Coal Boiler

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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Joined: Mon. Jul. 07, 2008 1:42 pm

Post Mon. Jul. 07, 2008 2:02 pm

Like many, I am new to this forum, so my thanks go out now to everyone.

I am considering adding a coal boiler to my current oil fired system. My house was built less than 4 years ago (by myself) and my current system heats 2455 sq ft through 2 air handlers (fhw). My concept is to run the coal boiler full time and leave the oil as a backup. My questions are:

What size boiler should I look at?
What manufacturer would members recommend? (I looked at a Keystoker KG-22)
Can I utilize the same flue if the oil unit is basically a standby? (I do have an extra flue but Im trying not to use it)
Does anyone know a reliable installer in MA (particularly central MA)?
How much did you spend on coal this past winter (2007-08) (again, I am located in central MA)?
Can anyone recommend a reliable coal dealer in NH or MA?

Thanks in advance for your help with this.

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Rob R.
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Posts: 11348
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 Mon. Jul. 07, 2008 5:26 pm

What size is your current oil boiler? If your current boiler is adequate for heating you home, I would look for a coal boiler with a similar output rating. As for the flue question, it is against code to vent the coal boiler into the same flue as the oil boiler; if you have a second flue available, I would recommend that you use it. Lots of people use the Keystoker boilers and like them, the Harman VF3000 is also well respected by forum members that use them.

Do you have a budget for your boiler selection?

Visit Alternate Heating Sytems

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Joined: Tue. Jul. 08, 2008 8:52 pm

Post Tue. Jul. 08, 2008 9:27 pm

You are reading the Keystoker information incorrectly (Don't worry it's confusing and many do) What you need to go by is the Net Output column so, you you would probably be looking at a KA-6 which, at max, puts out 122,000 btus/hr. Remember also that the burner on your oil fired boiler is (hopefully) not running for more than 10 or so minutes then shutting off for a time during cold weather so the btu/hr rating is higher than what your house is losing at a constant rate, as opposed to a coal burner which continues to burn (at a lower rate but still produces heat) when your thermosat is satisfied. So the best way to size a coal boiler is to know what the heat loss of your house is at a "worse case" basis.(Say -20 degrees outside and 72 degrees inside). If you plan to operate the coal boiler in tandem with your current boiler, it's okay to to slightly undersize the coal boiler since you won't see too many -20 degree days and if you do, your oil fired boiler will come on to "help" the coal boiler at such time if needed. A KA-2 may work for you if you have a tight, well insulated house. A quick estimate for how much coal you will burn is that one ton of coal is approximately equal to 180 gals. of heating oil. I own (For full disclosure) CSM Stoves and Boilers in Monson MA and our price for bagged rice coal is currently $270/ton picked up and most others in the area are within $15+/-.

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