coal fireplace to wood conversion

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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
24,000
central pa
Like always, you are right on what you say about me, I have only 30 Yrs of wood burning.
Time burning is only a tiny part of the equation.
 

thecoalman

Member
Jul 18, 2008
36
Coal Country
coalpail.com
But my house doesn't smell like sulfur. To me that is more important.
If you have sulfur smell in your house while burning anthracite something is wrong. That's like saying you can smell diesel exhaust from oil burner. The one caveat is if you are using hand fired stove and some gases escape into the house while loading but it certainly shouldn't be a consistent smell.

Something to note here since you are from central PA, I have seen companies out that way marketing coal as anthracite at a price that could not possibly be anthracite. I have no experience with it but soft coal can have a very powerful sulfur odor and based on what I have read not something I would burn inside a home. I'd use baseboard electric before putting up with that.
 
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john26

Feeling the Heat
Oct 27, 2008
492
Wildwood MO
On the subject of Clean coal in power house I believe they use bituminous coal but there is a massive amount emissions controls to clean it. Here in Missouri many off our plant inject urea nitrogen (cow pee) as a mist directly on the fire. The exhaust is run through scrubbers and precipitation boxes. In the precip box the exhaust is shocked with high voltage, looks like lightning in there. This cleans the exhaust and produces a very powdery white fly ash.
After spending time in a coal burner power house I didn't like the smell and the dust it may be different burning coal in a house but didn't want to find out.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,319
South Puget Sound, WA
My first big job was part of a crew that replaced the breaching interior of a massive multi-boiler powerplant in Wingdale, NY. The interior of the duct going into huge brick stack was around 12 x 16 feet and the boilers had to remain operational. I got more coal dust in that summer at 17 yrs old than most folks would see in a lifetime. Never wanted to be near the stuff again.
 
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thecoalman

Member
Jul 18, 2008
36
Coal Country
coalpail.com
Coal dust certainly can be a nuisance in a house but it can be mitigated. First and foremost buy your coal in the summer when it's going to be the cleanest. I used to deliver coal hence the username "thecoalman". Most breakers have giant hoppers with a chute for loading high lift coal trucks. Before it hits the chute it goes across a screen with water jets. The winter can be hit and miss because the coal will freeze in hopper and they aren't usable. However if your coal delivery guy is buying the loader operator a very expensive bottle of bourbon every Christmas they might be able to get him to save the cleanest and roundest pieces on the edge of the pile. :)

The very worst time to get coal delivery is during very cold weather because the breakers usually shut down and you end up with coal off the stock pile. If it hasn't rained/snowed in some time that can be very dry. Even if it's wet it's "frozen dry".

Just prior to delivery if the bin is in the house dampen the walls and floor of your bin with garden sprayer. There is usually very little dust from the delivery itself but it can kick up a lot of dust from the floor or walls of the bin. You can also use the garden sprayer to dampen coal prior to shoveling it, the only issue with this is can exacerbate corrosion in the hopper. Other than lowering the efficiency some the water has no affect on burning it. Some dealers can also offer oiled coal for small fee, they use mineral oil or you can even do it yourself with the garden sprayer.

Another thing you can do if using bagged coal.... Put the bag in the hopper, cut the bottom with razor and pull the bag out. There is various other tips and tricks, too many to mention here and many depened on the circumstances. .
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
24,000
central pa
Coal dust certainly can be a nuisance in a house but it can be mitigated. First and foremost buy your coal in the summer when it's going to be the cleanest. I used to deliver coal hence the username "thecoalman". Most breakers have giant hoppers with a chute for loading high lift coal trucks. Before it hits the chute it goes across a screen with water jets. The winter can be hit and miss because the coal will freeze in hopper and they aren't usable. However if your coal delivery guy is buying the loader operator a very expensive bottle of bourbon every Christmas they might be able to get him to save the cleanest and roundest pieces on the edge of the pile. :)

The very worst time to get coal delivery is during very cold weather because the breakers usually shut down and you end up with coal off the stock pile. If it hasn't rained/snowed in some time that can be very dry. Even if it's wet it's "frozen dry".

Just prior to delivery if the bin is in the house dampen the walls and floor of your bin with garden sprayer. There is usually very little dust from the delivery itself but it can kick up a lot of dust from the floor or walls of the bin. You can also use the garden sprayer to dampen coal prior to shoveling it, the only issue with this is can exacerbate corrosion in the hopper. Other than lowering the efficiency some the water has no affect on burning it. Some dealers can also offer oiled coal for small fee, they use mineral oil or you can even do it yourself with the garden sprayer.

Another thing you can do if using bagged coal.... Put the bag in the hopper, cut the bottom with razor and pull the bag out. There is various other tips and tricks, too many to mention here and many depened on the circumstances. .
Or those of us that prefer wood could just stick with wood and not deal with coal dust in our homes at all.
 

nortcan

Burning Hunk
Sep 9, 2016
226
Quebec
If done using some care , anthracite burning is not more dusty/dirty than wood burning. If not both can be dirty and dusty...
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
24,000
central pa
Guys we get it you like coal. Most of us here prefer wood. No ammout on you guys praising coal is going to change that especially for the op who was dealing with old open coal fireplaces.
 
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