Can't Decide ... AHS Coal Gun or Harmon VF3000 Please Help!

Stoker Coal Boilers automatically feed the coal and have controls and pumps just like any conventions boiler. They are intended to be used as a primary heat and often have domestic hot water coils as an added bonus. They can be set up independently or in dual sytem with your existing oil/gas boiler. They can accommodate both hot water base board or steam plumbing.
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whistlenut
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Posts: 3549
Joined: Sat. Mar. 17, 2007 6:29 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: AA130's,260's, AHS130&260's,EFM900,GJ & V-Wert
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Franks,Itasca 415,Jensen, NYer 130,Van Wert
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Alaska, EFM, Keystoker, Yellow Flame
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska, Keystoker-2,Leisure Line
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Alaska, Gibraltar, Keystone,Vc Vigilant 2
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Ford, Jensen, NYer, Van Wert,
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwoods
Coal Size/Type: Barley, Buck, Rice ,Nut, Stove
Other Heating: Oil HWBB
Location: Central NH, Concord area

Post Tue. Feb. 21, 2012 8:42 pm

Thanks for the location....that is a cold area.....not much Lake Effect this year is there?

You are very close to the Van Wert destination......call Arnie and have a visit! Freetown Fred will probably ride "Silver" over the mountain to say "Hi!"
"Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a 'piece of human solid waste' by the clean end." More true today....

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Brentski
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Posts: 23
Joined: Mon. Feb. 20, 2012 11:20 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6

Post Tue. Feb. 21, 2012 9:04 pm

whistlenut wrote:Thanks for the location....that is a cold area.....not much Lake Effect this year is there?

You are very close to the Van Wert destination......call Arnie and have a visit! Freetown Fred will probably ride "Silver" over the mountain to say "Hi!"
I see there located in south Otselic, NY less than a hour away... I know nothing about these Boilers but I will call him tomarrow Thanx

Pacowy
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Posts: 2739
Joined: Tue. Sep. 04, 2007 10:14 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: H.B. Smith 350 Mills boiler/EFM 85R stoker
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/anthracite
Location: Dalton, MA

Post Tue. Feb. 21, 2012 10:39 pm

Brentski wrote:It just has that old house cold feeling that I'm looking get rid of along with getting some even heat going.
The quickest way I've found to get rid of "that old house cold feeling" is to put a big coal boiler in your basement and run it with the jackets off. We did that with an EFM 900 in a drafty 4800+ sf Victorian in the Berkshires and it immediately changed the feel of the house (especially the first floor and basement).

Mike

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Rob R.
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Posts: 11355
Joined: Fri. Dec. 28, 2007 4:26 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy
Location: Chazy, NY

Post Wed. Feb. 22, 2012 6:09 am

Brentski wrote:When I burned oil 6 years ago I would go through about 800 gal a year.. (My old oil boiler was rated for 131000 btus/hr.Then I changed to coal and burn about 5 to 7 tons depending on the year, this being a good year maybe the best.
Let me guess...you kept the house warmer with the coal stove? 800 gallons isn't much for the home you're heating...I used to burn double that. How do you currently product hot water? Any young kids or teenagers taking long showers?

Can you get buck size coal in your area?
Pacowy wrote:The quickest way I've found to get rid of "that old house cold feeling" is to put a big coal boiler in your basement and run it with the jackets off.
That's a big 10-4. 8-)

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freetown fred
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Posts: 21421
Joined: Thu. Dec. 31, 2009 12:33 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut
Location: Freetown,NY 13803

Post Wed. Feb. 22, 2012 8:09 am

Wellll, did you talk to Arnie??
"A people that values it's privileges above it's principals, soon loses both"--Dwight D Eisenhower

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whistlenut
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Posts: 3549
Joined: Sat. Mar. 17, 2007 6:29 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: AA130's,260's, AHS130&260's,EFM900,GJ & V-Wert
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Franks,Itasca 415,Jensen, NYer 130,Van Wert
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Alaska, EFM, Keystoker, Yellow Flame
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska, Keystoker-2,Leisure Line
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Alaska, Gibraltar, Keystone,Vc Vigilant 2
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Ford, Jensen, NYer, Van Wert,
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwoods
Coal Size/Type: Barley, Buck, Rice ,Nut, Stove
Other Heating: Oil HWBB
Location: Central NH, Concord area

Post Wed. Feb. 22, 2012 8:24 am

I hope you get to make the trip slightly south......your day will have a 'NEW ADVENTURE!" Arnie is a straight up guy, and if you don't order one from him, you will be well equipped to visit Berwick, PA then Willamsport if you want.

