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Advice heating 2nd floor.

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by lonlaz, Aug 17, 2009.

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  1. lonlaz

    lonlaz New Member

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    My wife and I are currently restoring a large 3 story victorian home w/ basement. We are planning to live on the second floor while working on the rest of house. Originally, I was intending to put in underfloor radiant, but I did the heat calcs this weekend, and that is just not going to work.

    So now we are heatless for the winter! The old owners took out all the original boiler/radiator system and were going to install a huge industrial pellet stove, but didn't get around to it. I don't want to run ductwork, and still want to do underfloor when we can tighten up the house, so I need an interim solution, woodburning stove.

    Do you think I can get a stove sufficient to heat the space? I drew up a floorplan ASCII style by memory (all the tools I have right now). The area is a bit over 1200 sq ft. I'm in SE Nebraska, real cold is -10 here, cold is about 0. There is a fireplace behind the wall where I'd hope to put in a new liner and install the stove. My house is drafty untill we can redrywall next spring/summer. At the moment, I'm worried about getting heat to the bathroom and kitchen areas.

    Will a big ol wood stove be good enough to get us through this winter? Help!

    Code:
          -----
        /       \                 _________         
       |         |               /         \      
       |         -------------- /           \---|
        \             *      |                  |
          -_         FP      |                  | 
            |                |                  |
            |                |     Room 1       |
            |    Room 2      |                  |
            |                |                  |______________________
            |                |                  |        |     |||Dwn|| 
            |                |   _______________|        |     ||||||||
            |___________                           Bath  |     |Pntry | 
            |                                   |        |     |__  __| 
            |           |===|                   |________|            |
            |  Room 3   |===|                                         |
            |           |Up=|     Common Room                         |
            |           |===|                    _____     Kithen     |
            |_  ________|===|                   |     |               |
            |Clst||||||||||||                     Clst|               |
            |____|||||Dwn||||___________________|_____|_______________|
    

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  2. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    I'm a little confused by your diagram. It appears the fireplace is on an exterior wall so how could you be putting the stove behind that?

    But yes, I think a stove will do you fine. You'll just need some fans blowing the cold air in from the kitchen so the warm air can replace it.

    Would you be able to just run a liner up through the existing chimney and put the stove right there?
  3. lonlaz

    lonlaz New Member

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    Sorry, I should've been more clear. The fireplace was walled up when they turned the place into apartments, thus behind the wall. I hope I'll just be able to run a liner, I haven't been able to unwall the fireplace yet. Hopefully this evening. Any hints at what to look for?
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I wonder if the original heating for the house had a more centrally located flue. Perhaps there is one closed up in a dividing wall? The common room would be where I would look first. Thump on the wall and see if one sounds solid instead of hollow.
  5. lonlaz

    lonlaz New Member

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    Ahh, I wish, but no such luck. The kitchen & bath seem to be a later addition, and were probably put in when steam was available. There is a chimney running through the wall between Room 1 and the bathroom, but that's for the basement & first floor fireplaces. :(
  6. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    But, isn't there a chimney for the original furnace that runs up through the house or was it removed during a previous remodel? It seems like you should be able to look in the basement and see where it is.
  7. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    or see where it penetrates the roof.
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Before spending bucks on the exterior fireplace is there a chance of installing a new flue in the corner of the common room, bath? Could that be enclosed in a chase on the second floor? Seems a better location for overall heating.
  9. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    Can't you tap into one of those for the time being?
  10. lonlaz

    lonlaz New Member

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    Can you tap in, is that safe? I did notice how one of the chimneys was tapped into on 3rd floor and patch up later on when tearing down plaster (lots of water damage).
  11. Stephen in SoKY

    Stephen in SoKY Feeling the Heat

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    Without a heat source in the basement, will your pipes freeze?
  12. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    Maybe renting an apartment for a winter will be cheaper than installing a heating system for a year and then removing it. It's probably easier to do it once and only once.

    Matt and probably not writing what you want to read.
  13. lonlaz

    lonlaz New Member

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    @Stephen
    I'm worried about the pipe problem, just not thinking about it right now, one thing at a time.

    @Matt
    Well, it's a bit more complicated than that. I'm living in a nicely heated house right now, but I need to move out and sell it to have more cash flow for the 'new' house. Also, living in it makes it more convenient to work on it. But, anyhow, I'm not planning to remove the stove, we want wood heat for backup and to give it a historical feel.


    I don't think I can run a pipe up through 3rd without it going straight through another room, so, I'm going to check out the chimney today. This is too bad, because I rather liked that solution.
  14. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    Maybe you can get rid of the basement fireplace and use that flue for your heating needs.

    Matt
  15. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    and remember, putting it in the common room would be ideal but running your flue up the old fireplace chimney will still work, you'll just a little bigger stove.
  16. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, you should be fine as long as it's only used for one appliance at a time. I'd probably seal off the one not being used for increased safety and improved draft.

    Depending on your location and layout, just leaving the lights on in the basement and maybe a supplemental electrical space heater for the coldest weather should be enough to keep your pipes in the basement from freezing. I did nothing in my CT basement this last year (lights off etc) and my lowest temp recorded was 36°, and that was during some very cold weather. Leaving the lights one and using an electric heating would go a long way to keep things from freezing.
  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Before tapping into the chimney, have it inspected first. It may be unlined and with crumbly mortar.
  18. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Delonghi makes oil filled radiator heaters with an "anti-freeze" feature that will maintain a room temp of 42 degrees to prevent freeze ups. Great for basements or un-occupied houses.
  19. atomichawg

    atomichawg New Member

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    Amen to that. Under 40 bucks at Lowes. They are silent and work great. Nice for bedrooms too, or any room that matter, as long as you keep the door closed.
  20. lonlaz

    lonlaz New Member

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    Thanks for all your help, everyone. I feel like I had enough info to make an informed decision, at least. I'd have loved to place the stove more centrally, but there seemed no place to put it without blocking a door or going straight through an upstairs room. We opened up the fireplace and the chimney is clear straight up, no lining ever put in, so I'll be installing liner here soon. The mortar does need some work particularly towards the top, but there is not enough summer left for me to address that this year.

    I'll be putting in a (cheap) marble hearth, and putting a Jotel Firelight there, and later finish the fireplace like a fireplace, mantle, etc. I'm pretty excited about the whole thing, now I need to start sourcing some well seasonsed wood, and setting up a place to stack it.

    I'll definitely look into the oil filled radiators for the possible pipe situation.
  21. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    Well, that Jotul will definitely keep you warm! Considering the state of the chimney, I know others will chime in on what you will need to do to stay safe.
  22. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Get a mason or certified sweep to inspect that chimney well. And be sure there is room for an insulated liner after the chimney has been thoroughly cleaned.
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