Coal Newbie Looking for Suggestions

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Post Fri. Nov. 15, 2013 4:57 pm

I recently bought a property with a 1920's stone cottage, currently unheated, and a friend recommended I consider coal. I've never used coal and am looking for suggestions. There's a coal supplier 10 miles away, and plenty of space in the basement to store it. Here a description of the property:
* Stone exterior, slate roof
* 750 sq feet on first floor, cathedral ceilings, wood fireplace, 250 sq feet on second fl. Lots of windows and no insulation anywhere.
* Full walk-in basement. 2 separate flue's in basement (One is plugged up... looks like they had a stove in there at some point... I had the chimney inspected and was told I could use either flue for a stove)
* Wife doesn't want a stove or insert in the fireplace... wants the ambiance of a full fire (if mama is happy... etc)
* Cottage only has water May-Oct. Water is piped in from the main house about 100 feet away. Pipe is barely below ground. Lots of rocks and ledge.

My plan as of today is:
Buy a quality Coal Stove now like a Keystoker, Reading, Leisure Line, or Harman, and put it in the basement. Direct the heat up through a large grate to the main room which is already there but boarded up. Vent it through one of the flues in the basement.
Later when I add year-round water, either by adding a well or burying the current pipe from the house, add an oil or propane boiler and baseboard radiator heat. Continue to use the coal stove to augment the heat.

Does this seem like a reasonable plan?
If I buy the stove now, can the stovepipe be 10 feet from the stove to the chimney so I can place the stove directly under the grate? The chimney is two stories tall.
Any other suggestions?

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Post Fri. Nov. 15, 2013 5:06 pm

If I buy the stove now, can the stovepipe be 10 feet from the stove to the chimney so I can place the stove directly under the grate? The chimney is two stories tall.
As I understand your want to run the stovepipe HORIZONTALLY 10' to locate the stove directly under the floor grate you intend to use for upward heat flow from basement stove location.

With sufficient draft, 10' horizontally will work, although it will accumulate plenty of flyash and need cleaned periodically even mid season as well as post season I would expect.

Be sure to pitch the horizontal stovepipe up hill a bit to ease the effort.

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Post Fri. Nov. 15, 2013 5:12 pm

Buy a coal boiler. ;)

Radiant heat is best, invest in some radiators.

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Post Fri. Nov. 15, 2013 5:23 pm

Does it get cold enough in May and October where you are to make it worth putting in a stove, when you very well might need something different/bigger to use the place year-round?

Crazy question: What about putting a coal boiler in the main house, running heavily insulated heat lines through whatever path the water line now follows, and using the heat given off by the lines to keep the water pipe from freezing? I guess the same effect could be achieved by putting the boiler in the cottage and running the heat lines to/from the house. Fire away, buried pipe people!


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Post Fri. Nov. 15, 2013 5:26 pm

What you have described is definitly feasable. As already noted make sure you pitch the flue pipe as much as possible. Get a furnace or a stove with a cutout on top with a blower and pipe it right up to that grate. In the future when your ready to put in that boiler, put in a coal fired boiler and you'll save save save on heating costs.

Option two, put the stove with ducting right next to the chimney and pipe the hot air to the grate. Less flue pipe to mess with and clean out several times a season.

Rev. Larry

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Post Fri. Nov. 15, 2013 5:30 pm

How will you use the cottage? Heat 24/7 or just part time?
You will need to get the heat loss calculated- You might need a pretty large stove.

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Post Fri. Nov. 15, 2013 5:31 pm

I would put the stove close to the flue and run duct to the grate. #1 This will shorten the vent pipe to cut down ash buildup. #2 Running duct will get the stove out from under the grate so if something was dropped or poured thru the grate it would not end up on the stove.#3 You could add a fan in the duct to help move the heat upstairs.

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Post Fri. Nov. 15, 2013 7:52 pm

Wow, I'm impressed with the speed and quality of the input here. Thank you!

I like the suggestion of putting the stove close to the flue and then ducting to the grate. Makes a lot of sense.
The idea of heating the water pipe is really intriguing. It's about 100 feet from the house to the cottage. Could that really work?

