the KA-6 should be fine. That boiler has a lot of water capacity (55 gallons!), and by having multiple zones you don't need to size the boiler quite as large.

I know what you mean about the wind, our house is surrounded by miles of open fields. It heats easily on a -20 day with no wind, but on a 0 day with 30 mph wind I can't shovel the coal fast enough!

-Rob

CapeCoaler
Member
Posts: 4467
Joined: Sun. Feb. 10, 2008 3:48 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: want AA130
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine BS#4, Harman MKII, Hitzer 503,...
Coal Size/Type: Pea/Nut/Stove
Location: Cape Cod, MA

Post Wed. Jun. 23, 2010 11:54 am

The wind is what drives up the heat loss on a windy day...
Especially when the house is leaky...
Our main house is like a seive...
Needs 90,000 btu/hr when it is windy...
The cottage is tight and needs maybee 15,000 btu/hr...
Coal boiler is the way to go...
If the oil boiler is running 90% during the windy times you will need a coal boiler that is rated at least as much as the current boiler...
If you want to heat mor space in the future add that on top...
On The Cape they will do a free home inspection that includes heat loss with the blower test for leaks...
See if that is avaliable wher you live...
They will tell you what to fix insulation wise...

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sterling40man
Member
Posts: 1641
Joined: Sat. May. 03, 2008 11:52 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker K6
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: KA-6
Location: Northern Maine

Post Wed. Jun. 23, 2010 12:00 pm

Welcome to the forum! :clap: I have a K6 and love it! I'm heating a 2,400 sf house to 72* and a 1,200 sf garage to anywhere from 40*-65* with no problem at all. I live in northern Maine and let me tell you, it gets awfully cold here. The K6 could handle a lot more if I really pushed it. It mostly just idles along. So, my advise is the K6 would be plenty big enough for you. :D

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Yanche
Member
Posts: 3030
Joined: Fri. Dec. 23, 2005 12:45 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea
Location: Sykesville, Maryland

Post Wed. Jun. 23, 2010 3:44 pm

Welcome. There will be a lot of opinions on a boiler. A lot to consider besides BTU capability.

The methods for sizing, your boiler, listing from most accurate to least accurate.

1. Full manual J heat loss calculation.

2. Existing boiler size capability.

3. Existing boiler size, modified by your comfort, past fuel usage and/or degree days.

4. Comparison to other coal boiler installations in similar homes.

5. WAG (Wild A$$ Guess), i.e., the cheapest I could find, smallest I could buy, got it for free, like to tinker, designed it myself, etc.

For you, I would suggest #3, as the most practical. #1 if you can find a knowledgeable HVAC contractor or want a real do-it yourself learning experience.

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Sting
Member
Posts: 2966
Joined: Mon. Feb. 25, 2008 4:24 pm
Other Heating: OBSO Lennox Pulse "Air Scorcher" burning NG
Location: Lower Fox Valley = Wisconsin

Post Wed. Jun. 23, 2010 4:19 pm

I always use the "Johnny 5" option

No disassemble me!

Image

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oliver power
Member
Posts: 2272
Joined: Sun. Apr. 16, 2006 9:28 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: KEYSTOKER Kaa-2
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93 & 30-95, Vigilant (pre-Vigilant-II), D.S. 1600 Circulator
Location: Near Dansville, NY

Post Fri. Jun. 25, 2010 7:18 am

I have the Kaa-2. It does a nice job of heating my place. I'm heating 1700 square feet of ranch style modular house to 72* - 74* with no problem. Where ever the thermostat is set, the entire house is nice and even through out(wife likes to play with thermostat). And, although not trying to, I'm also heating 1700 square feet of basement to 68*. I have three zones for heating house, and a fourth zone will heat my hot water, once I put the tank in. I'm very happy with the performance of the Kaa-2. The Kaa-2 should heat your house. Now, that being said, I do believe the Kaa-2 is operating near the high end of it's capacity. They claim that's where a heating unit performs best for efficiency. I have to tend it every 24 hours. I'm very happy with the Kaa-2. In my opinion, I think the Ka-4 (no longer made) would have been my pick. The Ka-6 would have been over kill. But seeing it is the next size up from the Kaa-2, I probably would go with the Ka-6 if I had to do it over. I also live in the southern part of western NY. Yes, very nice country.

