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help me decide!

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by bugize, Aug 26, 2006.

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  1. bugize

    bugize Member

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    alot of nice info on here,anyways,i am looking to buy a harman coal stove and i cant decide which one,either the tlc2000 or the mark2.i work a rotating swing shift 12 hours,counting travel i am gone 14-15 hours a day,the larger firebox and ash pan on the tlc intrest me,i like the looks of the mark2 plus it comes with a blower for 100$ cheaper.i will be burning anthracite,how often would i have to empty the ash pan?would the mark2 last for 18-20 hrs on a load of coal? i will be putting the stove in the basement,would the blower even make a noticable difference?i have heated with wood all my life and never had a blower on a stove.i have seen articles stating coal makes alot more ashes than wood,but i seen some saying anthracite doesnt produce that much ash! once i fire the stove up,i figure mid november,i will be using it 24/7 as my primary heat source.i have asked 2 different harman dealers but they say...i never burnt coal....so they cant give me an accurate answer( at least they are honest)!some of you may be asking..why switch? well i heat my garage and 2 hunting camps with wood i dont have the time to mess with it for the house,i like the steady even heat with coal, i have an uncle that heated with it 25 yrs ago,different coal,different stove,he told me to ask someone else...LOL! any info would be much appreciated,thanks!

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  2. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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  3. Corie

    Corie Minister of Fire

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    hey hey! I am a wood and coal guy!!!!!

    Now, bugize you've asked a LOT of questions in there, so I'm going to do my best to touch them all.

    First off, I think the TLC-2000 has a lot of neat features that set it apart from the basic mark II coal stove. Adjustable air wash controls, the ability to grill, the ability to burn as both a light duty wood stove and a coal stove are just a few of the perks that I see in the TLC.

    As far as ash pans go, the mark II has a much smaller pan when compared to the TLC-2000. The Mark II will hold ashes from about 2-3 shakedowns of the stove, depending on the burn level. Therefore, you'll basically be taking the ashes out once a day. The TLC-2000 has increased capacity for holding ash, and will hold between at least 3-5 shakedowns, again depending on how hard the stove is being used. Chances are, you'll be emptying the ash pan on the TLC every two days.

    Either stove has the ability to last for 18-20 hours on a load, but the real problem will be the burn level. In other words, it will depend on how much heat you're demanding of the stove. Early in the season, an 18 hour burn will leave you with a nice even bed of coal to restart the fresh coal. As the winter progresses, I'm willing to bet you'll probably have less than a full bed of coals after 18-20 hours. Again, it will depend on the heat output of the stove and the heat output you are asking for.

    For example, girlfriend's family burns a Russo C-80. Stove is BIG and holds almost 80 pounds of coal per charge. In the early season it gets loaded before bed and then isn't touched until the following night around the same time. Of course, not much heat is being asked of the unit. On the other hand, in the dead of winter, when the stove is cranking out heat to keep the house warm (aprroximately 3000 sq ft) it will be shaken and loaded in the morning and then shaken and loaded in the evening, each time requiring about one full bucket of coal.

    It would be helpful to know the size of the area you're trying to heat so we could make sure the stove is correctly sized.

    Also, regarding the ash argument- From how I understand things and from what I've seen, burning coal generates about 50% ash. If you burn 3 tons of coal, it means you should generate about 1.5 tons of ash. Realistically, I think it's quite a but lower than that, but nonetheless, you will be generating significantly more ash from the coal stove than comparable wood stoves.
  4. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Most coal is 8-12% ash....at least hard coal/
  5. Corie

    Corie Minister of Fire

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    Ok, that sounds much more reasonable to me Craig. I've read in a few places about the 50% ash thing, and just couldn't find that number believeable at all. Although quite a bit more ash is generated, I couldn't imagine I was making 1.5 tons of ash disappear each year.
  6. bugize

    bugize Member

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    thanks for the info,the area i will be heating is about 1800 sq feet,that includes the basement.
  7. Corie

    Corie Minister of Fire

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    Well you're about right with either the TLC or the Mark II, which I'm sure you knew. Personally my vote goes to the TLC based on the extra features it has, and what I consider to be better looks.
  8. Michael6268

    Michael6268 Feeling the Heat

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    Both are good stoves from all that I have heard. Why not go with a stoker stove if time between fuelings/shakings is a concern?
  9. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I just looked at the analysis of coal delivered to electric utilities for a ten year period and the Bituminous and Lignite were in that range but Anthracite was pretty steady at 38%.
  10. bugize

    bugize Member

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    i thought the stoker would be too much for my house plus i would like it to work if i lose power...from what i understand those are auto feed like a pellet????? from time to time we lose power here in central maine in the winter,this forum has been very helpful,thanks to everyone who has posted,not many up here that burn coal so i cant ask anyone else!
  11. Corie

    Corie Minister of Fire

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    :)

    Glad we could help! The reason that you are passing on the stoker stove is the same for us; with fairly frequent power outtages, it was too unreliable to have a heat source that needed electricity.
  12. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Battery backup?
  13. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Back when I was a young buck...(damm this sounds familiar)....