We will likely put water in one way or another next year and then make it so the cottage is usable year-round. Should I forgo the stove and simply get a boiler with radiators? I'd like to make it dual fuel so if we decide to rent it or let guests / friends use it they would have more flexibility. Seems like there are divergent opinions about dual fuel combo's vs. getting two separate units. Would a coal / oil combination like the LL WL-110 Dual fuel stoker boiler be a good option, or better to go with a dedicated coal boiler plus a dedicated oil or propane boiler?

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Post Fri. Nov. 15, 2013 8:26 pm

Unless the cottage will be steadily occupied I would rather not have the worry of a boiler freezing.

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Post Fri. Nov. 15, 2013 10:28 pm

Franco b, I am down the road in Sherman. Can you recommend a good local company to sell / install a coal stove?

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Post Fri. Nov. 15, 2013 11:01 pm

I know mama doesn't want an insert,...however. I used to have a Hitzer 983 coal insert. It heated an entire 3000 square foot house. The 983 has a double loading door option, which I had. It CAN burn wood. It does burn coal well. When she wants a wood fire, light her one. When she wants heat on the second floor, she'll be begging for the coal. Coal fire has nice ambiance and the 983 has large viewing window. For the wood fire, you could fashion a spark screen so you can hear the crackling. Worked for me.

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Post Sat. Nov. 16, 2013 8:42 am

I don't think you'll get a lot of heat up threw the grate. Hot air rises of course but not enough. The basement will be toasty but the upstairs will be cold. The Harman I have gives the option of blocking off totally the hot air from the vent in front of the stove with a blocking plate. It will then force a lot I mean a lot of hot air up threw the top ducting to registers upstairs. I have a simple probe in the living area and it keeps it within a degree of the setting.
I used a steel rigid for the first 15 feet then flex insulated ducting to the registers. Blocked off completely allows lot's of forced air up were you need it. The basement will stay nice with heat off the stove. I work there and it's great. My home is 2000 sq ft. and we are toasty so far with temps down to 15 deg this season. The stove isn't yet begun to throw heat. It hasn't run on high at all yet.

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Post Sat. Nov. 16, 2013 9:17 am

This project sounds a little premature and let me explain. It appears to be a seasonal cottage and or a second home so why the big expense of a permanent heating system at this stage?
A boiler was mentioned and radiators were mentioned and that is a great fix for a stone cottage and my thought is a more primitive radiator. You seem to have a basement type living situation on multiple floors and with out insulation my thinking tells me to put a hand fire, antique (first option base burner) and there are many styles and prices, or a modern hand fired example; Hitzer with a hopper, and many more new or second hand right in the middle of the living space. Store your coal in the basement why heat the basement unless it is living space because it sounds like a huge heat loss. Just my thoughts, good luck!

P.S. you are right about keeping the Mrs. happy :D

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Post Sat. Nov. 16, 2013 9:51 am

Well,you've asked for it,and already you've gotten it ! Welcome to the Board ! As you can see,in a short time Folks have stepped up to the plate and given you a good range of thoughts,directions to go and advice on how to get there. I'm thinking all of this is going to help you avoid a financial mis-step in throwing money at the Cottage without having an end to end game plan. My $1.98's worth of advice goes as follows: 1.)Yep,keepin' Momma in the loop and happy sure keeps the Marital Cruise Ship on the correct course! 2.)Decide about finishing the Cottage off to hold in some of that new heat and avoid ice damns,killer icicles,etc. 3.)Choose whether Gravity,Forced Air or Hydronic(Hot Water) Heating Methods will be your best shot and then do all the Homework you can on your choice prior to spending one dollar. Regrets can occupy one's mind for a while,and I'd hate to see that for you.......Finally,don't be afraid to fill in your info for your avatar. We're weird here in the fact that we like to help Folks out as much as possible,and you never know when a Member lives in your area and is available to give you advice "in the flesh" if you ask for it. Also,don't be afraid to wring every bit of info this Board has to offer by using the "Search" feature at the top right of the screen. It's a Treasure Trove of Info and answers a ton of questions. I feel good things are coming for your Project ! :)

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Post Sat. Nov. 16, 2013 10:51 pm

Thank you Hambden Bob. I updated my location, and appreciate your encouragement.

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