Fire Chief FC500

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.
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Engineman3319
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Posts: 10
Joined: Fri. Dec. 19, 2008 7:50 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Magnum Stoker

Post Fri. Dec. 19, 2008 8:14 pm

Greetings all,

New, novice coal burner here...I'm looking to heat my 2000 sq. ft. single story workshop with coal. I live in PA, just 30 minutes South of the anthracite region. I need advice...if you're bored by novices you should stop reading now.

I'm looking for a hot air furnace that will heat my workshop comfortably. I hate being cold when working.

My shop is recent frame construction, well insulated, R19 walls/R30 ceilings at 9 ft. high, One half is concrete floor the other half is uninsulated crawl space. Heating contractor friend did a heat loss calculation and determined I need 50,000BTU per hour, although I have Northern exposure to sustained prevailing winds, which leads me to believe I want a bit more than that.

I am looking at the Fire Chief FC500 coal burner. Good warranty, looks well built and according to the specifications, it will hold a lot of coal.

My questions are...if I use a furnace a bit larger than I need, can I expect a longer burn time if I'm heating a space smaller than it is designed for? I'm away at my job about 12 hours per day and don't want the fire to go out. (I don't need 70 degree temps when I'm away-50 degrees would be fine) but I want it warm when I want to work there. I'm usually in the shop every evening and all weekend.

Will too large of a furnace overfire or overheat? Or might it not burn properly?

How can I estimate how much coal I might burn in an effort to compare costs to propane, oil, or wood.

Finally, the Fire Chief seems to have the forced draft fan mounted above the grates. I understand from reading this forum that air should come from under the grates for an anthracite fire to do well. Is the Fire Chief a good or bad choice?

Thanks in advance for your advice.

Regards,
Engineman3319

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DOUG
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Posts: 904
Joined: Wed. Jul. 09, 2008 8:49 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: CHUBBY, D.S.MACHINE BOILER
Stove/Furnace Model: CLAYTON 1600
Location: PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA

Post Fri. Dec. 19, 2008 9:16 pm

Hi, Engineman3319. Welcome to the forum. I looked at the Fire Chief products when I was shopping for my wood/coal furnace. The Fire Chief furnaces look very well constructed and should burn wood like a champ. But for coal, I think the ash door spinner may be too small to get the needed air under the fire and the cast iron baffle behind the front combustion blower directs the air right above the fire. Great design for burning wood but anthracite coal, I have reservations. If that kind of furnace is in your price range, don't overlook the Clayton from US Stove Company. I know you will be much happier with the Clayton than the Fire Chief FC500, FC700, or the FC1100. For the money in my opinion, you can't beat a US STOVE Clayton 1600. There is some members on this forum that have really mastered the art of successfully burning anthracite coal in a Clayton. I'm sure they will agree and you'll have a lot of support from the user group of the Claytons 1600's. For the application you had described, the Clayton will do what you want. You came to the right place for Good Straight Shooter advice and information. There is a wealth of information from the great people on this sight. :idea: :)

Hey, Northcandlewood. Chime in on this Charles. DOUG

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LsFarm
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Posts: 7385
Joined: Sun. Nov. 20, 2005 8:02 pm
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 Fri. Dec. 19, 2008 9:28 pm

Since you need only 50K BTU, and want to control the heat output,, I'd recommend a stoker fed stove.. you can hook a thermostat to it, they can idle down to about 5-8000 BTU, saving coal while you are not in the shop, then with a twist of the thermostate or the feed knob [manual control] you can have 70-80K BTU.

Hand feed stoves and especially the larger fireboxes in the furnaces don't idle down well, a very good chimney is an absolute must, and even with a good reliable draft, it isn't easy to get a fire that holds 80+ pounds of coal to idle down very low.. you will not have the control like you would with a stoker stove.

There are many stoker stoves in the 5K-100K BTU output, and several bigger hot air furnaces in the 10K-140-180K range as well. I heated a 2400sqft 16' ceiling shop with a LeisureLine Hyfire 1 for several months, before I got my floor heat up and running on coal.. The Hyfire is a ~120K BTU unit, with two burners.. can be manual [older models] or automatic control with the CoalTrol unit.

