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Heating a Barn

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  • Heating a Barn

    I'm taking the coal stove out of my home and replacing it. I'm considering using it to heat the barn. Has anyone used a Stoker Style coal stove to heat a barn? What are your thoughts on something like this? Has anyone done this before?
    TIA
    If at first you don't succeed, get back on the horse and try it again!

  • #2
    Do you mean to heat the people spaces like the tack room? Or the whole barn?

    Heating the whole barn is usually not a great idea. Not healthy for the horses.

    Comment


    • #3
      Do you mean, a coal stove with fire?

      Do your stalls have an extra exit on the back wall directly to the outside?

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Mainly for heating the tack and feed room, but when the temps drop down in the single digits I was wondering if it's feasible to heat the whole thing to make it easier on the horses' lungs. And yes, when the barn is revamped it will have doors off each stall directly to the outside.
        If at first you don't succeed, get back on the horse and try it again!

        Comment


        • #5
          Do you have insurance on the barn? If so, take a look at what the insurance says about what kind of appliances are allowed, if it has a clause like that.

          Read over the policy generally for restrictions on what kinds of material can be where (bedding, hay, etc.) If the flammability limitations are not followed, and the unthinkable does happen, the insurance won't cover it.

          Comment


          • #6
            I'd be reluctant to use a coal fired stove under the circumstance you suggest. If the stove were in a separate, highly fire-resistant enclosure next door with heat air ducted in to the areas to be warmed that might not be so bad. When I was in grade school my grandfather heated his house (he lived downstairs and we lived in an apartment upstairs) with coal and had an "Iron Fireman" brand automatic stoker. It was my father's job to fill the stoker and remove the excess ash and burn products from the furnace every night. I was fascinated by the process, but also saw how much labor was involved.

            Horses generate a LOT of natural heat and really are not at any risk of over-cooling until you well below freezing (they evolved on the short grass steppes of Asia and North America so they are natural cold-weather creatures).

            Keeping the tack/feed area warmed to above freezing is likely a good idea from a tack/feed management perspective and it gives the humans a place to warm up on a cold day. But an automatically fueled, coal-fired stove? I wouldn't.

            G.
            Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo

            Comment


            • #7
              A local trainer heats his ENORMOUS 200x300 indoor arena with a wood stove. It's twice the size of a porta potty and sits outside the barn, it gets the temps up into the 50s when it's in the teens outside. He does it to host clinics in the winter and to continue training horses no matter the weather. I wouldn't feel comfortable with a coal stove inside the barn though.
              http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

              Comment


              • #8
                As OverandOnward mentioned, start with your home owners/farm policy. I'm guessing that any type of fuel burning fire would be a no-go with the insurance company, without something like an automatic sprinkler system or fire suppression system installed on the premises.

                I personally would not have any heat source that uses a flame in my barn - tack room or otherwise.
                ~~ How do you catch a loose horse? Make a noise like a carrot! - British Cavalry joke ~~

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm in Ontario and nobody here heats their barns. Horses generate a lot of heat on their own!
                  I would never use any sort of heater in a barn.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Horseman15 View Post
                    I'm taking the coal stove out of my home and replacing it. I'm considering using it to heat the barn. Has anyone used a Stoker Style coal stove to heat a barn? What are your thoughts on something like this? Has anyone done this before?
                    TIA
                    I worked at a specialty retail store for several years while I was in high school and college. We sold oil, gas, coal and wood appliances. The coal stoker models have a lot of safety features, were tested and approved by various government agencies, etc.

                    We had a couple of coal stoker stoves in my childhood home while I was growing up. They were convenient and reliable.

                    Much like a gas fired furnace or an oil fired boiler, if the coal stoker unit is approved, installed correctly and maintained correctly, I wouldn't have any unreasonable safety concerns.

                    But I'm not sure I'd try to heat a whole barn regardless of the fuel. I could see heating a tack room or another area that might benefit from climate control.

                    Perhaps you can try installing the stoker unit in your tack room and go there.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Do you have boarders in your barn? In all fairness, they should be fully informed well before you take such a step.

                      If I were one of your boarders and knew you were introducing this heater into the barn, I'd leave. Even in the tack room/lounge, if they are attached to the barn. Any barn is full of highly flammable, easily combustible material, and every stall is heavy with it. From bedding to forage. I would not care a flip about all of the promises and guarantees that came with an active-flame heating source, or all of the testimonials from people who used one, or all of the assurance of how the horses would be saved if ever a fire did happen.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        To answer your question: no.

                        I'd sell the stove on Craig's List or Marketplace and use the money to insulate the ceiling of the barn or get estimates.
                        Come to the dark side, we have cookies

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Pennywell Bay View Post
                          To answer your question: no.

                          I'd sell the stove on Craig's List or Marketplace and use the money to insulate the ceiling of the barn or get estimates.
                          Even in insulating you can run into problems. There is a tremendous amount of heat and moisture generated by the horses, and without good air circulation this can condense and literally drip from the ceilings and walls, creating ice, and mold depending on the temp. You would have to have circulation fans to the bringing fresh air in and cirulating from inside to the outside, at least on either end of the barn and probably on the roof along the ridge anyway. There's a reason we don't insulated our barns and the problems this creates are just part of that. The animals handle the cold well.

                          If you insulate the indoor arena or use one of those big industrial heaters to take the chill off when working, again, you have to have outside circulation.

                          I would never have an open flame heat source in a barn. Never.
                          Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Sounds unnecessary, dangerous and expensive. I definitely agree that horses do not need a heated barn, and cold air is not hard on an animals lungs -- far worse is the opposite -- unnaturally heated or dusty recirculated air. In fact, if you get used to cold air, it's not hard on your lungs either. Try running outside in the winter if you've never done it - it hurts. But if you run regularly as the temperature goes down, you get used to it and can run comfortably.

                            If you want to make their barn more climate controlled, I would consider insulating. But that depends greatly on the setup and material. If the wind blows through your barn, or it is a metal building (like Morton building) then insulating would make it much more weather proof in all seasons.

                            I would probably install electric heat in the people areas, but again - only if they were insulated. Otherwise you're just spending money.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by AnotherRound View Post

                              Even in insulating you can run into problems. There is a tremendous amount of heat and moisture generated by the horses, and without good air circulation this can condense and literally drip from the ceilings and walls, creating ice, and mold depending on the temp. You would have to have circulation fans to the bringing fresh air in and cirulating from inside to the outside, at least on either end of the barn and probably on the roof along the ridge anyway. There's a reason we don't insulated our barns and the problems this creates are just part of that. The animals handle the cold well.

                              If you insulate the indoor arena or use one of those big industrial heaters to take the chill off when working, again, you have to have outside circulation.

                              I would never have an open flame heat source in a barn. Never.
                              You *can* run in to problems, no you do not have to have circulating fans depending on your building. Animals do handle the cold well. Water buckets etc in the winter do not always. Not insulated barns can condense and drip, as well though not in mid winter. Having a professional come out and give an estimate and look is advisable over the heating method in the OP.
                              Come to the dark side, we have cookies

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                My barn has radiant floor heating, propane heated, but it has never been turned on in my 3 years there so far. Its a 20-stall barn and the temperature never goes below 10C in the winter - the horses heat it all on their own. The tack room is heated by a masonry stove, and on -20C days, its absolutely wonderful. The barn walls are concrete, insulated with straw bales.
                                Proud mother to Matt, a 18 year-old TB gelding.

                                FOREVER

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