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Coal for the Northeast (multi-fuel at its best)

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by tjnamtiw, Apr 11, 2014.

  1. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw Minister of Fire

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  2. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

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    Good to know coal still is available in bulk for residential heating. I was on the fence going wood or coal. Coal has some decent advantages.
    tjnamtiw likes this.
  3. boo boo

    boo boo Feeling the Heat

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    I loved the heat from the coal stove when I was a kid.
    But the pellet dust is much easer to clean than the coal dust.
    Pete Zahria likes this.
  4. alternativeheat

    alternativeheat Minister of Fire

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    What coal dust ? I have far more dust from my pellet stove than I ever had from the coal stove I burned for over 30 years. Anthracite is not particularly dusty and at that you can dampen it. Soft coal is dusty, we don't burn that in our houses in the US. The ash ( not the pellet or coal dust, the solid fuel dust) in terms of messy is about equal texture, except the pellet ash floats more. No I find that filling the hopper on the pellet stove is dusty where shoveling coal into the coal stove was not. Pellet ash is on everything remotely near the stove . I never had that with the coal stove.

    However, the amount of ash removed from the coal stove in a day you might remove from the pellet stove in two to three weeks or even a month. Pellet ash you can put in your gardens, coal ash will snuff the gardens. Coal ash will fill pot holes in the driveway which is fine if you don't mind kids walking through it and tacking it all over your house.

    We switched to pellets thinking coal was going to get scarce and two months later we find ourselves in a pellet shortage, go figure ! We hope to do better next year. And if coal never goes away, I could switch back again. You can have a bulk delivery of coal dumped right on the ground, rain and snow won't hurt it one bit, just keep what little dust there is down. However any future coal stove I bought would be a stoker stove since using pellets.
  5. skibladerj

    skibladerj Member

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    A local guy carries oiled coal which has no dust at all. $220/ton bulk.
  6. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw Minister of Fire

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    Yep, that's how they used to do it, with oil rather than water. Also, spraying the ash tray before carrying it through the house and removing it and emptying it BEFORE shaking down both eliminate the dust.
  7. Pete Zahria

    Pete Zahria Feeling the Heat

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    I've been burning coal for a long time in the house, pellets in the shop...

    Coal itself is not terribly dusty. I think the complaint is from when you empty
    the ash pan, the fly ash can be brutal.. and it's a daily job... it's so light it just floats everywhere,
    and even if you are careful, your house gets a lot more dusty than most
    would care for... you just learn to deal with it...

    Dan
  8. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw Minister of Fire

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    Yea, that's why it pays to empty the pan BEFORE you shake down so that there's no hot coals in there creating updrafts carrying the dust up. Also wetting them down with a mist sprayer helps. It's the little things that help, just like we've all learned of better ways to handle pellets and the stove > presifting (for some), leaf blower trick, cleaning hidden ash traps, etc. The old stories of coal are just that 'old and tired and outdated'. As alternativeheat said, the modern stoker stoves have taken all the time-consuming labor out of using coal as well as waste. They've also allowed a wide range of output temps.
  9. alternativeheat

    alternativeheat Minister of Fire

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    That happens when you empty the ash pan indoors. You don't empty the ash pan indoors though do you ?. Take it outside. I always shook the ash down with the fill door closed and the damper fully open, never saw any dust in the house that way. You have to know how to handle coal stoves. I had more than 30 years experience with them. I'm telling you I have never seen so much dust as with pellets.
    tjnamtiw likes this.
  10. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    I have a hose right next to the stoker.As soon as the ash pan comes out it gets wet down,NO dust. I pay $200 ton delivered. Used less than 5 tons this winter.Very good for all things considered.
    tjnamtiw likes this.
  11. dave2112

    dave2112 New Member

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    I never had a coal stove, just wood then pellets. I was wondering if coal varies in quality massively like pellets? Buying pellets can be a crap shoot a lot of times quality wise. If I had to do it all over again I think I would buy a coal stove.
  12. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw Minister of Fire

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    I only burned coal for maybe 8 years when I lived in Pa. but the biggest think I found with my top feeder that the variation in ash %. Some would form enough ash to choke out the fire by the time I got home and I couldn't save it. With a stoker, I don't think that would be a problem. I'll let the guys with more years answer your question. In any event, you would save a bundle over even pellets and get a stove that puts out some serious heat without running it balls to the wall.
  13. Woodman37

    Woodman37 New Member

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    About half a truck load of some lump coal is all I have left I much prefer wood just cause coal is so dirty. Heck I have to shower after cleaning out the furnace and ashes after burning coal. Don't get me wrong it's very good heat and I didn't even want that much coal when I bought it. Not a bad deal 20 bucks to load my silverado up. Excellent for adding to wood fires to give them more life.
  14. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like either you were burning bituminous coal or you need some 'lessons' on how to handle coal. :)
    Bob Sorjanen likes this.
  15. Woodman37

    Woodman37 New Member

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    Yep bituminous coal. Don't need any lessons been burning it for a while now. Got my lessons from the knowledgable people at nepacrossraods.
    Pete Zahria likes this.
  16. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw Minister of Fire

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    Bit coal is a whole lot cheaper than anthracite, isn't it? But you found out why people don't like to burn it! Huge difference in cleanliness and heat value. I wish you would have said that on your first post about dirty coal because it gives anthracite a bad name where it is not deserved. You can take a piece of anthracite and rub it on your skin and it won't even get black.
    Pete Zahria likes this.
  17. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw Minister of Fire

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    Yea, that's a great site. What's your screen name there?
  18. Woodman37

    Woodman37 New Member

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    Yes learned a lot there. I'm the coalnewbie on there. I wish I had easy access to anthracite I've heard great things about it. But bituminous is cheap here so I use a little here and there when it's really cold. I'd never want to give coal a bad name I work In the industry so coal helps feed my family.
  19. bonesy

    bonesy Feeling the Heat

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    To those who say coal is not dirty, I beg to differ: come up to my dads house and fill the hopper (50gal drum) every 3 days during the winter, then blow your nose. The tissue will be full of black dust you just sucked up from filling the hopper. The coal bin holds about 3-4 tons, and is full of dust when doing anything with it.
  20. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Thats why my hopper is self feed. I only handle the ashes. I wet them down as soon as they leave the stoker ,so no dust there. You can also get a light oil spray on the coal to eliminates dust. Coal,oil and even wood can be dirty. Depends how you minimize contact with the fuel,and how you handle the ashes.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2014
    tjnamtiw likes this.
  21. alternativeheat

    alternativeheat Minister of Fire

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    Anthracite varies some but not so much from a given mine. I imagine anyone crunching coal down to pea or rice size is using decent Coal.

    Around here that small coal is hard to get so a stoker was not felt to be a wise choice. And here we are with a pellet stove now. It works ok but I can tell you there is way more BTU per lb in coal.
    If it's an indoor hopper you can lightly dampen the coal. I used to have 3 tons at a time delivered by chute into an old cold storage room in my basement. Just close off the doorway to the main basement. I shoveled coal from the pile into 5 gallon buckets for decades. Twice in all that time I got a batch that was a little dusty. I used to walk right on the coal and shovel it though otherwise. Then most recently I switched to bagged coal and kept it outside. Dumped the bags of coal into the same buckets. The place I mostly got the bagged coal from bagged there own from the outdoor bulk hopper. No dust, might be frozen and have to bang the bag on the ground to loosen it up but no dust. The outdoor bin was open to the weather.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2014
    tjnamtiw and Seasoned Oak like this.

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