Allergies and Coal Dust/Ash

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Rex
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Post Sat. Oct. 13, 2007 6:10 am

Anyone know of an instance where a coal stove in the living room had to be pulled out because of the dust/ash agitating someones allergies?

Our son is sensitive to certain outside dust, molds in the air, etc. and didn't know how our stove would effect him or if anyone knows of a case where the stove couldn't be used because of the coal dust.

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coaledsweat
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Post Sat. Oct. 13, 2007 8:55 am

I have an ashmatic child with allergies to many things, she actually does better when the coal boiler is fired. I'm not sure why, but the house is much warmer and dryer when on coal. My setup is in the basement so she isn't really exposed to a lot of dust. The dust however is pretty inert, and generally the molds, mites and that stuff are alive and more likely to cause trouble. I would think its worth a shot as it may be beneficial as in our case. One thing I think may be going on is that about 40% of a first floors air comes from the basement. Being much dryer when on coal may be reducing the amount of "living crap and their waste that you breathe" in the basement air.

The unburned coal dust I doubt will bother the child, the ash may as it will tend to burn your nose passages as it is acidic (if it gets in there). I would dampen the ash with a mist of water before moving the ash pan to keep ash losses to a minimum. Good luck!

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LsFarm
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Post Sat. Oct. 13, 2007 10:27 am

I have asthma and allergies to mold, pollens, house dust etc. The fly ash and coal dust doesn't bother me at all. Everyone is different, but this is just like sand or road dust, it isn't mold, pollen or dust mites.

I'd follow 'coaledsweat's suggestions about wetting down the ash pan to control dust, and just go slow and easy with the ash pan. and the coal bucket.

I had never thought about the damp basement being the 'happy home' for mold, but that makes sense. So a coal stove on the main floor should help keep the mold and dampness in the basement.

Greg L.

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e.alleg
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Post Sat. Oct. 13, 2007 11:10 pm

Do you burn coal now? I've found that these guys on here exaggerate the dust generated a little bit, not to scare anyone, but to prepare you for the change. It's more dust than oil or gas heat for sure but with some common sense there is very little dust. Way less than with wood. I empty the ashes before the pan overflows so any dust stays in the ash bucket. When filling the hopper I stick the bag in the hopper first, then open it and pull the bag off the coal gently rather than dumping it in. With my stove in the basement there is no difference in the dustiness of my house. When you scatter the ashes in the driveway or whatever there is a dust cloud so stay upwind.

To be safe I would take your son with you to a stove dealer, they'll probably have one fired up this time of year and see how he does.

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coaledsweat
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Post Sun. Oct. 14, 2007 9:00 am

I read somewhere that 40% of the first floors air comes from your basement. That is why the Humidex works very well just being a fan. It reverses the homes natural airflow. I have a problem basement, a little damp and musty. I run a dehumidifier and an Ozone generator I made down there and it really changes things around. No musty or moldy smell, that stuff will eat cigarette smoke and leave you roses.

I have often wondered why the little one (she is eighteen) did better when heating with coal than other seasons. I think now it is simply the house is warm and dry and there are higher air filtration rates into the home because of the temperature extremes inside and out. We can leave a window cracked and not worry about it, its still cheap heat and the room is warm as toast. In the winter there are no pollens and there is very little alive in the air outside. The more clean, fresh air, the better she does.

Coal, America's answer to ashma.
Last edited by coaledsweat on Sun. Oct. 14, 2007 9:09 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Rex
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Post Sun. Oct. 14, 2007 9:08 am

Ok thanks for the feedback.

This will be our first season with the stove in the living room and based on your opinions, he should be fine. We also have a Hepa air filter running in the living room to cut dust down. I like the idea of "misting" the ash pan down when pulling out of stove. 3 steps and Im outside with the pan so this should not be an issue.

We have the Hitzer 50-93 with the top loading feeder. Shouldn't need to open front door too often allowing dust to come out. We just need to keep an eye on the ash pan when we remove for cleaning.

Thanks again.


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LsFarm
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Post Sun. Oct. 14, 2007 11:16 am

Hi Rex, with that top load Hitzer, you may want to mist the coal before you pour it in the hopper, this will keep the coal dust down too.

Another technique to keep dust down is to remove the ash pan, replace it, close the door, THEN shake the grates. Leave the pan in till the next 12 hour shake 'n feed. This way the ash is nice and settled when you rmove the pan and spray it.

Looking forward to hearing about your first year burning coal.

Greg L

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Rex
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Post Sun. Oct. 14, 2007 1:15 pm

LsFarm wrote:Hi Rex, with that top load Hitzer, you may want to mist the coal before you pour it in the hopper, this will keep the coal dust down too.

Another technique to keep dust down is to remove the ash pan, replace it, close the door, THEN shake the grates. Leave the pan in till the next 12 hour shake 'n feed. This way the ash is nice and settled when you rmove the pan and spray it.

Looking forward to hearing about your first year burning coal.

Greg L

.
I like the idea about shaking then waiting 12hrs or so to dump. Not only will it settle down but maybe be cooler to transport. After dumping then shake again and then fill hopper.

I'll be filling hopper via a small coal bucket so loading speed will be minimal (hopefully to keep dust down) and throwing coal into the front of the stove wont be happening.

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LsFarm
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Post Sun. Oct. 14, 2007 2:31 pm

On another thread, a forum member mentioned that he ran his shop vacuum hose next to the hopper when loading it, to minimize the coal dust in the room. This might be an idea if the black dust becomes a problem.

I forgot about the cooler ashes when emptying the pan 12 hours later. Good point.

Greg L

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