A Boiler for This Old Dungeon With A Swimming Pool

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.
dalmatiangirl61
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Post Sat. Oct. 12, 2013 5:17 pm

Pacowy wrote: 1. Just to confirm, are there no remnants of any past heat distribution systems (radiators, ducts, etc.) for the rooms in the dungeon?

2. Berlin beat me to it, but what do your bituminous coal supply options look like? AFAIK bit coal is mined in Utah and Colorado, but I don't know whether anybody out there produces "stoker"-sized bit. This could affect burner/boiler options. You probably should be thinking in terms of truckload quantities of bulk coal. One of the rooms in the dungeon probably has or had a small opening (window or hatch) near the ceiling to accommodate coal deliveries. If that area can be restored for that purpose, it should make your coal logistics easier. If that area is now your dungeon kitchen, uhhh, nevermind. :lol:
There is one ceiling mounted forced air radiator in the bathroom, all supply lines to it are gone. Yes there was a coal room, the chute was bricked up decades ago, it is now my walk-in closet/dressing room. There is a local coal dealer, his coal comes from Utah and he has stoker and lump coal, but its the high sulpher stuff I mentioned earlier, I need to check on my other options.

Is a stoker my only option? I've watched every youtube video on them that I can find, and they all sound a bit noisey? Maybe people just film the stoking action and then its quiet for the next 30 minutes? And most do not look very dungeoney, something big and black that I could steam punk with oversize brass bezel gauges would be cool :)

Night time temps are already in the low 30's to mid 20's, I leave the 3 plug-in radiators running 24/7, one each in kitchen/bathroom/main room, been firing up woodstove at dark and loading last load about 3am. Coldest room has been so far is 68 and that is late afternoon, I think warmest its been with stove blazing away is 72 :wtf:

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dcrane
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Post Sat. Oct. 12, 2013 8:07 pm

bring in cinder blocks and give up half your dressing room for the coal deliveries if you have no other area for it (you need to have a coal room for easy delivery... just like an oil truck but lots cheaper and lasts longer) :up:

Determine what coal at best pricing you have available to you (to bad we cant load up one of those Fastnel trucks with anthracite for $125 delivery charge once per year :lol: )

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Post Sat. Oct. 12, 2013 9:17 pm

Don't have anything productive to add, but nice home, you'll fit right in here. Nice pics. Matt

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009to090
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Post Sat. Oct. 12, 2013 9:42 pm

Lordy, Lordy.... and I thought our new place was a money pit. :o

It will be beautiful once you get er done, Good luck!
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

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Post Sat. Oct. 12, 2013 10:02 pm

I admire people that live on the edge - the secret of life. If you value all of our inputs, it would be nice to see a floor plan and then some 720 video loaded into youtube with narration. Then you might get lucky and we can dream up a heating system of smaller units that will fill the bill economically. Just WOW, you have my attention LOL. So what is your exit strategy? e.g. live there forever as your home or say sell to Hyatt as a resort spa (sign me up). So are you trying to put value on the property incrementally or trying to just make it comfortable to live. That is important as it determines how you upgrade.
Posted by an unreasonable adult.

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Post Sat. Oct. 12, 2013 10:09 pm

First things first and that is what fuel you have available that has a reliable supply. Soft coal, wood, wood pellets. How far do you want to go, meaning how much money? If it were me I would do something to make a reasonable size living quarters comfortable. If a boiler then that would be sized for that smaller space with piping done in such a way that more heating capacity could be added in the future with an additional boiler. The cheapest way would be a modern wood stove that burned clean and used less wood. Wood Pellets are also viable and are much cheaper to run than those electric heaters.

Burning soft coal well means a stoker designed for it and is the most expensive option. I can't see you sizing something to heat the whole place.

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Post Sat. Oct. 12, 2013 10:25 pm

You could also consider a furnace which would stop the possibility of frozen pipes and would also be cheaper than a boiler. Again sized for your living quarters. Another unit, furnace or boiler could be added later to heat other areas.

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Berlin
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Post Sun. Oct. 13, 2013 12:47 am

There's nothing wrong with high sulfur bit coal used in a stoker, a clinkering type underfeed doesn't care about sulfur or just about any other quality of the coal, it will burn them all just fine. Other than the fan, the bit stoker isn't noisy; there's no ratcheting action like most anthracite underfeeds (efm's etc.)