    Anyway, when I was in college my parents heated the house with a warm morning stove that was the mid size of the line. Each morning we'd shake, and load about 1/2 a bucket, maybe 3/4 on cold days, and the same around 9 pm. It's really VERY simple, and to me, I think the Mark xxx line looks similar to the old warm mornings except with a better shaker system. I'll bet a lot less dusty also. The true key to low dust out of a coal stove is the loading system. Pick the better loading system and you'll be happier. As far as Stokers...I'll bet they're nice. Automation is sweet, but I tweek the wood stove once an hour, and I don't find it a problem. A coal stove is like a twice a day deal, so no matter what, they're really low effort, and they really crank the heat.

    Also, stokers are very expensive. Around 3200-3500 bucks. The Mark II is like 1700. A big cost savings.


    Edit...

    I looked at the Harman site.. as far as heating goes they look similar in ability, the Mark II seems a bit furnace like in looks, but it is a coal stove, and that's kind of the deal with them...except for the Vermont Castings. While not as serious a heater as the Harman's it sure has them beat on looks.

    For my tastes, I prefer the TLC 2000, plus it has the ability to run on wood for those fall days when a coal fire is too much. A coal fire is very hot, and you can't "burn a few splits" to take the chill off. In theory, any coal stove could burn wood o.k., but it won't do it very well. Coal fires are quite hot even on low settings, and on higher, they're amazing in the heat produced/size of apparent fire.

    I think either would work well, but I'd say the TLC looks like it's more user friendly.

    Oh, one more thing to consider...If this has anything to do with your decision. I do feel a stove's weight is an indication of robustness, quality and, well, maybe this is the same thing that makes people buy SUVs...manliness...The TLC is a whole lot lighter than the Mark II, so in that department, the Mark II gets the nod

    But, it could also make the TLC a lot easier to install.
  14. sweeper

    sweeper Member

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    Would like to state that all stokers are not expensive. Leisure Lines base model 70,000 btu stoker retails around $1550.00
  15. bugize

    bugize Member

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    the tlc can be loaded through the top as well as the front,the mark2 is front only,the mark 2 comes with a blower,tlc doesnt,stove will be in the basement so....will the tlc be ok without the blower?....i like the looks of the mark2 but the practical part of me is leaning towards the tlc and pay the extra for the blower...total for each..tlc...about 2250 with blower installed....mark2 is about 2000 installed...like i have stated before...if the mark2 could go 2-3 days without emptying the ashes i would get that one cause it does have the blower as standard...but like the other posts and the dealer said,if i am to heat 24/7 with it...better off with the tlc....i think thats how i will go...if i happen to hesitate again...i wont bug you guys...i'll just flip a coin....LOL!...thanks again to everyone....better to hear it from people with experiance than from a brochure!
  16. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

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    Harman dealer here......from the sales end.....

    Not alot of difference when you look at the numbers, except the TLC2000 will burn wood as well, and you can cook your burgers on it! At least with the TLC, you have the option of burning both wood or coal. That being said, we sell many times more MarkII than the TLC2000. Go figure.

    Blowers? You can get a blower with either stove. Id recommend one, as it'll get the air moving well, not totally radiant.

    2-3 days without emptying ashes? Not thrilled with that one. Id make it a habit of emptying the ashes once a day if burning coal, and shaking down twice, but not overshaking. Just a little bit! If you overshake, you'll lose your ash bed, you'll be burning right on top of the grates, which could burn them out or warp them. You should find that you can "ignore" a coal fire more than wood. It takes a year or so to learn how to burn coal if you were a wood burner, less time if you werent a wood-burner. You dont burn coal like you do wood....a different mind-set. The key to burning coal is to not overtend it. Put enough coal on to get it burning, shake is A LITTLE BIT twice a day, empty your ashes once a day, and refill as needed. Good Luck!
  17. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    1550 for a stoker? That's a great price. I do believe you get what you pay for, and I wonder where the cost cuts are in stoker stove that cost the same as my wood stove. How reliable are they?

    This could start a thread hijack, so I don't want it to...MSG...if it starts looking like that I'll repost in a new thread.
  18. bugize

    bugize Member

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    i wonder,is the reason you sell more mark2s is because it is designed for coal only?...meaning,does it burn coal more efficent than does the tlc?..i have been told buy the dealer up here,and people on here it should burn for 18-20 hrs...do you support that as well?i think it will be different for me to heat with coal,i am a wood burner...have most all my life but i have had alot of people give me tips on here,plus i have seen posts on the nepa site,and i think i may be able to get the handle on it....eventually...lol! i am more concerned with getting it right to go all day without going out.....about 15 hrs.
  19. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

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    I guess its possible to get a burn that long, just not probable or realistic. Sure, you can pinch it down so its barely burning, but how much heat are you gonna get out of it? I maintain that 18-20 hours isnt a realistic burn for someone who is relying on the stove for most of his/her heat. Id say more likely youd fill it twice a day. When you get up b4 you leave for work, empty the ashes, give the grates a shake, top it off with fuel. When you get home b4 you go to bed, give it the grates a little shake, top it off. You never want it to get so low it wont relight with new fuel. Many advantages to coal, but harder to get started than wood. And again, forget all youve learned in your years of burning wood....coal is different. Id say, I guess, that if you were never gonna burn wood again, go to the MarkII, but if you feel at some point you will burn wood, then go to the TLC2000. Another reason folks might buy the MarkII is because of the looks....I think its a better looking stove than the TLC2000.
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