Is Burning COAL Right for You?

This forum is for common products and questions such as chimney installations, CO detectors, coal bin designs and a variety of other general topics that do not fit into the other forums.
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Richard S.
Posts: 12710
Joined: Fri. Oct. 01, 2004 8:35 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite
Location: NEPA

Post Thu. Jan. 24, 2008 4:38 pm

Dallas wrote:One of the things, which I think occurs quite often. ... somebody gets a stove to heat a room or basement ..
Or often I here I should have gotten the bigger unit... They might be leary of the initial investment if they have never used it before and I don't blame them. Generally though I don't hear many people say they don't like it. You might get fvfew grumbling about the dust and dirt but the savings make up for that.
"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."

- Albert Einstein

Posts: 966
Joined: Sat. Oct. 28, 2006 9:24 am
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 Thu. Jan. 24, 2008 6:30 pm

Well, not exactly!

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


New Member
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed. Jan. 16, 2008 7:38 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: keystoker boiler

Post Thu. Jan. 24, 2008 8:09 pm

I'm new to coal this year. Burnt a lot of wood in my day and slit love splitting by hand. Keeps you fit when your in your late 40's. But I've decided I love being married to my wife instead of a chain saw. Put in a coal boiler this year to eliminate the propane boiler. Figures out to be about 1200 for the heating season for coal as compared to 3600 for propane. I figure I can run up and down the basement steps and move a little coal and ash for 2400 bucks.

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Site Moderator
Posts: 2293
Joined: Fri. Jan. 11, 2008 10:49 am
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace
Location: Pequest River Valley, Warren Co NJ

Post Thu. Jan. 24, 2008 8:36 pm

I’m guessing it came from my Welsh blood. As a youngster, I grew up around coal heat. Played in the coal bin at Gramp’s 1781 stone colonial, you know, two-foot thick stone walls, drafty window and a three-holer in the yard. Gramp’s furnace looked like a huge octopus to me – I can still see him stoking it. That was my Mom’s dad’s house. At Gram’s house, my Dad’s mom, I remember the coal fired kitchen stove sitting in the old cooking fireplace. It was my job to turn the veggie gardens over in the spring and I remember checking out the caol ash that was in the soil and occasionally finding old stubs of white clay tobacco pipes in the turnings too. Wasn’t too long ago I remember my dad scraping the jack stove.

Had a wood stove in our first house and cut for the farmer across the street so I got mine free for the labor. Thought hard about bringing it to the new place but the thought of hauling all that wood, dirt and stuff up a flight of stairs got me looking at coal. That was six years ago, before oil for my central furnace got ridiculously expensive but I have some ideas for that too. Everyone’s happy when I fire up the coal stove in the fall. Damn township appraisers got me for two heating systems too boot.
3 Videos: Chavez can shov(el) it . . . & he's @ it full time now!

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Site Moderator
Posts: 8327
Joined: Sat. Feb. 10, 2007 9:48 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Baseburners & Antiques: Sears Signal Oak 15 & Andes Kitchen Range
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert
Location: Stillwater, New Jersey

Post Thu. Jan. 24, 2008 10:21 pm

bksaun wrote:You Think so!
Holy Cow!
Heating a circa 1832 farmhouse with a Harman Magnafire Mark I & a 1959 EFM 350 (heating DHW).
100% Oil Free!
"It's what we learn after we think we know it all that counts."

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Posts: 1882
Joined: Sat. Jul. 29, 2006 8:19 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman-Anderson Anthratube 130-M
Location: North Norwich, NY

Post Thu. Jan. 24, 2008 11:55 pm

Between my father, grandfather, and myself I have had all the aforementioned experiences plus the added experience of using a high tech electric thermal storage heating system using resistive charging. The ETS system just prior to the oil spike two years ago was running about the same cost as oil to heat my home. It was virtually maintenance free (one substantial repair and two service calls in 14 years. System obsolescence and total lack of parts availability caused me to plan (prior to its demise) a new heating system for my 22 year old split entry house. Mind you the system probably would have lasted another 2 years or more but one of six units was compromised in its ability to heat in extreme cold.

Then oil spiked and it prompted me to examine all alternatives: Natural gas is unavailable here though it would have been relatively cheap and convenient. Plenty of wood around at 165 per cord delivered but tending the fire and moving wood is a pain and in our suburban neighborhood the neighbors might complain of smoke. Oil was outrageous and would actually cost more than my night rate-fired ETS was at the time (no amortization there on the equip). Propane was the highest cost of all-no way to justify it over oil. Pellets were in consideration but at the time there were shortages driving the price quite high. Coal sounded dirty to me but I saw the cheap heat value of it so I researched further.

I wanted totally controlled indoor central heating and something I didn't have to tend daily. I thought fifty years since the heyday of coal might have prompted some new technologies in coal burning. Well, yes and no. I found out that there were several stoker boilers available by several reputable manufacturers which pleased me. I settled on the Axeman-Anderson Anthratube Boiler which is not the highest tech available for residential burning but perhaps the best combination of reliability, simplicity and durability. For me it represented the best available technology for residential central heating at the least cost. The claims from its brochure were all valid. It's operation is dustless, automatic, convenient, efficient, powerful, and inexpensive. The $6000 price tag for a 130-m was about the same as many were paying for outdoor boilers and about 2000 more than top of the line automated stoker stoves.

I had planned to install the Anthratube with a back up boiler next to it. After having used it for nearly three months I can say with confidence that I have no need for a backup. It will run days without tending and tending takes only a few minutes to change ash pails and cover the pick up tube with coal. Ashes I dump at the local landfill. I consider the work a small price to pay for the savings. I am very happy with it.
The essence of freedom is the proper limitation of government.

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