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keystokoker/pellergy pellet burner

the second option I have is the pellergy pb-3550 wood chip burner this is a direct drop in replacement for existing oil burner useing all the existing controls.There are a few postings on u-tube includeing one of a 1950's american standard steam boiler it unit acts like an oil burner and produces a similar flame. The company states that they have worked with burnham and they are approved for the mpo boilers.This is my second option as the price of all fuels are riseing  lp 4.10 a gallon coal 330 a ton wood chips 189 a ton but oil had dropped 55 cents a gallon to3.26 but for how long. I would be very greatful for any feedback



  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,314
    Are you young?

    The are several reasons solid fuel is not popular for residential heating with steam. One issue is getting the fuel to the boiler. The second is removing the waste. The third is proper combustion in varying conditions, damp spring burning versus dry middle of January burning. There are some folks on here who grew up feeding coal to a boiler for heat and I doubt they would go back to it. Steel can work for a boiler but water quality needs to be spot on and life of a steel boiler is simply less than that of a cast iron boiler. Burning solid fuel and liquid fuel is not allow in the same chimney never mind the same boiler in Massachussets due to issue of poor combustion and chimney fiires. The former often leads to the latter. just because they make it does not mean it is approved for installation where you live. The 2500 square feet is that E.D.R. or house square footage?
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • Rod
    Rod Posts: 2,067
    edited July 2012
    Coal Heating!

    You have NO idea what a pain it is heating with coal!  When I was a kid, We had a automatic stoker that had to be filled twice a day when it was very cold.  You also had to remove the red hot clinkers from the firebox. This combined operation was done twice a day, morning and evening. The clinkers were sometimes fused into a donut shape so you had to use an iron bar to break them up.  On jamming the bar into the "donut", your had to be very careful not to slip and ram the bar into the fire brick lining the firebox.  Once you got the clinkers broken into removable sizes, you used big iron tongs to lift the red hot clinkers out of the furnace and into metal trash cans (non flammable) so they could cool.  You always had 3 or 4 metals trash cans lying about, some with red hot clinkers you had just removed and others that had been removed from the last cycle, cooled, and now had to be taken out side and dumped in the garbage cans. ( One thing you might want to check is whether the trash pickups will still accept clinkers)  After filling the stoker's hopper and removing the clinkers, you then had to sweep up the coal dust and ash on the basement floor.


    The "real" fun occurred when coal was delivered. A chute was placed through  a basement window and coal dumped into the chute.  The coal landed in a heap and you then had to shovel the coal to the far corners of the coal bin to level out the load. Coal dust got all over everything! You spent hours sweeping up and then had to decontaminate yourself before being allowed up into the house for a much needed shower.

    When we switched to oil I thought I had died and gone to Heaven!  The house was much cleaner too!   Oil would have to go to $15 a gal before I'd even consider coal and even then I would probably get a night job at 7-11 first to keep the oil!

    - Rod

    Edit:  Jean-David mentioned below that their system rarely got clinkers.  We almost always had clinkers that needed to be broken up. .I'm not sure whether this is due to the type of coal we used locally (Western Canada) or because the automatic stoker also had a fan that produced forced draft (like a forge) and the flame was very hot.
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    Residential coal heating.

    My dad had three houses (one at a time) heated by burning coal. The first and third had convection hot air. The second was hot water (I do not remember if there was a circulator or not). I remember the third house the best. While it was convection, the former owner had put a blower in it, so it could run as forced air.

    Coal was delivered by a chute through a ground-level window into a room in the basement. He put coal into the furnace about twice a day. There was a lever that shook the ashes into the bottom of the furnace where it was removed with a shovel into metal (galvanized steel) garbage cans. If I remember correctly, we used about 7 tons of coal a year in Buffalo, N.Y.  But that was about 60 years ago, so I may not remember correctly. I do not remember if oil was available in Buffalo in those days -- WW-II was going on. Gas was not available except for lights and cooking and hot water. It was manufactured gas, not natural gas. I do remember helping my dad bring the ash cans up the basement steps to carry them out to the street.  They were the large size, about 20 inches in diameter and about three feet high. We rarely got clinkers.

    A friend of mine was the engineer for my grade school. It was steam heated. I think it was two-pipe. The was a pneumatic thermostat in each room that would open a valve in the supply side if the room was too cold, and close it when the room was warm enough. It was quite noisy when one of those valves opened.  There were three boilers and he ran two of them at all times. They were downdraft that always amazed me. I do not know how you started one of those. You put the coal in on top, and the draft pulled the air down through the burning coal and it exhausted out the bottom. I have no idea how he got the ashes out. When he ran it, he ran two at a time, and the chimney did not smoke. When he retired and the next guy came, he ran all three boilers all the time, and the chimney produced clouds of black smoke. I assume he did not know what he was doing.

    Sometime around 1953, the city stopped collecting ashes, and natural gas came to town, so he had a gas burner installed in that furnace. It shot fire into the former ash pit. It worked OK. He later sold that house and moved into a retirement community where management provided the heat. I cannot remember if that was hot water baseboard or forced air.

    This was Buffalo, NY, and there were five Frank Lloyd Wright houses. I imagine those were radiant heated, but I do not know that for sure.
  • gearjammer2005
    gearjammer2005 Member Posts: 27
    keystoker boilers

    thank you for  the replies the boilers are availble up to 2500 edr light commercial and are fully automatic when so equiped  they burn rice or buckwheat coal. Ash has to be removed by hand being in a rual area there is no collection.There are six of these units in operation in my area  three apartment houses two commercial and one residentual . The latter being a single pipe steam system in an old victroian the owner claims that the system never worked so well. This probally has more to do with the new system being properrly installed than the boiler. Yes I am old enough to remenber old coal boilers
  • gearjammer2005
    gearjammer2005 Member Posts: 27
    pellergy wood chip burner

    I will be going to the pellergy factory in vermont  tuesday to check out the burner. This a direct replacement for the oil burner gun useing existing control it functions exactly like an oil burner except it uses wood pellets.Very few homes in my area still use oil as a primary fuel source. I myself burn coal as a secondary heat source have for the last 28 years with no probelems  Average degree days 8500 in my area ,heating 2200 sq ft 1903 victorian,1984 dunkirk 600 edr steam boiler yearly useage 700-800 gallons.Original boiler still in place equiped with a conifer saw dust burner not used
  • SteamCoffee
    SteamCoffee Member Posts: 123
    All coal is not the same

    There are significant differences between burning Bituminous vs Anthracite. For the right person, you could make it work, financially and practically. I would suggest a visit to NEPAcrossroads.com to get the lowdown. Don't rule out the Axman Anderson Boiler, I would be running one now if Anthracite were readily available.
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,208
    you're all sissies

    And I am also. My friend often told me how much work it was to collect fuel. Cutting and stacking were much less onerous. So feeding and ash removal was practically a pleasure.

    He remembered how when they installed central heat the decision between steam or hot water was painful. Coal was a luxury.
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