Keystoker Furnace Vs. Harman Furnace?

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.
pspinella
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Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Wood/Coal Furnace SF-3500A
Location: Wading River, NY

Post Mon. Jun. 09, 2008 9:49 pm

Hi everyone!

My wife and I are getting ready to switch from oil to coal and were wondering if there is a big difference between a Harman Furnace and a Keystoker Furnace. Do you recommend one brand over the other? Our dealer here on Long Island gave us brochures for both.

Also, we are looking at going with a coal/oil multifuel furnace as our current furnace is not big enough for our house. (A large addition was put on this house about 4 years ago and they never upgraded the furnace.) Our house is about 3000Square Feet. We like the idea of oil as a backup in case we are away and can't shovel coal.

Thanks for your input!!!


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Lumberjack
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Post Mon. Jun. 09, 2008 10:25 pm

Keep the oil furnace as a back up.
A coal only furnace will burn better.

Keystokers seem to be a favorite here, Havent heard a word about the Harman furnace. Harman is a good brand though so I don't think quality will be an issue. Either brand should give good service for you.

If you ask about specific models I am sure there are ones here who will be happy to help you select the correct features.

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thoule
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Post Mon. Jun. 09, 2008 11:15 pm

I think keystoker is slightly favored, but overall, you can't go wrong either way.
I'm Torn Between KA-6 and Harmon VF3000

Todd

samhill
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Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: keystoker 160
Hand Fed Coal Stove: hitzer 75 in garage
Stove/Furnace Make: keystoker/hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: koker 160/ hitzer 75
Location: Linesville, Pa.

Post Tue. Jun. 10, 2008 8:35 am

I`m totally satisfied with my Koker but I think either would do well. I`d go with the best price & the nearest dealer.
"Any fool can criticize, condemn & complain & most fools do." Benjamin Franklin

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coaledsweat
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea
Location: Guilford, Connecticut

Post Tue. Jun. 10, 2008 10:05 am

I would go with a boiler if you can, its slightly higher cost to purchase and install has significant advantages.

1. It will last longer.
2. Your home will be much more comfortable.
3. You can get your DHW off of it (yes, you can with a furnace but you won't want to year round).
4. It will be more economical in fuel consumption.
5. It can be operated much deeper into warmer weather without turning the cellar into an oven.
6. When a furnace heat exchanger leaks, you die. When a boiler heat exchanger leaks, something gets wet.
Nothing is impossible for people who don't have to do it themselves.

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beatle78
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Post Tue. Jun. 10, 2008 10:48 am

coaledsweat wrote: 6. When a furnace heat exchanger leaks, you die. When a boiler heat exchanger leaks, something gets wet.
well when you put it like that! :shock:

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Hollyfeld
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Post Tue. Jun. 10, 2008 11:27 am

Be sure to check the availability of the Harmon. There was a thread on here last week stating they were back ordered till January. I was looking at the Harman too, but went with the Keystoker. The Keystoker's also have a bit of wait on them too. I ordered last week and was informed it would be ready for pickup in 12 weeks.
"I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on Earth." - Steve McQueen

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watkinsdr
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Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S260 Boiler
Location: Kensington, New Hampshire

Post Tue. Jun. 10, 2008 12:24 pm

Specifying the exact Harman and Keystoker furnace models would be helpful; and, allow an apples to apples comparison. All the Harman FHA furnaces are hand fired with exception of the Magnum, which is a rice stoker. All the Keystoker FHA furnaces are stokers.
AHS S260 "BEAST" Burning Lehigh Pea Anthracite
Kensington, NH


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Lumberjack
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Post Tue. Jun. 10, 2008 12:54 pm

The heat exchanger remark is BS... unless your using a single walled exchanger with antifreeze which is very illegal. The normal domestic loop carries no such risk. If you really want to promote boiler systems, stick to actual facts.

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coalkirk
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Stoker Coal Boiler: 1981 EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: anthracite/rice coal
Location: Forest Hill MD

Post Tue. Jun. 10, 2008 1:01 pm

I'm afraid you are wrong my friend. A furnace heat exchanger (not a boiler) can corrode through and flue gases that should go up the chimney can come through the duct work. That's the same whether it's a gas, oil or coal furnace. Heat exchangers are single wall and do not have liquid in them. Not sure what you mean about putting anti-freeze in them. I think you must be referring to something besides a forced air heat exchanger.
You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. Winston Churchill

"I would rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me." —General George S. Patton

Burning rice coal in a 1981 EFM DF520, nut coal in a hand fired Jotul 507.

