Different types of Soft Coal available in Western Pa.

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Reader Joseph
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Post By: Reader Joseph » Sun. Jan. 14, 2018 10:40 am

Hello , I am wondering , can anybody name the different types of soft coal available in coal yards in Cambria , Somerset and Westmoreland counties and which ones are better or worse ? I hear of names such as Indiana coal , Pittsburgh coal, Berlin coal etc. I have been using Blaschak hard coal but it is pricey. A lot of people I work with as well as neighbors burn soft coal and I hear all kinds of stories of good coal verses bad but all this does is add to the confusion. I am considering trying soft coal as an alternative.

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Lightning
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Post By: Lightning » Sun. Jan. 14, 2018 12:20 pm

As far as I know, the Harman Mark series are designed for anthracite. Soft coal works better in the basement located multi fuel units. You can try it but be warned, the results could be extremely unpleasant with that stove. Proceed with caution.

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CoalJockey
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Post By: CoalJockey » Sun. Jan. 14, 2018 2:12 pm

Pittsburgh...high volatile seam, very gassy, smokey, sooty, burns well in an outdoor boiler, I would not recommend for use inside the house.

Cambria... little less gas, can certainly be good house coal but still pretty smiley. Same goes for Indiana.

Somerset is very good low-volatile house coal. Not much gas or smoke.

At our yard we handle a very nice grade of nut coal that comes from Lycoming County, low-vol seam, clean heat without much smoke and gas. Very comparable to Somerset County.

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Post By: CoalJockey » Sun. Jan. 14, 2018 2:20 pm

Remember also that soft coal vs. hard coal... soft coal will not be as clean. Even wash plant coal that is nut sized will contain a certain amount of fines due to handling stages. Soft coal will generally have more gas content so that is something to be aware of. There may be a little soot, so exhaust stacks will require a little more maintenance.

All soft coal will "coke" or cake together as it burns. When you do your firing you will need to get in there wil a big bar or pipe to break the crust up before throwing in new coal. Just never snuff it out, always keep a live flame coming out on top to burn the gasses off as it is released.

Many people are afraid of soft coal, it just requires a different mindset than anthracite but it is a cheap, reliable heat.


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Reader Joseph
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Post By: Reader Joseph » Sun. Jan. 14, 2018 2:31 pm

Lightning wrote:
Sun. Jan. 14, 2018 12:20 pm
As far as I know, the Harman Mark series are designed for anthracite. Soft coal works better in the basement located multi fuel units. You can try it but be warned, the results could be extremely unpleasant with that stove. Proceed with caution.
Yes, this wouldn't be for my Harman, I am presently considering getting a Hitzer 82 furnace for my cellar.

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BunkerdCaddis
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Post By: BunkerdCaddis » Sun. Jan. 28, 2018 10:02 am

CoalJockey wrote:
Sun. Jan. 14, 2018 2:12 pm
At our yard we handle a very nice grade of nut coal that comes from Lycoming County, low-vol seam, clean heat without much smoke and gas. Very comparable to Somerset County.
CoalJockey, would that burn decent in a fireplace grate? Or would you recommend something else? I didn't realize how close your yard was to Trough Creek SP, we camp there and it would be a short hop over to get some bit to play around with. :annoyed:

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Post By: CoalJockey » Sun. Jan. 28, 2018 4:50 pm

Thanks BC

I honestly don’t think I can provide a good answer on the fireplace grate, I’ve never actually used or seen one in use. I would tend to think that if soft coal can be used on a grate like that, a low-vol coal like I mentioned would be preferred. I hate to see anyone take a high-vol soft coal for use inside a house just due to the gas content and extra soot. Some customers here do it anyhow as the price is a bit cheaper and they seem to get away with it alright. We stock Pittsburgh coal here almost exclusively for the outdoor boiler crowd and they like the higher BTU content and they don’t mind the pewtrid smell at all.

Give me a call in the event that you would want to come after some. There are times that the availability is low and I wouldn’t want you to waste a trip. 814-285-6100

Trough Creek is a very nice area, we do stone and coal hauling all through that area.

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Post By: Rob R. » Sun. Jan. 28, 2018 4:55 pm

Reader Joseph wrote:
Sun. Jan. 14, 2018 2:31 pm
Yes, this wouldn't be for my Harman, I am presently considering getting a Hitzer 82 furnace for my cellar.
The 82 will burn high quality bit.


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BunkerdCaddis
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Post By: BunkerdCaddis » Sun. Jan. 28, 2018 6:34 pm

CoalJockey wrote:
Sun. Jan. 28, 2018 4:50 pm
Thanks BC

I honestly don’t think I can provide a good answer on the fireplace grate, I’ve never actually used or seen one in use. I would tend to think that if soft coal can be used on a grate like that, a low-vol coal like I mentioned would be preferred. I hate to see anyone take a high-vol soft coal for use inside a house just due to the gas content and extra soot. Some customers here do it anyhow as the price is a bit cheaper and they seem to get away with it alright. We stock Pittsburgh coal here almost exclusively for the outdoor boiler crowd and they like the higher BTU content and they don’t mind the pewtrid smell at all.

Give me a call in the event that you would want to come after some. There are times that the availability is low and I wouldn’t want you to waste a trip. 814-285-6100

Trough Creek is a very nice area, we do stone and coal hauling all through that area.
Did some digging back and remembered this thread >> Bit Coal in Latrobe PA Shortly after this we went fishing out at TC and had I looked into where your yard was I would've stopped last year. So I guess it's the Pitt stuff I'm after...well when the March Browns and Blue Quill mayflies start calling... :yes:

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Post By: Berlin » Sun. Jan. 28, 2018 10:29 pm

If you know what you're doing High Vol coal can work fine especially if you get it in larger sizes the bigger issue is the coke button of the coal a high coking coal like most of the coals that you mentioned tend to be a big pain for hand firing. They still confused together unlike a lot of the calls in the Midwest and Kentucky in the south. Even once you get into Ohio you start get a lot lower coke button then you do in Western Pennsylvania.
Kentucky is high vol and it burns great in a fireplace or in a hand fired or stoker because it's low coke button.

Below are pictures of Kentucky lump burning in my fireplace.

Ohio High Vol sulfer vein Burns about as well in lump form but with a little bit more Ash in a fp.
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BunkerdCaddis
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Coal Size/Type: pea/nut
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Location: SW Lancaster County

Post By: BunkerdCaddis » Sun. Jan. 28, 2018 11:32 pm

Berlin wrote:
Sun. Jan. 28, 2018 10:29 pm
Kentucky is high vol and it burns great in a fireplace or in a hand fired or stoker because it's low coke button.
Looks like a real nice fire and a lot of fun (and a happy pooch). Where might be a good place to get a bag or two in Kentucky, I might just be down that way in a month or two :annoyed: to visit family. I could throw the back porch on the back of the Toyota and tie down a couple of bags (maybe fill my own feed bags), anywhere along 64 to Louisville. Or how do you get it in NY?

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Post By: Hillbilly » Mon. Jan. 29, 2018 4:53 pm

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Here's some Eastern Kentucky Lump. Burn this in a WM #400. $125 ton . Love to burn the Anthercite but, Tractor Supply only place within miles and it's over $300 a ton and that's if they have it. A place 75 miles north of me sells $365 a ton bagged. Guess I'll keep burning the Bit.
Tony

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