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Switching for coal back to wood

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Mason coal burner, Jul 5, 2013.

  1. Mason coal burner

    Mason coal burner New Member

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    Just moved my family from south central new Hampshire to southeast new Brunswick Canada . My wifes family lives here . We lost our home to foreclosure and my wife wanted to move back home . We lived in NH for 8 years . The house came with a big old Nashua wood stove . The first 4 years we burnt 8-10 cord plus oil heat as a back up . Then a friend told me about coal I did tons of research . I ended up buying a hitzer 82ul . Just a large radiant heater . It did a great job . We installed it in the basement and just let the heat flow naturally threw the house . I was paying 260$ per ton . We burned a little less than one ton per month . We saved lots of money with that stove . I didn't burn one drop of oil the whole time I burned coal . While I was researching for info about coal I joined a coal forum . Nepa crossroads . From what some people on there were saying I thought I would be able to get bituminous coal from nova scotia for a little over 100 per ton plus picking it up my self . When i got here I made some calls and found that the coal was going to be more like 200-250 per ton . I don't think it would worth it . So it looks like I'm back to wood .

    I never even heard about an EPA wood stove until about 1-2 months ago . Did some searching on this forum and on YouTube . These stoves burn great . I don't have any money to buy a new stove . I have the hitzer 82ul I mentioned and a Vermont castings vigilant . I was thinking about putting one of these in the basement to heat the new house . Until I found several threads on this forum about people putting in there own baffle and secondary burn tubes . I think this would be very easy to do in my hitzer but not in the vigilant . What do you think . What stove or set up should I use ? I'm used to having the stove in the basement and I think this house is to cut up to have it on the first floor and the rooms are really to small to have a stove in them with out roasting us out .

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Welcome Mason cb. I'd sell them both and put the money toward a decent, but inexpensive EPA stove that is designed to burn wood. It will start saving you in wood consumption from day one.

    As for heating from the basement, it is usually sub-optimal, particularly if the basement walls are uninsulated. Figure about a 30% heat loss in that case, translating into 30% more wood consumed. How large is the house and basement? Is there an easy route for the heat to migrate upstairs?
    firefighterjake likes this.
  3. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Is there a chimney that is safe to use for the stove in the basement already, or will you have to add one?

    My cousin burned wood in a hitzer last winter and it did have a pretty large appetite but got the job done for them.

    Is the vigilant in good working condition? No cracks and all seams sealed well? If so, that's a good heater too but also has an appetite.

    I'd say get setup properly with a solid/safe chimney and install the stove with all proper clearances in mind (probably 36 inches from anything for each) and see how you do unmodified first, then if you are using the hitzer and you want to try and make a baffle you can and you'll have some burning on the new chimney experience that you can compare it to (you might find the stove burns differently in this new house than you are used to when attached to a different chimney)

    welcome to the site!

    If contemplating getting a new epa stove, please keep in mind that these stove require very well seasoned wood! If you don't have at least a year's worth cut, split, stacked and dried for at least a year, then the new stove won't perform as it should. The old stove were better at burning not-so-well-seasoned wood.

    pen
  4. Mason coal burner

    Mason coal burner New Member

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    Selling stove is much easier said than done . I have an old glenwood 111 buseburner coal stove . That is useless to me here . So instead of dragging it to Canada . I tried selling it on the other forum . A shop that sells these old stoves could easily get 1500-2000$ for the stove . I put it up for 1000$ at first I didn't get one reply so I dropped it to 500$ to dump it . Still no reply . The living space in the house is 1870sqft . The basement is an additional 936sqft . There are 3 open floor registers and basement stair way on the first floor and 2 floor registers and stair well on the second floor .
  5. Mason coal burner

    Mason coal burner New Member

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    There is a masonry chimney already in place . 8x12 flue about 32-34 ft tall . The vigilant is in fair ly good shape . I got it out of the house of an architect I did some work for . Free . I don't think it got much use . If anyone has interest in any of these stoves they are for sale . They are still in NH . I would love to be able to buy one of these wood stoves . I am also a mason by trade with 22 years experience .
  6. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    If you have any pics of the stoves you can make a post for them in the for sale room in here.

    If you do sell them and go with an epa stove there are good budget friendly options out there. But, with an 8x12 masonry chimney, even if it's in good shape, it won't provide the draft you need for a modern stove as is and you'll need to install a SS liner, which, also actually aren't all that pricey if you install yourself.

    That flue for the wood stove wouldn't share with the furnace does it? If so, that's a no go.
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Stoves sell best during the heating season, especially in Sept. and Oct. Coal stoves are a bit harder sell than wood stoves. For comparison, a decent 3 cu ft EPA stove (Englander 30NC) can be had for $1000 or less.

