Coal stoker boilers and pellet boilers are both good heating systems that you can consider for your heating needs. There are pros and cons for both. However, a coal stoker boiler may be a better choice due to several reasons. In this article, we will look at the reasons why you should choose a coal stoker boiler over a pellet boiler.
What Is The Main Difference Between Coal Stoker Boilers and Pellet Boilers?
Coal stoker boilers use anthracite coal as a fuel to provide heating throughout your desired space. The coal is fed mechanically into the machine where the combustion of the coal takes place. With the help of a fan and grates combustion air is placed exactly where needed to nearly reduce the amount of unburned fuel to zero. The heat that is emitted then passes through the heat exchange chamber to transfer heat to the space. Any ashes or debris falls off the grate and is deposited into an ash pan.
Our coal stoker boilers also use a grate. It is responsible for bringing fresh coal in from the hopper and removing the ash. Our grate sets us apart from all other manufacturers because it comes a lifetime warranty (S130/S260)! Our coal stokers use our proprietary technologies such as the self-cleaning Swirl Chamber heat exchanger and Thermal Ash-Monitor that controls the grate by sensing the temperature of the ash.
On the other hand, pellet boilers use wood or other organic materials to heat a residential or commercial space. High heat is applied to the wood to produce heated gas which is then passed through a chamber for heat exchange. A cyclone separator is also used to collect fly ash or it drops off the grates into an ash pan.
Benefits of Coal Stoker Boilers Over Pellet Boilers
Although both types of heating systems do a good job of providing a source of heat for a space, many differences make coal boilers the better option. Let’s look at some of the reasons why:
- Coal is More Cost and Energy Efficient
The cost of anthracite coal is lesser than wood pellets when measured in per unit of heat (BTU). Burning coal results in almost twice the amount of BTU/lbs as compared to burning wood. As a result, coal can be burned two times longer as compared to wood – with nearly two times as many BTU per hour. Coal also produces no creosote or smoke and unlike wood, can be stored anywhere as it will not decay or rot. Hence, coal is much more cost-efficient as compared to wood.
- Coal Produces More Heat Output Than Pellets
Anthracite coal stoves or boilers also produce much more heat output as compared to pellet boilers. Coal contains around 14,000BTU/lb while pellets only contain around 8,500 BTU/lb. Hence, coal stoves can produce much more heat per hour and/or burn twice as long.
- Coal is Much More Readily Available and Easier to Store
If you live in the North Eastern states especially Pa and NY, wood or other organic pellets may not be as easily attainable as compared to coal, especially in the late winter months as availability is affected by the weather. Coal is easily found and can be bought in bulk or in 40lb bags. You can also store coal anywhere, even outside as the weather does not affect the quality. On the other hand, pellets must be kept dry as exposure to moisture speeds up the decaying process.
- Coal Boilers Are Easier to Maintain
Coal boilers are low maintenance and only need to be maintained once every season. Some outdoor coal boilers require even less maintenance where coal feeding and dumping of ash is fully automated and it can run on its own for up to 30 days straight. On the other hand, pellet boilers have to be cleaned out once a week for optimal performance.
To sum up, both coal and pellet boilers are good heating systems but coal stoker boilers would be more worth your money in the long run.