2013 - Volume #37, Issue #6, Page #13[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
"Best Buy" Coal Burning Furnace
“With a coal field only 50 miles away, I can heat my big old farmhouse for only $600 a year. It used to take 500 gal. of propane per month in the winter.
“When heat is needed, the auger automatically feeds coal on to a rotating burner plate. As the coal burns, the ashes are scraped off into a sealed catch pit. When I want to remove the ashes, I switch on an auger to send them to an outside trailer for easy removal. The totally enclosed system is designed for efficiency as well as ease of cleaning.”
With Eckelberg’s encouragement, FARM SHOW contacted Henry Maertens, Maertens Mfg. Maertens says the design is well proven. He built the first one for an uncle in the late 1970’s before starting to sell them commercially in the 1980’s.
“The first one is still functional,” says Maertens. “We’ve made very few design changes since. We also make conventional boilers as large as 2 million btu’s and are toying with the idea of making a 500,000-btu E-Z Clean.”
He says the standout feature has always been ease of cleaning. “Just grab a lever and move it back and forth,” says Maertens. “Internal scrapers do the work, and all the ash and dust falls into the enclosed ash pan. No opening doors or unbolting covers to get access to use brushes.”
The easy cleaning feature is especially important as Maertens’ boilers are more complex than most. The hot gasses released by the burning coal travel nearly 3 times farther than in most boilers, he explains.
“Most boilers have about 5 ft. of travel from the burner head to the chimney,” he says. “In ours, the gas travels 14 ft. as it goes up, down and around the pressure vessel. For even greater efficiency, the passageways are narrow. Combined with the time the flue gasses spend in the chamber, this allows more heat to be absorbed by the water.”
Maertens says the design produces maximum heat recovery without creating problems. Other coal burning designs avoid the narrow passageways and long travel due to a tendency for coal ash to plug them up.
“Plugging up is not a concern with our internal scrapers,” says Maertens. “Just pull the lever every few days or more often if you like.”
The E-Z Clean furnace is available as a 175,000-btu model, priced at $6,500 and a 350,000-btu model priced at $8,000.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Maertens Mfg., 2245 41st Ave. S.W., Center, N. Dak. 58530 (ph 701 794-3183; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.maertensmfg.com).
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