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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DOUG
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Posts: 904
Joined: Wed. Jul. 09, 2008 8:49 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: CHUBBY, D.S.MACHINE BOILER
Stove/Furnace Model: CLAYTON 1600
Location: PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA

Post Fri. Dec. 19, 2008 9:39 pm

Yes! Greg is right! :idea: :) Coal stoker is the only way to go for complete automation. I wasn't looking at the big picture. I was only concentrating on hand fired hot air units. Get a coal stoker and be happy!! :D


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coal berner
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Posts: 3591
Joined: Tue. Jan. 09, 2007 12:44 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1986 Electric Furnace Man 520 DF
Stove/Furnace Make: Electric Furnace Man
Stove/Furnace Model: DF520
Location: Pottsville PA. Schuylkill County PA. The Hart Of Anthracite Coal Country.

Post Sat. Dec. 20, 2008 3:26 am

Engineman3319 wrote:Greetings all,

New, novice coal burner here...I'm looking to heat my 2000 sq. ft. single story workshop with coal. I live in PA, just 30 minutes South of the anthracite region. I need advice...if you're bored by novices you should stop reading now.

I'm looking for a hot air furnace that will heat my workshop comfortably. I hate being cold when working.

My shop is recent frame construction, well insulated, R19 walls/R30 ceilings at 9 ft. high, One half is concrete floor the other half is uninsulated crawl space. Heating contractor friend did a heat loss calculation and determined I need 50,000BTU per hour, although I have Northern exposure to sustained prevailing winds, which leads me to believe I want a bit more than that.

I am looking at the Fire Chief FC500 coal burner. Good warranty, looks well built and according to the specifications, it will hold a lot of coal.

My questions are...if I use a furnace a bit larger than I need, can I expect a longer burn time if I'm heating a space smaller than it is designed for? I'm away at my job about 12 hours per day and don't want the fire to go out. (I don't need 70 degree temps when I'm away-50 degrees would be fine) but I want it warm when I want to work there. I'm usually in the shop every evening and all weekend.

Will too large of a furnace overfire or overheat? Or might it not burn properly?

How can I estimate how much coal I might burn in an effort to compare costs to propane, oil, or wood.

Finally, the Fire Chief seems to have the forced draft fan mounted above the grates. I understand from reading this forum that air should come from under the grates for an anthracite fire to do well. Is the Fire Chief a good or bad choice?

Thanks in advance for your advice.

Regards,
Engineman3319
Here are the companies you should be looking at. They are all design to burn Anthracite coal Most of them Make hand fed stoves and stoker stoves.They are all well known and make a good Product . Lots to choose from alot of good reading .
Good luck and have fun.

http://www.leisurelinestoves.com/index.html
**Broken Link(s) Removed**http://www.keystoker.com/

http://www.hitzer.com/products/

http://www.bakerstoves.com/about.htm
**Broken Link(s) Removed**


http://www.readingstove.com/coal_stoves.html
J.C.

Heating house & water with a 1986 electric furnace man DF520 using buckwheat Anthracite coal

Engineman3319
New Member
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri. Dec. 19, 2008 7:50 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Magnum Stoker

Post Sat. Dec. 20, 2008 8:53 am

Thanks to all for your advice. With your indulgence, I'd like to continue this conversation.

I have considered the stoker stove...that would have been my first choice, but my insurace carrier is giving me a hard time about having a stove in my shop. Apparantly, since I have overhead doors on the building, they consider it a "garage". They are hanging their hat on the NFPA (National Fire Protection Assoc.) Standard 211 that says "a solid fuel burning appliance shall not be installed in any garage". Based on that, I've been planning to build a small furnace room onto my shop with an outside entrance,hence the furnace won't be "in the garage". The furnace and coal bin would be in the "furnace room" with warm air ducts being routed into the shop space.

With that said, I have more questions for the anthracite enlightened...

Here in PA. you can drive around and you'll see all forms of stove pipe protruding from sheds, garages and barns. There is even a working autobody shop within a mile of me that is heated with a wood burning furnace! I can't imagine that all of these people forgo their insurance coverage. To add insult to injury, as a firefighter for 30 years I've seen some pretty scary wood stove installations in homes that are no where near as safe or well done as the installation I had in my garage

Has anyone on the forum even been challenged by their insurance carrier about heating their garage/shop with wood or coal?

If yes, what did you do? I was defiant at first but after contacting 5 different insurance brokers in the area and finding out they won't even take me as a customer as long as I have a stove in my shop, I'm beginning to acquiesce to their demands.

Again, thanks for your thoughts.

Happy Holidays
Engineman3319

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DOUG
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Posts: 904
Joined: Wed. Jul. 09, 2008 8:49 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: CHUBBY, D.S.MACHINE BOILER
Stove/Furnace Model: CLAYTON 1600
Location: PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA

Post Sat. Dec. 20, 2008 9:56 am

After reviewing the NFPA guidelines regarding your questions, I would ask your local fire official what you need to do to meet the requirements, have them sign off on the proposal and present the findings to your insurance carrier for final approval. The NFPA guidelines seem to be more concerned with possible vapor combustion of any type of heater, not just singling out coal or wood heaters. You may have to jump through some hoops to get there, but it looks like there is a way to meet the standards.