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coaledsweat
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Post Tue. Jun. 10, 2008 2:52 pm

Lumberjack wrote:If you really want to promote boiler systems, stick to actual facts.
I'm not promoting anything, I offered up a better option as described by the 6 facts (yes, they are facts) I posted. I grew up in a FHA home, it is a lousy way to heat a home. There are enough threads here on this subject and members who have done so to prove my point.
Nothing is impossible for people who don't have to do it themselves.

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Lumberjack
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Post Tue. Jun. 10, 2008 6:23 pm

Boilers are just as capable of producing carbon monoxide and leaking it to the house as any furnace. Neither one has any real advantage over the other in terms of safety. However, on the slight chance I am wrong feel free to enlighten me....

I will certainly agree hot water is a better system then forced air however not everyone has that choice and boilers are somewhat more expensive.

Never the less forgive my confusion from before. It appears I had a separate thread mixed in my answer....

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LsFarm
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Post Tue. Jun. 10, 2008 7:05 pm

Actually it is much more likely for a furnace's heat exhanger to rust through, or get overheated and split than water filed boiler's water jacket.. With a furnace, there is only a single layer of steel between the flame and the heated air that is being forced around the house. Even with a strong draft in the chimney it is probable that carbon monoxide would escape into the forced air system in the house. if or when a crack or rusted through spot occured.

With a boiler, the heated surfaces are cooled by the water, and therefore much more stable and less prone to heat stresses.. and the boiler vessel is made from heavier steel, because it is designed to be under pressure.. just look at the weight a boiler vs a furnace. this difference is the strength of the steel water vessel.

Boilers last for many, many decades.. furnaces often develop cracks in the heat exchangers within a decade... this is with all fuels.. gas, oil and coal..

Just facts.. furnaces by design don't last as long as boilers, and are more prone to cracking and leaking...just look at the way they work..

And as coaledsweat stated above,, if a furnace leaks, you [could] die, if a boiler leaks,, something gets wet... valid and to the point..

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?

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Freddy
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined
Location: Orrington, Maine

Post Tue. Jun. 10, 2008 9:08 pm

Another good reminder to have CO detectors.

Are all coal boilers wet bottom? That is, water all around the flame? Some oil boilers have a "dry bottom". I imagine it might be possible for the dry part to develop a leak. Also, even wet bottom boilers, at some point the exhaust leaves the water jacket and could leak. Of course at that point the temperatue is much lower and it's not much of an issue. Points well taken.... hot air is more prone to leak as they come to the end of their life, but any device with a flame can leak CO is things go wrong.
Orrington, Maine
Fred

"If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all".

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Matthaus
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Leisure Line WL110 Dual Fuel, natural gas
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Leisure Line Lil' Heater (rental house)
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Buckwheat Anthracite
Location: Wilkes Barre, PA

Post Tue. Jun. 10, 2008 10:13 pm

Freddy wrote:Another good reminder to have CO detectors. Are all coal boilers wet bottom? That is, water all around the flame? ..snip
All coal boilers will be a dry bottom since the ash is collected at the bottom and the base is open on one or both sides to remove the ash bin.
Lumberjack wrote:Boilers are just as capable of producing carbon monoxide and leaking it to the house as any furnace. Neither one has any real advantage over the other in terms of safety. However, on the slight chance I am wrong feel free to enlighten me....snip
As has already been explained the hot air that is distributed passes over a plenum that has the firebox on the other side (obviously a leak there will pass CO into the air being sent through the ducts). A boiler doesn't have any single wall non wet point of contact to air that is distributed throughout the house. Even if a leak is present on a boiler the water is contained in he system so no CO will move into the residence through this means.

It is true that CO leaking from an improper draft or other factor can enter the air space for stove, boiler and furnace alike with the same risk. :)
Matthaus
Leisure Line Stove Company
http://www.leisurelinestoves.com/


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