Southern IL vs eastern KY bit coal

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Mr.Ark
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Post By: Mr.Ark » Fri. Mar. 08, 2019 7:24 pm

Hello,
I am pretty new to burning hard coal in my hand fired boiler but I like it over wood.
I just picked up some southern IL bit to try and was amazed at how BAD it smelled. I’m pretty sure I could burn a load of tires and it wouldn’t smell as bad. Is this common with all bit coal?
I have another source of Eastern KY bit that cost a little more but if it smells just as bad I won’t like it either even though it’s supposed to be higher quality. I was really hoping to find a bit coal that worked just as good as hard coal but without the burning problems in a hand fired wood/coal boiler.
Has anybody burned both?
Thanks in advance.


TheScrambler92
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Post By: TheScrambler92 » Sat. Mar. 09, 2019 3:39 pm

No personal experience with either one, but from my research, all that IL coal has some seriously high sulfur levels, hence the terrible smell. On the other hand, Eastern KY coal is supposed to be great, especially for home heating, and I'd bet dollars to donuts that the smell would be a whole lot more tolerable.

Mr.Ark
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Post By: Mr.Ark » Sat. Mar. 09, 2019 5:02 pm

TheScrambler92 wrote:
Sat. Mar. 09, 2019 3:39 pm
No personal experience with either one, but from my research, all that IL coal has some seriously high sulfur levels, hence the terrible smell. On the other hand, Eastern KY coal is supposed to be great, especially for home heating, and I'd bet dollars to donuts that the smell would be a whole lot more tolerable.
The guy that sold me the IL coal said that it’s pretty low sulfur. It doesn’t smell like rotten eggs at all. It smells like your burning tires. Really bad!

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McGiever
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Post By: McGiever » Sat. Mar. 09, 2019 6:38 pm

It should be mandatory for all to burn at least one fire pot full of bit coal. ;)

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BunkerdCaddis
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Post By: BunkerdCaddis » Sat. Mar. 09, 2019 7:49 pm

I have managed to get a hold of three types of bit to play with over the past 6 months. My interest was primarily to free burn in my fire place. I have Fisher nut which came from the Cammal-Okome Pa area, it smells slightly sweet, coal like, sort of like a nice day at a thresherman's steam show, not bad smelling at all in my opinion and I burn it mostly on weekends in my hand fired stove, it burns with little smoke. I have some Pittsburgh Lump which is stronger smelling, not terrible, but not something you want to get loose in the house. I burn it without problems in my fireplace but I'm careful with the doors opening and closing. The third I have is Kentucky Blue Diamond, it burns nice and can be started with just paper but smells bad, like going to harbor freight and gathering up all the oily trash and burning that. I use it in the fireplace but really have to watch it, or I use it to start a fire in my hand fired stove but if I get the slightest puff back it's bad. The fisher nut is a really nice coal to burn and if I had a stove for bit I would burn more of it. :yes:

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Post By: TheScrambler92 » Mon. Mar. 11, 2019 10:08 am

Disclaimer: The only coal I've burned is what I've scrounged down here in Alabama (from a couple different beds), and the coal here actually smells pretty good to me. Just reminds me of a good ole steam loco. So I stand corrected!

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warminmn
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Post By: warminmn » Mon. Mar. 11, 2019 10:48 am

Ive used coal from the likely source you would be getting the Kentucky coal from, the craigslist ad. I thought it stunk bad but I have little to compare it too. It is very small in size too. I did ok with it, but you wont get the heat from it like anthracite gives, pound for pound. Not near as much ash though. On calm days I could fill the fields with smoke until it got burning good. Mixed with wood it did a lot better.

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corey
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Post By: corey » Mon. Mar. 11, 2019 12:16 pm

KY coal does stink not something you want to smell in the home but its great burning coal. One thing i know for sure had i known i would be burning coal back in 09. I would have had a 8 inch diameter chimney put up 6 is truly a pain.


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Post By: Mr.Ark » Tue. Mar. 12, 2019 11:35 pm

