Just to remember what the difference was I sought out a bag of anthracite this week instead of Polish Coal. Not sure when they last sold any as the guy at the local Galmbia disappeared to the back of the warehouse for a few minutes before reappearing with a bag, the Polish Coal and Doubles being by the entrance.
To be honest I normally burn wood but with the down turn in the building trade (and everywhere else) my usual supply has dried up and 4 months worth of stocked up timber was getting low so as I have a cooker and a wood (only) stove I decided to get some coal last month and have burnt about 6-7 bags of Polish coal in the cooker to save the wood for the woodburner. Only this week I changed over to anthracite.
So as the cooker has a temperature gauge on the oven I can give a rough and ready comparision of Wood, Polish Coal and Anthracite.
Dry wood (I burn very dry builders off cuts of pine) quickly takes the temp up to 250-275 and when well feed will stay up at 275 degrees centigrade with no problem. Note it does take a good bit of feeding (two decent barrow loads for a day + night) and will not stay in overnight on wood even if shut down completely. Cleaning once a week is all that is needed, remember this is a cooker and the flue gases go around the oven. I also clean the Chimney each week as 3 weeks on wood has the chimney almost blocked with tar, its not a great chimney but works OK if you treat it right.
Polish Coal is a lot slower to get going and takes the oven temp up to 250 and needs a bit of riddling to keep it there, if shut down the stove will just about stay in overnight. However that isn't always helpful as the stove needs cleaning each day. I defo need to clean the chimney evey week (5 min job
) Bag lasts about 5 days (less if cold). Another problem with the Polish Coal is that whenever you top up you need to leave the draught fully open wasting heat as all the fithy gases and smoke burn off before you can close the cooker down to get max heat again.
Antracite Hmmmmm slow starter and unless well poked and riddled won't go much over 200! But heres the difference you fill it with the same amount as you do with Polish Coal and the fire goes for much longer I'd say the same volume of anthracite burns over 50% longer. Also no need to waste heat when you top up as there is none of the smoke and muck you get with Polish Coal. As for cleaning after a couple of days continous burning I can't see anything around the oven that needs cleaning and a quick look in the chimney (its outside with cleaning access at the bottom) shows it doesn't need cleaning and its looks like a bag will last 5 days of continous burning which we wouldn't (couldn't) get with the Polish Coal. For cooking a couple of 4x2 off cuts get the oven well up to 275 again.
Appologies for talking about a cooker in a thread on stoves but the oven temp gauge does give an idea of the temp difference with the various fuels.
All in all I think I'll stick with anthracite for the following reasons.....
Wife likes it - less mess and dust in the house.
Lasts longer than Polish Coal.
Much less chimney cleaning.
Much less cooker cleaning (around oven).
Less messy to handle (less dust).
Cooker stays in 24hours a day with little effort.
Polish Coal 16.75euro 40kg
Anthracite 20.70euro 40kg
but the extra 4 euro is worth it for the reasons above
btw did try the new Biosmass Fuel logs - seemed very expensive, great for a bit of extra heat but burnt very quickly and hotter than my usual bone dry construction timber off cuts.
Another note added when I edit this post. My chimney is a bit strange its just a couple of sections of 4inch stainless steel (Edit> sorry that should say 5 inch thanks for pointing that out Carlow52) on the outside of the house, it draws well enough but is not ideal, however it was very cheap and improving it would be more expense and effort than I need atm. I have a T piece at the bottom of the external section of the chimney so cleaning is easily done outside the house with little mess.