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Basement heat needed-

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Waterglider, Mar 21, 2006.

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  1. Waterglider

    Waterglider New Member

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    Hello-

    I'm new to the forum- I have been poking around a bit, but i can't seem to find information that pertains to my situation. I apologize in advance if I repeat another posting...

    Anyway, I have a 2-story 1908 colonial in Spokane, WA. Since the birth of our baby, and another on the way, I have been forced to move my office to the cellar. I work from home, so i spend quite a bit of time down there. The ceilings are small, maybe 6 foot 2 or so, and it is about 850 square feet. Main floor is about 950 sq. ft. Here is my problem: it is so freaking cold down there I can actually see my breath when I am working at the computer. I need some heat! We have a gas forced air set up now, but there are no vents for the cellar. We have a gas insert installed in our main floor fireplace. The basement walls are poorly insulated, however, I have upgraded the windows.

    I am completely open to ideas. I have been looking at pellet stoves since they are easier to vent than wood stoves, and they seem to be a lot less work. But whatever we get, it doesn't need to be pretty because it will be in the corner of my cellar- no one will actually see it but me.

    Frozen in Spokane....

    Sean

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  2. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    You are out of luck at Home Cheapo. They have already moved out wood and pellet stoves for spring inventory. Some ACe hardware and similar stores sell a pellet stove called Cheap Charlie. You could get lucky and find one that they are trying to move for their spring inventory. Make no mistake, its not a Harman but will do the job. Another suggestion why not cut into your existing duct work and install a latteral or two to your office area? Less than $50 in materials at Home Cheapo
  3. Waterglider

    Waterglider New Member

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    Thanks for the response- I actually did try to add a few ducts into my office, but it just wouldn't get the job done. In order to get the basement to heat up, I needed to turn the furnace way up- heat bill really hurt that month...

    I have heard of the Cheap Charlie...I was told that it really is prone to problems. I don't want to create another problem...

    Sean
  4. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    I mentioned Cheap Charlie due to price considerations. I have inspected one and only seen one I suspect that many of the components blowers ect are common parts. I would stick to new as there are replacement parts involved with used pellet stoves Englander brand is another cheaper stove Qudra- fire is not cheap but less than Harman Hopefully others will chime in soon
  5. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    I have the exact same situation (and almost setup). My woodstove is in my living room on the first floor, and since adding it my oil furnance/forced hot air system hasnt kicked off once when the stove is burning. As a result, my basement rec room averages about 45 degrees. I do have a duct for the forced air in the basement, and am likely going to add another one.

    The plan is to wire a bypass into my existing forced air blower, so that when the woodstove is cranking out way more heat than the first/second floors can comfortably use (which is nearly always), the return vents in the first/second floor will suck that hot air into the basement and heat it up, as well as balance out the heat in the rest of the house. Since the oil furnace isnt on, the only added cost is the extra venting (cheap) and some labor (cheap if you do this yourself, it's not terribly challenging). Obviously a small utility cost to run the blower from time to time.

    Much easier than installing a new stove or God forbid a space heater.
  6. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    I would put a small direct vent gas down there. Its cheap to run, easy to vent, and lower maintenance then the othere fuel types. In such a small confined space it would be nice to have a appliance that doesnt mess with room atmosphere.
  7. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    I have a similar issue with my workbench area in my basement

    I could hang meat in my basement and I mean well when I go down to work on the saw or clean up after home improvements/maintenance but rarely get anything finished because it is COLD

    I was knocking around the idea of putting a floor grate next to the stove and running some duct work with an in line fan across the basement to the corner the workbench is in to take the chill out of the air.

    Yes, I would have a damper on the workbench end but I wonder I can draw heat down?
    I would have the in line fan on a switch and only have it on when I needed it.
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    All WA electricity does NOT sell for 5 cents / kw, urban legend. Seattle has electricity for about that price because it has it's own hydropower system and dams. The rest of us on the west side of the cascades are paying for unbuilt nuclear systems at about .09 kw. East side is about 7.5 cents I think.

    However, I think you are on the right track. I would insulate the office well and put an electric heater in, blowing on my feet.
  9. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    In my local area that compares to approx. $10/million btu's vs $23.45/million for electricity. (.08/KWh vs .81c/therm)
  10. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    7.5 cents is a bargain. I pay almost 12 with all of the fees & taxes added in.
  11. saichele

    saichele Minister of Fire

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    I'd think the cheapest solutions would be 1) wall off the actual office area and use an electric heat source (like one of those radiators or baseboards) or 2) go the DV gas fireplace route. No sense heating 850 sq. ft if you're in 100 sq. ft most of the time. and the diffrernce between $50 for the electric unit and maybe $1000 for the gas unit covers a lot of difference in cost per BTU and framing. I bet you could frame off and insulate a 100 sf basement space for $200 or so if you're up for DIY work. Nothing real fancy, 2x4 walls, 1/2 inch drywall on one side, some mis-tinted off white paint, and some R5 fiberglass inthe stud bays.

    Steve
  12. Waterglider

    Waterglider New Member

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    Excellent advice. I think I was caught up in the romance of a pellet stove....but in reality, all I need is a warm space.

    2X4s and insulation here I come....