warminmn wrote:
Mon. Mar. 11, 2019 10:48 am
Ive used coal from the likely source you would be getting the Kentucky coal from, the craigslist ad. I thought it stunk bad but I have little to compare it too. It is very small in size too. I did ok with it, but you wont get the heat from it like anthracite gives, pound for pound. Not near as much ash though. On calm days I could fill the fields with smoke until it got burning good. Mixed with wood it did a lot better.
I have not got the Kentucky stuff yet but I did get the southern IL stuff from central WI coal sales. I bought a barrel full to try out and I like the way it burned but nothing did not like anything else about it. It smelled like I was burning some tires all day long. Outside if it was very diluted with wind it might of started to smell a little pleasant.
It smoked badly the whole time it was burning and formed a thick layer of soot around everything in the burn chamber. And I mean a thick layer, didn’t matter if it was burned with plenty of air, hot or cold or with some really dry oak. Constant smoking that caused the boiler to lose half of its heat exchange ability. Stack temps shot way way up and the water could barely reach the high limit to shut the draft blower off. Dry oak or anthracite would out heat that crap 2:1 EASILY. If that coal is rated at 11000 btus a pound I got less than half that out of it.
The ash was very minimal like yours stuff though and I found very little klinker.
Have you ever tried the lignite from the guy west of Rochester?

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warminmn
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Post By: warminmn » Wed. Mar. 13, 2019 8:01 am

Mr.Ark wrote:
Tue. Mar. 12, 2019 11:35 pm
I have not got the Kentucky stuff yet but I did get the southern IL stuff from central WI coal sales. I bought a barrel full to try out and I like the way it burned but nothing did not like anything else about it. It smelled like I was burning some tires all day long. Outside if it was very diluted with wind it might of started to smell a little pleasant.
It smoked badly the whole time it was burning and formed a thick layer of soot around everything in the burn chamber. And I mean a thick layer, didn’t matter if it was burned with plenty of air, hot or cold or with some really dry oak. Constant smoking that caused the boiler to lose half of its heat exchange ability. Stack temps shot way way up and the water could barely reach the high limit to shut the draft blower off. Dry oak or anthracite would out heat that crap 2:1 EASILY. If that coal is rated at 11000 btus a pound I got less than half that out of it.
The ash was very minimal like yours stuff though and I found very little klinker.
Have you ever tried the lignite from the guy west of Rochester?
No I havent. When some of this snow melts so I can drive to my house again I might get some to try with wood this spring. Price wise Im not thinking it will save money over anthracite because of the BTU ratings and the gas cost to drive to get it, but I'd like to experiment with those huge chunks they have.

From how you describe the coal you've burnt from the Illinois source, the Kentucky stuff on CL is better than that. The smoke did lessen after the volatiles are burnt off. Its just the size thats an issue.

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Post By: Mr.Ark » Wed. Mar. 13, 2019 1:33 pm

Yea I would like to get some KY bit to try with wood. I would use it to lessen the wood requirement in the dead of winter. I was thinking I would get some paper grocery sacks and fill them with 15-20 lbs of bit coal and toss them on top of a wood fire to keep it going longer in the night.

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warminmn
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Post By: warminmn » Wed. Mar. 13, 2019 3:51 pm

The paper bags really help in that they give you a second or two to get the door closed vs a shovel, smoke in face wise. I'd try a small amount first, like 10 pounds and go from there. I think I was putting 12 pounds in, wait for it to get burning good then throwing in 6 or 12 lbs more. I was using small paper bags, real cheap at walmart. Try different things, like all in one spot vs over the whole fire. You might have more coals at next feeding. I think in the mornings I filled the front, and at night the rear. Your results may differ. Its been 2 years I think since I burned it I think, but I have maybe 50 pounds left.

I, and I mean myself not you, would not make a special trip to get more but if I was driving by there I would stop. Not as many BTU pound for pound like anthracite, but ok for the price. If he ever got large chunks I'd use it a lot more. Real friendly seller. I kinda enjoyed the dark smoke coming out my chimney like when I was a kid.

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corey
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Post By: corey » Wed. Mar. 13, 2019 5:20 pm

Mr.Ark wrote:
Wed. Mar. 13, 2019 1:33 pm
Yea I would like to get some KY bit to try with wood. I would use it to lessen the wood requirement in the dead of winter. I was thinking I would get some paper grocery sacks and fill them with 15-20 lbs of bit coal and toss them on top of a wood fire to keep it going longer in the night.
With good KY bit you wont need wood

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Post By: warminmn » Wed. Mar. 13, 2019 5:32 pm

Its real small stuff Corey, real small, with fines. Could be some sort of stoker coal but Im unsure. I did burn without wood but it would work better with it. I'll try to get a pic of the size but give me a few days as its an icy mess here with snow melt.

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corey
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Post By: corey » Wed. Mar. 13, 2019 5:39 pm

warminmn wrote:
Wed. Mar. 13, 2019 5:32 pm
Its real small stuff Corey, real small, with fines. Could be some sort of stoker coal but Im unsure. I did burn without wood but it would work better with it. I'll try to get a pic of the size but give me a few days as its an icy mess here with snow melt.
Oh i gotcha we good.


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