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 01-23-2004, 04:35 Post: 74778
grinder

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 Wood vs Coal

Looking for comments on the subject of burning coal for home heating. I now burn wood.






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 01-23-2004, 05:15 Post: 74780
blizzard



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 Wood vs Coal

I used local soft coal in the late 60's and early 70's when I lived in Colorado. Back then it was inexpensive, much more compact than wood, and would easily burn all night. You do need to take care to have a reliable draft and sound chimney as carbon monoxide can be a (deadly) problem. Stove was a cast iron rectangular front-loader. I found no creosote problems and less ash vs. wood, but if the fire goes out, you need to start it with wood. There is a dust (dirt) problem, even when it is 'oiled', you should keep it dry, and it does smell like.. coal.

If I remember correctly, the price skyrocketed over about 5 years, going from $3.25 per ton at the local lumber-yard to around $28.00 a ton at the mine. Cost rose from 15 to 40 cents per ton to have it 'oiled' to keep the dust down.
bliz






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 01-23-2004, 05:34 Post: 74781
grinder

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Can you keep it in the cellar? or is the smell too strong?
I like having the wood right in the cellar but,I'm trying to
reduce the dirt , bugs, moisture load in my house,sore back,
etc. etc.
I talked to one guy that buy's it bagged and loves it. not sure of the cost comparision. Still researching. Oil is a
$1.50 a gal right now.






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 01-23-2004, 06:38 Post: 74787
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 Wood vs Coal

Years ago the cellar coal bin was very common, but cellars then were equipment space for the furnace. Hard coal has much less dust and odor than soft coal, but how either might affect the air-quality in a modern 'air tight' home is a question I can't answer. Storing only well seasoned wood in the cellar would eliminate your moisture problems and really reduce the annoying insects. Also makes the wood a lot lighter! As your sore back attests to, wood 'heats you three times'. I'm guessing that here in central Maine coal might be pricy, due to transportation costs and limited use. I'm considering an outbuilding for a wood heated hot water system, as oil/propane/electricity costs are very high and sure to increase.
FYI: 1 ton of coal approximately equals 2 cords of dry wood for steam.
Hard coal approximately 53# per cubic foot.
Soft capproximately 48# per cubic foot.
see also: www.nma.org/statistics/pub_fast_facts.asp
hearth.com/what/heatvalues.html
bliz






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 01-23-2004, 13:59 Post: 74856
grinder

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Thanks for the info!






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 01-23-2004, 14:16 Post: 74858
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 Wood vs Coal

When you go into the basement of an old house where coal was once burned most everything is stained black, the foundation, floor joists and subfloor. Using coal in an outdoor boiler might work pretty well though. I think you get a more even burn with coal than wood.






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 01-23-2004, 15:59 Post: 74871
AC5ZO

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 Wood vs Coal

When I was a kid, my grandparents used to refer to "coal oil" I think that it was kerosene or something like that. I am pretty sure that it was the same oil that they burned in their "oil lamps" on the farms for lighting. Is kerosene the oil used on coal as described early in this thread? Does kerosene come from coal processing? Or is there some other connection?






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 01-23-2004, 16:01 Post: 74872
grinder

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 Wood vs Coal

I assume that is why they sell all bagged up?
dust and smell? I need to find someone who is using it
and check it out I guess.






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 01-23-2004, 16:42 Post: 74874
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 Wood vs Coal

We still use anthracitic coal at our farm, it is widely known around here as 'nut coal'.

The problem the average person might have with burning coal is two-fold.

First the coal is capable of generating tremendous heat if given too much draft, the 'blast furnace' effect, similar to a blacksmith's forge. It will easily produce FAR more heat than the average woodstove is meant to take.

The second problem is that coal burning appliances are designed in such a way that the burning takes place on a heavy cast iron grate through which the ashes can fall into an ash pan below. Without this feature the ashes will quickly smother the heavy burning coal.

Coal oil is exactly that, they refine the coal and extract the oil, it is messy, sooty, smelly stuff. About the only good use UI have ever found for it was killing ticks on animals and burning in outdoor lamps to keep mosquitoes away from the patio. Kerosene is a petroleum distilate, it is a close relative of diesel & furnace oil.

Best of luck.






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 01-23-2004, 17:25 Post: 74880
blizzard



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 Wood vs Coal

AC5ZO,
See link below.
`Abraham Gesner, a Canadian, developed a method for
extracting oil from coal and called his new product
"keroselain."`

A little later `carbon oil` was distilled from petroleum.

I don't think the oil was kerosene. If I remember correctly they heated it (steam) and sprayed it on the coal as it came down the chute into the truck. Wasn't any great amount, just enough to keep the dust down somewhat. Can't remember it having any special odor, perhaps a low melting point wax.
bliz






Link:   Coal_Oil 

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