Purchasing a Stove - Anyone Burn the "Lehigh"?

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.
tmiraglia
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Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings soon to be LL
Stove/Furnace Model: Vigilant soon to be Pioneer

Post Wed. Jan. 09, 2008 11:28 pm

Thanks. We are visiting several dealers and all but one of those deal in multiple brands. I think my Dad is visiting a LeisureLIne shop tomorrow that only sells that line. Despite some advice here to the contrary, we are still considering the Lehigh. My dad's house is small. He had a radiant hand fired that, when hot, warmed the downstairs room and the heat that made it upstairs was sufficient to keep the upstairs warm. The upstairs is insulated and the downstairs isn't. Anyway, the stove sits in the part of the room with the TV and seating. So we were thinking a radiant stove with a stoker mechanism (the Lehigh) would be sufficient. Most of the stoker people seem we have talked to seem to have the thought "why wouldn't you want a blower? or "why would you want to turn the blower down?". My thought is (and I'm no expert!) the stoker is designed to work with a blower. I've heard it's a "double wall" construction - which I presume helps to capture the heat and then it gets transmitted to the room with a blower. I'm sure the unit gets darn hot too. But a radiant stove just gets hot -- and that's more like what we have now, which we liked and worked well. So it seems a blower stove - even if more powerful or more efficient -- simply isn't needed. I personally don't like to listen to blowers (my dad a bit less so). I appreciate everyone's comments and if my reasoning doesn't make sense please feel free to tell me so. cheers


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coalstoves
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Stove/Furnace Make: Harman and Liberty
Stove/Furnace Model: Magnum and Victory 700
Location: Mt.Carmel Pa. Located on The Western Middle Anthracite Field

Post Thu. Jan. 10, 2008 5:21 am

tmiraglia wrote:We are visiting several dealers and all but one of those deal in multiple brands. we are still considering the Lehigh. I appreciate everyone's comments and if my reasoning doesn't make sense please feel free to tell me so. cheers


I love going to stove stores .

I secretly hope you guys do get the Lehigh cause then the forum will benefit from first hand user input about the stove and I think you guys will be the first on this block to get one .

I think it is important that when a new user comes here that he or she does not ever get the feeling that there is only one or two right choices to make, every company that manufactures a stove and markets it to the public has faith and confidence in their product and each one prolly feels they are the best for the market they want to reach. While I don't work in a stove company I am sure the folks that have designed them are also confident their unit will compete and perform with the other products on the market .

If right now the old victory threw a fit and split up the center and I had to immediately tomorrow morning go out and buy a new stove I am hard pressed to make that decision because each one has some features I like I have been burning coal for many many years and been around it most of my life, I have also been here in the forum for a good bit and looked hard at every product to come down the pike, I also am very very opinionated and strong willed, given all this, it is still a tough decision to have to make cause there is some great stuff available.

Now if I had time I think if and when it comes time to replace the Vicky I'm going to make a FRANKENSTOVE that’s right a melding of everything I like in one package from about 6 manufacturers .
"No Fuel Like An Old Fuel"

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Ed.A
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Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska Channing III/ '94 Stoker II
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Location: Canterbury Ct.

Post Thu. Jan. 10, 2008 7:59 am

tmiraglia wrote:I've heard it's a "double wall" construction - which I presume helps to capture the heat and then it gets transmitted to the room with a blower. I'm sure the unit gets darn hot too.
Not entirely true, Alaska and LL are single wall steel plate ( I'm not sure about the others).

But a radiant stove just gets hot -- and that's more like what we have now, which we liked and worked well. So it seems a blower stove - even if more powerful or more efficient -- simply isn't needed. I personally don't like to listen to blowers (my dad a bit less so). I appreciate everyone's comments and if my reasoning doesn't make sense please feel free to tell me so. cheers

Personally, and I do mean that, I just turn OFF my blower for radiant heat when it's warm out and I'd rather not shut it down.
Hell, the last few days up here it's been close to 60* and I'm not pumping in any heat at those temps, but at night it keeps the chill out.
I digress, good luck and I hope your happy with whatever you decide.

tmiraglia
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Joined: Mon. Jan. 07, 2008 2:34 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings soon to be LL
Stove/Furnace Model: Vigilant soon to be Pioneer

Post Thu. Jan. 10, 2008 8:22 am

CS- I love going to stove stores too. I live in Philadelphia and just put a pellet stove in my fireplace opening (coal wouldn't be my choice at this location). My brother uses the term "stove people." I am happy to be stove people again.

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LsFarm
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland
Location: Michigan

Post Thu. Jan. 10, 2008 9:49 am

Hi tmir.. I think you would find any stoker to be to your liking as well as some of the better known hand fired stoves.

Your comments about blowers and double walls: Most stokers have a double wall up the back and over the top, only a few that I know of have double sides and none I've heard of have a double front wall. All stokers create alot of radiant heat.

What I think you haven't considered is the magic of having a stoker. You can turn down the fire in it to a narrow band of flame, about 1"x7-8" of fire. this is only about 5000 BTU. this creates a nice warm steel box to radiate some heat to you. But with an adjustment or change a setting, in 15-20 minutes it is up to 60-70,000 BTU, and the stove will warm the house in very cold weather. And you will want a fan for the very cold weather.

