Compare Coal Gun Vrs Keystoker

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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Freddy
Member
Posts: 6606
Joined: Fri. Apr. 11, 2008 2:54 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined
Location: Orrington, Maine

Post Wed. Apr. 16, 2008 12:43 pm

Good day!

I'm giving consideration to buying a coal boiler. Have come down to the S-130 Coal gun from Alternate Heating Systems and the K-6 (maybe the K-2) Keystoker. The coal gun uses a lot more electricity, but seems to be a bit more efficient. One thing with the S-130 is the hopper is quite high. I like the idea of a hopper that I don't need a small ladder to fill. So, any thoughts or opinions of the two would be appreciated!

Fred,
Maine
Orrington, Maine
Fred

"If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all".

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Yanche
Member
Posts: 3032
Joined: Fri. Dec. 23, 2005 12:45 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea
Location: Sykesville, Maryland

Post Wed. Apr. 16, 2008 4:13 pm

The coal gun blower is 1/2 HP so it will consume more power than most other coal boiler combustion blowers. But it only runs a small amount of time. Doesn't the Keystoker have a fire keep alive blower that runs all the time? One good way to load the coal gun hopper is to build a set of stair steps with a platform at about step four. You fill you coal hod place it on the platform, then step up two steps and now lift and dump into the hopper.

Both are good boilers and either will work well. I would expect the coal gun to have lower standby radiation loss when used to heat summertime domestic hot water because the volume of water is less. Other than that I would make the decision largely on fit and price. If you order a coal gun be sure to specify the tapings you want, especially if you don't get the domestic coil and later want to add it later. I'm not a fan of domestic coils in boilers and prefer the indirect hot water heater approach. But both approaches will give you low cost domestic hot water.

The coal gun comes full assembled, don't know about the others.
Yanche
Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Stoker Boiler burning Anthracite Pea Coal

Bob
Member
Posts: 304
Joined: Sun. Mar. 18, 2007 11:28 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS 130
Coal Size/Type: Pea/Anthracite
Location: Schuylkill County

Post Wed. Apr. 16, 2008 7:39 pm

Yanche wrote:The coal gun blower is 1/2 HP so it will consume more power than most other coal boiler combustion blowers. But it only runs a small amount of time.
I have an AHS 130 with the direct drive fan--the standard model. I believe that Yanche has the upgrade fan drive that utilizes a lower speed motor and indirect drive of the fan.

The reason I note the difference is that the blower motor on my AHS 130 is 1/3 HP, not 1/2 as John has.

I have been told by my plumber--who services a number of coal boilers of different makes-- that the Keystoker boilers enjoy a reputation of being difficult to keep burning during low demand periods in the summer. Perhaps there are members of this board who have personal experience with the Keystoker boiler and can confirm or refute this.

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Freddy
Member
Posts: 6606
Joined: Fri. Apr. 11, 2008 2:54 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined
Location: Orrington, Maine

Post Wed. Apr. 16, 2008 7:47 pm

Thanks for the replies..... more are of course welcome!

I'm told the Keystoker's fan only runs while it stokes. It only uses natural draft after that? It draws about 275 watts. The S-130 draws 600 watta and was told it runs 60% of the time. That is it runs while the boiler calls for heat. Electricity in Maine is the highest cost in the nation. It seems the S-130 would be over $50 a month for power, while the Keystoker would be far less.
One other thing....and neither dealer could be exact, but they think the S-130 uses 3 or 4 pounds a day to "idle", while the Keystoker uses 8-10. Those figures aren't written in stone, just what they thought off hand.

Coal Gun is having a Spring sale...it ends tomorrow!!
Orrington, Maine
Fred

"If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all".

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LsFarm
Member
Posts: 7385
Joined: Sun. Nov. 20, 2005 8:02 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland
Location: Michigan

Post Wed. Apr. 16, 2008 9:28 pm

I doubt that I use an extra $25-30 in electricity running my AA260 boiler, and two extra water circulators.. Price per KWH is around $.15 in Michigan.

I think both boilers are very good,, the AHS has the lead in efficiency, and it is internally self cleaning [the heat exchanger]

I'm VERY happy with my AA260, the AxemanAnderson equivalent to the AHS S260.

Greg L
Burning Pea/Buckwheat through an antique stoker [semi retired SSboiler],
Running an Axeman-Anderson 260M boiler burning Pea, About 150-250#per day
Farming, Fixing, Fabricating and Flying: 'spare time' what's that?

