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coal burning boilers

hr Member Posts: 6,106
messy fuel to burn and store. Some wood boilers allow coal use. I buy 40 lb bags and use it on only the coldest days to assure my boiler fires through the night.

hot rod

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  • Herman D'Elena
    Herman D'Elena Member Posts: 3

    My house has hydronic baseboard heat with a natural gas fired boiler. Would a coal fired boiler result in significant fuel cost saving?
  • BC
    BC Member Posts: 28
    almost certainly

    Ignoring the labor, environmental, and maintenance issues of burning coal, it can be much cheaper depending where you are. In my location (central NY state), anthracite rice coal is about $165/ton delivered. At 22 million btu/ton and say 65% efficiency (I have not seen any believable efficiency data on coal boilers - this may be conservative)this is 165/22/.65 or $11.50/Mbtu. I'm locked into oil at $2.45 this winter, so that is $2.65/0.1385Mbtu/.85=$22.50/Mbtu, or nearly twice as much. Gas around here is about $16 per 1000 cubic feet, or $16/1.025/.9=$17.30/Mbtu.

    So, it really depends on how close you are to coal country and your gas prices (as well as the efficiency of the coal boiler vs the gas one)
  • RoosterBoy
    RoosterBoy Member Posts: 459

    many wood stoves and heat plants use coal. there are lots of them still in homes. there is alot of work involved in them though,recently in a discussion of wood boilers, special "Formulas" of types of wood and quantities of different grades of coal came to mind... coal as a sole source requires a large box to store the stuff ,a large screw to feed the stuff,a host of boiler side tools and a great deal of attention...if you lived near a coal slurrification line things might be a shade easier . were i a happy homeowner such as yourself i would visit at least 5 sites that had a coal burning appliance,be it forced air,boiler ,incinerator , power plant or combination (multi fuel) heater. because that would give you a clear idea of some of the "variables" associated with burning coal as a fuel source and you could ask a question or two while there of the person who monitors the equipment,or maintains it. *~/:)
  • Dirk Wright
    Dirk Wright Member Posts: 142

    I would only add that burning coal is about 10 times as dirty as gas or oil, but burning wood is 20 times as dirty as gas or oil. It would be better for you to convert to oil and then burn biodiesel instead. Or find a source of biogas. Or get a geothermal heat pump.
  • JackFre
    JackFre Member Posts: 225
    If you go with a coal burner

    be aware that many companies will say you can burn coal or wood in their unit. True, you can but the fire box for a wood burner is typically quite long/wide to accomodate the log size. A coal burner on the other hand should have a deep fire box (look at the European coal fird parlor stoves for dimensions)as opposed to the woodburners broad box. That way the coal burn will last longer and is more easily controlled. If you end up with a combination unit you can sometimes get some heavy steel angle iron 4" or 6" flanges and bank the coal fire. Hot Rod's method of burning wood or coal is correct. You burn it on the 30 coldest days of the year and the rule of thumb says you will save about 50% on the seasons heating load. If you burn coal...get a good quality CO detector
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