Can I Use Existing Oil Burner SS Chimney for New Coal Boiler

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.
BuckShot
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KAA-4
Hand Fed Coal Stove: looking for one...
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite buckwheat
Location: upstate NY, near Whitehall (on the Vermont border)

Post Mon. Sep. 14, 2015 8:26 pm

Hey folks,
I've been reading this forum for the last few weeks trying to learn all I can about coal boilers. Thanks for all the good info so far! I finally have a question that I can't seem to find an answer to, so I joined the forum and I'm asking it now...

I currently have a Beckett fuel oil boiler and I'm planning to replace it with a Keystoker KAA-4 boiler (coal & oil). One thing or another has held up our purchase of the new Keystoker, and today we hit another snag - the existing chimney. Can I use my existing stainless steel chimney (installed for, and used by, the current oil boiler) for the new coal boiler? Will it handle the heat of the coal? Has anyone else gone thru this? I'm also hearing some discussion about acid in the coal rusting the steel - is that a concern?

Some details:
Single story 2000 sq ft house with a full basement built in 1998 with 6" walls and good insulation. The boiler is in the basement and is vented straight up thru the first floor, attic, and roof - one straight shot. The 6" flue from the boiler appears to be galvanized steel or galvalum. This vents into a (much) larger stainless steel flue at the "ceiling" of the basement (the "floor" of the main floor of the house). This flue/chimney vents thru a closet on the first floor which is fully enclosed by walls. It never really gets overly warm in that closet during the winter. That same stainless steel flue goes straight up thru the attic and thru the roof. It's capped at the top.

I can provide more info, photos, etc, if necessary. I plan to take a closer look at the larger SS flue tonight and see if I can find any info on it.

I'm hoping to purchase a boiler this week, if possible, but I need to be sure that this system will work with our existing setup. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!


Olllotj
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Location: Western NY

Post Mon. Sep. 14, 2015 8:41 pm

I don't see why it wouldn't work, maybe just add a clean out t and grab a manometer to check the draft. How tall is the 6" ss chimney?

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Richard S.
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Post Tue. Sep. 15, 2015 5:06 am

The issue here is going to be corrosion, there is different grades of SS for the liners and it's unlikely you have a higher grade because you don't need it with oil. Even the higher grade is going to corrode eventually.

The best advice I can give you is go with it but you're going to need to carefully inspect it every year. Once you see any sign of corrosion it should be removed because pieces can fall off and block the flue.
"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."

- Albert Einstein

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Rob R.
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Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy
Location: Chazy, NY

Post Tue. Sep. 15, 2015 5:44 am

I would use it. Sweep it every year and keep an eye on the condition. Running the oil burner in the off-season should help extend the life.

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blrman07
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Location: Girardville Pa.

Post Tue. Sep. 15, 2015 7:08 am

Run it. Common sense says to inspect it every year. Will the boiler also run during the warmer weather to supply DHW? If so that is a step in the right direction. Keeping it running won't allow it to cool down and condense moisture which could mix with the fly ash and create acids that could damage the SS parts.
Rev. Larry
Ashland Pa.

1 John 1:9... If we sin and we confess that sin He is faithful and just and will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

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coaledsweat
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Post Tue. Sep. 15, 2015 7:21 am

The simple answer is yes. Both the oil and the coal will eat it eventually.
Nothing is impossible for people who don't have to do it themselves.

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freetown fred
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
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Location: Freetown,NY 13803

Post Tue. Sep. 15, 2015 7:23 am

Pix always help plus your location--local codes etc. Sounds like a go to me w/ using some common sense. Why look at larger SS flue?
"A people that values it's privileges above it's principals, soon loses both"--Dwight D Eisenhower

BuckShot
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Posts: 17
Joined: Mon. Sep. 14, 2015 7:52 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KAA-4
Hand Fed Coal Stove: looking for one...
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite buckwheat
Location: upstate NY, near Whitehall (on the Vermont border)

Post Tue. Sep. 15, 2015 12:34 pm

Thanks for all the great responses!
My stove dealer called me this morning - he called Keystoker about this concern and they told him that the flue temperature is about 100 degrees at 5-6' above the stove, so using the existing chimney should be no problem. My dealer didn't ask about the acidity/rust issue. Looks like you guys have better answers for that anyway.

Answers to your questions:
The current flue is about 5-6' in length out of the top of the existing oil boiler, with 2 bends in it to line it up with the SS chimney. The flue also has one of those barometric dampers (is that what they're called?) installed in it about half way up. Then the flue feeds into a "thimble" that is the bottom of the SS chimney. The SS chimney itself is about 25' feet long (as far as I can guesstimate), straight up. So total length, from boiler to chimney cap, is maybe 30'. The coal boiler vents out of the side closer to the ground, so it'll add about 2' to the flue length. The SS chimney appears to be double-walled, and probably insulated based on the fact that it only feels warm to the touch after the boiler runs.