Somehow I don't see you as a guy who shaves his legs, thus you are able to make a decision that will make your family safe, warm, and comfy!
Forget what others advise....and trust your gut. Go for a ride due south, take a friend or go make new ones. Exit 104 off I-81 S in Ravine is a GREAT place to find some.
Back when I 'bought in' to coal stokers in 1977 there was nothing but an old timers recommendation ( he was from Scranton.....and flew 747's and had an AA130 in his basement--still does, same one 42 years old, only gaskets replaced and two bearing replaced). Had I know about other boilers, ......it's like collecting classic cars...they are all beautiful.....and innovative.

Remember, we ONLY have enough coal for another 250 years, so don't JUMP off the bridge just yet......wring your hands in fear......or panic IF you get a few kernels of unburned coal in your ash bucket!!
Oh MY GAWD....the world IS NOT coming to the END! ......and it's a damned good idea to have a sense of humor!!!!

......and I wish I were less than 6 hrs from Arnie's Shop! Remember this if nothing else: 'knowledge is power'. Find out the answers for yourself.....seek out an old timer who has no reason to 'fluff' the REAL story.

YOU ARE A STRAIGHT SHOT UP i-81....lucky dawg.......bulk or bagged are an easy ride for heavy trucks.....or your own adventure.....and here is another tip: when oil goes to 5/gal, if you were smart enough to have your coal burner running at your home, the savings will equate to a less than 2 year payback. Start RIGHT now, please!

Oh, PM Freetown Fred and see if the weather is good enough for'He and Silve'r to make the trip over the mountain to visit!!!! That will be an American Adventure for sure. Hopefully you weren't a draft dodger back in the day.....
"Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a 'piece of human solid waste' by the clean end." More true today....

Brentski
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Posts: 23
Joined: Mon. Feb. 20, 2012 11:20 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6

Post Wed. Feb. 22, 2012 9:03 am

freetown fred wrote:Wellll, did you talk to Arnie??
I'm going to give him a call today and see what he has to say, thanx

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steamup
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Posts: 1209
Joined: Fri. Oct. 03, 2008 12:13 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman-Anderson AA-130, Keystoker K-6
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: HS Tarm 502 Wood/Coal/Oil
Coal Size/Type: pea, buck, rice
Location: Napoli, NY

Post Wed. Feb. 22, 2012 10:06 am

[quote="Brentski]When I burned oil 6 years ago I would go through about 800 gal a year.. (My old oil boiler was rated for 131000 btus/hr.Then I changed to coal and burn about 5 to 7 tons depending on the year, this being a good year maybe the best. I live just outside of Syracuse, N.Y. My house is not located on a hill exposed to the wind but rather set low in valley. It is a rather old house but the wind doesn't blow through it by any means. It just has that old house cold feeling that I'm looking get rid of along with getting some even heat going.[/quote]

I own both a K-6 and AA-130. Both are excellent boilers. I would tend to observe that the AA-130 is a little more efficient in burning the coal more completely at part load.

If you only burned 800 gallons of oil with a 131,000 input boiler, an k-6, AHS-130 or AA -130 would be just the right size, even with a moderate DHW load. Anything smaller would struggle.

I would say you house is fairly efficient, based on the numbers you have posted.

Way oversizing any boiler is not efficient, but coal boilers seem to handle part loads quite well.
Steamup

"You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can't possibly live long enough to make them all yourself."
Sam Levenson
"Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler."
Albert Einstein

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Rob R.
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Posts: 11355
Joined: Fri. Dec. 28, 2007 4:26 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy
Location: Chazy, NY

Post Thu. Feb. 23, 2012 6:24 am

Brentski wrote:
freetown fred wrote:Wellll, did you talk to Arnie??
I'm going to give him a call today and see what he has to say, thanx
:?:

User avatar
whistlenut
Member
Posts: 3549
Joined: Sat. Mar. 17, 2007 6:29 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: AA130's,260's, AHS130&260's,EFM900,GJ & V-Wert
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Franks,Itasca 415,Jensen, NYer 130,Van Wert
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Alaska, EFM, Keystoker, Yellow Flame
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska, Keystoker-2,Leisure Line
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Alaska, Gibraltar, Keystone,Vc Vigilant 2
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Ford, Jensen, NYer, Van Wert,
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwoods
Coal Size/Type: Barley, Buck, Rice ,Nut, Stove
Other Heating: Oil HWBB
Location: Central NH, Concord area

