Considering converting and lots of questions

sbwyo
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Post By: sbwyo » Wed. Aug. 08, 2018 5:42 pm

Hi from Wyoming! We've had a used woodburning fireplace insert for the last few years burning cottonwood(what we have on our place) and have been disappointed with the heat output. Our ranch style house is about 1500 sq feet and our propane bills are ridiculous. This is the beginning of our research but from little I've learned, the only inserts are stoker stoves and those require a fan which means extra noise. Our fireplace has a bench that runs in front of a box sitting 1.5' off the floor so a stand alone stove would require some retrofitting, but would it be worth it to be able to get a hand fired stove to avoid noise pollution? What is the difference in maintenance between a stoker and hand fired stove? Would pushing a stand alone stove back into the fireplace reduce the heating advantage of a stand alone stove? Thanks for any help you can give!
Last edited by Richard S. on Thu. Aug. 09, 2018 7:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Moved to Bituminous Coal Heating General Topics


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Richard S.
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Post By: Richard S. » Wed. Aug. 08, 2018 6:00 pm

The first question is do you have a source for anthracite or will you be burning the local bituminous coal?

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warminmn
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Post By: warminmn » Wed. Aug. 08, 2018 6:32 pm

You have a few things against you. Cottonwood is poor firewood and an insert wastes heat.

One advantage is cheap bit coal (I hope) unless you have a source for anthracite as Richard asked.

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McGiever
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Coal Size/Type: RICE,PEA,NUT,STOVE /ANTHRACITE and EGG / BIT
Other Heating: Ground Source Heat Pump and some Solar
Location: Junction of PA-OH-WV

Post By: McGiever » Wed. Aug. 08, 2018 10:48 pm

No anthracite available then no noisy stoker in your raised hearth fireplace.

Local bit coal in a hand-fed sounds like your likely direction to go. ;)

What do you have to give for a gallon of proPain?

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Post By: sbwyo » Thu. Aug. 09, 2018 3:22 pm

Bit coal is $60-$80?/ton and very easy to get so that's our likely choice. Last time we filled our propane tank it was 1.85/gallon. Our bedrooms are on the far end of the house from the forced air furnace and we have to use electric space heaters in our kids' rooms during the cold months. Is it possible to heat a house this size with bit coal and one free standing unit? What brands do you recommend looking into?

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lsayre
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Location: N/E Ohio, between Medina and Wadsworth

Post By: lsayre » Thu. Aug. 09, 2018 4:16 pm

With a single stove in the 'general' living room area the trick will be in getting the heat down the hall and into the bedrooms, and not roasting to death in the living room while freezing in the bedrooms. Also you will have to consider the potential for your pipes freezing in the basement. Whatever you do, install several CO detectors.

As opposed to noisy stove fans, ceiling fans are almost completely silent. And for the most part ceiling fans seem to run for many years without issues. And they can assist in moving the heat around. Some people say that reverse direction is best.

Some brands of anthracite coal stoves will void your warranty if you burn bit. Don't quote me on this, but I initially believe DS Machine may be in this camp.

Do you know the BTU's per pound for "as delivered" bit coal in your area? You must critically specify "as delivered" when asking this question of the supplier(s). Otherwise you are likely to get a highly inflated DAF (dry and ash free) BTU figure.

Be prepared to remove lots of ashes daily to perhaps twice daily.
Last edited by lsayre on Thu. Aug. 09, 2018 4:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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McGiever
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Coal Size/Type: RICE,PEA,NUT,STOVE /ANTHRACITE and EGG / BIT
Other Heating: Ground Source Heat Pump and some Solar
Location: Junction of PA-OH-WV

Post By: McGiever » Thu. Aug. 09, 2018 4:20 pm

WOW, IDK, if propain furnace won't do the job I can't see where burning coal is going to do any "Magic".

Coal heat still needs a robust distribution system unless you have a chimney in your bedroom. ;)


Making temps be at 90*F at one end of house to heat the opposite end isn't the answer.

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warminmn
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Location: Land of 11,842 lakes

Post By: warminmn » Thu. Aug. 09, 2018 4:40 pm

You may just be better off replacing the wood insert with coal stove and whatever heat you get from it, you get from it, and supplement that with propane. Even cottonwood would give more heat from a free standing stove than a fireplace insert and any hand fed bit stove would also burn wood so you could mix them if needed or wanted.

If you got a stove like a Hitzer 82, and later found a source for anthracite, you could use the stove for that too. I am unsure if Hitzer recommends it for bit coal but I know there are those here that use it with bit. http://hitzer.com/our-products/stoves-furnaces/mo ... 2-ul-stove

You could have anthracite trucked in by the semi-load. I think it would still be cheaper than your propane BTU's compared. if you wanted to just have a pallet (ton) of anthracite shipped to you for trial you can do that too. "Possibly" your local TSC store has some. Nut size is the size you want. they wont be very reliable long term at your distance from the NE. They arent here either.

