Coal Furnaces, How Many Are Using Them, and Your Verdicts?

Complete Heat
Posts: 221
Joined: Thu. Mar. 09, 2006 9:46 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Axeman-Anderson
Stove/Furnace Model: AA-130/FHA
Location: Nashua, NH

Post Wed. May. 03, 2006 10:00 am


This goes out to people running coal furnaces, whether it is a forced hot air, or forced hot water unit. What are your results so far, and what would you do differently?


Posts: 38
Joined: Fri. Oct. 01, 2004 10:50 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Post Sun. May. 07, 2006 5:24 pm

I'm running a Keystoker K5, I think, boiler. I don't know that I would do anything different. I have been very satisfied with it's operation. I have had it for 4 years now and it works great.

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Posts: 44
Joined: Thu. Nov. 13, 2014 11:15 am
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Simplex Multitherm CHF-120
Coal Size/Type: Stove/Hard Coal
Location: Oakville (Shippensburg), PA

Post Sat. Feb. 07, 2015 9:36 pm

We just bought our house in October and it came with a VanWert Simplex Multitherm (forced hot water system). Uses wood, coal or oil. Oil was twice the price of coal so that happened only one time. Using coal since October and love it! The folks on this website have helped immensely! Do different? Plan in advance for the amount of coal. Will buy more over the summer and be ready.

New Member
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun. Oct. 12, 2014 7:09 am
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Reading Juanita
Coal Size/Type: rice
Location: Hartford, New York

Post Sun. Feb. 08, 2015 9:39 am

Built a new home this summer (modular ranch) and installed a Reading Juanita hot air furnace. The house is 1400 sq/ft with a full basement the same size.
So far I'm very pleased with how well it is working. We're in upstate New York and have had several days where the overnight temps went down to minus 19. The house is comfortable for us at 69/70. At minus 10 or below, the furnace runs wide open full time and can just keep the house and basement at 69 degrees. If it gets lower then minus 20 I think the backup propane furnace might be needed.

If I were to do it again, I'd use the larger Reading furnace (I don't remember the name of it) but money was tight at the time I made my purchase. We've averaged burning 40 lbs per day with more on the really cold days.

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Posts: 2952
Joined: Mon. Mar. 10, 2014 10:06 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1984 Eshland S260 coal gun
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh anthracite pea
Other Heating: oil furnace
Location: Peasleeville, NY

Post Sun. Feb. 08, 2015 10:39 am

I'm running a hand fed hot blast furnace, love it! Keeps my house a toasty 72 and basement 68-69, Heatin a total of 2100 sq ft in the top of New York state lol 30 minutes from canada. been bitter cold this year and so far averaging 32 lbs a day, been lit since October 14th. Last week we used 60 lbs per day, 12-16 hour tend times depending how late I work. Have burned 4146 pounds so far.

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Posts: 532
Joined: Mon. Dec. 19, 2011 11:11 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: DS Machine
Stove/Furnace Model: DS1500, Kozy King 100
Location: Tower City, PA

Post Sun. Feb. 08, 2015 11:10 am

Installed DS Machine Kozy King 100 in the drafty old farm house this year. Been burning since oct 31. Its been keeping us toasty warm so far, the coldest temps we've encountered this year have been around 0°F.

Posts: 226
Joined: Sat. Mar. 09, 2013 7:28 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Old Alaska Kodiak Stoker II
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Pea
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Location: Milroy, PA

Post Sun. Feb. 08, 2015 1:09 pm

1949, 1,000 square feet house I bought in 2008. Originally came with hot water baseboard, and an oil boiler. 2010 I installed a heat pump, to give me central air, and supplemental heat in shoulder months. Oil prices skyrocketed, so after an expensive winter I put an Alaska coal stove I refurbished in the basement to supplement the heat pump. Worked well until the 5* and below range at which point I had to enable the 10kw heat strip in the air handler. I started my garage fall 2013. Finished the building enough to heat, and refurbished and installed an Axeman Anderson 130 boiler.

This year I am heating my new building (36'x48'x12' ceilings) house and domestic hot water all for the same amount of money as it cost last year to heat the house with electric and coal. I had to switch insurance companies because I was dropped for having a solid fuel appliance in an unmanned building but that ended up getting me a better rate and more insurance anyways. I am super pleased,and satisfied with my choices and as long as Obama doesn't find a way to completely outlaw coal I will be satisfied for years to come. Gas is not available where I live and I can't afford geothermal. So my alternatives are oil, pellets and delivered gas/lp. It's been a learning curve, but a pleasant one and I hope to help others with the things I have learned in this process.

This year has also been the most comfortable inside of my house since I was using the oil boiler for sure. And showers feel better knowing the water is heated from coal!

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oliver power
Posts: 2272
Joined: Sun. Apr. 16, 2006 9:28 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: KEYSTOKER Kaa-2
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93 & 30-95, Vigilant (pre-Vigilant-II), D.S. 1600 Circulator
Location: Near Dansville, NY

Post Sun. Feb. 08, 2015 1:48 pm

So, you're actually asking of coal fired central heating systems. In that case, I have the KEYSTOKER Kaa-2 boiler. Very happy with it. It does a Fantastic job of heating my place. That being said, I have seen the tipping point of peak performance at around minus 5, to minus 8, with wind howling. Could not tell by room comfort of 72* - 74*. Could tell by boiler gauge. Boiler was running flat out, around the clock. What would I change in my system? NOTHING! My whole place is at thermostat set point throughout. At the time of purchasing the boiler, I went to buy the next size up, but KEYSTOKER discontinued the K-4, and came out with the smaller Kaa-2. K-6 was way too big for me. Since then, KEYSTOKER had come out with another version of K-4. I'm going to double talk my answer to your question a little. If I were to change anything in my system, I'd step up to the boiler size I originally wanted, the now /new Kaa-4. The only reason would be for the little more capacity. Nothing to do with lack of performance of the Kaa-2. I couldn't be happier with how the Kaa-2 performs. And yes, I'd buy another KEYSTOKER boiler.

