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Feeling deflated...(whining inside)

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

  1. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    A bigger stove may be in your future, but you might as well try to make the best of what you have for now. One winter at a time, eh? ;)

    Lots of good points above. Here's my $0.02:

    +1
    Exterior masonry chimney can be a. . .
    That's why I switched from an insert to the Fv.
    A rear heat shield from Woodstock might be worth a try for ~ $80, but I think you might get more bang for your $ by putting a block-off plate over the whole mouth of the fireplace and maybe stuffing the fireplace full of insulation. This was my original plan, but I got sidetracked sealing up leaks in the house. :p You might want to pack Roxul around the liner under the plate at the top of the chimney too.

    A new cat for $125 might be worth a try, but I doubt you'd be hitting 650° on the top of the stove if the cat were not working. Are you getting secondary flames in the firebox?

    I think you may reach a point of diminishing returns with loading the Fv too often. Every time you open the stove door, that's kind of like opening a window in the house; you lose some warm air from the house up the flue + you cool the stove off too. Also, cat stoves lose their efficiency advantage when pushed hard. Also also, coal buildup must be a big problem for you, so you're not getting full loads of fuel on every reload. I love the Fv, but it is probably one of the worst stoves you could pick to pump a lot of wood through in a hurry.(Doh! ) I think it's designed to conserve wood and reload maybe 3 times per day, every 8 hours or so.

    +1
    http://www.theyellowhouse.org.uk/eco-prin/princip.html#p7

    Our house has this *bad*. It's nice for cooling without AC in the summer. To combat it in winter we keep the doors to every room upstairs closed. Heat collects in the stairwell and landing. The 2 bedrooms stay warm enough for sleeping, and we use an electric heater in the bathroom for showers. The batroom fan stays off.

    I also cut a piece of 1/2" foam board to fit tightly into the attic hatchway and jammed it in below the hatch. Did the same with the crawlspace vents at the bottom of the house(remove after winter.) A 4 x 8' piece of foam board costs ~ $10. Get a piece and get creative. :)


    As for your question about the Fv 201 vs. 205, according to Woodstock's numbers, the 205 is only 2-3% more efficient (compared to the Classic, which is a 201 without the window.)

    http://www.woodstove.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=119&Itemid=227

    I'm surprised that they said the PH would give you only 30% more heat. Many of us have measured the usable space in the Fv ~ 1.8 cu ft. I may be oversimplifying, but 30% more heat implies 30% more capacity, ~ 2.35 cu ft, and I thought the PH's 2.8 cu ft spec was close to the actual usable capacity. Any measurements, PH'ers?
    velvetfoot likes this.

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  2. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Nice link to the Yellow House site. I might have to poke around in the attic, at some point, to look for those pipe penetrations. Definitely stack effect at my place. Air's gotta be going somewhere upstairs.
  3. clemsonfor

    clemsonfor Minister of Fire

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    I would bet a bigger wood stove. Insulation is not everything. I promise you that. My example...

    I live in a home that was built late 40s like 1949 then added onto the far side in maybe the 50s and then what i think was a finial addition in the 70s?? Only the back split level addition has insulation in the walls. The other part has none, no floor or wall insulation (have attic insulation to r19). My home was originally woodsided, so i have the diagnal wrap boards then wood sidings on it. I then have like i said no insulation but have solid 1x6 tounge n groove wall boards running perpendicular to the studs then have 1/2 drywall over that. At some point in time, i think when the rear addition was done the entire house was bricked up.

    My friends i work with have a home that originally was built 10 yrs ago with an addition 5 years or so ago. The addition had all new windows put in and also they have current GA standards of insultion in thier house.

    Anyway they were talking about useing heat on night to keep the house 68 this fall. There house is an hour 15 mins southish from my house and is not as cold for somereason so im actually seem to be a few degrees colder at my house most times. These were nights that my wife and i did not have to use heat at all and had not even started the wood stove yet and were useing NO HEAT period. Our home was between 65-70F these weeks that they were useing heat. They said they were in the high 50s inside the house without the heat???

    Again i was fine in my home without heat at all? Only difference i could think about was that the red brick was acting as a heat sink then releasing it over night??

