Here is a typical anthracite "Forced Hot Air" system tied into the existing air ducts of a home. This particular system is "augmenting" the existing propane furnace. It "augments" it so well, that the propane furnace and hot water heater never turn on during the winter months, saving the homeowner about 60% a year based on 2006 fuel prices. Click here to calculate your annual savings based on anthracite selling for $275 a ton. This particular unit is an Alaska Model 140 Auger Feed (with the optional hot water coil). The Model 140, as do all the "Stoker Stoves", burns Anthracite Rice, which comes in an easy to handle 40 pound bag. All stoker stoves are fully automatic, much like a pellet stove. Where the pellet stove and the stoker stove differentiate themselves is that the stokers cost about 40% less to operate, and are not prone to malfunctions like the pellet stoves. The other major difference is the amount of heat output. The typical pellet stove puts out between 15,000-50,000 btus of heat, where a "small" stoker stove has a heat output range of 5,000-105,000 btus. The Alaska 140 Auger Feed , shown above, has an output range of 5,000-170,000 btus, and can easily heat up to 4,000 Sq. Ft. of living area. Hot air furnaces can be ordered as large as 450,000btus for industrial/commercial applications such as greenhouses and warehouses. Heavy duty hot air furnaces from KeyStoker can be ordered with a dual fuel option, allowing you to burn either anthracite or oil.
Stoker stoves use clean, enviromentally friendly and safe Anthracite Rice coal. To find out more about the "Anthracite Advantage", just click. It comes in a 40 pound bag. Before it is bagged, it is washed, and goes into the bag damp. When you are ready to pour it into the hopper, it is still damp, and therefore, there is no dust like you get with pellets. Starting the fire is simple, and you only have to start it at the beginning of the year. Insert a "mouse" into the anthracite on the burn tray, light the fuse, plug the stove in, and you are done. The stove will increase or decrease the size of the fire automatically, based on the demand for heat from the thermostat. Stoker stoves run for about two days before needing to be filled again. When you fill the hopper, take the ash tray out from the bottom, dump the ash in the trash, and reinsert the empty tray into the stove, and you are done. The servicing takes less than 5 minutes.
All stoker stoves can be fitted with an optional hot water coil. That coil is then plumbed into your existing hot water tank. The hot water coil will keep your hot water hot through out the heating season. Stoker stoves come in three types; Hot air furnaces, like the Model 140 (used to heat an entire house, normally through existing air ducts); Stand alone units, simialar to a woodstove in size, but can put out more heat, can be direct vented through a wall, and are thermostatically controlled; Stoker Boilers, used with "forced hot water & steam" heating systems.
Anthracite boilers from Keystoker are identical in operation to other stoker stoves, except that the heat is delivered via water versus hot air. Anthracite boilers are avaiable in sizes from 90,000-760,000 btus, and are available for baseboard heat or steam heat. These heating systems, with their high output, lend themselves well to commercial/industrial applications such as warehouses and green houses. The boilers come standard with a 300 gallon per hour hot water coil, which means no more cold showers....ever. Like the hot air furnaces, the boilers can be ordered in a dual fuel configuration. The secondary fuel source is oil. This allows you to leave for extended periods of time, and not have to tend to the furnace every two days as with burning anthracite. If the boiler is going to be installed as a stand alone unit it is recommended that it be ordered as a dual fuel unit. If the boiler is going to be installed in series with an existing boiler, then dual fuel capability is not necessary. If you currently have forced hot air heat, a boiler can still be installed to heat your home. A hot water coil, similiar to an A/C coil, but it operates in reverse, is installed into the supply plenum to transfer the heat into the house. The major advantage to this system is the unlimited hot water year round, and year round savings on fuel costs.
Above are some examples of free standing stoves from keystoker and Alaska Stoves. These stoves can be placed in the main living area of the house, or in the basement and be ducted into existing air ducts, or install some vents in the floor to allow the heat to rise into the main living area of the house. Because these stoves are "stokers", they are thermostatically controlled, allowing you to maintain comfortable temperatures inside your home, regardless of how cold it is outside. The heat output of these units is adjustable between 5,000-105,000 btus. These stoves typically burn one bag (40 pounds) of fuel per day, and the hopper holds 100 pounds, allowing the unit to operate for two days without any work on your part. The servicing on these units takes less than 5 minutes to complete.
If you are currently using a wood stove and are tired of having to restart the fire in the morning, not being able to keep a constant temperature in your house, worrying about the risk of a chimney fire, the smell of creosote, the mess, and having to get your chimney cleaned at least once a year, then these stoves are for you. Burning anthracite does away with all of those problems, not to mention it is cheaper and environmentally more friendly.
All of the stoves above are "hand fired" stoves. While they still burn anthracite like a "stoker Stove", the difference is that hand fired stoves do not require electricity to operate. While the heat output is easy to regulate, it is not thermostatically controlled. These stoves need to be "shaken down" once in the morning, and once in the evening. Hand fired stoves typically need to be serviced (fuel added, ash emptied) once a day. Heat output on these units range from 15,000-105,000 btus. These stoves are perfect for remote lodges or for places that frequently lose electricity. We have customers that use these stoves as their primary heat source with great success.