Why Burn Bituminous?

General topics about using bituminous coal for residential and commercial heating. Pros, cons, and where to get it.
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bergw
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Post Sun. Aug. 19, 2007 9:33 pm

Aside from the obvious answer of "it's what available where I live" are there any other reasons to burn bituminous?

if you lived in an area where you had both why would you not burn anthrocite?

ktm rider
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Post Sun. Aug. 19, 2007 9:51 pm

Well I burn bituminous coal and anthracite is available where I live but it is a little bit of a drive to get it. The biggest reason I burn it is because it is only about $50 a ton compared to the $180 a ton of anthracite.
I have a 3,500 sq.ft home on top of a mountain and it is frigid and windy in the winter. I heated my whole home and domestic water for $250 last year.
It is hit and miss on the quality of the bit coal where I live but most of the time the quality is pretty good and it burns well.
Father, Farm owner, Bow Hunter, GNCC racer

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europachris
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Post Sun. Aug. 19, 2007 9:52 pm

Cost. Anthracite will usually be twice the cost of bituminous or more. I can get Illinois bituminous for $90/ton. Anthracite is $300/ton. Guess what I'm burning? Anthracite.

Burned Indiana bituminous as a child, and still have the mental scars.....dirty, evil, foul burning coal. Get black just thinking about it. That said, in a really good stove, it might burn well. The old Warm Morning stoves reportedly burned that stuff pretty clean. The Combustioneer stoker stove (look up some posts from Hardwood here) seems to burn it well. However, most of those stoves are all long out of production.

Nevertheless, I'd burn bituminous if I could set up a proper stoker stove, chimney, and better yet, put the whole works in an outbuilding arrangement and pipe the hot water into the main house.

Chris

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LsFarm
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Post Sun. Aug. 19, 2007 9:52 pm

Because of cost. Bituminous coal costs about $50-60/ton instead of Anthrcite's cost of around $120-150/ton. Both prices at the mine or breaker.

Bituminous has it's issues, more ash, clinkers, lots of smoke from a fresh load of coal. Some Bituminous has very little smoke, some is low ash, some has higher BTU per ton than anthracite. Bituminous coal varies more than anthracite.

Anthracite is [in my experience] the easiest to burn consistantly and cleanly.

If [a big if] a person can get a good quality Bituminous coal, and a stove designed to properly burn Bituminous, it is a less expensive source of heat. About 1/2 to 1/3 the cost.

We have several Forum members that burn Bituminous without issue, one built his own stove, one has an AHS multifuel boiler and one has a rare, out of production stoker stove designed to burn Bituminous.

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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Duengeon master
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Post Mon. Aug. 20, 2007 6:56 pm

I burn both at the same time. I get bit for free off the side of the Pa. turnpike :P If I need to light a fresh fire, bituminous lights much easier then mix it with anthracite about 70/30. also if your fire is about to die from neglect, bituminous does wonders to save a dying fire. or if you need heat fast, it will do the job.


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coaledsweat
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Post Mon. Aug. 20, 2007 8:58 pm

The stuff sounds like a cross between anthracite and wood, eh? :)

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LsFarm
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Post Mon. Aug. 20, 2007 9:13 pm

Don't forget dipped and soaked in used motor oil too !!!

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?

bergw
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Post Tue. Aug. 21, 2007 12:02 pm

so then it wouldn't really hurt to pick up a bad to fool around with for the antracite stove, for easier starting, or saving a fire? seems like it has some advantages with the major disadvantage being smoke and volatiles.

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LsFarm
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Post Tue. Aug. 21, 2007 1:04 pm

If your hand load stove is in the house, you had better have a really strong drawing chimney, or you will be repainting the walls and ceilings at the end of the heating season.
Personally, unless you expect to be stretching the burn time of your stove to the max, I doubt that you will need Bit. to recover a dying fire. And starting an anthracite fire is not all that difficult. I would not put up with the characteristics of Bit coal, especially inside my house.

I guess it will depend on the coal you can buy, [high volitiles or not], the characteristics of your stove and chimney, [strong draft, little smoke in room] and your tolerance level for soot and stink in the house. Did we mention that most Bituminous has a much stronger sulphur smell than Anthracite??

I guess a bag ot two would give you enough experience that you could form your own opinions.

Greg L.

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Last edited by LsFarm on Tue. Aug. 21, 2007 3:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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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europachris
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Post Tue. Aug. 21, 2007 1:12 pm

The Indiana coal I remember actually was yellow on the outside from the sulfur content. If enough was thrown on at once, you could get an impressive yellow/black cloud of smoke from the chimney. Talk about acid rain.....

Additionally, the stuff pretty much burned like wood. Started like wood, popped and crackled like wood, and burned with active flames (and soot) until almost gone.

The key to burning a high voltatile coal is to get enough heated secondary air to burn off all the volatiles before they cool off and turn to soot. Underfed stokers do this as the fresh coal gasses have to go through the hottest part of the fire. Stokers also control the feed of the coal to minimize the amount of green coal added at once.

There is a stove called the Yorkshire made by Dunsleyheat in the UK that is a downdraft stove, and is said to burn most coals smokelessly. It uses the heated secondary air in a separate 'afterburn' chamber to consume these volatiles. It's not available in the US, and is rather expensive, but it would be very interesting to get one to test on some of the nastier bituminous coals in the US.

Chris


ktm rider
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Post Tue. Aug. 21, 2007 7:37 pm

Alot of the Bit coal I burn is of good quality. It only smokes for 5 of so minutes and then it burns really well with the nice little dancing blue flames.
Father, Farm owner, Bow Hunter, GNCC racer

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coaledsweat
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Post Tue. Aug. 21, 2007 10:41 pm

And some has a higher BTU rating then anthracite.

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Yanche
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Post Wed. Aug. 22, 2007 12:12 am

To some the smoke and soot of Bituminous is desired! Each fall I attend two local steam tractor shows. Dozens of century old coal fired are belching out a combination of coal smoke and steam. More smoke and soot makes your tractor look like it's really working hard. :-)
Yanche
Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Stoker Boiler burning Anthracite Pea Coal

drujinin
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Post Thu. Aug. 23, 2007 10:18 pm

Europachris,
PM please and tell me who down there did you get the coal price from? I have my dump trailer now and am looking at driving down your way (Rockford) to pick up a load of coal after you tell me where.
Thanks,
drujinin (jeff)

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