User avatar
Yanche
Member
Posts: 3032
Joined: Fri. Dec. 23, 2005 12:45 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea
Location: Sykesville, Maryland

Post Wed. Apr. 16, 2008 9:55 pm

Yes, my AHS 130 has the optional belt drive, powered by a 1725 RPM 1/2 HP motor. There is no way that the blower would run 60% of the time. My runs about 10-20% of the time a circulator runs. Most of the time the combustion blower is NOT running. Typically the boiler water is up near the high limit, a thermostat calls for heat, circulator comes on. Boiler water temp starts to drop. If it's mild out the demand my be satisfied without the combustion blower coming on. If it's cold out the boiler water temp will drop and the combustion blower will run, raising the water temperature. Most of the time the water high set point temp is reached shutting off the combustion blower before the thermostat demand is satisified.

My S-130 takes 10-12 lbs. a day to produce summertime domestic hot water. I have a zoned indirect hot water heater in the house and as a result I'm also heating the underground pipes each time the hot water heater (60 gal) calls for heat. I don't think my system would idle on 3-4 lbs.
Yanche
Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Stoker Boiler burning Anthracite Pea Coal

User avatar
Freddy
Member
Posts: 6606
Joined: Fri. Apr. 11, 2008 2:54 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined
Location: Orrington, Maine

Post Thu. Apr. 17, 2008 7:45 am

Well, Axeman Anderson had not come into my calcualtions. More phone calls today. Electricity here is $.18 per KWH. It adds up fast!

Thanks for all the help. I'll certainly mention it when I make a decision. Part of it also is that the Coal Gun is not UL listed. I guess they're going to be, but not yet. A local dealer (only 250 miles away) has Keystoker. As much as I think the Coal Gun is a sweet machine, I think I'm leaning toward the Keystoker....unless I speak to an Axeman dealer today & he's a good salesman. :)
Orrington, Maine
Fred

"If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all".

User avatar
LsFarm
Member
Posts: 7385
Joined: Sun. Nov. 20, 2005 8:02 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland
Location: Michigan

Post Thu. Apr. 17, 2008 8:39 am

A UL listing means nothing!! The AHS Design is from Eshland, which is from Axeman Anderson.. My AA260 boiler is dated 1950, and one other forum member had a 1948 model AA130... they last forever with the slightest amount of care and maintenance.. so the AHS is along the same lines.. just a bit more modern in controls and a bit simpler in design,, it doesn't have an 'auger feed for the coal.. AHS uses Gravity.

Keystoker is a very good unit too.. you really can't go wrong with either, or with the Harman Vr3000 stoker boiler either..

Greg L
Burning Pea/Buckwheat through an antique stoker [semi retired SSboiler],
Running an Axeman-Anderson 260M boiler burning Pea, About 150-250#per day
Farming, Fixing, Fabricating and Flying: 'spare time' what's that?

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User avatar
Yanche
Member
Posts: 3032
Joined: Fri. Dec. 23, 2005 12:45 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea
Location: Sykesville, Maryland

Post Thu. Apr. 17, 2008 9:35 am

You will not find a UL listed coal boiler. Underwriters Laboratories Inc. does not test solid fuel boilers. The closest product they do test is Solid-Fuel Type Room Heaters, under specification UL 1482.
Yanche
Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Stoker Boiler burning Anthracite Pea Coal

User avatar
Freddy
Member
Posts: 6606
Joined: Fri. Apr. 11, 2008 2:54 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined
Location: Orrington, Maine

Post Thu. Apr. 17, 2008 10:20 am

Yes, you are correct, it's not UL, but the State of Maine wants to see some tag that shows it was tested by someone other than the people that built it. Although... we here are "king of our domain". If we install it ourself we can do almost anything we want (as long as you don't go quizzing your insurance company too hard). If you have it installed by a licensed boiler person it has to be approved. ( or he/she will install it and you say you did it, depends on how well you know your boiler person) It's odd... for an extra $2000, you can have the S-130 ASME certified and it's basically the same boiler, it just comes with a paperowrk trial to document the steel in it and the welder that weled it. They are working on getting the residential ones approved by some Canadian standard.
Orrington, Maine
Fred

"If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all".

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beatle78
Member
Posts: 1026
Joined: Wed. Oct. 03, 2007 1:46 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker KA-4
Location: Rhode Island

Post Thu. Apr. 17, 2008 10:45 am

Freddy wrote: Coal Gun is having a Spring sale...it ends tomorrow!!
I wouldn't freak out too bad. I was told by AHS that the "spring sale" ended on Feb 15th. I think they just pick a date ~1 month from the date you talk to them.

What did you get for a price?

also, I've been going through the same dilemma you are in.... I've never though about the power consumption different between the boilers.

Here's some links from past discussions.