    But you would of thougt that this would be opposite, them useing no heat and me having to have a fire or heatpump??
  4. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Re: Fireview vs. Progress Hybrid (for some reason the Quote / Reply function is not working at the moment)

    Do keep in mind that the physical size and configuraton of the stove has an impact on how much heat is radiated into the living space. A roaring fire can radiate crazy high energy thru the glass window, and the greater surface area means more energy transfer at the same surface temperature.
  5. mfglickman

    mfglickman Minister of Fire

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    Wow, so many helpful posts - thank you all! More than anything it helps to know I'm not alone in this. :)

    Let's see - we do not have a block off plate on either stove. Both installers said it was not needed. We did not love this so we stuffed Roxul up where the sun don't shine on both chimneys, full as far up as we could reach. The central chimney where the pellet stove is has another fireplace, which we stuffed Roxul up then replaced the sheet metal seal and foamed it in. The pellet stove is in the main hearth, where there is a beehive oven with its own flue but I can't begin to reach it from inside the house. It is sealed at the top - no pizza anytime soon!

    I'm going to hang on to my windows. The replacements are quality wood, and throughout the house they are 12 over 8s, with real divided lights even on the replacements. They're like the house's eyes. I do plastic some of the larger ones - these are sealed shut from the inside and have sealed wooden storms on the outside as well. Love that shrinking plastic stuff.

    The rim joists are sealed and insulated with closed cell spray foam, as are the floor joists as the house is set over 3 crawlspaces - 2 dirt and 1 concrete. The floors are still cold, like air is leaking from where the wall meets the floor - which makes me really confused as we did the above insulation AND had fiberglass blown into the walls. I know we don't have feet of deteriorated plaster in the walls as the process of insulating the walls entailed 2 holes per bay, one near the floor and the other about 6 -7 feet up) to ensure that the insulation was packed in.

    I've always had balloon construction and this is my first post and beam; it has been a learning experience just trying to figure out how to run a wire from the room directly above the panel, to the panel...then try to do the same thing on the other side of the room, the process is different. These houses were built by the people who invented the phrase "You can't get theah from heah." Seriously. ;)

    I called about a blower test. It's $300 from the people who did our energy audit (which was supplemented by taxpayer $ the first time we did it). I'm looking around at other contractors to see if anyone might be willing to do thermal imaging or blower door testing for me, for less than $300.

    The attic...we sealed all the hobbit doors into the attic and rolled insulation onto the walls inside the attic (as well as the blown in stuff). The doors are backed by stiff foam and weatherstripped. The upstairs 2 bedrooms (which are the ones we use) have cathedral ceilings which we can't get at to insulate. When we do the roof (hopefully not soon but I dread it maybe sooner than I want) we will be able to get at those.

    The house has beams EVERYWHERE. Probably all leaky. Sigh.

    The fan thing...you guys, I have tried this fan trick for a year now with no luck. I blow a fan from the dining room into the stove room, hoping to get some warm air to either circulate back to the dining room or through the kitchen, back hall, and back into the dining room. Has not worked. The stairs are short, and nose-bleed steep, and mostly warm where the pellet stove air collects, but there's a blast of cold air at the top of the stairs that I can't seem to break. The stairs are so steep, and enclosed, that I have not been able to angle a fan downwards enough to push the cold air down into the room below.

    I bought 6 packs of pressed bricks at TSC today, $2.99/each, see if those give any more heat. They only had kiln dried wood by the half cord ($165). When I came home house was at 60, pellet stove cooking at 70, and wood stove top at 350 (got home at 12PM, after a 7AM load this morning that was at 650 when I left at 8:15). Right now, 45 minutes into 6 pressed bricks in the FV, we have: stovetop 600, house 61, pellets patiently cranking away. .

    I will walk around with my camera and try to show y'all some pics....

    Thanks again...and let's keep talking. :)
  6. Do you have something like Brosco Wood windows? Did you opt for the removable storms?