Dirty Steve
Member
Posts: 243
Joined: Fri. Jun. 18, 2010 8:57 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Other Heating: Oil- Off line
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: KA-6
Location: Finger Lakes Region, NYS

Post Fri. Jun. 25, 2010 10:58 am

Well folks- I put a deposit on a new Keystoker K-6. :shock: , :D I have a few names of folks to help install it. I've got a million questions about how to set it up from what kind of bricks to put it up on to what kind of pipe to run from furnace to chimney thimble. :roll: Be patient with me!

For starters I have a brand new masonary chimney with 8" x 8" flue that is about 38 FEET tall. I already have a stainless raincap with the wire mesh to keep birds out secured to the top of flue liner. The thimble in the basement is 6 inch round terracotta/clay...you know... the orange stuff. I built a double chimney with seperate flues top to bottom for the purpose of oil on one side and alternative heat on the other. The oil side had to have a stainless liner due to the ([email protected]#$#!%) Buderus boiler. That is a long painful story. Hopefully this chimney is not too tall and I won't have the same condensation trouble with the coal that I had with the oil side!

Does the pipe from the boiler to the thimble have to be any special metal or is galvanized appropriate? I'm sure I'll need the atmospheric damper.

I am planning on putting the boiler up on 4 inch solid cement block. Are these OK or is something else preferred?

So I am a humble person that never has been around coal heat other than a couple of neighbors talking about theirs. Be gentle on me. My learning curve is going to be more like a straight line upwards- hopefully to energy savings!

Thanks

Steve


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Rob R.
Site Moderator
Posts: 11498
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 Fri. Jun. 25, 2010 1:02 pm

Steve, you may want to check with Keystoker to see what they think about your 6" thimble. I believe the standard KA-6 has an 8" flue collar. It may run fine with your tall chimney, but it would be a good idea to get their input.

Condensation is not a problem when burning anthracite, so don't worry about a chimney liner. I have always used regular black stovepipe on my coal burners. I believe code prohibits the use of galvanized pipe on solid fuel burning appliances. That said, I'm sure the code was aimed at wood burners and their high stack temperatures. Galvanized would probably be fine on a stoker boiler, but it's your call.

4" cement block will be fine, lots of members set their boilers up that way:
-Rob

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sterling40man
Member
Posts: 1641
Joined: Sat. May. 03, 2008 11:52 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker K6
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: KA-6
Location: Northern Maine

Post Fri. Jun. 25, 2010 6:54 pm

Congrats on your purchase. You won't be dissapointed!
Dirty Steve wrote:Does the pipe from the boiler to the thimble have to be any special metal or is galvanized appropriate? I'm sure I'll need the atmospheric damper.
22 guage black stove pipe would be the best. 24 guage will work fine. A baro damper is a must and it should come with the K6. You want to get a Dawyer Mark II manometer also to test your draft. Search ebay for one. They usually sell for about $25.
Dirty Steve wrote:I am planning on putting the boiler up on 4 inch solid cement block. Are these OK or is something else preferred?
4" blocks are perfect. Be sure to stick them out about an inch. The jackets will rest on these.
markviii wrote:Steve, you may want to check with Keystoker to see what they think about your 6" thimble. I believe the standard KA-6 has an 8" flue collar. It may run fine with your tall chimney, but it would be a good idea to get their input.
Rob brings up a good point here. A K6 does have an 8" flue. IIRC from reading on the forum you should be fine if you reduce it to 6" at the thimble or at the exit of the boiler. But, it won't hurt to call Keystoker and ask them to make sure.

Let us know if you have anymore questions. Here's a pic of my K6. Good luck!
Attachments
GEDC0354.JPG

Dirty Steve
Member
Posts: 243
Joined: Fri. Jun. 18, 2010 8:57 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Other Heating: Oil- Off line
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: KA-6
Location: Finger Lakes Region, NYS

Post Tue. Jul. 06, 2010 9:31 am

Well, I DID IT! There is a new K-6 boiler in my basement. Have not put in place yet. Need to hire a good coal boiler guy that can "T" the boiler into the existing oil hot water set up I have currently. I also was able to get the mason last week to put in a new window near the boiler to build a coal bin for bulk delivery. I have not got his bill yet but I think in the long run I can save money, time and my back with bulk delivery through a window close to the boiler. Oil boiler set up is to the left of the K-6. Final resting spot for boiler will be about 2 feet to left. The water softner to the right will get moved further down the wall from corner to allow about 6 ft square for bulk bin. Unfortunately the window had to be put in below the bond beam top row of blocks but that still gives me about 6'4" for bin height. 6' x 6' x 6' would give me about 5 ton of storage. How far do you recomend the coal bin from the fire door/ash door of the boiler. Would 4 feet from side of boiler be OK? I would possibly have a knife valve toward the boiler and human access on same side as stoker end of boiler. Well I'm on my way now!
Attachments
boiler.jpg

