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 Post subject: Alternative fuels for coal stoves
PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:29 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:32 pm
Posts: 175
Does anyone have any experience using non-coal fuels with the (old school) cast iron coal stoves? Was considering wood pellets, but wanted to see if anyone had any input.


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 Post subject: Re: Alternative fuels for coal stoves
PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:58 pm 

Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 10:22 am
Posts: 491
Charcoal should work. Some brands like Kingsford have coal in them.

Firewood and "Presto" Logs should also work.

Careful with wood pellets, there are some firebox design requirements.

-Hudson


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 Post subject: Re: Alternative fuels for coal stoves
PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:06 am 

Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:15 am
Posts: 23
I have a large Estate #285 cast iron stove, originally in the depot at Harveyville ,KS on the old Santa Fe Alma branch. For more than ten years, I had it in a lower room of the house, and heated about 90% with that stove. Of course nobody around Emporia sold coal, but there was lots of wood available, and my choice fuel back then was Hedge. It burned hotter than any other wood I ever used, and I can't imagine coal doing any better.


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 Post subject: Re: Alternative fuels for coal stoves
PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:44 pm 

Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2015 7:28 pm
Posts: 267
Location: Northern WV
Any well-dried hardwood should do. Locust would be my first choice. After that, I would go with oak or maple.

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 Post subject: Re: Alternative fuels for coal stoves
PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:15 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:26 am
Posts: 3958
Location: Maine
Curious - why abandon coal in the first place?

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 Post subject: Re: Alternative fuels for coal stoves
PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:35 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:07 pm
Posts: 1038
Location: Leicester, MA.
Richard Glueck wrote:
Curious - why abandon coal in the first place?

As I see it working in the heating side of things down this way, there's two reasons that contributed primarily to the downfall of coal as a primary heating fuel. Right off the bat is convenience. If you're a homeowner, what's the easier way to heat the house? Shoveling coal into a boiler every few hours to keep it going, or flipping a switch and letting an oil pump on the burner handle the labor? Then you've got cleanliness. Burning coal in an old boiler leaves behind a LOT of ash that needs to be cleaned out about every day or so depending on how much coal you'd burn through. With oil that isn't a daily chore. On the old stuff you could get away with YEARS between cleaning the thing out or tuning up the burner. For instance on an old pot burner there was just an electrode, transformer and a fan. Electrode sat in a small pot of oil, sparked the surface of the fuel while the fan provided draft. We've still got four or five that we deal with in Worcester and the most I'm aware that the techs have had to do on one was replace a transformer.

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 Post subject: Re: Alternative fuels for coal stoves
PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:56 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:07 am
Posts: 696
Location: Philadelphia Pa
daylight4449 wrote:
Richard Glueck wrote:
Curious - why abandon coal in the first place?

As I see it working in the heating side of things down this way, there's two reasons that contributed primarily to the downfall of coal as a primary heating fuel. Right off the bat is convenience. If you're a homeowner, what's the easier way to heat the house? Shoveling coal into a boiler every few hours to keep it going, or flipping a switch and letting an oil pump on the burner handle the labor? Then you've got cleanliness. Burning coal in an old boiler leaves behind a LOT of ash that needs to be cleaned out about every day or so depending on how much coal you'd burn through. With oil that isn't a daily chore. On the old stuff you could get away with YEARS between cleaning the thing out or tuning up the burner. For instance on an old pot burner there was just an electrode, transformer and a fan. Electrode sat in a small pot of oil, sparked the surface of the fuel while the fan provided draft. We've still got four or five that we deal with in Worcester and the most I'm aware that the techs have had to do on one was replace a transformer.



I think the question was in regards to this particular stove, not coal use in general.


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 Post subject: Re: Alternative fuels for coal stoves
PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:04 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 5:10 pm
Posts: 996
I suspect it may be an inability to get coal. There are vast areas of this country where coal is no longer available in small quantities. A unit train? No problem, but 50 pounds? Are you kidding?