    Get the chimney cleaned and have the tile liner inspected for any cracks or flaws before burning. If you decide to use one of the current stoves I would lean toward using the Vigilant. It's a good heater. Blow out all the air passages with compressed air outdoors and wear a dust mask. Examine for cracks and assert that the bypass damper and air control are in good working order. The chimney throat is too large for 6" flue stove, but may work ok for the Vigilant.
  8. Mason coal burner

    Mason coal burner New Member

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    Are you saying the flue is to big for an EPA stove . No furnace electric heat . The last person that lived here said it only cost about 300$ per month to heat . I felt like I got punched in the gut when I got my first electric bill and it was 600 plus . Probably 500$ of which was heat .
  9. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Yea, the EPA stoves need a strong draw which generally means a 6 inch stove collar going into a big flue like 8x12 is going to lose speed and won't allow the stove to operate for beans as fresh air won't be pulled in well w/out that strong draft. The old stoves had such open air controls that this wasn't much of an issue.

    I ran my EPA stove which is designed for a 6 inch chimney on a 7x7 masonry chimney for a year and thought that it was working fine. Installed a 6 inch liner and the difference was night and day, like adding 150hp to a car.

    pen
    Dairyman likes this.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Sounds like an EPA stove would pay for itself in a season easily. Do you have a good amount of wood already split and stacked or would you be purchasing firewood?
  11. Mason coal burner

    Mason coal burner New Member

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    I hate to say it I don't have any wood yet . I would need to buy some . I know it can be a very hard time finding someone that actually has real seasoned wood . My wife has a very big family I'm sure one of them will know someone that sells real seasoned wood . I want to start buying it ASAP . So I can stack it in the sun to help the seasoning process . The wood thing is another thing I have been doing a lot of thinking about . Most of the land around here is called "crown land" it's so called public land . It gets logged heavy . You can get a permit to go cut up what they leave behind but my thought is if it's public land why do I need a permit to cut on it . The problem with a new stove is the up front money then the savings come later . I would be burning 24/7 . How much wood should I expect to burn in an EPA stove per month ? Thanks for the help so far .
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Are you talking about in New Brunswick or New Hampshire?

    I'm guessing between 3-4 cords EPA and 4-5 non-EPA.
  13. Mason coal burner

    Mason coal burner New Member

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    New Brunswick . How much per month . The burn season is long here . Probably sept. to may .
  14. Locust Post

    Locust Post Minister of Fire

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    I'm sure Begreen means 3-4 cord EPA and 4-5 non EPA per season not per month like you ask.
  15. Locust Post

    Locust Post Minister of Fire

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    With the long burn seasson the non EPA could go 6 or 7 cord. Especially if it is marginal wood and you have to burn with more air. Either way I would strongly suggest a liner also. I installed a liner to my old non EPA stove and it burnt completely different....better that is.
    pen likes this.
  16. Mason coal burner

    Mason coal burner New Member

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    I figured that . What do people average burning per month in an EPA stove . Part of the reason I switched to coal was I got tired of bringing about 15-20 arm loads of wood into the house per day and feeding the stove about every 3 hours . With coal it took about one five gallon bucket every 12 hours . I wish I knew about these stoves back then .
  17. Mason coal burner

    Mason coal burner New Member

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    I'm learning lots here . I didnt have any idea that a large flue could also kill the draft .
  18. Locust Post

    Locust Post Minister of Fire

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    Lots of good guys and gals that like to help.
  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Per month is going to vary both with the weather and the month. You will likely burn twice as much wood or more in January than you will in November. It's easier to give a season total.
  20. Mason coal burner

    Mason coal burner New Member

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    Yes . I guess both way will vary a lot . Best judge would be to take an average of people in similar climates .
  21. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That's right, add to that similar construction houses, stove location, and wood species and similar indoor temps. Some folks love to keep their houses at 80F in the winter and others at 65F.
  22. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    The 8x12 probably won't work well as others have said. The height of it makes it a bit more interesting though. Once you drop a liner down a 32'+ chimney it will probably draft too much for a non cat EPA stove. If the chimney is in good shape I'd almost give it a shot to see how it works.

    The area of a 6" round chimney is 28in2 the 8"x12" is 96in2, that's a pretty big size difference but you never know! If you plan to heat from the basement I would go big or go home. If the chimney is good shape a stove with a 8" flue requirement may allow you to get away with using the masonry chimney. The downside of course is if it doesn't work you won't be sliding an 8" liner down the flue.
  23. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I think I must be missing something here . . . maybe it's my reading comprehension. You have a coal stove now. You like the coal stove's heat output and long burns. You were paying $260 per ton of coal in NH, thought you would pay $100 per ton of coal in NB but found out the actual price is more like $200-$250 per ton. My admitted bad math skills shows me that keeping the coal stove (assuming it is sized right for the house) would still mean a $10-$60 per ton savings by continuing to heat with coal.

