When it comes to home heating, coal and pellets are two popular choices. Both have advantages and disadvantages and deciding which one to use depends on your preferences and location. In this article, we’ll compare coal vs pellets based on different factors to help you make an informed decision.
One of the main advantages of coal is its availability if you live on the East Coast. While pellets may be hard to find during some years, anthracite coal is available all year round. You can purchase it in bulk or bagged and store it outside without the weather affecting it. On the other hand, buying pellets in late winter can be difficult when stores switch from winter to spring inventory. Pellets, however, can be found nationwide at most home improvement stores.
Coal stoves, which use anthracite coal, require low maintenance and can operate continuously from fall to spring without being cleaned. In contrast, pellet stoves must be shut down and cleaned at least once a month.
Storing coal is more convenient than storing pellets. Anthracite coal can be stored outside without the weather affecting it, whereas wood pellets have to be kept dry. Pellets and coal can be bought in 40 lbs bags and stored on pallets, which can be easily calculated.
When it comes to cost, stoves that use coal cost less than the same BTU-size pellet stove. Coal stoves are also easier to maintain. Also, anthracite coal generates almost twice the heat per pound as wood pellets. You get 2x more heat for each ton of coal compared to wood pellets.
Anthracite coal burns as clean as natural gas and is cleaner than heating oil, which allows you to use a power vent instead of a chimney at a fraction of the cost. A new pellet stove can boast the same.
Anthracite coal has been used for home heating for over 150 years and is a reliable source of heat. It generates almost twice the heat per pound as wood pellets. Pellet stoves are also modern and safe due to their forced exhaust discharge system.
Coal can be stored anywhere. You can also buy it in 40lbs bags. Don’t worry about bugs, age, or water. Pellets must be kept inside and can only be purchased in 40lbs bags.
The moisture content of coal fuel is about 12%, and when stored outdoors, moisture does not deteriorate the coal. On the other hand, the moisture content of pellets is below 10% and is subjected to constant control. If any moisture creeps in, it can ruin the pellets.
When you combust 1 ton of coal fuel, it generates 100-200 lbs of ash. On the other hand, when you combust 1 ton of pellet fuel, it generates only 50 lbs of ash. Both ash can be a valuable horticultural fertilizer or can be thrown in the trash once cooled, of course.
In conclusion, both coal and pellets have their pros and cons. Coal is reliable, generates more heat per pound, and is roughly half the cost, while pellets require more maintenance but produce less ash. Ultimately, the choice between the two depends on your preference, budget, and location.