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Feeling deflated...(whining inside)

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

  1. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That is a good suggestion. The attic entry should have a weatherstrip seal just like an exterior door. Glue on a layer of 1.5" foam to it too.

    Mary, are there any recessed can lights in the house? Anything that penetrates the ceiling should be examined.
    mfglickman likes this.

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  2. DianeB

    DianeB Feeling the Heat

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    What about bathroom fans that vent outside? Do those ceiling holes draw out warm air through the venting?
  3. Badger

    Badger New Member

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    Sorry if this was stated and I just misread... But it appears this is a basement installation. Are the walls sheet rocked, or are they bare concrete?

    One of my FIL's favorite statements is 6" of concrete has the same r-value as a 1/2" piece of plywood. Never checked his facts... Not that he would listen much if I tried to correct him.
  4. coldkiwi

    coldkiwi Member

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    I crawled around in my attic before I insulated, during the day, with a can of expanding foam and looked for daylight , then filled the cracks with foam.
    Seemed to help.
  5. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    No, not a basement install.
    mfglickman likes this.
  6. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    First, it seems you have two chimneys, one for the pellet stove and one for the Fireview. This is an older home. Do you have other chimneys? If so, are they sealed? If you have other chimneys, I'd make wood inserts to fit in their openings, and insulate the back of the insets.

    Outside chimneys are a pain because they cause such heat loss. If I were you, I'd be sure the chimney is well sealed at the damper level, and I;d pour insulation in around the liner. One of the PH owners...I think Tony, maybe...did so with giid results.

    I was interested that Woodstock told you to keep the Fireview not higher than low 500s. That's what Lorin told me, too, several years ago. She also recommended that temp for the PH. But apparently someone has told Dennis 600s is fine for the Fireview? He always burns in the 600's, and so far has been fine, Don't know if it takes a long term toll on the iron castings or not.

    Anyway, I used to have a Fireview. 46x32 two full stories, full third floor under roof, with large shed dormer to the north.
    Full below grade basement, 4 small high windows. Used the Fireview as my only heat. Needless to say, the house wasn't warm. However, it was OK.

    From what I have learned, these are the things I would suggest:

    Use larger splits. They will give you a longer burn at a steadier reasonably high temperature. Take a pedastal fan and place it several feet, up to 12-15 feet depending on your room size, away from the stove, on the side away from the air flow direction of the house, and blow the fan on low so the air glances off the front of the stove and blows toward the main part of the home. This doesn't simply try to push air warm air into the colder areas. Rather, it pushes warm air against the very hot front of the stove, where the air picks up more heat as it travels out of the room. You can put a fan at the top of the stairs pointing down toward the main floor as well, which will help to circulate air. But putting the fan the far side of the stove pointing a the stove actually is like adding another heater to the home. It should make a big difference, Try it and let me know what happens. One of our PH owners, who had a similar problem to yuors, tried this the other day (finally!) and found his home went from being to cold, on normal days, to being too hot, in this frigid weather. Get out your summer fan and turn it on. Give it a try. It will feel cool for the first 15 minutes to half an hour...don't letm that discourage you. You'll suddenly realize you aren't feeling the chilly air movement anymore.

    I would expect your air temps to go up at least several degrees in the first hour.

    And a PH would make a big difference. It really heats my home, whcihthe Fireview just couldn't do. My house is a lot larger than yours, though, and I'm in zone 5a, not zone 6 or 7. Woodstockaid 30% more for your home. That'a a lot. If we can't get you warmer, i'd go for the PH. But let's work with the stove for now.
  7. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I wonder if now, that it's cold, might be a good time for one of those IR camera reviews.
  8. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Your scenario sounds almost identical to mine, and I'm running two 3.0 cu.ft. stoves. I'm running three big loads per day thru each right now, and can keep both stoves at 550F stovetop for hours on end, but it's still not enough in this weather. So, we're running the oil to supplement. We're spending money on that, but a heck of a lot less money than we would be spending if we were heating this joint without the aid of the two stoves. We're heating from a stall point of 64F or 66F (depending on which zone) to 70F, which is much better than heating from maybe 30F to 70F.
  9. Elle

    Elle Member

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    Since you said you walls were antiques it got me thinking. I am insulating my house (built in 1890 as 2 houses converted to 1 in the 1940's). I decided to rip open the walls because I was sure the mice chews all the wires. People thought I was crazy and that I should just get blown in insulation.

    When I took the plaster walls off the lath and plaster was very deteriorated. There was about 3-4 feet of piled up broken plaster in each cavity between the studs ( ok I know they are not studs but hope you know what I mean)

    Had I used blown in insulation there would have been 3-4 feet of dead uninsulated space because the plaster bits were packed tight. The house also didn't have any sort of wrap. I lose a great deal of heat through the kitchen cabinets!! Those are this summers project.

    I ended up putting R19 batting in the walls and before that I put "poor mans spray foam" where I took 1 inch rigid foam, put it against the weatherboard and put Great Stuff around the edge to seal it.