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 Post subject: Re: Alternative fuels for coal stoves
PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:16 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:29 pm
Posts: 350
Anybody that has said "shovel coal into the fire every few hours" has not used coal as a heat fuel. You can throw a shovel of coal into a stove and it will burn much, much longer then wood. Our old coal furnace (RIP) would burn all night with a single shovel of coal. See if you can find somebody on craigslist that sells bags of coal.

Or...use some chacoal briquets.

T7


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 Post subject: Re: Alternative fuels for coal stoves
PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:19 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2017 4:38 pm
Posts: 29
Ace Hardware, Tractor Supply company sell coal all sell coal locally while TSC lists it on the web. Local TSC store has 50lb bags of coal, a whole pallets worth by the front door inside and even sells so called "caboose style" stoves. In my little wooded 'cul-de-sec' at the end of a runway all 4 of us use coal to at least heat a workshop/hangar. Delivered cost at $300 per tonne from the "local" dealers with a little venison thrown in on the side. Its easier than propane or natural gas because we would also have to get those delivered, fuel oil storage (all liquid fuel storage) needs to be inspected by the county and a permit given before the oil company will even come out. Personally I really like coal for heating. Using rough btu efficiency to judge economics point to over $300 per month of savings over delivered lp.

As far as alternatives to coal, You will have to search more I am not aware of any that are worth the time unless you just want a fire to look at. Look at see what the energy density of the fuel is, the higher the better. Look into torrefied biomass. You most likely aren't able to get your hands on it however after reading about it, if its available in the future for a economic price point it could be an option.


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 Post subject: Re: Alternative fuels for coal stoves
PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:52 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2004 10:34 pm
Posts: 682
I burn wood. I tried coal and I liked it a lot, but the soot is horrible in the house. I then tried the "green" coal and I admit it burns clean but my firebox is to small for it to heat the way I like it to heat. I am using a 6 burner cook stove but the old fashioned firebox is to small, my only complaint. You have to be home to keep stoking the fire with small wood. Retirement has its benefits.

The OP doesn't say whether this is for grins or just a once in a while fireup? For general purpose heating in a house just burn wood. If you want to have fun burn the high sulfur coal, my favorite. Hope some nimby drives by and tears the scabs off their ulcer over it. To keep it railroad add a little steam oil pot on top the stove. Coal gives off a nostalgic smell but lacks the oil mixed aroma. Better than the "essential oils" you can buy at Walmart of your favorite metaphysical book store. The combined smell of burning coal and hot oil is known to cure a bunch of different ailments. With the added benefit of it keeps you nice and warm. Not sure what this has to do with much of anything?

If you want coal you can find it, you might have to work at it a little. Another place in Wi that sells it besides all the boutique stove shops and lawn and garden places is some local co-ops still sold it not long ago. Regards, John.


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 Post subject: Re: Alternative fuels for coal stoves
PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:57 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:47 pm
Posts: 84
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Penn Keystone sells anthracite in 50 pound bags.

Suggest you see http://www.baggedcoal.com/

They also sell Pocahontas Blacksmith soft coal:

http://www.penncoal.com/blacksmith-live-steam.html

Phil Mulligan


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 Post subject: Re: Alternative fuels for coal stoves
PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:46 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 11:58 am
Posts: 34
Richard Glueck wrote:
Curious - why abandon coal in the first place?



Another possible problem for OP is time. Perhaps they only need to fire up the potbelly for a weekend afternoon.

It takes longer to get a coal fire going, and then way longer for it to burn out.

For me ash disposal is an issue. Wood ash just goes on the garden as fertilizer. Coal ash is too toxic for that.

Brian


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 Post subject: Re: Alternative fuels for coal stoves
PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:48 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2005 9:32 pm
Posts: 263
Charcoal briquettes work fine, also much cleaner and without the authentic coal smell. It is less dense and more expensive than coal, you need to burn more of it. May be shop around for a low cost brand. Careful not to get self light charcoal.
In a small space like a calaboose I highly recommend a CO detector.


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