From what I've read of your likes and requirements, I'm thinking a LL econo or maybe the pioneer. Or if you decide to go with a hand feed, a Harman Mark I or Mark II.

Good luck with whatever you decide, let us know, and give us updates.

By the way, a day trip to a few forum member's homes could give you some experience with seeing a few other makes of stoves in use, not in a showroom setting, and may help you make a decision. Take a look at some of the signatures, and try a PM or two to members, and ask specific questions.

I think you would do well to see and feel a stoker in action, with and without a blower running, and with the fire turned up and idled down. Pretty 'eye-opening' after running a hand feed for years !!

Best of luck. Greg L
Burning Pea/Buckwheat through an antique stoker [semi retired SSboiler],
Running an Axeman-Anderson 260M boiler burning Pea, About 150-250#per day
Farming, Fixing, Fabricating and Flying: 'spare time' what's that?

tmiraglia
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Joined: Mon. Jan. 07, 2008 2:34 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings soon to be LL
Stove/Furnace Model: Vigilant soon to be Pioneer

Post Thu. Jan. 10, 2008 10:45 am

LS, thanks, some good ideas and thoughts there. I actually have considered the magic of a stoker -- I think it will be a great convenience. (Not exactly comparable, but this pellet stove I got in philly is pretty cool, I just love the idea of the steady automatic feed) I think we're just trying to reconcile whether the blower on the coal stoker is important and whether the lehigh will be OK given no forum members with it. I've asked the dealer to dig in his records to find someone who bought it from him. Somebody must have. At the end of the day, I have this probably unfounded confidence that whatever we get will be fine. I do like the idea of a forum member "road trip" and will look into it. cheers

katman
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Joined: Fri. Dec. 07, 2007 2:18 pm
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Magnum
Other Heating: Harman PB 105 Pellet Boiler
Location: Davidsonville, md.

Post Thu. Jan. 10, 2008 12:15 pm

I thought I'd c hime in with a newbie perspective. After heating with wood in the home and shop for many years I put a pellet stove in my shop this year. I had been considering a coal stove, but was concerned that there are few places to buy coal in my area. I really liked the pellet stove. It had a fan, so it moved the heat around, and it fed itself, so I didn't have to keep lugging wood. I was always feeding my old Hearthstone.

Well, after enjoying the pellet stove for a few weeks I found an old used Alaska Kodiak II stoker. Checked here and found it was sort of old triburner technology, but the price was right for experimenting with coal. And, since I could hook it into my old woodburner chimney I figured it was worth getting. Love that stoker so much that the pellet stove has been unused. The stoker is just as easy to use, puts out a lot more heat, the coal is cheaper, even with my relatively expensive local sources, and the blower is a lot quieter than the blower on the pellet stove.

I am so pleased with this coal burner that I am considering either getting a larger stove for my shop or getting a coal boiler that I can put in the shop and also hook in to my home oil-fired boiler. Like you I am trying to decide whether my next stove should be hand loaded or a stoker, but I'm pretty sure it will be a stoker. As long as the hopper has coal in it, the stoker maintains whatever temp I set it at. No fiddling or spikes in temp. Just sits there methodically warming.

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jpen1
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Joined: Sat. Nov. 04, 2006 4:46 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: LL110
Coal Size/Type: Rice/ Buck
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: 110 Boiler
Location: Bloomsburg, PA

Post Thu. Jan. 10, 2008 11:03 pm

I think for the most part you are going to find that the main reason not many people have reading stoves are simply economics and the fact that they are the new kid on the block. When I bought last fall I priced all stokers in that class and the reading stove wer probably one of the poorest values. I visited a dealer that sold all but Alaska and both Reading stokers where $1960 for a 70,000 BTU input stove rheostatically controlled. Leisure line econ 70,000 BTU with a coal trol is $1625 and also has a small and very quite blower which can be unplugged when it isn't needed. Alaska 's channing III with the rheostat control was $1875 . For the money you can't beat that little econo and once you set up that coaltrol all you have to do is fill it and haul out the ash.


tmiraglia
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Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings soon to be LL
Stove/Furnace Model: Vigilant soon to be Pioneer

Post Fri. Jan. 11, 2008 11:57 pm

Jpen thanks. My dad went to look at the Leisure Line Pioneer. Without your message, I would have overlooked the Econo 1. I think this is a great option -- with a 110 CFM blower it shouldn't be loud. And though a lot less air movement than the 265 CFM Pioneer, we thought a radiant would work out (small room) so the smaller fan should be perfect. This is a great option. Now I'm thinking some people will say opt for the extra BTU in the Pioneer, more flexibility for those really cold days. The Vigilant was 60K BTU and I doubt we were hitting that very often. On the 10 degree days, even with the vigilant hot, heating was a challenge, but I'm thinking the Econo going at full speed will be fine. Why did you choose a channing over the Leisure Line? I'll have to search; there might be a post on that. cheers

