Anyone still burn coal?

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rwh63

Feeling the Heat
Nov 12, 2019
284
MA
have the opportunity to pick up a Vermont Castings Resolute, currently set up for wood, but comes with the coal kit. i don't hear much about coal, and am wondering if it is competitive with wood in any ways.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,101
central pa
have the opportunity to pick up a Vermont Castings Resolute, currently set up for wood, but comes with the coal kit. i don't hear much about coal, and am wondering if it is competitive with wood in any ways.
It is better in some ways worse in others. First thing to find out is how is coal availability in your area
 

BIGChrisNH

Minister of Fire
Dec 16, 2015
556
New Hampshire
When I bought my house back in 09, there was a coal/wood combo stove from Russo in the basement. I burned some coal in it, and what I liked about it was that once you got the coal fire going, it lasted a long time and I liked the heat from it. I didn't find it to be much messier than wood either. But, coal is not a popular fuel where I am, and I have been able to get most of my wood for free, either from my own property or through other means, so it didn't make sense. If coal is cheap and plentiful where you are, it is definitely a viable way to heat.
 

coal and wood man

New Member
Aug 27, 2021
5
PA
I have been using a Vigilant II for the last 18 years. Burn both wood and coal in it, wood when it is not too cold and coal when it gets cold. Does not burn real long with wood since the grates let the coals fall through too easily but that is not the design. It is my second coal stove the first was a Waterford. The coal stove puts out a lot of heat and has good burn times especially using anthracite. That is an advantage of being close to coal county in PA. The biggestand hopefully I can get another 18 years out of it. isue I see now is spare parts since the stove is discontinued. I keep a stock of parts on hand: fireback, grates, shaker rod, glass
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,924
Long Island NY
I'd get it, and get some coal. At the very least it gives you a back-up for if you are in a bind with wood (too wet, not enough in a cold winter etc).
 

rwh63

Feeling the Heat
Nov 12, 2019
284
MA
thx for the replies. does coal burn lower and more steady than wood? i've read that it "lasts longer", esp. good for overnights. is waste disposal a challenge? does it burn clean out the chimney, or dirty? the loading seems a little like a pellet stove set up; load it and just keep topping it up.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,924
Long Island NY
thx for the replies. does coal burn lower and more steady than wood? i've read that it "lasts longer", esp. good for overnights. is waste disposal a challenge? does it burn clean out the chimney, or dirty? the loading seems a little like a pellet stove set up; load it and just keep topping it up.

From my (watching) experience, it does not necessarily burn lower than wood. The heat output is mostly determined by the size of the fire. (Though I don't know how this works with the newfangled hopper systems with pea sized coal....)

Wast disposal was never an issue as a good burning coal fire does not create a lot of ash. (We burned tomato sized coal,. manually fed in batches.)

It was very clean for us in the chimney.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,101
central pa
thx for the replies. does coal burn lower and more steady than wood? i've read that it "lasts longer", esp. good for overnights. is waste disposal a challenge? does it burn clean out the chimney, or dirty? the loading seems a little like a pellet stove set up; load it and just keep topping it up.
It will last longer yes. If setup properly it will burn much lower and longer than wood.

Waste disposable can be a challenge depending upon your area and the volume you burn.

Coal does not make creosote at all so actual chimney fires are not an issue. But it can put allot of fly ash in the chimney that will need cleaned. The ash is also extremely corrosive if it gets any moisture. It does put out allot more chemicals into the atmosphere as well
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,101
central pa
From my (watching) experience, it does not necessarily burn lower than wood. The heat output is mostly determined by the size of the fire. (Though I don't know how this works with the newfangled hopper systems with pea sized coal....)

Wast disposal was never an issue as a good burning coal fire does not create a lot of ash. (We burned tomato sized coal,. manually fed in batches.)

It was very clean for us in the chimney.
It leaves allot of ash. When I was burning coal I easily had 10 gallons a week. Wood might be 5 gals a month
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,924
Long Island NY
It leaves allot of ash. The volume is only about cut in half normally after burning. The weight is cut greatly though.

I wonder if that depends on the type of coal? We burned through a boatload of coal as a family in Europe in the 80s and never had much ash.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,101
central pa
I wonder if that depends on the type of coal? We burned through a boatload of coal as a family in Europe in the 80s and never had much ash.
Absolutely. Softer coals will burn down more than anthracite.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,924
Long Island NY
Ok. Good to have learned that.
I always liked the coal fire. A little mountain of heat in there. Lasted long, deep heat.

Having a 10 cubic foot stash as backup for an otherwise wood-use (but dual capability) stove is a good feeling imo.
 

rwh63

Feeling the Heat
Nov 12, 2019
284
MA
i don't consider this stove to be dual fuel, unlike early vigilantes that could burn either as-is (i believe). you do have to uninstall the internal wood stove pieces and instill the entire coal kit. not sure how long that takes.

