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Vacuum air valves and coal boilers

Daniel_3 Member Posts: 543
Hiya guys . .been a long time

I was looking into a second heating source (wood stove on the first floor already planned) as my family is growing as there is a need for contigency plans if power is gone for long periods in the winter months.

How about coal boilers again tied into the the mains with gate valves? I sense there is no way to find vacuum valves for the steam rads so that may be a moot point in these days.

What about a wood stove in the basement and proper grates in the floors at certain key points to direct the heat between the joists?

A wood furnace or coal furnace with a plenum and 4" duct in between the walls to feed the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd floors? Probably much more difficult of an install.


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,472

    even assuming that you could find a good coal boiler and stoker and all any more... they are an awful bore to work with (don't ask how I know...).  While many of the proper valves are still available, I doubt that the damper controls are.  Perhaps... haven't looked.

    Back in another existence, though, we lived in a house well off the beaten track in Vermont (still miss it, but only sometimes) which was heated, remarkably well, just as you suggest: there was a small woodstove in the kitchen ell, which also heated a bedroom overhead through a floor vent, and a considerably bigger woodstove in the basement, which heated the rest of the house very comfortably with a floor vent in the parlour, right over it, and another in the hall between the two bedrooms upstairs.  Can't say the heat was all that even, and some mornings it was mighty chilly upstairs until I got the stoves going, but it worked.  I finally put an electric radiant element in the bathroom, which otherwise had no heat (it was kind of an afterthought)(but even without the electric, I will admit it was warmer than the facility out back which had preceeded it...)  The whole arrangement is actually pretty common in northern New England.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Daniel_3
    Daniel_3 Member Posts: 543

    Thanks for the reply Jaime. I might go with that set-up. After all, it's only a secondary plan if power is out or things get worse and gas is not available.
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