    In my house I did what I could to air seal and improve the attic and basement insulation. But there is no subistute for central heating. Nice even heat no hot/cold rooms. Thats why I went with a gassification boiler. Just sold my jotul f600 to a guy who already had an Oslo and two pellet stoves going but couldnt keep warm. I was trying to convince him he should just get a boiler, lol.
  7. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Would love to see photos of this house, particularly the beehive! My thinking is that you're already getting reasonable stove-top temperatures, so there must be something other than fuel quality at work, here. Poorly seasoned fuel means harder starts, longer before your secondary system kicks in, creosote, lower stove temperatures, etc. If you're cold with the stove holding 550F (or whatever your stove is designed to run) on the stovetop, then you need to focus on your heat losses. The entire issue could be as simple as that uninsulated attic/roof.
  8. mfglickman

    mfglickman Minister of Fire

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    I made an album but Photobucket's awesome new Beta pulled all the photos in upside down. Yeahhhh. I've been trying to edit them but it keeps disconnecting and saying the server is sending empty responses...whatever that means.

    If you're patient and want to have a look at a work in progress, go here. Don't mind the toy clutter and un-vacuumed large family room addition - picking up after kids is like shoveling in snow - but I did vacuum right after I took these, LOL. Also beware of Newfoundland Dog photobombings. :p

    I will try to flip more of the images tonight if the new, awesome, totally improved (!) beta web site will let me...did not want to upload 26 photos here...

    http://s290.beta.photobucket.com/user/superdog_photos/library/1750s House
    Joful likes this.
  9. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    PLEASE try one more approach with the fan. Instead of pushing air into the stove room, put a pedastal fan on the far side of the stove where is will blow in a glancing fashion past the front window of you stove, picking up heat, and carry the stream of air toward the rest of your house.
  10. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    You certainly are not. Another potential member for our not yet started old house heating pain club here on hearth...

    Your lucky it has its own flue... My beehive oven flue just empies into the main which is of course filled with the metal liner for the stove. Oh would we love to make it working but alas.


    Good on you! I always cringe when the first instinct is rip out historic windows and spent 30 grand on replacements that wont return even half that in fuel savings over their short lifespan.

    Ive done it a few times. The trick is that you have to drill up through the sill beam at an angle into the bottom of the wall. I use one of those long half inch electricians auger bits. the hardest part is figuring the angle so you dont come up short or overshoot. I was lucky that there was some existing penetration so I stuck a dowel in one and scribed an angle template on a piece of cardboard to guide new holes elsewhere on the beam.

    When we had our house insulated by MassSave they blocked off and blew dense pack cellulose into the sloped ceilings. I was skeptical but they told me that with the air dams and dense packing it would stop air movement into the slopes and the existing vents up near the ridge would keep the peak of the roof aired out. Bruce Harley who wrote that book "Insulate and Weatherise" works on the staff of the MassSave auditing firm that developed the project plan for my house (Conservation Services Group) so I'm trusting they knew what they were doing.
  11. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Does the snow on the roof give you any clues?
    Nice house. I had a house a long time ago in NH from 1828 or so, and it had an arched chimney foundation smilar to what I think I see in one of your pics. What's the philosophy with that design, I wonder?
  12. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    In case others read on this thread and run across the temperature figures posted, this is straight from the Woodstock manual:

    Temperature
    250 OK to engage the combustor
    400-600 Normal operating temperature
    600-700 High burn range
    over 700 DO NOT burn in this range.

    For sure if I had to keep a stove top temperature below 500 degrees there is no way I would own that stove! That is pure baloney. We do get our stove above 600 on a regular basis and will continue to do so. Many times we have reached 700 or very close to that temperature and we know of some folks who have exceeded that temperature by a lot and no harm was done. So if you ask my opinion, I will tell you that if you need the heat, get that stove hot. You bought it to keep warm; use it.
    rideau likes this.
  13. mfglickman

    mfglickman Minister of Fire

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    OK, I've fixed all but the last pics, which are of my dogs. Who are warm, and don't think we need more heat. ;)
  14. mfglickman

    mfglickman Minister of Fire

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    The snow on the roof tells me the attic insulation is working? At least that's what I Thought.

