1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

Feeling deflated...(whining inside)

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by mfglickman, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. mfglickman

    mfglickman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    Messages:
    676
    Loc:
    NW CT
    So we put almost $10K of insulation into this old house (attic last year, like 24" of blown in stuff, then this year, walls to R18 and crawl floors and rim joists to R14). We've pulled off baseboards to spray foam behind them, caulked like mad, plugged air leaks as we find them, etc.

    The house is just barely 2000 SF, a Cape, with the wood stove on one end (exterior masonry chimney from 1970s) and the pellet stove is in the 1758 "keeping room" central masonry chimney.

    This seems to have helped, in weather above 30 degrees or so. I can get 68-70 degrees and sometimes use only one stove.

    Down to about 20 degrees, we can keep the downstairs around 65-68 IF we run both stoves hard.

    Below 20 degrees, I struggle to keep 65 downstairs.

    In the single digits like the past couple of days, I have had to turn on the oil to give the house a boost to 65 or so; then I can more or less keep that temp for a few hours, again running both stoves full bore.

    FireView temps are up to 650, and I'm generally reloading every 4-6 hours in the daytime. Burning a lot of wood but not getting a lot of heat into the room, unless you're right by the stove.

    I don't know what else to do. I'm out of money and don't want to use up my oil. But I also feel like these 2 stoves should be putting more heat into the rooms...

    Thanks for listening to me whine!

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    Messages:
    1,504
    Loc:
    Eastern Ma
    That's not a whine it's a plea for help. I would also have thought with that much insulation in a 2000 sq ft house and 2 stoves you would be cooking hot dogs on your floor.

    Does your house have a decent house wrap that keeps air from infiltrating the insulation?

    I've got a similar size house with lousy wrap but good insulation,new windows and one big stove. My indoor temps are pretty much identical to what you reported as a function of outdoor temperature. I recently put in brand new windows, blew in attic insulation, and had leaks sealed in the attic with not a whole lot of change. The only thing that helped was going from the FV to the Progress.

    I was also scratching my head why the insulation/windows/sealing did not help as much as I expected, and figured it's probably the thin and poorly sealed tar paper house wrap causing air leaks, so the house insulation does not work as well as it should. That's a hard problem to fix unless you blew in polyurethane foam insulation.
  3. loon

    loon Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    Messages:
    1,763
    Loc:
    ont canada
    Thats alot of money to be still cool glickman <>

    My buddy across the road had the farm house re-insulated a few years back and before it was done they sent one of these guys to the house..

    It did help alot and is just a thought..

    Hope ya figure out the problem quick ;)

    loon



    Hire a contractor to do a blower door test.
    • The contractor will place a blower door fan in the front entrance of your house to suck out all of the air inside your home (depressurize). This allows outside air to enter the home through the leaks.
    • While the house is depressurized, the contractor moves through the house to detect the leaks in the air ducts, dropped ceilings, around utility and plumbing openings, and from interior wall and ceiling joints and floor joists.
    • A contractor can also detect air leaks around electrical and gas devices, cable and telephone lines, in air conditioners, and in basements and attics.
  4. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Mary, that is terrible. Wish I had the magic solution but don't. Loon's suggestion looks good.
  5. Machria

    Machria Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2012
    Messages:
    1,114
    Loc:
    Brookhaven, Long Island
    Wow, something doesn't add up.
  6. mfglickman

    mfglickman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    Messages:
    676
    Loc:
    NW CT

    Thanks, Loon. We had the test done last year, pre-insulation, and the house was so leaky the contractor thought the equipment was faulty. Something like 30,000 basketballs of air leaving the house every hour. Yeah.

    Maybe I should invest in having another blower door test done, to see what improvement all the insulation made.

    Fire_Man, I have no idea but would guess that this old place doesn't have much for wrap. I know we could not do injection foam in the walls because they are, literally, antiques, and the foam guys did *not* want to mess with them. So it's blown in fiberglass, done the "new way" with holes high and low for each bay so that there will be no settling. Best we could do and keep the old walls - and of course we're keeping those, lol.

    I just called Woodstock to whine a little there too. ;) Basically what I wanted to know was whether a new Fireview would give me a lot more bang for my wood than my 20+ year old (completely rebuilt last year) one. And here they had the opportunity to sell me a new stove...and they said...no. That there have been some changes between the 201 and the current model but that none of those changes would result in a significant change in heat output from the stove.