Post by beatle78 - Prices on NEW Stoker Boilers

Decision Between Keystoker and AHS Coal Gun

For me it came down to availability. With 2 kids in diapers, I'm broke, so I was looking used. It looks like I will be getting a KA-4 :D

I like the design of the AHS S130 with the self cleaning exchanger, but $5k just wasn't gonna cut it for me.

Also, make sure you have a supply for PEA coal for the AHS S130. I never called my dealer, but I don't know if he carries PEA. Every dealer has a supply of Rice coal. That could make your decision for you.

rychw
Member
Posts: 92
Joined: Wed. Jan. 30, 2008 2:23 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS 130
Coal Size/Type: Pea
Stove/Furnace Make: AHS
Stove/Furnace Model: 130
Location: Sykesville, MD

Post Thu. Apr. 17, 2008 11:46 am

My AHS130 was the best purchase I have made in my lifetime (47 years) and I have purchased a lot of stuff! I'm not sure what make of boiler will be best for you but I can assure you that the AHS is very efficient and low cost to run. I also have the upgraded fan motor and I agree with Yanche, it runs less than 15% of the time the boiler is on. I also have the urgraded electronic grate that only dumps the ash at specific temperatures assuring complete combustion. The UL rating is not a big deal to me and after 3 seasons I'm sure the AHS130 will be an antique when it is pulled out of service. Boiler cost me $5600 in 2006 and I have saved $5200 so far with coal over oil. Next year I will recoup my investment. Good luck with your decision.

User avatar
Freddy
Member
Posts: 6606
Joined: Fri. Apr. 11, 2008 2:54 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined
Location: Orrington, Maine

Post Thu. Apr. 17, 2008 5:37 pm

Well, let's see.... The AHS S-130 with belt driven blower and Thermo ash monitor is $6,374... take $300 for "the spring sale" makes it $6,074 plus shipping or go get it. (I did not order one today, but I'm guessing I can talk them into the savings if I order soon) The Keystoker K6 is $4,600 delivered, the K2, $3,825 delivered. Before the end of May they toss in 1,000 pounds of coal.
Coal dealer? HA! None near me at all. There is one feed store that has some, but I get the impression they can't be depended on. I know they ran out of traction grit this winter & said it wasn't worth them buying more until next yr. I may end up buying a tractor trailer full..... 22 tons. Speaking of which.... the Keystoker dealer handles Blascheck. He is 250 miles away & does not deliver. He said he can arrange a 22 ton truck for me and that I cannot buy it as I'm not a dealer. Is that true? To get Blascheck it HAS to come through a dealer? Tomorrow he is going to call me with a delivered price for 22 ton of rice. If I get the S-130 I'll need pea. I guess I'd have to go through him if I can't find a better source.
Orrington, Maine
Fred

"If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all".

User avatar
LsFarm
Member
Posts: 7385
Joined: Sun. Nov. 20, 2005 8:02 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland
Location: Michigan

Post Thu. Apr. 17, 2008 6:07 pm

Hi Freddy, you can hire a tractor-trailer and get coal from any breaker,, and I wouldn't recommend Blaxchak, simply because of the price... they charge $165/ton where most of the other breakers just a few miles away are $135-140.. And the other breakers are deep mined coal, which is in my experience better coal than surface mined coal.. so why pay an extra $25/ton and get strip mined coal??

I purchased a semi load of UAE coal, pea size last september, and will be buying another semi load this summer,, I don't think diesel will be getting much cheaper anytime soon.

There is a thread about finding trucks that have one-way hauls,, truckers looking for a load going the other way... Aren't Potatos a Maine export?? Maybe you can find a trucker who comes in empty to haul out potatos?? get him to come in with a load of Rice or Pea coal.. Potatoes aren't exactly clean when they haul them in semi's,, so I don't think hauling coal first would be a problem..

Greg L
.
Burning Pea/Buckwheat through an antique stoker [semi retired SSboiler],
Running an Axeman-Anderson 260M boiler burning Pea, About 150-250#per day
Farming, Fixing, Fabricating and Flying: 'spare time' what's that?

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Highlander
Member
Posts: 217
Joined: Tue. Dec. 05, 2006 9:48 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000 Sold
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Castings Resolute
Coal Size/Type: Nut
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: VF3000 Stoker Boiler
Location: Highland Lakes NJ
Contact:

Post Thu. Apr. 17, 2008 6:29 pm

I have been told by my plumber--who services a number of coal boilers of different makes-- that the Keystoker boilers enjoy a reputation of being difficult to keep burning during low demand periods in the summer. Perhaps there are members of this board who have personal experience with the Keystoker boiler and can confirm or refute this.
While this may have been true for earlier Keystokers, Keystoker has added a small blower on the K6 that runs all the time which effectively eliminates the Summer outfires. It is a very small blower so electric usage shouldn't be bad with it.

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