A Coal stoker furnace or stove controls most operations including automatically feeding the coal. They are quite similar to any conventional oil and gas units and easily operated for extended periods of time. They commonly use rice coal but may use larger sizes like buckwheat. They can be used as primary heat, supplementary heat or have a dual set up with your existing oil/gas furnace.
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I removed the hopper this year to install the jacket and replaced the gasket in the two areas that the hopper sits on. I hope I got a good seal but cant be sure as I cant see how its fitting once the hopper is back in place. How critical is this seal, should I be concerned?
Don't be concerned at all. The reason for the gasket on the hopper is for vibration. Metal against metal with the fans running will drive you crazy. Also, make sure your rust preventer in non-combustable.