Is this a safe way to run a wood/coal stove

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.
Status
Not open for further replies.

lime4x4

Member
Nov 18, 2005
134
Northeast Pa
I have a efel wood/coal stove. I want to burn coal in it.The air intake is in the back at the bottom of the stove.It doesn't really matter where i have the exhaust dampner at closed, fully open or anywhere inbetween.With the air intake set to max i can reach a surfce temp of 400 to 550 at the stove.If i close the air intake and open the ash pan door and the exhaust dampner fully closed i can reach around 720 to 780 degrees surface temp. Which is what i'm gonna need if i'm not gonna freeze this year... I have the stove located in the basement. I need to heat 2 floors.I have vents in the floors for heat to move around.The stove is solid cast iron 1/4" thick.The previous owners of this stove think it was rated at around 130K btu when using coal so that should more then enough to heat my house.According to another site my basement can support up to 176K btu stove. So will hurt running the stove this way for max temp?? Also i did check and there is no restrictions in the air intake side of the stove.It also vents into a 40' ss liner..I thought i was having a draft issue before but i don't think so.It seems more like a air supply problem
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,555
South Puget Sound, WA
Which model Efel is this? The Harmony 3 is rated at about 55,000 btus I think. In general, you are better off heating the living-space and not trying to overheat a basement in order to have heat percolate upward through the house. This is often very inefficient and leads to high fuel consumption and more pollution. Any possibility of moving the stove upstairs? Regardless - you do have fusible heat-links in those floor vents - right? If not, this is a bad idea.
 

bruce

Member
Nov 20, 2005
195
long pond pa
what is a fusible heat-link for the vents?
i have a harman tl 200 in the basement of a ranch, great uniit to much heat
i only open the basement door for heat to rise!
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,555
South Puget Sound, WA
An undampered floor register can act like a flue in a fire. A fusible link provides automatic closure of a damper in the register (grille) in case of fire to reduce draft and spread of smoke. Elk did a better summary elsewhere. Basically, in the event of a fire, you want as many barriers to prevent it's spread for as long as possible. There are other types of dampers, some triggered by smoke or CO detectors. The fusible link is simpler and unpowered. It's triggered by heat. When the link melts, the damper closes.
 

lime4x4

Member
Nov 18, 2005
134
Northeast Pa
yes i have fuseable link floor vents. The stove make not sure it looks like a little giant but then again other people said it was an ardine stove.I think alot of the effeincy is due to the fact that it's a multifuel stove.Seriously thinking of getting a new harmon hand fired with a domestic hot water coil. I wanted it in the basement so my basement doesn't freeze and also so i don't have cool damp air always coming up thru the floor.Plus moving it to the first floor would require way too much work not to mention ripping part of the chimney out to gain access to the liner then building a heat resistant pad for it
 

webbie

Seasoned Moderator
Nov 17, 2005
12,178
Western Mass.
lime4x4 said:
I have a efel wood/coal stove. I want to burn coal in it.The air intake is in the back at the bottom of the stove.It doesn't really matter where i have the exhaust dampner at closed, fully open or anywhere inbetween.With the air intake set to max i can reach a surfce temp of 400 to 550 at the stove.If i close the air intake and open the ash pan door and the exhaust dampner fully closed i can reach around 720 to 780 degrees surface temp. Which is what i'm gonna need if i'm not gonna freeze this year...

Your question can be answered as such " This is not a safe way to run a coal stove".

Coal provides a constant and steady heat. Any modification of the air inlet or running of the stove at high temps on a constant bases will greatly shorten the life of the stove...or worse.

Coal is what they use to melt iron! Any a coal stove can surely melt down....at least the insides!

Although 700-800 degrees is an allowable temperature, I think it is unreachable on a constant basis. There are many Q and A's on HearthNet which address the general folly of trying to heat a house from a basement radiant stove.

I suggest you consider a coal burning furnace or boiler - you can probably find a used one cheap, and new ones (hot air) start as low as $1200. Only by delivering the heat directly to the living area can you hope to get what you seem to want from the unit.

Good Luck
 

lime4x4

Member
Nov 18, 2005
134
Northeast Pa
was also thinking of a coal furnace i've also seen the new harmons have a blower fan which would probably help.back when the house was built that's all they had to heat the house was a coal stove in the basement and that was back in 1912. My parents have a rice stoker that's in there basement and it heats the first floor with no problem.I think it's rated at 96Kbtu.I wanted a handfire setup due to power outages.I also have a pellet stove on the first floor but i really didn't want to run both at the sametime constantly.It's funny thou my second floor has been real comfortable but the first floor is always on the chilly side makes no sense
 

seaken

Minister of Fire
Nov 21, 2005
580
Shokan, NY
www.crackermill.com
I don't think the previous owners idea of the stoves BTU output is realistic at 130K. Unless this is a furnace unit it is more likely under 65K. The surface temperature at 500 degrees would be about right at that BTU output for a large stove. If this is a furnace it will have connections for moving heated air or water and the need for floor vents and an open basement door would be uneccesary. I suggest you have local professional or two give you some advice about the practicality of using that existing stove in the manner you intended to use it. I agree with the others here who believe its a bad idea. Either move it upstairs or get a furnace. Or leave it in the basement to heat the basement but ad another stove upstairs to heat the upstairs.

Sean
 

lime4x4

Member
Nov 18, 2005
134
Northeast Pa
well i'm not going to run it with the ash pan door open.Still looking into all the options...And 2 local dealers are recomending the Harman Magnafire Series Coal Stove Mark III
They both claim having it in the basement wouldn't be a problem
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,555
South Puget Sound, WA
lime4x4 said:
I also have a pellet stove on the first floor but i really didn't want to run both at the sametime constantly.It's funny thou my second floor has been real comfortable but the first floor is always on the chilly side makes no sense

How are the insulation, caulking and windows on this old house? If it's poor, that might be your fastest way to comfort and saving on the fuel bills.
 

lime4x4

Member
Nov 18, 2005
134
Northeast Pa
attic is packed with insulation..I also replaced all the windows with gased filles ones and i insualted the outside walls when i did my remodel last year
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,555
South Puget Sound, WA
Excellent. Good to hear this. Sound like you are on the right track, but have a big heating load. What part of the country is this in? How big is the house? What temp do you keep it at?
 

webbie

Seasoned Moderator
Nov 17, 2005
12,178
Western Mass.
lime4x4 said:
well i'm not going to run it with the ash pan door open.Still looking into all the options...And 2 local dealers are recomending the Harman Magnafire Series Coal Stove Mark III
They both claim having it in the basement wouldn't be a problem

Having it in the basement may not be a problem, but neither would having it out on the patio!

Unless it is an insulated furnace, much of the heat will be soaked up by the tons of masonry mass and earth that surround your basement, so the actual heating efficiency of your living space is likely to be very low...unless you have a finished basement that you want to heat.

The old coal stoves that heated from the basement had giant grates above them and also large convection shrouds around them - they also held 100 lbs or more of coal!
 

lime4x4

Member
Nov 18, 2005
134
Northeast Pa
I'm located in northeast pa.I beleive the quote was under 2000.00 but that also included the domestic hotwater heater coil and installation.My house is just under 2000 sq feet.Last year my natrual gas bill just for the heating season was over 2600.00 with the expected increase i'd be looking at almost 4000 if not more for natural gas.I don't want the house super hot just around 65 to 68 degrees..I'm also gonna look into the coal furnace from harmon as well
 

lime4x4

Member
Nov 18, 2005
134
Northeast Pa
well i guess i'll have to place a over size vent right above the stove then to help the heat to rise
 
Status
Not open for further replies.