Can you even buy coal anymore?

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by brotherpoop, Jan 10, 2010.

  1. brotherpoop

    brotherpoop Monkey+++

    I was given some free coal out of a house a few years back. It was my first experince burning the stuff.

    Wow...was I impressed. It had a unique smell to it and burned so evenly. I've searched all over up here in Minnesota but not to be found. We get coal thru the rail yards but they grind it up pretty good so it's almost a powder.

    Must be some of you guys have access to the big chunks yet?
    buck mt 1-06 077a.JPG buck mt 1-06 078a.JPG
  2. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    PLENTY coal around here, mostly anthracite. Comes in any gradation you want, bags to truck loads. Generally, the big chunks are less desirable because of an uneven burn. The smell you report is sulfur, one reason coal is frowned upon. Acid rain, ya know, the sulfur burns to sulfur dioxide that combines with rain and becomes sulfuric acid.

    It is a good fuel, burns best in stoves designed for it. General rule is don't use it in a wood stove, since it burns hotter than wood. YMMV.
  3. Monty

    Monty Monkey+++

    I've looked for some around here (SE WI)and haven't had any luck. Maybe I'm just not looking in the right place?

    My wood boiler can burn it and I'd like to try some in it to see how it burns.
  4. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Yes, here in PA we live in the Anthracite region. We can literally go out for a walk and pick coal up off the ground. Many homes still have coal furnaces and it is still widely distributed/delivered (although the price has nearly tripled in the past few years) for a lot less than firewood.

    It is still a very useful fossil fuel.
  5. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

  6. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    I knew one person who inherited a house with an old coal furnace. Said she'd never change it. Very cheap to run.

    lehmans actually sells it by the pallet and will ship it to you! Can't see the economics of that though!
  7. jungatheart

    jungatheart Beginner's Mind

    Great fuel but hope you don't live downwind from someone who burns it. I did and, when the wind was right, my sinuses completely shut down.
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