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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    4

    Default heating an old farmhouse?


    My husband and I have inherited an old (civil war era) farmhouse that has always been heated with wood stoves. The discussion we are currently having has to do with how to heat it. He wants coal stoves (where the wood stoves were) and I am looking for any other option! There is only a small root cellar that goes under about 1/4 of the house, so a furnace (I think) won't work. Any other suggestions on how to keep this fairly large (2 story) home heated without breaking the bank, or having coal or wood ashdust everywhere?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    612

    Default Re: heating an old farmhouse?

    What area are you from? If you have access to anthracite coal (mined in NE PA), I can tell you from experience that there is much less mess with coal than with wood. If you are in an area where you are stuck with bituminous coal then it will be as "dirty" as wood creating smelly smoke & soot.

    You still have an ash pan to empty with coal stoves, but I don't have an ash dust problem because I am careful. Except there was that time I stepped on the cat while carrying it outside to dump! We hang laundry to dry in the same room as the stove and there is no ash or coal dust on the clothes or believe me I would hear about it.

    The cost of anthracite coal varies by how far from North East PA you live. You would pay about $175 / ton at a breaker and over $300 a ton if it has to be trucked a good ways to get to you. This year has been especially cold and I expect to burn about 3 ton at $200 / ton to heat our home.

    Your other options would be to use electric baseboard or create a heater room and run ductwork or water piping to the rooms in the house from there.

    What shape are the chimney's in that you have? If they are in bad shape the cost of updating them to be able to be used may be the same as installing electric baseboard.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Buffalo, NY
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: heating an old farmhouse?

    try to stay away from electric if you can, it is so expensive. I like bp's idea of a heater room.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: heating an old farmhouse?

    The house we currently live in is heated with anthracite coal and a propane furnace. The problem I have with the coal probably has more to do with how my husband cleans out the pans and occasionally, we get a "fart" of sorts out the back, which sends ash dust EVERYWHERE. I suppose I will have to live with that option, but I'm not happy about it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: heating an old farmhouse?

    Just out of curiosity... what exactly IS a heater room?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    612

    Default Re: heating an old farmhouse?

    A heater room is simply a small addition built onto the house that contains the heater whether it is a boiler or furnace.

    You could compromise with your hubby and have a coal stoker boiler in the outside heater room. He gets his coal stove and you get the "mess" out of the house and you both get comparatively inexpensive heat. He could even build an attached coal bin that has an auger feed to the stoker and only have to ever worry about taking out ash, never worry about filling it!

    You could also "steal" space from within the house to make the heater room.

    I suspect the ash dust issue from your coal stove could be avoided with a little care. I'm curious since I don't run into too many coal burners here, what make / model of coal stove do you have?

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