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Best option for woodburning heat

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Winnipsieogee, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. Winnipsieogee

    Winnipsieogee New Member

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    We live in a 3 level cape (it has a walk-out basement). The house has VERY open staircases between the 3 levels. The basement is completely set up for a woodburning stove it just needs to be installed. The main level has a fire place. I was originally thinking about installing a fireplace insert on the main level but when the salesman came to our home he suggested I would be much better off just putting a stove in the basement. His thoughts were that the stove would't require a lining (saving $$), the stove is more efficient and the location in the basement is 10 feet from the outside wood storage making life much easier for me and my wife. I am looking at either QuadraFire or Harman.

    I've been struggling with this discussion for a week now when I finally found this forum. Any thoughts you guys have would be GREATLY appreciated! Will the heat really move it all the way up 3 levels (assuming I help it with a few strategically placed fans). Are stoves really much better heaters than inserts? Any other brands I should be looking at? I really only care about efficiency and functionality. Looks don't have any bearing on the decision.

    Thanks in advance!!!

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  2. Winnipsieogee

    Winnipsieogee New Member

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    Oh yeah - one more thing... From the basement to the top of the chimney its about 20 feet. From what I've been reading that can cause problems with the draft. Other than the elbow at the wall its a straight run up though. How worried should I be about this?
  3. Mitch Newton

    Mitch Newton Member

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    My layout is somewhat similar. I installed a Quadrafire 5700 in the basement. My chimney is in the middle of the house with a 23' liner. Draft is great and fire burns great. I was a little disappointed with the amount of heat moving upstairs. I think with a basement install you need to get a larger stove as you are asking the stove to do a lot. With that said, I also had big ideas to move the heat upstairs with fans, and cutting floor vents in if needed. However, simply changing the direction of the fan from blowing heat up the stairwell away from the stove to placing the fan in the coldest part of the basement and blowing cold air toward the stove made all the difference in the world. From my experience I would go with the stove over an insert. Any problems I've had have been operator error, not the stove.
  4. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    Central PA
    I would go with a large stove in the basement. My stove is on the lower of two floors. We keep the downstairs room nice and warm, and a certain amount of heat gets upstairs. We still use the electric baseboard heat upstairs, but the stove has cut our electric bill in half.

    What problem do you expect with your 20 ft chimney? Do you think that is too short? I think 20 ft is pretty typical and should work fine. Depending on your house it may not be hard to add a few feet on top of the chimney.

    In my opinion long burn times are the single best feature of a stove that will be used in a downstairs room. You won't want to be reloading the stove too often.
  5. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    With efficiency, function, and long burn times as most important and with looks unimportant you are a prime candidate for a blaze king. The BK cat stoves can burn over 40 hours without you having to look at it. I use the princess model and only have to touch it once per day when I get home from work, I reload it and it is good for another 24 hours. No other stove from no other company can do this. In addition, the BKs are equipped with a thermostat that regulates output to maintain a steady stove temperature.

    The BKs are convection stoves which is what you will be wanting since the ability to heat rooms not in the line of sight is supposed to be easier with a stove designed to heat air as the BK is.

    Currently, there is no better basement stove than a BK.when it comes to function and efficiency.
  6. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    south central WI
    I have a stove in the basement and an insert on the main level. As it turns out, I rarely use the insert and could probably have gotten by
    without it. The key is having an insulated, finished basement and an open stairway.
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    20 ft is just about perfect. This is the height of our flue. However, in this case, effectively your height will be reduced to about 14ft due to the two 90 degree turns in the smoke path. If anything you might find an extra 2-4 ft could help. How well either stove will heat from the basement will greatly depend on the space itself, stove location and how easily heat is going to get upstairs. If the sole desire is to heat the upstairs consider putting the stove up there.
  8. Winnipsieogee

    Winnipsieogee New Member

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    Thanks all! Just ran into a bump in the road though - Turns out its set up for a pellet stove not a woodburning stove. The only real issue is the clearance from the front opening door. Not sure I want to be ripping up the wood floors that are glued to the basement floor! Also I've decided this season just isn't going to happen because unless I pay big $$$ for kiln dried I'm not going to get any decent wood this late in the year.
  9. RSNovi

    RSNovi Feeling the Heat

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    It all depends in the house. I have a stove in the basement and get very little heat on the next floor up let alone two floors up. My basement is heavily insulated and i have tried fans everywhere.

    If I get the basement to 90 degrees the next floor up will be about 70. That uses a ton of wood too.

    I am planning to put an insert in my living room.
  10. ColdNH

    ColdNH Minister of Fire

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    Bow, NH
    I would put the stove where you spend the most time. Our last house, a small cape 1700 sq feet including the finished basement, had the stove in the basement, it was well insulated with a stair in the center of the space, the stove managed to heat the house fairly decently, typicaly temps were 80+/- in the basement, 70+/- on the first floor and 60+/-s on the 3rd floor.

    It was sometimes a bit warm down there, but its a dry heat so we didnt mind. We spent most of our time in the finished basement.

    Our current house, also a cape, a bit bigger, 2100 sq feet, doesnt have a finished basement, so we put the stove in the living room. it heats the entire house pretty good and we get to enjoy the view of the fire.

    With that said, i suggest putting the stove in the room your in the most.
  11. dafattkidd

    dafattkidd Minister of Fire

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    Another vote for putting the stove/insert where you spend the most time. Inserts are great. Standalones seem to be a bit better, but those of us who have inserts love them.

    Two other things:
    1. It will be very helpful to you to get your wood supply in place as soon as you can for next year. Count on 3-4 cords per year.
    2. If you want to burn wood this year its not impossible to burn green wood, its just not ideal. Many of us burned green wood our first season.

    Good luck either way!
  12. Winnipsieogee

    Winnipsieogee New Member

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    Thanks all - At this point I'm definitely leaning towards an insert in the main part of the house. We have a 900sqft greatroom which includes the living, dining and kitchen space. The fireplace is smack in the middle of it which also happens to be at the base of the stairs to the upper level. I figure an insert will be great. I can't decide between the quadrafire Voyageur grand (which the wife loves for aesthetic purposes) and the Adlerlea T5 Classic insert which I like for functional reasons ( and she is "ok" with).

    If they can get it installed soon I might do that and grab a couple cords of the kiln dried. With a newborn in the house my wife is not a fan of ANYTHING that smokes! Gotta keep the boss happy even it costs and extra $50 a cord!
  13. Berner

    Berner Member

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    Eastern, MA

    Does your current setup have any heat source in the basement? I am planning on putting a wood stove in on the first floor where we spend most of our time. I'm optimistic that it will heat the first floor and second floor nicely however I'm nervous about the basement. Currently the only heat that is in the basement is the heat that the furnace throws. There is a small amount of additional heat that comes from where the copper pipe dips below the floor to make a run between the baseboard heating sections. Surprisingly it stays pretty warm down there but I'm afraid if I put in a wood stove the furnace won't turn on much hence it's going to be really cold in the basement. Does your basement get really cold?
  14. dafattkidd

    dafattkidd Minister of Fire

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    Those are two beautiful units. You will love either one. Be sure to line that chimney from the unit to the chimney top. Congratulations on the newborn! We have an 8 month old son. He's the best!
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    You are looking at nice units. Not to confuse the issue, but if they will fit, you might also check out the Enviro Venice (or Boston) 1700 and the Hampton HI 300.

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