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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,101
central pa
i don't consider this stove to be dual fuel, unlike early vigilantes that could burn either as-is (i believe). you do have to uninstall the internal wood stove pieces and instill the entire coal kit. not sure how long that takes.

View attachment 281361 View attachment 281362
Yeah they really are just coal stoves. Yeah you can burn some wood but not well at all
 

rwh63

Feeling the Heat
Nov 12, 2019
284
MA
picked up the stove today from the original owner (had purchased it directly from the factory in Vermont in 1980). stove looks fabulous. excellent owner. has set screw side warmers, mitten racks, screen, wood and coal kits. paint is excellent.
 

clancey

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2021
1,730
Colorado
I wish that they could bring it back and somehow for home use have some gadgets that clean up the burning of it--filters or something--for it seems really nice to burn it and I did not know that the size of those nuggets changed and I would like them bigger as well...Found one in my old house from 1926 and should have kept it--lol Kidding here...But coal to me seems on the tube so much easier to handle and the heat is long lasting--wish they could upgrade it and make it good..old mrs clancey
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,101
central pa
I wish that they could bring it back and somehow for home use have some gadgets that clean up the burning of it--filters or something--for it seems really nice to burn it and I did not know that the size of those nuggets changed and I would like them bigger as well...Found one in my old house from 1926 and should have kept it--lol Kidding here...But coal to me seems on the tube so much easier to handle and the heat is long lasting--wish they could upgrade it and make it good..old mrs clancey
The size varies depending upon the type of stove you use. The stokers that auto feed from a hopper use rice coal which is pretty small. Hand fired stoves use pea or nut coal usually some still use stove coal which is pretty big.

Any filters etc are going to be really expensive and take allot of maintenance. I just don't see it being practical for residential use
 

rwh63

Feeling the Heat
Nov 12, 2019
284
MA
my “new” resolute coal stove! It was used to burn coal throughout its life, so it is really clean inside (no creosote) and no metal damage.

41BCB6C1-2C99-4FA1-B132-B5DE497A276E.jpeg F0FBD1AF-96B3-464A-8494-82DAADACA072.jpeg
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,101
central pa
my “new” resolute coal stove! It was used to burn coal throughout its life, so it is really clean inside (no creosote) and no metal damage.

View attachment 281446 View attachment 281447
Well of course there won't be any creosote in it if it was only used for coal lol. By the look of those internal parts it was very well maintained. And I don't think it was used very hard. What chimney will this be hooked to?
 

rwh63

Feeling the Heat
Nov 12, 2019
284
MA
the owner used it significantly over the 40 years of ownership. generally speaking, i could tell he is a "professional amateur", so not surprising the stove is in exceptional condition. he said the coal kit wasn't immediately available, so the stove burned wood the first year. then only coal since until a few years ago.

and yes, no creosote with coal. seen some really bad old stoves caked in the stuff. making me rethink coal, at least for these older stoves (and yes, i know about dry wood).

PO liked the coal also because it would still be going in the morning, unlike many wood stoves that need to start all over every AM.
 

rwh63

Feeling the Heat
Nov 12, 2019
284
MA
40 lb bags off anthracite USA coal at tractor supply for $6.50. is this good value? no idea how to compare coal cost/heat output to hardwood.
 

moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
1,842
Iowa
40 lb bags off anthracite USA coal at tractor supply for $6.50. is this good value? no idea how to compare coal cost/heat output to hardwood.
I have no idea on current coal price. For $6.50 a 40lb bag I would certainly hope it would go a looong time! Did you ask the former owner what to expect for burn times/operational procedure etc? Such a moving target it's hard to guess. Sounds like it has the potential for getting rather expensive. Maybe? Curious.
You will likely get hands on guidance from the same stove operators at coalpail.com. Best of luck. Let us know how it pans out.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,101
central pa
40 lb bags off anthracite USA coal at tractor supply for $6.50. is this good value? no idea how to compare coal cost/heat output to hardwood.
325/ton is rediculously high for coal here. You can have a ton delivered for $250 or so. If you go pick it up at a cracker $200 or less
 

rwh63

Feeling the Heat
Nov 12, 2019
284
MA
325/ton is rediculously high for coal here. You can have a ton delivered for $250 or so. If you go pick it up at a cracker $200 or less
That was just a bag price. No idea what a ton would be. I read one ton equals 2-3 cords of heat output.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,101
central pa
That was just a bag price. No idea what a ton would be. I read one ton equals 2-3 cords of heat output.
Can you get bulk delivery in your area?