    Sean
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Yeah, I'd be happier paying .075 as well. Note, that is before all fees and taxes are tacked on. We don't have natural gas available on my street. I looked at the rate for gas and almost couldn't figure it out, there were so many additional things tacked on. But assuming you're not a new customer (they get even more fees!) it looks like one pays about .58842 per therm west of the Cascades (my neighborhood). I'm not sure what it runs in Spokane.

    http://www.pse.com/insidepse/ratesdocs/summ_gas_2523_res_2002_11_01.pdf
  14. roac

    roac New Member

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    DOE puts the Washington state average at 5.8 cents, usually residential average runs about a penny more. I've seen those nuclear museums... What were they thinking starting that and not following through??


    http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epa/fig7p4.html
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Not sure where or when the DOE got it's figures, but they are not average for the homeowners. I can also see where the average gets a bit skewed because Seattle is by far the largest city. Maybe they average cheap industrial rates in that none of us homeowners ever see?

    WPPSS (known locally as Whoops!) had grand designs on being the west coast power capital. They came up with a crazy scheme to build 5 nuclear plants in a state that already had abundant hydro. As they proceeded with this grand plan, just about everything that can go wrong with a mega-project went wrong. It is a textbook case of poor planning, design and regulation gone amuck, all at our expense. Only one plant was completed. Seattle was the only town smart enough to see the handwriting on the wall and pulled out. The system was forced to default in 1982 on $2.25 billion in bonds. We're still paying the bill, just like the savings and loan debacle that the Bush brothers defaulted on around the same time. Ain't government grand?

    http://www.historylink.org/essays/output.cfm?file_id=5482
  16. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    home cheapo sells metal studs and track very cheap. you don't even need a saw.
    and in a basement where there is moisture the metal holds up better than wood. don't go 24 inch centers you will pay more for the insulation. cheaper to do 16 centers and 16 inch insulation
    all you need is a screw gun and tin snips and you can put a room together in no time.
    for a 12 x 12 room all you will need is a electric space heater or oil radiator to heat that room.
    if you make a 10 x 10 room the formula for the size heater comes out to be 1000 watts. not much power. beats a $500 stove + additional items for the stove
  17. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    dylan it just is. look it up. they make more 16 inch so i guess that is the answer. the more they make of anything the cheaper it is. the 16 foil face reg fiberglass is the cheapest faced insulation at the homeless depot
  18. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    If moisture is a concern why use fiberglass?
  19. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    that moisture will be on the floor. high humidity won't affect the insulation unless it is being dripped on. if you want to use wood (that's the way i like) use a metal track on the bottom and attach the wood studs to that. wood studs are easier for electrical boxes. (keeping them straight)
  20. Waterglider

    Waterglider New Member

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    Ok- next question for you guys...what kind of space heater or oil heater do you suggest? I have tried to research this online, but i can't seem to get any objective advice. I'll have about 400 sq. feet in the office to heat...
  21. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    waterglider if that is a real 400 square feet insulated room and not concrete walls you'll need 4000 watts of heat. they don't make space heaters that big you'll have to have a electrician come in and wire up some baseboard. with electric heat sizing it to small can cost more on the electric bill than going to big. the oil filled radiators you can buy at wall mart. but they are rated at 1500 watts. they work well. they are not fast heaters but are the safest space heater you can buy. if the ceiling is low and there is a rug on the floor (mold factory) and the ambient temp down there is not to cold like 40 degrees you might get away with 3000 watts = 2 radiators or space heaters you buy at wal mart. i just did my basement into a couple of rooms the home theatre room is 495 square feet. i pluged in a ceramic space heater 1500 watts for 4 hours got from 55 to 59 degrees out of it.
  22. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Please start over and list your prorities size area height of ceilings. as a professional that has built many homes and basement additions you need to start over again. First step is drylock your existing concrete foundation walls. Then seal your floor
    (Moisture prevention) some walls will be needed to contain insulation and either insulated ceiling tiles or joist bay insulation. Insulated wall alone solves part of the problem, allowing the heat sourse to escape upward has to be considered. Even interior walls might need insulation to confine heat loss. What is your current heating system can it handle heating an insulated room? Before you spend money you need to set priorities
  23. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

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    Haven't seen this idea mentioned. I do it in a big kitchen (375 sq ft) with essentially four doors that are open to other large rooms so I can't really raise the temp in there. This is for Mother Mo Heat who is highly sensitive to cold for various reasons. Some real, some imagined.

    I bought a 600W Honeywell radiant heater and set it about 5 feet away from her kitchen chair. It is only on while she's in the chair and it's only 600 Watts, to boot. She loves it. Instant heat. Instant off. Can oscillate if desired. We have it fixed and aimed diagonally at her left, rear side.

    Something to consider if it is not ice cube cold down there in your basement. Maybe you could just sit in front of a radiant heater.

    600 W x 1 hr = .6 kWh * 10 hrs/day = 6 KWh/day x $0.075 per kwh = $0.45/day * 20 work-days/mo = $9/mo. (cheaper in MO)

    Cost of Honeywell heater: $40. (cheap at Sears)

    (As always, Mo's math disclaimer applies.)
  24. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    Type faster. Your fingers will warm up.
  25. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

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    Waterglider says he lives in Spokan, not Antarctica. Never seen a heated keyboard although I've often mused about having slaved over a hot one. :)
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