    I asked about the PH, because I dream of it as the Holy Grail of stoves, and she said that based on my experience, she'd expect it to get about 30% more heat output than a Fireview, in my house. (That "in my house" is key, here, folks, before anyone gets upset, lol, see my original post).

    She also told me that I should not run my FV at 600 (which I do all the time) and that optimal temps should be 350-500. Wow. I told her I'd have no heat in my house and be constantly reloading with tiny little loads of wood, if I tried to do that. And finally suggested I get a pack of wood at the grocery store just to see if it puts off more heat than my wood...I'll give it a try cause I feel like I'm losing my mind. Though my wood catches right away, burns hot, has been seasoned over a year, is not oak, burns a heck of a lot better than it did last year (lol), and does heat the house when the temps are warmer outside...so it may be partially a function of wood (species at least) but this wood is pretty darned good.

    Thanks again for listening to my ramblings...
  7. rijim

    rijim Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2009
    Messages:
    182
    Loc:
    RI
    The heat has to be going somewhere, either up the chimney or through openings. What kind of condition are your windows in? Never had a Fire View but quite a few here do; if you describe your set up (chimney size, type, and height) and how you run it they can maybe offer some help.
  8. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    7,607
    Loc:
    Doylestown, PA
    I'm not surprised. Pretty much the same size firebox.
  9. Machria

    Machria Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2012
    Messages:
    1,114
    Loc:
    Brookhaven, Long Island
    I assume you have checked your CAT? I would image a bad CAT would cause one to not get as much heat as expected from the stove?

    I don't have any experience with the Fireview, but my PH can probably heat your house FROM my house with a full load of wood! I think they might be understating it's increased output, but just a guess, and I've herd more experienced users around here make that same claim (that woodstock tends to understate their heat output).

    We live nearby (LI and CT), and probably have similar weather. My house is 2000', and I am on the water and have ALL windows (fairly bad/leaky ones) on the entire 2nd floor where the stove is. The PH will heat that room to whatever temp I want and I mean up to 100+ if I want), and keeps my 1st floor in the 60's without any problem. I do have a 4" duct taking warm air from 10' above the stove and blowing it down to the 1st floor (into our bedroom). That room stayed about 65 all night last night, no problem. Stove room stayed between 70 and 80. Burned 6 medium splits (1/2 to 3/4 load in PH) last night from 11:30pm to 9am this morning. Stove top was at exactly 200 this morning, with a perfect 1" hot coal bed to reload on.
  10. DianeB

    DianeB Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2012
    Messages:
    397
    Loc:
    Foot Hills of the Berkshires
    Is in a fireplace? I wonder if you have insulation around your block off plate at the damper entrance or even if you have a block off plate? I just picked up some Roxul and plan an insulating the block offf plate as I think some warm air from the room escaping up the chimney that was not apparent at 30 degrees but now apparent at 7 degrees
  11. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2008
    Messages:
    2,663
    Loc:
    Eastern MA
    I have to say my first thoughts are:
    1) Air leaking - i.e. get that blower door test done and see if it is improved. If you didn't do some serious air sealing as well as insulating then that is probably a major part of your issue. Figure out how to air seal that place and you may be amazed at how much warmer it is.

    2) The PH puts out a lot more heat than the FV. I have been amazed - but I cannot quantify it objectively. I know we are keeping the house warmer and not burning any more wood than we did with the FV so that says something there. However if you are 'heating the great outdoors' (see #1) you can put in any stove you wish and it won't solve your problems.

    3) I'm surprised that the blower door test wasn't done as a pair - i.e. one before and one after the work. That is how it is done here and the air-sealing folks aren't considered 'done' unless there is sufficient improvement made. When my house was done they literally kept the blower going and walked around the house feeling the air leaks with caulker in hand to seal around windows etc. The attic was a huge improvement - sealing around all the penetrations there (plumbing etc) and the tops of walls. It took a good 1/2 day for them to do the work and my house was built in 2000, I can only imagine the 'opportunities' to improve a much older house.
  12. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    9,097
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    Your FV is up to 650, that's all you need to know, it is maxed out and still you are cold. The FV is also a small stove in the low 2+ CF range with corresponding ouput. A larger stove at 650 would make proportionally more heat.

    You have 2000 SF but you have more than one story so heating with a radiant heater is another cripple as these heaters work best with line-of-sight heating.

    With both stoves cranking you should be able to heat 2000 SF as long as the front door is closed so something is leaking heat. I wouldn't start with a different or another stove, that would just be to hide the problem, your problem is heat loss.

