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Old 11-12-2007, 11:08 AM
Status: "Enjoying some cooler weather!" (set 5 days ago)
 
Location: Selinsgrove, PA
1,508 posts, read 4,401,077 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kettlepot View Post
A question about a coal stoker furnace. What would you do if you went away on a trip during the winter? You need to leave the heat on at 55 so the pipes won't burst, but if you are gone too long you'll need to empty the ash from the furnace but won't be home to do it. What would be the solution to this problem?
A really nice, helpful neighbor with a key to your house.
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Old 11-14-2007, 11:09 PM
 
1,245 posts, read 1,867,568 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geos View Post
A quote from your artice......

In general, if utilities are burning high-quality coal (low-ash, low-sulfur and low-trace element contents) and are using modern, sophisticated post-combustion pollution-control technology that can capture more than 99 percent of the particulates and most trace elements released by coal combustion, a very low likelihood exists of direct health impacts. Alternatively, there is every reason to be concerned if low-quality coal (high-ash, high-sulfur and high-trace element contents) is burned in an environment with poor ventilation, which is the case in many rural and developing regions.

Reading comprehension for the win.
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Old 11-15-2007, 03:15 PM
 
3 posts, read 12,130 times
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I grew up in a coal stove heated victorian. I don't recall a smell at all. I remember waking up to the sound of my dad stoking the stove before he left for work in the a.m and it was the chore of myself or my brother when we came home from school. The one thing I do remember is that in the spring - since the flew hadn't been shut yet from the chimney that the birds would start making a nest and inevitably one would end up in the stove! As for cost effectiveness....I think the prices of all heating options is quickly becoming =.
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Old 11-15-2007, 10:01 PM
 
Location: state of enlightenment
2,233 posts, read 3,043,115 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lehigh Valley Native View Post
A quote from your artice......

In general, if utilities are burning high-quality coal (low-ash, low-sulfur and low-trace element contents) and are using modern, sophisticated post-combustion pollution-control technology that can capture more than 99 percent of the particulates and most trace elements released by coal combustion, a very low likelihood exists of direct health impacts. Alternatively, there is every reason to be concerned if low-quality coal (high-ash, high-sulfur and high-trace element contents) is burned in an environment with poor ventilation, which is the case in many rural and developing regions.

Reading comprehension for the win.
Try this: http://www.divstrat.com.au/environ/Coal%20is%20toxic.pdf (broken link)

See if your comprehension improves.
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Old 01-03-2008, 04:48 PM
 
1 posts, read 7,910 times
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Default coal

I'm a very old plumber, heating man.. I'm 82 and still working. I believe in the stoker type furnace.. It was the best heat made. Good solid heat!

The only time you get a bad smell is if you don't fill your stoker.
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Old 05-11-2008, 11:38 PM
 
21,940 posts, read 15,767,559 times
Reputation: 7086
Sorry to dig up an old thread but being I'm a coal guy the toxicity issue mentioned should really be addressed in case someone else wanders into this thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by geos View Post
Try this: http://www.divstrat.com.au/environ/Coal%20is%20toxic.pdf (broken link)

See if your comprehension improves.

First and foremost those studies are done on bituminous coal used in power plants, this is not anthracite coal which is used almost exclusively for home heating. You can't burn bituminous coal in stoker (yet, they are working on it). As one of the previous posters mentioned all coal is not created equal, this is doubly true where anthracite is concerned as its coal in its purest form. You will not find any studies like that for anthracite because there is such a small amount of it mined primarily in Northeastern Pennsylvania which has the largest and highest quality deposits of it worldwide and is the only place its mined on the North American continent. The data doesn't exist as far as i know. Relying on data from one source to say all coal is toxic is like going to a polluted river and analyzing it and saying all water is bad for you. The characteristics of coal from different parts of the country vary widely.

Anthracite is nearly 100% pure carbon, it burns with no traceable smoke or soot. There is fly ash but most of this is contained within either the unit itself or the flue pipe. There is no stink unless you get next to chimney on top of your roof in which case you'll get a sulfury smell if the wind is in the right direction. You couldn't tell a home heated with coal either from the inside or outside except for the fact they are generally warmer because of the low cost. 1 ton of anthracite is equivalent to about 180 gallons of fuel oil and presently costs about $150 delivered in coal country. A rough guesstimate is that oil will be about $4.50 a gallon this upcoming heating season if not more.... you do the math.

Getting back to the toxicity, yes the ash does contain heavy metals and other toxins but these are slightly elevated above that of dirt. The only reason they are higher is because they have been concentrated through the burning process. The EPA has even approved fly ash as clean fill and that is for bituminous coal, you're not going to grow a third eye if you burn coal. Fly ash is also used for other things like concrete. You might also be interested to know that one of the other primary uses of anthracite is for carbon filters for water filtration.