    I think the arch you are looking at is the inside of the beehive oven. I assume the shape made the best bread. I can't get far enough in there to really look closely but the brick work looks pretty cool to me.
  15. rijim

    rijim Member

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    Like the Newfies, yup I don't expect they want more heat. Well don't laugh, but I will give you a tip an old timer once told me, spiders put their webs in areas where there is air flow (warm and cold) so it can be an indicator or areas to look for drafts. But drafts aside, if you put a blanket across the stairs to block off air flow; does the downstairs get warm enough? This may tell you if your loosing heat up the chimney or some other place downstairs.
  16. mfglickman

    mfglickman Minister of Fire

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    the curtain helps somewhat with keeping it warmer downstairs, although upstairs never gets warm and the difference is not that great. I did it mostly because we are never upstairs during the day - I open it around dinner time in the hopes of getting something upstairs before bed.

    I clean cobwebs off the beams constantly, so that's probably a place to start...
  17. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Spiders like dark places.....
  18. rudysmallfry

    rudysmallfry Feeling the Heat

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    Don't feel bad. I paid my utility company to do an energy audit last fall. They sealed off the front door with that big fan and found little to no leaks, and said I did a great job sealing up the house. Last night, with the temperature 10 degrees outside, I could barely get my 1800 sq ft house up to 62 degrees and that was with 3 rooms completely closed off. It doesn't make feel good to know that I have no leaks when I can feel the cold air moving around when I'm sitting on my couch. Whoever decided drive under garages in cold climates were good ideas was a complete moron.
    rideau and mfglickman like this.
  19. Rich L

    Rich L Minister of Fire

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    Man with an update such as yours why would I want to get the new Progress.
  20. HollowHill

    HollowHill Minister of Fire

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    Progress isn't the problem, the shell around the Progress is ;)
    jdp1152 likes this.
  21. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

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    While this may be off the wall lets assume the people that built the house knew what they were doing and had no interest in being cold all day. lets also assume the winters were similar as we have little reason to believe they were warmer at least. Take some measurements on the amount of firebox they thought appropriate. You might put some correction factor in for the stove vs. fireplace but remember all those so called fluelosses are radiated back if a central chimney. It might be an interesting comparison between what you have vs. what they had.
  22. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Wait a minute. Are you talking about mfglickman's place, or HollowHill's? I can assure you that the concept of "comfort", as we understand it today, was not a given when mfglickman's house was built in the 1750's. The idea of keeping your abode at a temperature at which you do not need to wear heavy wool clothing indoors, or sleep with heavy blankets and curtains on your bed, is a very modern concept.
    jharkin likes this.
  23. HollowHill

    HollowHill Minister of Fire

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    My place is only 50 years younger than mfglickman's. Even in that modern era ;), I don't think the concept of "comfort" was the same as today's. Good point. I also question that a central chimney negated flue losses. All the fireplaces vented into one big flue which was huge. While I"m sure there was some heating of the bricks on the way out, I doubt it was that much.
    Joful likes this.
  24. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    Nah - the central large chimney simply made it easier for the sweep to send his 'apprentice' aka "young boy" up the flue to clean without getting stuck. Research on this topic is very disturbing when you consider the implications of getting stuck. Anyway - fortunately we have come a long way in the last hundred years or so... just the invention of the chimney brush was a really good start :)
  25. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

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    I am only going by experience. I have a friend in southern NH and he has a 1854 house with 6 fireplaces all very large. We lit one on a fall night and the heating system was getting repaired so no heat in the place. we put what looked like a reasonable amount of wood maybe a 25% fill of dry splits and yes there was alcohol involved..LOL we lit it off and the heat was very nice warming 50% of the first floor that still had 2 empty fire places and more empty ones in bedrooms. While maybe not the most thermally efficient thing the radiant heat was crazy it warmed everything in the room and about as close as i want to be to inside a burning house. It is the reason I questioned firebox size as I think they went for radiant heat rather than thermally efficient. It did heat the flue well and walls upstairs in the bedroom were warm. though the room still pretty cool.

    On another note was out in the shop yesterday and noticed when I plugged in a cord I could feela draft from the electrical box so there is something to a gasket on the cover and possibly spray foaming behind it

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