    I had the power company guy out here with one of those heat cameras and he could spot areas of poor insulation. It worked best when the house was warm and the outdoor temps very low.
    Hickorynut and gyrfalcon like this.
  13. mfglickman

    mfglickman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    Messages:
    676
    Loc:
    NW CT
    My windows are wood, all replacements, some double paned really pretty new and then some are older - those are sealed shut and have outdoor wood-framed, glass storms sealed over them. Surprisingly, when I had the blower-door test done, my windows did quite well.

    Chimney is on an exterior wall, we had the stove installed last year after we totally rebuilt it. Decent draft except in the 50's, then I have to put crumpled newspaper on top of a cold load. It's set slughtly out in front of the fireplace so the big stone box is in the room. We've stuffed Roxul up around the flue pipe from the inside; the sweep/installer said that because it's closed at the top we should not need to but we were trying to keep more heat in the room.

    What else to tell ya?
  14. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    7,607
    Loc:
    Doylestown, PA
    Your results were what I feared when I was trying to figure out if I should insulate or buy more/bigger stoves. Obviously, I decided to buy bigger stoves. My fear was that I would throw a ton of money into insulating and draft removal and still struggle to heat this very old place.

    This place is drafty as hell (the IR gun shows two floor corners in the dining room with an incoming draft of 38 degrees), but even with the single digit temps and the wind, I was able to keep things comfortable for the most part (lots of heat loss in the attic and second story). It's currently 11 degrees out and the rooms with the 30 and Defiant are sitting at 75 with the Kitchen (Encore) at 68.

    The down side is that I am always fighting heat loss, and it really becomes apparent when we get into the low teens to single digits. But, the stoves are doing there jobs. Now, the next several years I will figure out how to tighten this place up while knowing I have the horsepower to keep this place warm. It will only get better from this point forward.

    I am a firm believer in having the ability to make the home too warm. For us that have draft an insulation hurdles, it is the best course to take. I know you've spent a tone of money on insulation, and I am sure it has made a difference, but you are just a little disappointed that it wasn't the magic bullet.

    My advice; upgrade both stoves to larger stoves. If budget is a concern, go used, but go large. Yes, most of the time you won't need the size, but you will curse yourself the 1-5% of the winter when you need it. If you can swing the cost of a Progrees, buy two. Or upgrade the Pellet stove to the larger Harman P68 (or something with similar capacity).

    I know additional cost wasn't what you had in mind after insulating. But, with an old home, some of them are never going to be tight.
    Mrs. Krabappel likes this.
  15. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Messages:
    1,829
    Loc:
    Ashland OH
    That's a bummer. Unfortunately great insulation doesn't always mean excellent performance. We had great insulation, but had a high rate of heat loss. Upon investigating, there were many open cavities in our attic that were covered. Was care taken to airseal the attic before insulating? We had massive amounts of air infiltration, that once found and corrected made a huge difference. Getting a reputable company out to verify if there's been a change in infiltration levels is smart. Try to find a company that uses thermal imaging, which should show any hidden air leaks. Good luck!
  16. mfglickman

    mfglickman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    Messages:
    676
    Loc:
    NW CT
    This is it, exactly. I do not deny that I'm using far less oil - almost none really - than last year. And last year, I spent $900 in 3 weeks and was still cold! So we have without a doubt made improvements. But I want to cry when I see all these people with one Fireview that they load 3 splits into on Tuesday and still have shorts on on Thursday night when they think to reload on their hot bed of coals. Not exactly that, but I think you know what I mean.

    With a smaller house and 2 stoves, I think I should be able to make the downstairs too warm, even if I never get the darned air circulation to make it upstairs. BB you have old stairs, right? Imagine trying to point a fan DOWN a set of dogleg 1700's stairs into a warm room to make a loop - not gonna happen, it's just too steep a rise and the angles are too sharp, top and bottom.

    Still looking for that magic bullet. And I still love my house - it's a piece of history from before this country was even a country - the dude who built it FOUGHT in the Revolution - but sometimes I'm just colder than I think I should be...
    Mitch Newton likes this.
  17. brogsie

    brogsie Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2007
    Messages:
    254
    Loc:
    eastern MA
    Do you have a heat shield on the back of your stove.
    I had a fireplace set up and found the brick was sucking the heat out through the brick.
    The brick on the outside was warm to the touch. I put a heat shield on and reflected some of that heat outward.
    It made a big difference.
    My new house has a metal chimney up through the house. That gives off far more heat.
    Some one else suggested checking for a block off plate. I would do that.
  18. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    7,607
    Loc:
    Doylestown, PA
    We have two sets of stairs. A pie staircase in the kitchen and a set of steep and narrow stairs between the living room and dining room. Air moves pretty well between the two. Standing at the top of either staircase you can actually feel the air moving by you. No fans needed. But, it might have to do with the amount of cold air racing down from the attic :(
  19. rijim

    rijim Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2009
    Messages:
    182
    Loc:
    RI
    2 things come to mind: wood with less than desirable moisture level or too much draft. Have you checked moisture in the center of a split? Did you have a flu liner installed; if not, what size is the chimney?
  20. Woodreb