A "modern" stoker is not much different than any other heating unit, they are a little more work because you do have to add coal and take the ashes out. They will not completely self feed. For the larger units a typical stoker has an auger going into 55 gallon drum inside your coal bin. Others have large hoppers attached directly to the furnace. You'll have to fill these every couple of days during the coldest days of the winter. The biggest limit on the time is the amount of ash it will hold, during the coldest days 2-3 max. If you have the house to do it and plan it properly you can extend this time indefinitely. For a completely self feed stoker you need a very high basement so you can build one giant hopper. The stoker can be placed on a few course of blocks to increase the amount of ashes it can hold.

The reason I have "modern" in quotes is because most of these designs have been around for half a century. That doesn't mean they are inefficient either, a typical stoker is about 80% efficient with some of them reaching 85%+. I only mentioned this because I saw the one post above about "coal has come a long way". It's always been there. On a side note a large stoker furnace is a once in lifetime purchase, if maintained properly it will outlast you.

Another benefit of having a stoker is the hot water jacket which will provide practically an unlimited supply of hot water which is next to nothing in the winter and less than what you will pay for other fuels during the summer. The large stokers are insulated and designed to run year round.

As to the "what do you do when you go away" question, there are two companies that make oil burner add ons. If you need to go away you turn the coal off and turn the oil on. Most are not going that route but instead just leaving their existing furnace in place and using it as a backup. They also make smaller hot air stokers that can be used as supplementary heat.

There's a all kinds of choices and ones that will fit the needs of anyone, you can even get a hand fired unit for those of you in a rural areas where the power is a concern. These require no electricity to run.

How much can you save? Our house is nearly 4000 sq. ft., total cost for this last year was less than $1500 and that includes domestic hot water. A lot of peoples domestic hot water bills are nearly 1/3 to half that alone. If you live in Northeastern Pennsylvania frankly you're foolish if you don't consider coal as a source for heat. Not only will you save a lot of dough but you'll also be supporting your local economy.


Phew..longer than i meant it to be. Anyhow if you want to learn more you can check out my anthracite coal forum here: Anthracite Coal Forum

Last edited by thecoalman; 05-12-2008 at 01:12 AM..
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:55 AM
 
1 posts, read 7,401 times
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You've intrigued me. So, what do these coat stoker furnaces cost? Who delivers the coal? Are there many options with delivery? I live in the northern suburbs of Philadelphia, and Peco has told us that there is no way to put natural gas on our street, and will summer approaching I am quickly trying to think of options. Thanks.
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Old 06-19-2008, 10:32 AM
 
21,940 posts, read 15,767,559 times
Reputation: 7086
Quote:
Originally Posted by Portercat View Post
You've intrigued me. So, what do these coat stoker furnaces cost?
A smaller basic 70K BTU will start at about $2,000 new. That will provide most if not all of the heat for about a 2000sq. foot home assuming you can move the heat around. These are just basic units with a small distribution fan meant to heat an area for supplementary heat but if you set up right you can get most of your heating needs from it. A larger boiler starts around $4,000 to $5,000. If you're really interested I'd strongly suggest getting on the bandwagon now. Most manufacturers are about 2 months behind right now and one is giving estimates of January for delivery.


Quote:
Who delivers the coal?
In Philly or near Philly you'll probably have limited choices for bulk delivery which is the cheapest. I'd check the phone book. Most stove shops have bagged and may deliver but the cost of bagged is roughly double that of bulk. Other options include getting it yourself right at the breaker and that is certainly an option for you since you're so close to NEPA.
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Old 09-06-2008, 02:39 PM
 
1 posts, read 6,745 times
Reputation: 10
Default Tell me more about coal furnaces

We are looking into purchasing a new furnace. We have an old farm home with an ancient oil burning furnace with forced air. We put on a new kitchen addition with a radiant heat floor heated with a gas hot-water heater. I now realize that although this is wonderful toasty heat, it's not the most efficient way to heat it. Are there coal furnaces with the ability to provide forced air heat as well as hot water to heat the floor or for houselhold use? I have heard this hinted at, but am having a hard time really nailing down facts about this. It seems that coal is a very reasonable way to go, but none of the big HVAC names in the area seem to sell coal furnaces. Why is that? Can anyone offer suggestions/help please? Thanks!
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Old 09-27-2008, 10:28 AM
 
3 posts, read 17,784 times
Reputation: 12
I need to Know if I can burn pea coal in my stoker?
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