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sterling40man
Member
Posts: 1641
Joined: Sat. May. 03, 2008 11:52 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker K6
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: KA-6
Location: Northern Maine

Post Tue. Jul. 06, 2010 11:20 am

4' should be fine but you may want to consult your local building inspector to be sure it wil be up to code. I stack my bags about 2' from my K6. You will notice that when it's cranking heat, the sides will be barely warm to the touch. :D Be sure to post lots of pics of the install! Good luck!

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coal berner
Member
Posts: 3590
Joined: Tue. Jan. 09, 2007 12:44 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1986 Electric Furnace Man 520 DF
Stove/Furnace Make: Electric Furnace Man
Stove/Furnace Model: DF520
Location: Pottsville PA. Schuylkill County PA. The Hart Of Anthracite Coal Country.

Post Tue. Jul. 06, 2010 1:02 pm

Dirty Steve wrote:Well, I DID IT! There is a new K-6 boiler in my basement. Have not put in place yet. Need to hire a good coal boiler guy that can "T" the boiler into the existing oil hot water set up I have currently. I also was able to get the mason last week to put in a new window near the boiler to build a coal bin for bulk delivery. I have not got his bill yet but I think in the long run I can save money, time and my back with bulk delivery through a window close to the boiler. Oil boiler set up is to the left of the K-6. Final resting spot for boiler will be about 2 feet to left. The water softner to the right will get moved further down the wall from corner to allow about 6 ft square for bulk bin. Unfortunately the window had to be put in below the bond beam top row of blocks but that still gives me about 6'4" for bin height. 6' x 6' x 6' would give me about 5 ton of storage. How far do you recomend the coal bin from the fire door/ash door of the boiler. Would 4 feet from side of boiler be OK? I would possibly have a knife valve toward the boiler and human access on same side as stoker end of boiler. Well I'm on my way now!
You should get 5.4 tons in a 6 X 6 X 6 bin . If you stayed with full sheets of plywood 4 X 8 X 8 you will get 6.4 tons only
2 ft. longer and wider for a extra ton of coal . That's if you have the room for 2 ft more looks like you do from the Pic.
Looks like you have a water line & a electric against the wall where you want to put the bin are you going to move them or leave them in place.

Dirty Steve
Member
Posts: 243
Joined: Fri. Jun. 18, 2010 8:57 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Other Heating: Oil- Off line
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: KA-6
Location: Finger Lakes Region, NYS

Post Tue. Jul. 06, 2010 2:20 pm

Coalberner,

Moving the electric and the white pipe (which is a water softener regeneration drain line) are feasible but I plan on building the bin with four wall independent of the basement walls.... I think. The reason is- there are radiant heat tubes in the cement floor and I imagine if I used the masonary walls for two sides then the strongest way to manufactuer the other walls would be fastening into the floor and I can't do that. The main reason I'm starting this project now is so I have time to work out the details. :yes:

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coal berner
Member
Posts: 3590
Joined: Tue. Jan. 09, 2007 12:44 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1986 Electric Furnace Man 520 DF
Stove/Furnace Make: Electric Furnace Man
Stove/Furnace Model: DF520
Location: Pottsville PA. Schuylkill County PA. The Hart Of Anthracite Coal Country.

Post Tue. Jul. 06, 2010 2:39 pm

Dirty Steve wrote:Coalberner,

Moving the electric and the white pipe (which is a water softener regeneration drain line) are feasible but I plan on building the bin with four wall independent of the basement walls.... I think. The reason is- there are radiant heat tubes in the cement floor and I imagine if I used the masonary walls for two sides then the strongest way to manufactuer the other walls would be fastening into the floor and I can't do that. The main reason I'm starting this project now is so I have time to work out the details. :yes:
Yea I missed the Radiant floor in the basment floor part so you are better off making a four wall bin . If you have the
room go for the 4 X 8 X 8 bin No wasted plywood and you will get a extra ton out of it also 4 ft high you can see in it
easier are you going to make a gelatin style door so you can get in and out of the bin. You can also put is a small slide up chute door low on the bin wall so you can fill the buckets with ease put the bucket under it and leave gravity take over no shoveling until the coal get lower then the door opening which will be awhile with a full bin of coal


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