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LsFarm
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Posts: 7385
Joined: Sun. Nov. 20, 2005 8:02 pm
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 Sat. Dec. 20, 2008 4:33 pm

I see no reason that you cannot use a stoker stove in a garage.. the fire is far enough off the floor that the danger of igniting gasoline vapor is near nil.. AND you can easily put a duct to the inlet of the combustion fan, and duct in outside air to the fire. This way there is almost no way to get vapors into the fire.

Most codes allow a gas hot water heater, or furnace in a garage, as long as the fire/pilot flame is above a specified height.. this usually is about 16-18". Gasoline vapors are heavy, they stay on the floor. I don't understand the blanket 'no solid fuel' statement.. a fire is a fire.

You can build a separate room for your coal appliance, but if you are going to use it as a furnace, ducting in cool air, heating and returning it to the shop, so you will be pulling in vapors just as if the stove was in the building itself..

Maybe you can get a good, caring, insureance agent to work with you on this, and get him/her to allow a stoker that is raised on a blockor concrete platform [fireproof] with an outside air duct to the combustion fan. The fire would easlily be able to be 24-30" off the floor..

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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jimbo
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Posts: 109
Joined: Fri. Jun. 20, 2008 7:02 am
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Fire Chief 700
Coal Size/Type: Stove or nut
Stove/Furnace Make: fire chief
Stove/Furnace Model: fc700
Location: Ephratah NY
Contact:

Post Sun. Dec. 21, 2008 7:21 am

I have a firechief 700 it will burn coal ok but I had to make some modification to it and you need a draft of around .6 the more draft the better it will burn.
I have gone as many as 24 hours in warm weather with out touching it was still able to get it to fire up by loading coal and opening it up.
I have made a poker that will come from the bottom up through the rotary grates and help clear the ahes out. It is a well built furnace and I have been happy with it though if I had to do it all over again I might look for a coal only furnace. I bought it with the thought if coal got expensive or hard to get I could burn wood I bought it before I discovered the coal forum.
let me know If I can be of any help to you.
INTERESTS :Working on dirt track modifed race car. Hunting, fishing,wood working,metal fab,welding,hobby farming.Repairing plastic injection molding machines. Kind of jack of all trades.

chicgurl1974
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Joined: Tue. Dec. 09, 2008 5:39 am
Stove/Furnace Make: harman
Stove/Furnace Model: II (not sure haha)
Location: Hallam Pennsylvania
Contact:

Post Sun. Dec. 21, 2008 12:58 pm

I'd like to get a forum together for PA York County area. Anyone else out there near york county?

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North Candlewood
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Posts: 239
Joined: Sun. Dec. 09, 2007 9:00 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Eshland S-130
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker A 120
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Chubby
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Clayton 1602
Baseburners & Antiques: Princess Atlantic Cookstove
Coal Size/Type: Nut Rice
Location: Ct

Post Sun. Dec. 21, 2008 2:34 pm

Good Afternoon
I have had a chance to get caught up on this one.
Hand fire furnace get the one you will be most comfortable with. I'm with Doug with the Clayton. If you intend on being around to keep it going every 12 hours or so. It gives you the reason to be in the shop at least. Stoker All I know is what I've read here and since I have a clayton it might just get stoked in the off season. Unless I find a big boiler to do both buildings.
Ruling on in shop solid fuel open to area as I know it call for 18 off the floor to bottom of firebox/ashpan opening.
Remembering draft is pulling. Gas vapor from gasoline,acetoline,mapp,beer :P or propane and so on are also concerns to the insurance industry.
Furnace rooms; weatherstripped door, sealed room design with rated walls,fresh air intake for combustion and furnace return air from ceiling. Feeds can go to the 18 off floor ruling. With no wall penetrations below 18 inches including outlets inside or outside of enclosure. Another words you would have to be an idiot to open the door to this room with gas vapors at your heals.
All in all we can build it to a safty level but the Ins Co will not have to insure it if they so choose.
Charles

stumpknocker
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Stove/Furnace Make: Wood Boss
Stove/Furnace Model: air tight

Post Mon. Nov. 12, 2012 10:28 am

I have a FireChief 700 For Sale, It's almost brand new & will come with a New Factory Warranty. Call 410-808-4994 for more info. I'm near Gettysburg Pa.

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