Post Thu. Feb. 23, 2012 8:13 am

Brentski.......if you PM Jon (steamup), perhaps you guys can meet up...he is close to you and is one bright guy. Could be a chance to buy in bulk or whatever. .....networking.......There is a really bright guy over in Warrensburg, NY also, so I guess you have some homework to do and a road trip or two! Welcome aboard.....the learning curve can be better managed with a few real world coal burners to talk to. Forget salemen, go see the folks who burn coal.....look over their equipment and still don't jump for the first deal. Good luck hunting.......and with the homework. :) 8-)
"Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a 'piece of human solid waste' by the clean end." More true today....

Brentski
Member
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon. Feb. 20, 2012 11:20 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6

Post Thu. Feb. 23, 2012 9:07 am

whistlenut wrote:Brentski.......if you PM Jon (steamup), perhaps you guys can meet up...he is close to you and is one bright guy. Could be a chance to buy in bulk or whatever. .....networking.......There is a really bright guy over in Warrensburg, NY also, so I guess you have some homework to do and a road trip or two! Welcome aboard.....the learning curve can be better managed with a few real world coal burners to talk to. Forget salemen, go see the folks who burn coal.....look over their equipment and still don't jump for the first deal. Good luck hunting.......and with the homework. :) 8-)
I talked with Arnie yesterday ... Seems very nice and new his stuff! I'm going to try to go see him at his shop. Thank you for your time ... Brent

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freetown fred
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Posts: 21421
Joined: Thu. Dec. 31, 2009 12:33 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut
Location: Freetown,NY 13803

Post Thu. Feb. 23, 2012 9:52 am

Yes he does! Know his stuff that is. :)
"A people that values it's privileges above it's principals, soon loses both"--Dwight D Eisenhower

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coalkirk
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Posts: 4679
Joined: Wed. May. 17, 2006 8:12 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1981 EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: anthracite/rice coal
Location: Forest Hill MD

Post Fri. Feb. 24, 2012 7:31 am

Ok, I've got a VF3000 heating a well insulated 4,000 sq.ft. with new windows. It does fine until it's 10 degrees with the wind blowing. I would not recommend it for a 3,000 semi-insulated older home. I'd look at some of the other boilers already mentioned. I've used my VF3000 since 2003 and it serves me well. BUT, if I knew then what I know now, I would have bought a refurbed EFM.

One of the main reasons besides the additional capacity is that it burns a larger coal size than rice. Rice coal is the most popular size for modern stokers and it can be challanging to buy it when and where you want. Pea and buck coal seem to be much more readily available all of the time, at least in the PA coal region. Just my 2 cents.

Also oversizing a boiler is not the way to go. It will work of course but not the most efficient way to operate. And I've got to come to the defense of the Harman VF3000 for one important thing that has been mentioned here by several. Customer service at the corporate level is not great. BUT this boiler is simple, easy to operate and maintain. I've never needed any customer service from Harman. They make a great product. Just not the stoker for your application.
You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. Winston Churchill

"I would rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me." —General George S. Patton

Burning rice coal in a 1981 EFM DF520, nut coal in a hand fired Jotul 507.

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BENAHSMAN
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Joined: Fri. Oct. 15, 2010 3:04 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: ALTERNATE HEATING SYSTEMS
Location: Chambersburg, Pa 17201
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Post Fri. Feb. 24, 2012 8:00 am

AHS is doing great!! Whistlenut we know that bothers you and we have no idea who pissed in your Wheaties but life goes on!! To anyone else on here who needs help our Tech line is always available at 717-261-5507. If you have any suggestions call Darren or Shawn and they will be more then glad to talk with you. Have a great day!!

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freetown fred
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Posts: 21421
Joined: Thu. Dec. 31, 2009 12:33 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut
Location: Freetown,NY 13803

Post Fri. Feb. 24, 2012 8:24 am

Good to see you jump in for something other then your show schedule. I read WN's posts & didn't see anything negative about AHS. Maybe I missed something?? Little touchy this AM aren't we. Later my friend. ;)
BENAHSMAN wrote:AHS is doing great!! Whistlenut we know that bothers you and we have no idea who pissed in your Wheaties but life goes on!! To anyone else on here who needs help our Tech line is always available at 717-261-5507. If you have any suggestions call Darren or Shawn and they will be more then glad to talk with you. Have a great day!!
"A people that values it's privileges above it's principals, soon loses both"--Dwight D Eisenhower

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