Location is upstate NY, in "The North Country", right on the Vermont border. I have no idea what the local codes are for this install. I guess I'll find out soon enough. :shock:

We'll be running the boiler for DHW in the summer too, but we may just use the fuel oil burner instead of coal. I'll try it with coal first, just to see how/if it works. Any recommendations on this?

I didn't think about installing the T at the bottom of the flue for cleaning. Thanks for that tip. I believe there will only be about 10" of clearance below it since the coal boiler vents out the side, not the top. That should still be enough room to clean the flue/chimney, right? Anyone have a recommendation on a good chimney brush for a round SS chimney? Or should I just have my regular annual boiler maintenance guy do it?

Don't know much about manometers, aside from the one we have on our radon mitigation system. Any recommendations on a manometer would be appreciated too. I don't see that being included as part of the install. ?? Should I ask for it or is this something I can do myself? I'm relatively handy with most things, just not boiler plumbing or rockets. :)

Is there anything else I should consider?

I'll try to post some pics soon.
Thanks for the great advice so far!


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Rob R.
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Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
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Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy
Location: Chazy, NY

Post Tue. Sep. 15, 2015 1:21 pm

BuckShot wrote:Location is upstate NY, in "The North Country", right on the Vermont border.
I live in Chazy. If you live close by I have a draft gauge that you could use for the initial setup for the barometric damper...or you could just get a $25 manometer and use that.

BuckShot
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Posts: 17
Joined: Mon. Sep. 14, 2015 7:52 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KAA-4
Hand Fed Coal Stove: looking for one...
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite buckwheat
Location: upstate NY, near Whitehall (on the Vermont border)

Post Tue. Sep. 15, 2015 1:44 pm

Rob R. wrote: I live in Chazy. If you live close by I have a draft gauge that you could use for the initial setup for the barometric damper...or you could just get a $25 manometer and use that.
Thanks Rob. Chazy is about as far north as you can get without being Canadian! :D
I live about 2 hours south, down near Whitehall. I appreciate the offer. It sounds like I'd be better off with having a manometer installed. I just emailed Keystoker and asked for their recommendations on installing a manometer. I'll post their response if it adds any value to this forum.

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freetown fred
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Post Tue. Sep. 15, 2015 3:41 pm

BS, if the dealer confirmed it as OK--piss on the code. All insurance wants is an OK from the manufacturer-- if that. Just an unnecessary can of worms!
"A people that values it's privileges above it's principals, soon loses both"--Dwight D Eisenhower

BuckShot
New Member
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon. Sep. 14, 2015 7:52 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KAA-4
Hand Fed Coal Stove: looking for one...
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite buckwheat
Location: upstate NY, near Whitehall (on the Vermont border)

Post Wed. Sep. 16, 2015 12:03 am

Spoke with my insurance company (Allstate) this morning and they said there is no problem with replacing the existing fuel oil boiler with the coal boiler. It won't impact my rates or change my coverage. They don't require any inspection either. They did mention something about requiring a backup heat source for wood/coal stoves, but since the optional oil burner fit that bill, we didn't discuss it further. Way easier than I expected. I'm still in shock. :)

So I pulled the trigger on the boiler this afternoon. I ordered a Keystoker KAA-4 with the oil burner option. Should be here in 2 weeks. Then the fun begins... I'll probably be posting more questions as I begin to very slowly nudge beyond newbie status.

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freetown fred
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Post Wed. Sep. 16, 2015 6:52 am

Nice BS. :)
"A people that values it's privileges above it's principals, soon loses both"--Dwight D Eisenhower

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titleist1
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Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Mag Stoker (old style) one in basement, one in workshop
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III on standby for long power outages
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite; Nut/Anthracite
Location: Cecil County, MD

Post Wed. Sep. 16, 2015 8:09 am

Congrats on the purchase....the fun begins!!!!

I don't know if you have the flexibility to do this, but with the SS having a very good chance for corrosion and needing to be replaced at some point, you may want to look at the option of installing a masonry chimney when that happens.

If this is an option down the road you may want to consider the install location of the boiler to make the switchover as easy as possible.

eta....i should mention I did this for the initial hand fed stove which was replaced by the stoker stove a few years ago which uses a SS double wall insulated chimney. Placed it on the back wall of the basement and figured if the SS didn't last I could easily put in a block / tile chimney there. Been waiting since '92 for the SS to fail....Probably just jinxed myself.
Last edited by titleist1 on Wed. Sep. 16, 2015 11:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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McGiever
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Location: Junction of PA-OH-WV

Post Wed. Sep. 16, 2015 8:35 am

Sounds like a straight, vertical, rigid, smooth, and insulated interior (inside at building temp and non-condensing) SS chimney to me...this ain't no crappy quicky one style fits all crappy flex liner. :)
Straight, no turns, Class A type chimney.

I vote for the bottom clean-out Tee and/for yearly inspection also. :)
SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE


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