Wood or Coal?

btarby15 Posted By btarby15, Sep 25, 2018 at 11:37 AM

  1. btarby15

    btarby15
    New Member 2.
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    Sep 25, 2018
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    Heatmor
    I've recently purchased and installed a Heatmor 100CB for my home. This model claims to be a coal boiler, but the dealer I purchased from said most people just burn wood in it. To burn coal, you buy shaker grates and then you can use coal. This will be used to heat my 2200 sq ft home.

    My question is - Does anyone have any input as to using a coal outdoor boiler? How much coal do you go through a winter? Wood is free, but time is money. Is coal worth it?
     
  2. E Yoder

    E Yoder
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    Jan 27, 2017
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    Years ago I burned some coal in a grated Heatmaster furnace. I think about 4 ton would have heated my house (v. about 10-12 cord in that older updrafting style unit) for a winter.
    Depending on the price of coal it can be s cheap way to heat. I used soft coal (bituminous), but it had a strong sulfur smell.
    You'll find quality can really vary.
     
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  3. btarby15

    btarby15
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    Sep 25, 2018
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    Heatmor
    Thanks for the reply! You had said you went through 10-12 cords of wood with an older model, have you heard about the efficiency of newer models? I have a new model that has over and under draft for gasification. I've heard this kind of thing decreased their usage from 10 cords down to only a few.
     
  4. peakbagger

    peakbagger
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    Jul 11, 2008
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    Make sure you factor in coal ash disposal into the mix. Coal ash is potentially toxic while wood ash is a useful soil amendment. If you have local waste disposal that ends up in landfill its probably not an issue but dumping it on the ground on your property is a dumb idea. Sure coal ash used to be dumped in the backyard or used on driveways for traction in winter but that is not done anymore as its leaving a toxic legacy. Homeowners in cities where coal was used for heating frequently find out that if they want to grow a garden they need to bring in uncontaminated soil as the soil in the lot is toxic from dumped coal ash and lead paint from the houses.

    That strong sulfur smell is one step away from spewing toxic smoke in the air, its starts out as SO2 but once it comes into contact with vapor in the air it turns in dilute sulfuric acid, thus the term acid raiin. Coal also tends to make finer particulate that is more worrisome for health affects. There is recent research that these small particulates could be linked to Alzheimers. By the way depending on the coal source you may be putting out small amounts of mercury vapor.

    Coal can be burned cleanly by installation of some very sophisticated down stream emissions controls like wet electrostatic precipitators with carbon injection but you wont find that on a home OWB and the toxic ash issue remains. Of course anyone burning a typical OWB has already whether they know it or not have committed to burning 2 to 3 times more wood than a proper indoor boiler with storage.

    I am not a radical environmentalist but it sure makes sense to me to avoid doing stuff that degrades my local environment and burning coal fits that bill especially when there is an alternative.
     
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  5. E Yoder

    E Yoder
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    Jan 27, 2017
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    Yes, I'm burning a gasification boiler now and have cut my wood consumption way down. .
     
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