    Gosh good luck!!
  10. ArsenalDon

    ArsenalDon Minister of Fire

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    This is a lot of your problem! New double or even triple pane windows are a massive improvement! We had a home with crappy insulation and decided to do the windows first....best decision we could have made. The windows solved all of our heating issues
  11. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    way too much emphasis on insulation rather than air sealing IMO. Insulation is good...air sealing is better. The foam insulation obviously cures two ills, but comes at a cost if it's not new construction. Air leaving your envelop pulls air into the envelope. This time of year, that's cold air. Your upper boundary ceiling should be the point of emphasis. You've got blown insulation so working from top down isn't an option. I'd cut way the top 10 inches of all sidewall sheet rock in your home on the upper floor. Even interior walls. Spray foam that section sealing off vertical air escape. Re sheetrock. Easy enough DIY project and costs are pretty minimal. Buy those air sealing gaskets for all of your power outlets/light sockets. Convert any recessed lighting to the air tight ones. Air seal your rim joist. Insulating that area is crap if isn't air sealed. I feel like I'm harping on this a lot on here, but it's probably the best thing you can do. Check with your utility company. For me it was free work. Again, you could do it yourself with with an inch or two of spray foam. Attic and sill should be priority one.
    Lumber-Jack and Bluerubi like this.
  12. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    see

    I see you've used Mass Save too! Thermal imaging of my walls/attic revealed all I need to know about where I was losing heat. Even pin pointed a small leak in my soffit and located a squirrel living in my attic.
  13. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    You might want to amend your thread title to include Fireview heating problem oe some such so that folks with Fireviews or other Woodstocks will be more apt to read the post and give you insights into things that may have worked for them,. Just can't tell from the thread name what stove you have, or what the problem is.
  14. eyefish2

    eyefish2 New Member

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    Good thoughts on having an IR survey done. I do not know the cost of that. You may be able to find some of your leaks via a hand held IR gun. I have seen these for 20$ at Home Depot. The cheaper ones go up to 500 or 600 degrees F. Amazing what you can tell with one of these. I notice earlier this week I have a leak on one of my sliding patio doors that I never even suspected was leaking. Good luck.
  15. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    The advantage of imaging vs an IR laser is that you can actually see the interior wall structure. Scanning the ceiling attic border seriously showed me where a squirrel had moved all the insulation for a bathroom. The second the guy saw that, he moved directly across the room and said we should expect to find a squirrel nest. Sure enough...not just a nest, but a squirrel in it. Crazy to see that. Any energy assessment should have this as part of it.
  16. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    Just a thought, and one that may not work for you. If you can reorient your mind to not needing your 2nd floor bedrooms to be warm, close the doors to 2nd floor, or hang movers' blankets over the doorways. The upstairs won't be toasty, but they'll be warmer than you think because of the heat that goes up through the ceiling. The warm air rushing up your stairs is going straight up to the 2nd floor's ceiling, where it's not particularly helpful unless there's really a lot of it, and the cold air from upstairs is rushing down into your 1st floor living area.

    My smaller house isn't as old as yours, but it's 1850s, and the upstairs is entirely unheated anyway. I found when I switched to wood-burning that the 2nd floor was actually less cold than it was when I was running the oil burner in the basement, and I found when I blocked off the stairway with heavy movers' blankets, it raised the temperature a good 5 - 7 degrees in the main room on the first floor while not making the slightest difference to the upstairs temperatures. (Which are usually about 45 degrees in cold weather, down to 40 in brutal cold like we have tonight, 10-15 degrees below zero.)

    I've always preferred cold temps for sleeping, so this is perfectly good for me, but may not be for you.
  17. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

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    If this is only cold on the worst days it might be a lot more cost effective to run the heating system to help with the last few degrees on the days needed. it is a good idea to run the furnace once a day to begin with especially when bitter cold to take the chill off the basement. if your stoves do not have a blower and can be fitted with one that should make a difference as well. What sort of stove temps are you getting?
  18. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

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    I was just thinking about your windows. if installed more than a couple of years ago I am willing to bet the opening they are installed in is not insulated in any way and can cause a lot of drafts. Especially bad the ones that have window weights along side the windows to help open them. If it is possible to remove a trim board around a window and look it might offer a clue. I doubt if it is possible without hurting the plaster walls. Another thought if the window trim is painted is to drill a hole and look inside to see if there is anything there. if not and suspect not possibly drill 3 or 4 holes in each board and spray foam the cut plugs from dowel rods glue sand and repaint. I live in a historic house in the local historic district and need windows but can not afford them as they would have to be custom made to exactly match the ones in the house and have to be wood. I use a window film product made by 3M and others though the 3M stuff is vastly better. It makes a very big difference and easy to do. If your windows are like mine meaning large they do not have a standard size but I have cut mine out of a kit made for very large patio doors.This stuff is crystal clear and if you have curtains you would never know it is there from the nside or outside. I have also put a box fan near the wood stove set on low blowing across the stove and it helps a lot plus the heat is blowing over the splits waiting to go in with warm air so gets them drier and warm before they go in so helps in 2 ways at the same time.
  19. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    You can do your own investigation simple by going around with your hands , holding them up around the windows and doors , as cold as it is your will be able to feel drafts. Especially if your running two stoves and not being able to heat that space you have, there must be some major drafts going on.