    Woodreb New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2012
    Messages:
    21
    Loc:
    NW CT
    Do you have an insulation blanket to place over your attic access? I assume you have an access entry into the attic. I know we used to get a lot of cold air penetration from the fold down attic stairs and the blanket helped that problem. Our house was built in the 1970's but wasn't the greatest build job and we've been working on trying to tighten it up as well.

    I'm just resigned for these really cold days that the electric heaters are going to come on in some parts of the house, at least for now.
  21. HollowHill

    HollowHill Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Messages:
    667
    Loc:
    Central NY
    I hear you and I feel your pain, well, at least as much as my cold, numb body can. Hasn't been above 7 all day and its getting colder. Been struggling to keep the house at 60, and for the most part have succeeded. And of course, the room with the woodstove is warmer. My suggestion is to pile on the layers, fleece is your friend, and grit teeth. This too shall pass. Gotta think that Rev. soldier had it worse ;) Oh, yeah, and try not to think unpure thoughts at those folks who heat their houses to 90 degrees and have to open windows. Just think, WE don't have to open our windows. Nor worry about radon gas, it doesn't stay long in this wind tunnel. I spend my time thinking about how nice it will be when I have a new roof, new siding, new windows, new insulation, fixed foundation... Alas, I could go on o_O For now, I have a lovely, old house and dreams... Hang in there.
    ailanthus, Hickorynut and loon like this.
  22. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,320
    Loc:
    Holliston, MA USA
    Something is odd for sure... Granted I've only got 2/3 the sq footage as you do but my insulation isn't nearly as good... Just blown cellulose to R20ish in the roof and R10ish in the walls, all single pane with triple track storms....and I can keep the entire first floor around 70 and the stove room over 75 as long as its above the single digits... On a single stove that's probably a bit weaker than the FV. upstairs not so good, but we don't use it much.

    Maybe I'm tighter than I think. Maybe your place is still leaky. The insulation alone won't stop all drafts.

    I'm also assume you have low ceilings like we do (7.5 1st, 6.5 upstairs)
  23. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    Messages:
    1,541
    Loc:
    Long Island NY
    Sorry to hear about your trouble, it stinks to do all that work and not get what you were hoping for. I was wondering how you were measuring your stove temps. Could it be way off?
  24. wkpoor

    wkpoor Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2008
    Messages:
    1,854
    Loc:
    Amanda, OH
    With all these extremes in performance I read about all the time I would be curious to see pics of the houses inside and out. My guess is that may explain alot. Just talking about square footage, layout and insulation or lack of isn't telling the whole story somehow. The only reference I have beyond my own house is my neightbors machine shop which is one room 60x80 well insulated 12' ceiling and walls on a slab. He easily, on only 2 loads a day, in frigid temps can keep that space at or above 80 degrees. But he has the hp in that old 10cuft Hutch Rebel. That tells me a larger stove or stoves can possibly over come the required BTUs to get the job done. Then there are all the guys with wood boilers and I've never known anyone of them to complain. I have a good friend that heats a huge uninsulated farm house with an inside wood boiler and his place is always toasty. A 2ish cuft wood stove, it seems to me, is only going to work if the place if very tight and well insulated and not too large.
  25. elmoleaf

    elmoleaf Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    Messages:
    390
    Loc:
    Southeastern Massachusetts
    First priority should be sealing air leaks in building envelope. Then insulation.
    Google "stack effect"...basically whole house acts like giant chimney, as cold air leaks in low and hot air escapes out top. Way to halt stack effect is sealing air leaks.
    Did you air-seal at the foundation/basement? Did you air seal any penetrations/chases where pipes etc. go through the floor into your first floor living area? Did you seal in the attic around pipe penetrations through the ceiling? Around attic access? At recessed cans (box over or make sure they are IC type).
    Thermal imaging/infrared photos of your house can be used to determine where insulation is still lacking.
    Bluerubi likes this.

Share This Page