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Converting Boiler back to coal from oil

Bruce MBruce M Member Posts: 123
It would help if you mentioned the make and model of the boiler. Were any of the old coal parts retained in the basement (grates and shakers)? Since you live in New York you will be burning anthracite coal (rice or buckwheat size). I would look to buy one of the automatic stoker models of coal boilers on the market. Look at the Keystoker models which are made in Pennsylvania.
also look at the Electric Furnace Man (EFM) coal boiler with the automatic stoker. It has the option of adding an oil burner kit for summer usage. In the past the hand fired coal boilers would be banked so that the fire did not go out during the night. If it was very cold outside you had to get up early and shovel coal to get the boiler up to speed. During the day, someone has to be available to hand-fire a coal boiler. I think you would be much happier with a modern coal boiler with an automatic stoker. You would use less coal. You might want to look here for an EFM dealer in your area as you did not specify where in the Hudson Valley you are locted.


  • Converting Boiler back to coal from oil

    I have a 110 year old house with the original boiler. It is an immense steam boiler that was converted to oil at some point. Now, with oil going through the roof, I'd like to convert it b ack to coal. Can anyone recommend someone in the Hudson Valley area of New York that is familiar with these old units? I know it can be done ... everyone I've had in to look at it walks right out the door! Have pics! Thanks in advance.
  • Mike T., Swampeast MOMike T., Swampeast MO Member Posts: 6,928

    I believe that components critical to using solid fuel are typically removed when converted to oil or gas; among them the burning grates and mechanism that allowed clinkers to be broken up with reasonable ease. While anything can be done, I suspect that custom forging such components would be extraordinarily expensive.
  • Converting Oil Boiler back to Coal

    I was thinking I might just retrofit a stoker to the boiler, eliminating the need for the grates, etc. The mechanicals on the boiler are Webster, but the housing of the boiler looks like it was built on site ... block construction wrapped in asbestos with cast iron pipe above the burner. It currently has a Beckett oil burner. The structure of the heating unit is like a municipal plant and seems a waste to bypass it.
  • Steamhead (in transit)Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    When you say

    "The mechanicals on the boiler are Webster", are you referring to some devices installed in the piping near the boiler? If so, and the steam system is two-pipe, you probably have a Webster Vapor system- the Cadillac of heating in the old days.

    Steam systems- and Vapor systems in particular- were originally designed around solid-fuel firing. They also work well with oil or gas firing when suitably upgraded.

    Older coal boilers might or might not have been efficient depending on their design. When converted to oil or gas some of these coal-designed units showed decent efficiency, others were horrible- as low as 40%. But none can equal the efficiency of a modern boiler.

    So what make and model boiler do you have now? Can you post some pics?


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  • oil-2-4-6-gasoil-2-4-6-gas Member Posts: 641
    post pics

    post up some pics of the snowman are there any of the old mechanicals around from the original -
    if not i'll bet they can be sourced

    the 1 major issue would be your homeowners insurance with burning solid fuels indoors
  • Bruce MBruce M Member Posts: 123
    Used Coal Boiler Dealers

    I should mention that in Northeast Pennsylvania (Coal Country) there is a market for and dealers of used coal boilers. Your parts are probably luring around somewhere. Have you looked in all the nooks and cranies of your basement? Is your coal bin and delivery chute still intact?
  • Bruce MBruce M Member Posts: 123

    On this web site under the RESOURCES heading and then the LIBRARY heading there is a wealth of old literature. A lot of other people have and collect old literature. You need the owner's or installation or parts manual for your boiler because you do not know exactly what parts are missing. Very often there are part numbers so that you can do a faster search for the parts.
  • stevesteve Member Posts: 185

    That'll be one way to get you to replace that dinosaur.

    Instead of going backwards in time, why not replace that beast?

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