Heat your home with coal

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"Coals vary in quality, but on average, a ton of coal contains about as much potential heat as 146 gallons of heating oil or 20,000 cubic feet of natural gas, according to the Energy Information Administration. A ton of anthracite, a particularly high grade of coal, can cost as little as $120 near mines in Pennsylvania. The equivalent amount of heating oil would cost roughly $380, based on the most recent prices in the state - and over $470 using prices from December 2007. An equivalent amount of natural gas would cost about $480 at current prices. "
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/27/business/27coal.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all
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wrote:

    You are not old enough to remember what it was like in a large city when coal was the primary fuel are you?
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On Sat, 27 Dec 2008 07:15:41 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

When did a BTU of NG get to be 125% the cost of a BTU of oil? Around here NG is about 1/2 the cost. [not to mention the 'efficiency' thing]

I think he might be a Texan, too, so even if old enough I'm not sure coal was a big deal in TX even 50 yrs ago. And hey- not just the city. In my rural elementary school you could tell who still had coal furnaces at home by the soot and smell. [and playing in the 400 cubic feet of the basement dedicated to coal storage was fun once-- the beating and long bath/scrubbing that followed took a lot of the fun out of it]
Plus there's the whole 'efficiency' thing again-- and, god, what a lot of work a coal furnace used to be. [thank goodness dad went to oil before I was old enough to bank fires, shake clinkers and empty the beast. I just had to carry the ashes to the driveway once they were cool]
But, that said, I think clean burning coal *should* be where the research money gets spent first. We've go plenty of it right here in the USofA-- and most of it in the most economically depressed areas of our country. Find the right way to extract and burn it- and we're the new middle east. [us and our neighbors to the north]
Jim
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Ditto that, with so much of the nasty stuff here, and so much electricity generated by it's use, spend money to figure ways to burn it cleanly and efficiently
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Jim Elbrecht wrote:

Coal ashes in the driveway was a filthy practice and you tracked that crap everywhere.
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I remember this clearly as well. We used to have a small room in our basement where the coal was stored. You didn't want to touch anything in that room or you'd get blackened. The coalman used to come about every month or two and he was blackend from cap to boot! Every morning someone in our house had to go down the basement and stirr the clinkers and fill the stoker hopper. I was only about 9 or 10 when my Dad switched to oil. That coal storage room in the basement never did get cleaned well. I remember that coal furnace was huge and the ducts were at least a foot or more in diameter, it was a gravity system with no blower.
Steve
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wrote:
-snip-

Ducts? You had ducts!?<g> The up side on the coal furnace we had was there were no ducts. There was a 4x4 grate in the living room floor. There are few pleasures as great as coming in from a frigid winter day and standing on the grate to peel off boots, snowpants, mittens, coats, scarves. . . . and as each layer came off the snow dropped through the grates and sizzled on the furnace below.
It was probably 120 degrees right there-- you couldn't stand it once the winter chill was off you. but oh-h-h-h-h how good it felt. [my room was 2 doors away on the same floor so it was about 50 there]
Jim
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Steve wrote:

Dittos. Exact same experience as in my memories. Living in a small, row house, I remember half the basement was used for the coal bin. It is amazing that we survived all the pollution. Coal can be clean burning but you need precipitators and scrubbers which is something you are not going to have in your home.
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Maybe I'd consider it if I was 30 or 30 years younger. I used to burn wood until about 5 years ago. I find it much easier to write a check for oil than haul all that wood and ash around. Coal is even worse with the ash ratio.
I do recall the coal bin when I was a very young kid and the ash truck that came around once a week to empty the cans. I imagine technology has helped, but for now I'll pass.
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around here coal is illegal for home heating, pittsburgh was known as the smokey city
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HeyBub:
You will have to just trust me on this: There is a really, *really* good reason that Pittsburgh is renowned world wide as the best place to get medical treatment for any lung disease. North West Indiana around Gary and over into Chicago, IL could be a very close 2nd place.
Particulate air pollution from "soft" coal is really nasty. Few homeowners could afford the air scrubbers and filters to make coal heating healthy for their own family or near neighbors.
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people died in donora pa years ago from bad air. all at the same time it led to airt pollution laws
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On Sat, 27 Dec 2008 06:21:34 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@aol.com"

To learn more about the Donora, PA deaths of 1948, see: http://www.jhu.edu/jhumag/0603web/smoke.html
See also: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08295/921526-55.stm
With regards to London's "killer fogs" of 1952, see: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId 3954
Cheers, Paul
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Phil Again wrote:

I trust you and I'm not an advocate for coal. I'm in Texas: 1) We don't have any coal to speak of, 2) Heating is not as big a problem as it is in the northern climes (I'm at the same latitude as Cairo), 3) We've got lots of oil and gas, and 4) Air conditioning is a bigger issue than heating in my neighborhood.
Still, I thought the article was interesting and might give people an idea or two when weighing their options.
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HeyBub wrote:

Somebody better tell this guy to stop digging then. http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q1.477504,+-96.153502&jsv 0g&sll7.0625,-95.677068&sspnQ.443116,79.101563&ie=UTF8&geocode=FQBP4AEdYtBE-g
(31.477504,-96.153502)
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G. Morgan wrote:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q1.477504,+-96.153502&jsv 0g&sll7.0625,-95.677068&sspnQ.443116,79.101563&ie=UTF8&geocode=FQBP4AEdYtBE-g
I guess he will when he smells feet, but your post encouraged me to do a bit of research.
"By the 1990s, Texas was the nation's sixth leading coal producing state...." http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/CC/dkc3.html
I think we grind it up and use it as conglomerate in compounding concrete... pretty sure cattle can't eat it.
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HeyBub wrote:

I'm pretty sure you're right about the cattle, but it looks like they are generating electricity with it a few miles down the road: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q1.477504,+-96.153502&jsv 0g&sll7.0625,-95.677068&sspnQ.443116,79.101563&ie=UTF8&geocode=FQBP4AEdYtBE-g
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A key point is "near mines in Pennsylvania". A major cost of coal is transportation. So if you are not near mines in Pennsylvania prices are going to be a lot higher. (and in most places in the country it is very difficult to find retail coal nowadays).
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Jonathan Grobe wrote:

I live in the anthracite coal region and it is even an issue here. There are some small mines close to me and they produce big box quality coal that is ~ $120/ton. If you want good quality coal you need to have it trucked in from nearby areas that are selling good coal for an additional $40-50/ton transportation cost.
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Of course you never lived with coal heat, I did as a kid, it was dirty. There are places like London that had few days of sun till coal was banned. Why do you think fish have Mercury poisoning that we cant eat here, its from coal. If all power plants spent money for the best technology to burn it clean it would be a bit different, didnt Bush stop that?
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