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Posts: 37
Joined: Tue. Aug. 19, 2014 10:27 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: keystoker k-4 dual fuel
Coal Size/Type: buckwheat
Location: Mount Carmel, PA

Post Sun. Feb. 08, 2015 4:22 pm

Hello all, I installed a new keystoker k-4 in june of 2014. After the fine tuning of the unit I have had nothing but great results with the k-4. Using roughly 1 ton per month since november 1st. Still have almost 2 tons left. I think ill make it till spring! My house is a constant 74 degrees. I burn through the summer months as well for dhw. The only change that I would and am going to make is to transfer coal from the bin to the hopper. It is dusty. Going to install an auger and seal the discharge on top of the hopper. Ill post pics when its completed. So glad my old utica oil boiler is gone. That was a big money pit lol. I love coal heat!!

Starting Out
Posts: 150
Joined: Thu. Feb. 20, 2014 5:33 pm
Other Heating: Burnham Oil Boiler with Beckett Gun
Location: Ringtown, PA

Post Sun. Feb. 08, 2015 4:31 pm

Oliver, I'm glad to hear the Kaa-2 is performing well. That's what I am looking to install.
jridings does not live far from me, so I'm going to stop by and look at his set up. I only have 61ft of baseboard radiation and three zones to heat. All on the main floor, no basement heat at all. I just might get the Kaa-4 like jridings.

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Posts: 5163
Joined: Fri. Nov. 22, 2013 2:17 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1960 EFM520 installed in truck box
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Crane 404 with variable blower
Coal Size/Type: 404-nut, 520 rice ,anthracite for both
Location: Jonestown,Pa.17038

Post Sun. Feb. 08, 2015 4:55 pm

1960 EFM520 fired up Oct.10,2014, heating a 1987 14x70 trailer +DHW , 1972 12x60 trailer with additions adding to about a 24x 60 +DHW, & last but not least ,a 30x40 mostly concrete block repair shop,we have not found the limits of this unit yet.Would I do anything different ? Yes , I wish I had installed this instead of the OWB back in 2006. We do have a Crane 404 in our concrete slabbed living room that we rarely run over 500*,it helps us have a WARM area to sit & enjoy ourselves while the EFM is keeping the rest of the house at 74*. :D :up:

New Member
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri. Dec. 12, 2014 7:57 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: efm 520
Coal Size/Type: rice
Other Heating: oil in emergency

Post Thu. Feb. 12, 2015 7:59 pm

I'm not very experenced in the coal burning but in the last 5 days I am very HAPPY with my 1982 EFM 520 !! also really love the idea of not having to cut a mountan of wood Dont think im going back to wood again!!

New Member
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue. Feb. 24, 2015 1:10 am
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: firetender mountainman 85

Post Thu. Feb. 26, 2015 12:53 pm

From the posting I see most coal burners seem to be back in NY or PA area. I live on the western slope of CO ( Nucla ) and have been using a FireTender ( stokermatic ) since 02. Production has stopped on these stoves/furnaces back in 05. I get my stoker coal in bulk--half ton haul in my pickup for $0.10/lb where I offload it in an old freezer lying on it's back. On cold days I might burn 35 lbs. I also have a small wood heater. Coal heating is not a passive thing. Filling the hopper using 5 gal buckets of coal, cleaning out the ashes certainly is a long way from just turning up the thermostat. I do have a propane back up furnace, but probably like a lot of posters here we have a romance with coal burning and love dealiing with all the intracasies of getting BTU's out of coal. Propane is expensive and getting wood is really labor intensive with getting to a wood site, tempermental chains saws, splitting/stacking so I'm really satisfied using coal. However, in my area their are fewer and fewer coal users so my supplier ( 10 miles away ) might do away with stocking coal--what a change from years ago.

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Site Moderator
Posts: 3290
Joined: Mon. Nov. 11, 2013 11:17 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: BairMatic BMC-500 with Van Wert VA400 Stoker, Gentleman Janitor GJ-671/EFM S-15 stoker, Van Wert VA-600
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Harman SF3500
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Noth'in but COAL! Well, Maybe a little tiny bit of wood
Location: PA, Southern York County!

Post Thu. Feb. 26, 2015 7:21 pm

Welcome to the forum nuclacoal,

That's a good coal burner if you only have to put 35 pounds in it for the cold days! I don't know what the weather is like out there in CO but, last winter back east here was one of the coldest and longest I can remeber. This winter has been a cold one too. Because of all this cold weather, my coal supplier is so busy, deliveries are 6 weeks out. He had to deliver all last summer to try to catch up!

Maybe If some other people in your area see how inexpensive coal is, your coal supplier would stock more coal.

Last edited by StokerDon on Fri. Feb. 27, 2015 7:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

New Member
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun. Oct. 12, 2014 12:32 pm
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker koker 160
Coal Size/Type: Rice/kimmels

Post Fri. Feb. 27, 2015 7:42 am

Bought a keystoker koker this fall. Hooked into my existing forced air ductwork and it works great! Last year I spent over $3,000 in propane to heat 3,600 sq ft and my basement was so cold nobody would even go down there. We just set the all time record for the coldest month ever here in western new york. My house is a toasty 70 including my 2,000 sq ft basement. I have burned 4 ton of coal so far @ $237/ton. I will probably end up burning 5 ton all said and done. That's a savings of over $1,800. I don't think I would change a thing, the furnace works better than I expected and I could not be happier!

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