The one issue with having it in the living quarters would be any dust created by the coal and ash handling (primarily the coal handling since the "ash" will be mostly a melted doughnut called a clinker that you'll have to pull once/every other day or every day - depending on weather).

Is it possible to install the stoker boiler somewhere other than the living area? Is there no other chimney (masonry) that's available except the stainless flue someone tacked on the side of the building? What about an outbuilding?

A stoker you would use for your coal would look very similar to this:
Burning western Pennsylvania Bituminous in WNY using model 77 stoker furnace. BITUMINOUS equiptment: 2 hand fired stoves of my own design, Many Combustioneer Model 77 stokers, stokermatic furnace, Many Will-Burt stokers, & and Two Iron firemen.

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Post Sun. Oct. 13, 2013 6:51 am

wow nice vid berlin, its a donut maker! underfeed simply pushes the donut off the top as she keeps cookin' away :clap:
Look at the quality of that thing too :shock: its built like the Titanic's boiler room... I even like the name "Iron Fireman"!

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lsayre
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Post Sun. Oct. 13, 2013 9:46 am

It looks like Mcgill, NV averages about 7,650 heating degree days per year. With due consideration that this will send Sting into fits of derision, I've taken a WAG stab at a heat loss calculation (using a popular free online heat loss calculator as my tool, along with loads of outright guesses for the parameters), and I came up with a need for a boiler with 300,000 output BTU's. A typical boiler would need to be rated for roughly 500,000 input BTU's to give you that sort of output.
-Larry

Democracy rests upon the principle that collective wisdom arises from a pool of individual ignorance. A Republic rests squarely upon objective law, and fundamentally upon those laws which restrict the scope and actions of government.

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Post Sun. Oct. 13, 2013 10:23 am

At the risk of being excommunicated from this forum, might I suggest a geothermal heat pump? For the type of $$$ we are talking for a 500,000 gross BTU coal boiler you could install such a unit. Assuming enough room for the buried components exists. You would get efficient heating and cooling. Exposed industrial ductwork may fit the Steampunk motif :D
No matter where you go,......there you are.

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Post Sun. Oct. 13, 2013 10:30 am

Oh, add a coal system to heat the pool!
No matter where you go,......there you are.

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Post Sun. Oct. 13, 2013 12:04 pm

lsayre wrote:It looks like Mcgill, NV averages about 7,650 heating degree days per year. With due consideration that this will send Sting into fits of derision, I've taken a WAG stab at a heat loss calculation (using a popular free online heat loss calculator as my tool, along with loads of outright guesses for the parameters), and I came up with a need for a boiler with 300,000 output BTU's. A typical boiler would need to be rated for roughly 500,000 input BTU's to give you that sort of output.
Are you talking about heating the dungeon or the whole building? If it's the whole building it seems low.

Mike

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lsayre
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Post Sun. Oct. 13, 2013 12:24 pm

Pacowy wrote:Are you talking about heating the dungeon or the whole building? If it's the whole building it seems low.

Mike
Isn't the dungeon the whole building?

The same source said my house requires between 57,000 and 64,000 BTU's of output, depending upon the parameters I fed into the calculator. I left our heated/attached garage (half of the basement level) out of the equation, since I didn't exactly know how to include it. The old resistance boiler in our house is 22.7KWH, which is ~77,500 BTU's. It was probably sized while taking the garage into consideration. Over 2 winters with the coal boiler, I have not once seen the garages zone valve open up. I keep the garage set at 45 degrees on the t-stat, and it sits beneath the bedrooms, so it apparently scarfs sufficient heat from above to stay at 46 degrees or more. That plus roughly half of the garage sits below ground (just as for the family room/basement), so it scarfs some amount of heat from the ground coupling also.
Last edited by lsayre on Sun. Oct. 13, 2013 2:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
-Larry

Democracy rests upon the principle that collective wisdom arises from a pool of individual ignorance. A Republic rests squarely upon objective law, and fundamentally upon those laws which restrict the scope and actions of government.

Pacowy
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Post Sun. Oct. 13, 2013 2:23 pm

From the original post (and some of the pics linked in a later post) I got the impression there are over 5000 sf on each level of the building, and the "dungeon" refers only to the basement level.

Mike

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