    EPA stoves . . . rock. But as mentioned, it is almost a shame to put them in a basement if it's not a used living space -- partly due to the uninsulated walls sucking up the heat, but also because of the free entertainment value -- many a hearth.com member has turned off the TV at night to simply stare at the flames and the light show.

    Getting too hot . . . there are tips and tricks to moving the heat in homes . . . and if worse comes to worse, if things get too hot (I somehow manage to overheat the place at least once a year -- typically in the Fall when I reload too often or too much or simply should not reload at all) . . . you can always open some windows and cool the place down.

    Seasoned wood . . . EPA stoves need it. Plain and simple. Running one of these stoves without seasoned wood is like attempting to run a Porsche with water in the gas.

    Selling stoves . . . it's all about timing. This time of year there are only a few die-hard folks who are looking for woodstoves. Humans tend to be a funny lot. Give it another two or three months and folks will be pounding on the door for a deal once it gets cold and they start to think about filling up their oil or propane tanks. In terms of timing I cannot tell you how often I see folks attempting to sell snowmobiles in the summer and ATVs in the winter . . . oftentimes these are where the real deals can be made, but there is not much interest.

    HehHeh . . . the seller told you they heat the place with electric for $300/month and then you find out the cost is more like $500. Reminded me of when our home's seller said the crawl space had a "damp spot" (their exact words) . . . by this they meant in the Spring there would be 4-5 inches of water in the crawl space unless we had a sump pump installed.

    Buying a spanking brand new woodstove does cost money up front . . . and it can be a lot of work and probably isn't worth it for some folks who may be looking at a short term gain. However, for folks who are committed to making heating with wood more of a life style choice there is a long term gain . . . among them cheap heat, no worry about a cold house during power loss, independence from the up and down market price of oil, propane, etc.
  24. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    With such a tall chimney, especially if it is an interior chimney, I'd be tempted to try burning without the liner since finances are an issue. I'd put the money into a stove. Have you looked for a good used stove? There are usually plenty of good used EPA stoves for sale, which could save you a lot of money. If you can easily and inexpensively get the Vigilant from NH, and it is in good shape, then go ahead and try the combo the first year. Just install the Vigilant properly. If it will cost much to get the Vigilant (travel cost plus Harmonized sales tax at the border on its present value), it may be better to sell it in NH and buy a used stove in Canada...if you have someone to sell it for you in NH.

    I have a tall interior chimney in Zone 5...similar in height to yours. I have a 6 inch round flue, and with the air closed all the way down have too much draft. I require an additional damper in the stovepipe. So you may be alright with the larger flue. You can add a liner anytime. Try without first, realizing that you may need to add the liner. And get the wood as soon as you can. Unless you know it is a year split and stacked, resplit if necessary so you have fairly small splits. It will dry better, and burn more easily. You will use lightly more wood than with bigger splits, because the wood will burn faster, but you may be very glad of that if you have any compromise in quality of wood or draft in the chimney. Get next years wood cut as soon as you can manage, so you'll have good, dry, larger splits for next year.

    Look for smaller dead trees, even smaller dead down trees with branches holding them off the ground, for your first cutting. They'll dry fastest. Also, look for dead pine, which dries pretty quickly. You'll burn more wood with pine, but the epa stoves manage it safely and well.
  25. Mason coal burner

    Mason coal burner New Member

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    The coal for 200-250$ is in nova scotia . 6 hours each way plus fuel . To make it economical I would need to rent or borrow a trailer . Wish I could burn coal . My wife had to be dragged kicking and screaming to coal she Will be happy to go back to wood. I will be happy with wood I just don't want to burn 8-10 cord plus something else as back up . As I said I just learned 2 month ago about these EPA stoves . I would like one of these or convert my hitzer with secondary burn modifications . I've started looking at some of the stoves the big box stores sell (HD , lowes , Kent's , home hardware) . Englander , drolet . Are these good stoves ? Seems that people that have englanders etc. love them . It is an interior chimney . Rideau you said try a combo the first year . What combo ? I can get the vigilant to NB for no cost . I had my coal stove with a 7 inch pipe hooked to a 28-30 foot tall chimney 12x12 chimney . It had a very strong draft . Rideau do you know anything about cutting wood on "crown land" ?

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