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Coal fired steam heat

Jim Hilly
Jim Hilly Member Posts: 3
I'm a landlord in Chicago. I have three small buildings all of which have one pipe steam radiator heating systems which are now fired by natural gas. All three buildings have coal chutes from the alley/back lot to the boiler room. Once upon a time these buildings were heated by coal. The price of natural gas here in Chicago has doubled in the last two years and the newspapers say it's going to double again. I've been searching the web for some technology where by one could use coal to heat a steam radiator system, or at least preheat the water before it goes into the natural gas boiler. I haven't found anything. Does anyone know of such a system? Thanks for your time and I apolgize if my question is stupid. (There are no stupid questions, only questions asked by stupid people.)


  • Dirk Wright
    Dirk Wright Member Posts: 142
    coal boilers

    Did you look here?:
  • Tony Conner_2
    Tony Conner_2 Member Posts: 443

    ... can really only help where you're dealing with a lot of cold make-up water. If you've got what should be a closed loop steam & condensate system (and you do), and you're not getting all of the condensate back, fix that first. The fuel savings are big, and your boiler will last YEARS longer.
  • S Ebels
    S Ebels Member Posts: 2,322

    Before you do something hasty, get in touch with a good steam guy and have your system checked from bottom to top. You'll probably be amazed at the cost savings produced by a properly tuned system. I know there are a couple guys from the Windy City area that hang out here. Maybe one of them will read this and offer to help. A couple thousand $$ invested in correct venting and controls will be a TON cheaper and more reliable than firing with coal.
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