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jpen1
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Stoker Coal Boiler: LL110
Coal Size/Type: Rice/ Buck
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: 110 Boiler
Location: Bloomsburg, PA

Post Sat. Jan. 12, 2008 12:40 am

well the reason for choosing the alaska channing over the pioneer came down to physical footprint of the stove and not the features. I have the stove in the living room where my flue terminates and with the house the extra width and depth came into play when trying to meet distance to combustibles. It would have pushed the stove out farther into the room by about 8" or so . Both stoves are good products and have probably the best reputations as far as customer service after the sale from what I have seen. However I wish that I had a coal-trol instead of the optional alaska stat which is just a high fire low fire type t-stat and the ash pans are sized better with the leisure line as you can run a full hopper of coal thru without over flow.

tmiraglia
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Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings soon to be LL
Stove/Furnace Model: Vigilant soon to be Pioneer

Post Mon. Jan. 14, 2008 12:00 pm

Thanks Jpen. I think we are coming down the homestretch of our decision. At this point the Lehigh is fading to 3rd choice. Not entirely sure why but we think the Alaska and the Leisure Line are each a bit more state of the art. Also, the Lehigh is decent looking but quite bulky, and the footprint and visual impact of the other two seem more appropriate. The Channing and Pioneer seem somewhat comparable. From what I've been able to see, it looks like two key differences are: (1) the Channing has a blower that is completely adjustable (separate control) while the Pioneer blower is controlled by the feed rate and output required; and (2) the Channing has a rheostat whereas the Pioneer has a more sophisticated T stat and "coal tron?".

bksaun
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Hybrid, Gentleman Janitor GJ-6RSU/ EFM 700
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 503
Coal Size/Type: Pea Stoker/Bit, Pea or Nut Anthracite
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer/ EFM-Gentleman Janitor
Stove/Furnace Model: 503 Insert/ 700/GJ-62
Location: Hustonville, Ky

Post Mon. Jan. 14, 2008 1:28 pm

I have a Channing III in it's second year of use, I added the coal-trol this year and could not be more pleased.

If I had it to do over again I would buy the Leisure Line if for no other reason than the owner, Jerry is a click away. And his stove already comes with the coal trol.

Either way you go you will be pleased.

BK
"Corn Stoves", It is morally wrong to burn something you can make into Whiskey!

BK

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coalstoves
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Stove/Furnace Make: Harman and Liberty
Stove/Furnace Model: Magnum and Victory 700
Location: Mt.Carmel Pa. Located on The Western Middle Anthracite Field

Post Mon. Jan. 14, 2008 4:10 pm

tmiraglia wrote: I think we are coming down the homestretch of our decision. At this point the Lehigh is fading to 3rd choice. Not entirely sure why but we think the Alaska and the Leisure Line are each a bit more state of the art. Also, the Lehigh is decent looking but quite bulky, and the footprint and visual impact of the other two seem more appropriate. The Channing and Pioneer seem somewhat comparable. From what I've been able to see, it looks like two key differences are: (1) the Channing has a blower that is completely adjustable (separate control) while the Pioneer blower is controlled by the feed rate and output required; and (2) the Channing has a rheostat whereas the Pioneer has a more sophisticated T stat and "coal tron?".


Very good progress
With the amount of research your doing your not going to go wrong .
I will say this that it seems we are of like minds in stove selection and I am enjoying your updates . I too am attracted to the more hands on control system and liked what I have read here on this forum about the Alaska T-stat system . Do some searching here about Coal-trol it seems everyone is pleased with them and 8 out of 10 times they work exactly as intended but at times may need more attention to get it working right, while the problems are few they are worth being aware of . You seem like one of the sharper tacks in the box and I don't see you going wrong either way .
"No Fuel Like An Old Fuel"

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av8r
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Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Leisure Line Hearth with twin turbos (sounds like it)
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Hearth model with twin turbos
Location: Near Owego, NY

Post Mon. Jan. 14, 2008 4:44 pm

tmiraglia wrote:Thanks Jpen. I think we are coming down the homestretch of our decision. At this point the Lehigh is fading to 3rd choice. Not entirely sure why but we think the Alaska and the Leisure Line are each a bit more state of the art. Also, the Lehigh is decent looking but quite bulky, and the footprint and visual impact of the other two seem more appropriate. The Channing and Pioneer seem somewhat comparable. From what I've been able to see, it looks like two key differences are: (1) the Channing has a blower that is completely adjustable (separate control) while the Pioneer blower is controlled by the feed rate and output required; and (2) the Channing has a rheostat whereas the Pioneer has a more sophisticated T stat and "coal tron?".


The guys from Coal-Trol have said that a future iteration of the TS2 stat will include a manual convection fan override. That gives you the best of both worlds.
"Fools you are. To say you learn by your experience. I prefer to profit by others' mistakes and avoid the price of my own."

- Otto von Bismarck

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gambler
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Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Pioneer
Location: western Pa

Post Mon. Jan. 14, 2008 9:09 pm

I would think you could order the upgraded t-stat when you purchase the stove.
I have that feature on mine (after market purchase, manual convection over ride).
Take Care and God Bless
Rick


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