Can that room handle being really warm without forcing people out of the room? and bit is dirtier than anthracite. If you have a basement that might be a better way to go, putting a stove there, as heat distribution would be better and less mess in living area. Lost heat to basement walls but oh well. There are no easy answers.


Qtown1835
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Post By: Qtown1835 » Thu. Aug. 09, 2018 9:07 pm

Basement would be my choice. Everyone likes warm floors and you can make the basement 90* and nobody will complain. I heated my ranch from the basement for 2 seasons using a handfed stove before I installed my boiler. I'm sure Wyoming is much colder than SE PA though.

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lsayre
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Post By: lsayre » Thu. Aug. 09, 2018 9:28 pm

There are myriads of problems with heat distribution that will need to be overcome for a basement located stove. Moving it there doesn't automatically solve everything. It does make you burn more coal though. And it has the serious potential to make you cold, and make you wish you hadn't moved it there.
Last edited by lsayre on Thu. Aug. 09, 2018 9:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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lsayre
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Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
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Location: N/E Ohio, between Medina and Wadsworth

Post By: lsayre » Thu. Aug. 09, 2018 9:31 pm

If the house is presently heated by a forced air propane furnace, then it will best be heated by a forced air coal furnace, or by a boiler with a liquid to air heat exchanger placed into the plenum of the propane stove, so its blower can do the work of distributing the heat from the coal boiler.

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warminmn
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Chubby Junior, Efel Nestor Martin, Frankenstove
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Location: Land of 11,842 lakes

Post By: warminmn » Thu. Aug. 09, 2018 10:45 pm

lsayre wrote:
Thu. Aug. 09, 2018 9:28 pm
There are myriads of problems with heat distribution that will need to be overcome for a basement located stove. Moving it there doesn't automatically solve everything. It does make you burn more coal though. And it has the serious potential to make you cold, and make you wish you hadn't moved it there.
You are correct with anthracite, but consider the fact that the OP would be burning what is possibly sub-bit in his living room with more frequent loading and dumping of ash. At least that is what I took into consideration. OP would probably need a 2nd heat source regardless. Of course i could be wrong. Im not even sure he has a basement yet ;)

sbwyo
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Post By: sbwyo » Fri. Aug. 10, 2018 10:24 am

What I've gathered is that everyone has a pretty low opinion of bit coal. It requires twice as much to produce the same amount of heat as anthr. and you have to clean out a lot more. I'm not sure of the quality of our local coal. Anyone from the powder river area? Website says it's "low-sulfur, high quality, subbituminous". Our old ranch house has a coal room in the basement suggesting there used to be a coal furnace but our plan, if anything, is to keep the forced air propane furnace as a secondary source of heat and heat what we can out of the living room with coal. The cottonwood we had been burning was a mess anyway and a pain to keep from going out. We have access to pine, the Big Horn Mtns are right here but our ranch has a bunch of fallen cottonwood and setting aside the time in the fall(our busy season) to get up to the mtns for a full day has never worked out. Does anyone have any brand they'd recommend looking into that burns Bit?

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warminmn
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Chubby Junior, Efel Nestor Martin, Frankenstove
Coal Size/Type: nut and stove anthracite
Other Heating: wood and a little LP
Location: Land of 11,842 lakes

Post By: warminmn » Fri. Aug. 10, 2018 10:54 am

Cottonwood is messy. I burn some in the fall in spring and know what you mean there. Im glad I dont use it year round. Ive got some locust Ive been burning and thats great stuff.

I think your plan is wise, using propane to backup whatever stove you get. I would call Hitzer and talk to them about their model 55 and 82, and if they recommend them for what coal you have. A stove with a window wont do much good using bit as it would just smoke up anyway.

Hitzer is not your normal business. Its Amish owned and operated and the owner answers the phone. Not your normal B.S. like calling most places. Phone is 260-589-8536. You might be better off with the smaller 55 since it will be in your living room. Hitzer builds them as they are ordered from their dealers so this would be a good time to order one before fall gets here, or find a shop with one in stock, if you go that route.

Im sure there are used stoves that would work too. Maybe some of the Warm Morning models, Im unsure. Many of the potbellies would have been over fired and have cracks so be cautious when looking at those.

There are a couple members here from North Dakota burning lignite but I cannot remember their user names. Casinoboy is in South Dakota and burns bit he imported from the east but used to burn more local to him coal. maybe look up his posts but if I remember right he used a Hitzer.

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McGiever
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Stoker Coal Boiler: AXEMAN-ANDERSON 130 "1959"
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: BUCKET A DAY water heater
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Warm Morning 414A
Coal Size/Type: RICE,PEA,NUT,STOVE /ANTHRACITE and EGG / BIT
Other Heating: Ground Source Heat Pump and some Solar
Location: Junction of PA-OH-WV

Post By: McGiever » Fri. Aug. 10, 2018 12:25 pm

A "Harman TLC" would work, members in Alsaka burn sub-bit in these. The glass would not stay clean as was mentioned above.
But it is raised on a pedestal stand which makes for less bending over while keeping it burning.

Some would find it a better looking stove than the Hitzer 55 in their living space. ;)


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