Coal in a Wood Stove???greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
I have a wood stove that was here when I moved in. It appears to be made from iron lined with firebrick. It has a fan contraption to blow heat into the house. It works great for heating the house all winter using wood.
My question: Coal is much cheaper than either hardwood or softwood by the cord. Can I safely burn coal in this stove? Emphasis on safely and causing no damage to stove, house, etc.
-- Dena Rauch (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 27, 1999
The answer is only a maybe. Coal fires need a class "A" chimney that is clean and tile lined. They run HOT! perhaps almost twice as hot as a wood fire.
Your post says "stove" which could be a number of appliances from a kitchen range to a box heater.
Were I to start burning coal in an older appliance I would want to see first if the grate is intact. Plus find a source for replacement grates. Coal fires make clinkers, clinkers break old brittle grates as sure as the sun rises in the morning.
If you can answer yes to a grate in good repair and a replacement source for grate parts AND have a flue up to snuff, I say go for it. Check and oil that fan's motor if it has ports for oiling too. Winter is coming on.
-- Tom Cagle (email@example.com), October 27, 1999.
Mr. Cagle is right, you may be able to burn coal in the stove. Coal needs a draft from below, hence a different style of grate. I've seen coal stoves get glowing orange hot on the outside, so they are not something to mess with, without being in good shape, etc. Lehman's Hardware state that they have some parts for old stoves and may be able to provide you with the needed grate or at least explain to you the difference so that you can tell if you have one. http://www.lehmanshardware.com
-- greenbeanman (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 27, 1999.
Thank you both. Coal is definitely out. THe stove is a box on legs made out of iron something. The flue is simply piping that goes up through the attic and out. Yes in the attic it has more stuff around it but there is no way it can take anymore heat. Wood heat is the most that I would dare. No flue pipe, no grate sufficient and probably the stove could not take the high heat.
Thank you for keeping me from making a big mistake. Now for another question, same topic. Suppose someday, oneday, I get to put my choice of stove/heat in a house built for whatever I want. Would coal be an option worth looking into?
-- Dena Rauch (email@example.com), October 27, 1999.
If coal is the less expensive option in your area it would definately be worth looking into if you get another stove. Coal produces a wonderful heat and is less work if you consider the labor involved with cutting, chopping, hauling wood. Stoking a fire for nighttime is easy with coal and a big chunk will burn for hours and hours. I am glad you decided against it with your present stove, it is easy to get into trouble when using coal in a stove and stovepipe designed for wood.
-- Marci (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 28, 1999.
Coal usage should not be ruled out. I suggest that you study Lehman's Hardware catalog. I recently read in there that coal is used by much of the Amish back East, while the "English" (that's what they call most of us) use wood. One reason, the Amish can put up with the sulphur smell that comes from burning coal, while the rest of us want more of the ambiance of wood, without the odor of coal. Yes, I recommend that you check into it further when you are ready. I'm also glad that you are not going to attempt to use coal in the stove that you now have.
-- greenbeanman (email@example.com), October 28, 1999.
Coal would be my choice of fuel, not to handy here in the north west. But when I lived in the east we had the best coal that Penn. could provide. coal is a nice steady heat and with the new stoves there is little smell, (good hard coal helps). And, speaking of Lehman's, if you want to spend your nickle, give them a call and ask for the stove department, someone there will give you the low down on coal burning.
-- Bob Henderson (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 29, 1999.
I have read all the responses and I whole-heartedly agree ! I just feel one small problem with coal has been overlooked. Coal is a mess !! It is dirty to handle and dirty to store. It soots up everything in the house even with the highest dollar Buck stove money can buy. If you have carpet or cloth on your furniture, books, clothes or other nic nacs then I would strongly advise against it. You can count on painting your interior walls once a year also. We tried one ton of coal to mix with our hardwood for night burning and we regret the day we ever heard the word coal. I would rather split oak on a hundred degree day than clean up the mess coal makes.
-- Joel Rosen (Joel681@webtv.net), October 30, 1999.
I really have to think about this because of all the answers I've just read here. My grandparents always lived in railroad houses because he was a railroad man. They were always the same with wood cook stoves and this is what I remember.....they used wood and coal. The wood was for a quick fire and the coal was for a sustained fire. The kitchen was always clean because the coal was kept outside in a bin and grandfather only brought enough in in a special coal bucket for one day at a time. There was a leather glove on the top of the coal in the bucket which grandma used to keep her hands clean. The stove did have a grate which they cleaned out and there were "clinkers" to be thrown out. There was a stove pipe going up through the kitchen roof which was just sheet metal. It did have a damper which she used skillfully. She was a very clean woman. It was fine
-- TArave (Tarave@aol.com), November 02, 1999.
This may be a shot in the dark,but... :Have you considered a stove fuled on corn?In rural i.e. farming areas shelled corn has been ~$7.00/cwt.directly from the farmers. Unless one has a free source of wood consider it. It's less work moving corn than wood,one needs a less elaborate vntilation/flue system,plus that corn can also be used for feed,etc. The one "defect"re corn is that it attracts rodents.
-- Karl Bechler (email@example.com), November 24, 1999.
i am physically handicapped. hauling lots of wood hurts badly. i have a coal bin by my door. generally, bringing in a bucket of coal is less taxing than a comperable amount of wood. my stove, factory lined inside with fire brick, is on the small side. wood, in the amount and size to fill the stove, will not last over night. to keep my place warm untill morning, a load of coal is necessary after doing a wood starter fire. ===Stu===
-- stuart reder (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 28, 2000.
BACK ON THE FARM PA THOUGHT HE WOOD TRY COAL, I HATED IT. IT HAD A AWFUL SMELL LIKE OIL, AND SEEMED 2 ME WOOD SMOTHER IT SELF OUT. HE PROBABLY BUT THE CHEAPEST JUNK HE COULD FIND. AND I AM UNSURE IF A HIGHER QUALITY WOOD HAVE HAD MORE DESIREABLE RESULTS. BUT GIVE ME WOOD OVER COAL ANY DAY. TRY A BUCKET AND SEE WHAT U THINK.
-- JESSE RIECK (FJESSE@AOL.COM), December 26, 2000.