    I wonder if your running your stove correctly. Can you give us details on the stove top temps and burn times your getting?

    I wonder if your sprayfoam insulating of the walls , if that actually worked. As you mentioned you spray foamed from taking the baseboard off and I am guessing that you hope the foam got up in there and completely insulated the walls for you. Did you have a contractor do this?

    Get you a IR gun that can read surface temps. They are cheap like $30 online. Go around reading temps a different spots on all your walls and see if you can detect some cold zones in the walls indicating maybe a bad foam coverage in the walls.
  20. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    Another thing to think about in these below zero temps is if you let the house cool off like letting the stove burn out for too long , its very hard to get temps back up.

    Some times when I come home from work and stove burnt out the house may have dropped to 65 and it takes 3 - 4 hours to get it back up running the stove all out as hot as I can get it like 750-800 stove top temp. I work like heck to get temp back up before bed time as during the night the stove set for a all night burn, in the all night burn setting and outside temps even colder you will not be able to get temps back up in the house.

    So turn your furnance on to build the heat in your house back up and then try and not let the house cool off too much , keep the stove burning all the time. Some people are reloading sooner and coal management is important.

    What ever it is there is something definitely not right here.
  21. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    When heat loss for a house is calculated insulation is rarely the bad actor, its almost always infiltration of cold air into the home. Wood stoves pull a lot of air into the house and good draft for a stove generally means the house is not very tight. You can randomly go around looking for air leaks on a cold day by using a wet sponge to keep the back of your hand wet and use your hand (or your spouses) to spot the drafts. Then do spot treaments of the worse ones and repeat the test. A blower dooor test is doing the same thing but its bascially just putting a number on the amount of leakage and making the drafts more obvious but in cold weather most folks will be able to feel the drafts.

    The other thing is to get someone with thermal camera to scan the house on a cold day. This will pick up voids in insulation.

    Unfortunately your approach is typical, spend a lot of money on things that may not matter rather than testing up front and targetting the funds, we all do it so dont beat yourself up.
    Joful likes this.
  22. brian89gp

    brian89gp Feeling the Heat

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    Have you tried pointing a fan to blow on your stove? Should get the heat from the stove over a shorter amount of time.
  23. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Do you have OAK's installed on both stoves? Pellet stoves have power exhaust that can really suck a lot of warm house air up the chimney if they aren't hooked up to outside combustion air. Also think the less air you suck through cracks and leaks to feed the stoves the better.
    Joful likes this.
  24. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

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    I doubt your windows are much of a problem. Since your an OHW regular I won't go itno the whole fuss about that. I imagine you already know all about it anyway, especially considering you mentioned fitted storms. The only thing I can think of, is to see if you can work the trim loose around them to see if you can seal around them from the inside.

    I agree on trying an IR gun. Also, shut off any air moving devices (fans, blowers, etc) and see if you can walk around with a candle to check for air movement. We found a spot between the wall and ceiling in the living room (an addition) where air was leaking in from the attic a couple days ago, after we finally filled in the hole in the ceiling with insulation. We also stuck a blanket on the top of one door and closed it, because after we fixed the floor structure in that room the frame is bit out of square and is letting air leak in (we're fixing that this summer hopefully). We got a few extra degrees and a longer heat retention from just doing those things. I wonder if temp fixes like stratigically placed blankets might help. In our Old House I used to block off the upstairs in the single digit temps too, with blankets in the doorway. I also had one corner I would put a stack of blankets in, to "seal" a leak (this was when we first bought the place).

    I don't know that the stoves you have are big enough for your house, considering the age and leakyness. Are you dedicated to sticking with Woodstock? Would you consider (when you have the money) a larger firebox? We went with a WAY oversized stove (we're under 700 sq ft and ours is rated for double that) because we knew our place wasn't built for year around living and we would need the extra "firepower" in the cold weather...
    jharkin likes this.
  25. Bluerubi

    Bluerubi Member

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    Just to burn 1 pound of wood requires theoretically 6.4 pounds of air, and that has to come from somewhere. When I have both my stoves running I can feel the cold air getting sucked in from outside, so it's making me really consider an OAK, even with my relatively new house.

    At over 13 cubic feet per pound of air, and 640 pounds of air to burn 100 pounds of wood a day (no waste air included in this going up the chimney), there's almost 9000 cubic feet of subzero air getting pulled in through the cracks in your house just to keep the fire going. Add a second stove and another 100 pounds of woood, and you've effectively turned over all the warm air in the house with 0 degree air each day assuming 8 foot ceilings.

    Under normal conditions my upstairs stove handles things easily, but during these cold snaps every little bit helps, and outside air directly to the stove would reduce some of the suction through your house cracks. If you are running an evaporative humidifier you could shut that down as well since every gallon it uses represents another 8000BTU that your stove has to output into the living space to maintain temp. Seems small, but I go through 6-8 gallons per day in mine (50,000+BTU), so at the low setting of my stove a noticable portion of my heating day is lost due to evaporating water.
    Joful likes this.

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