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Getting heat up from the basement, something changed

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by jstellfox, Nov 8, 2010.

  1. jstellfox

    jstellfox New Member

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    Jul 15, 2010
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    PA
    Hi everyone, haven't posted much lately but have still been reading much. I have been burning my Englander 30nc down in my unfinished basement for about 3 weeks now with pretty good success getting the heat to circulate. Here is the breakdown:

    -stove in the basement
    -a floor register in each of my 3 1st level rooms open to the basement.
    -upstairs (I don't worry about heating the upstairs, we use electric heat for those small rooms.)

    Ok so I keep my basement stairwell door (which opens to my kitchen) open and all of my heat come from the stairwell. The floor registers in each room act as cold air returns(I wouldn't have thought this is how it would work, but I went with nature). This seemed to work ok as I could feel the warm air coming up the stairwell and feel the cold air coming down out of the 3 registers, so I had circulation. The basement would heat to about 90 and I could get the 1st floor up to about 71 with no additional heat source. I even aided the cold air returns by hanging ductwork from the registers to the floor to let the cold air filter right to ground level in my basement and thus not having to fight the warm air trying to return to my stove(remember the cold air was already winning so I just helped it out). Everything seemed well, I was mostly pleased that I could at least heat my 1st floor to 70 or so. We even had some nights in the low 30's upper 20's and I was still slowly able to get the house to a good temperature.

    Now today, I had a fire overnight and reloaded this morning...have been here with stove top temperatures about 500 avg. all day, basement is 92 degrees...I cannot get the 1st floor above 66 degrees. It is even now 51 degrees outside and sunny which should help. Air still seems to be circulating...not sure what changed???

    Anyone know of something I can change or add to try and get a smaller gap in my temperature difference between floors...I mean even on a good day I heat the basement to 90 and the 1st floor won't get much above 71 (except for the kitchen where the heat first comes up, it gets a bit higher. I know quite a few others have a wood stove in the basement to heat the 1st floor...what have you tried that works!! Thanks in advance!

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  2. thewoodlands

    thewoodlands Minister of Fire

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    jstellfox, we heat from the basement with just the cellar door open and with the cellar 78 and upstairs will be 70-72. We have a finished basement except for the floor (cement) so are the unfinished walls eating up your heat?


    zap
  3. jstellfox

    jstellfox New Member

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    I am sure they are, but since I am heating to 90 in the basement, that extra heat should also be filtering into the rest of the house, not just out the uninsulated walls. It seemed to be working fine untill this morning and yes it was cold, but no unlike several other mornings.
  4. otsegony

    otsegony Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    Messages:
    31
    I have a very similar set-up, complete with the return ducts coming down to about 3" of the floor near the stove. The only difference is my cellar walls are insulated and that seems to drive the heat up into the house, rather than out into the ground. So my guess would be that it is the wall insulation.

    Garet Livermore
    Cooperstown, NY
  5. jstellfox

    jstellfox New Member

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    ok well thanks for the responses guys
  6. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    Richmond, VA
    Fans blowing air down through the ducts to the basement could only help. Insulating basement as well. Not sure which would help more, but fans would probably be an easier and cheaper first step.
  7. GunSeth

    GunSeth Member

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    Loc:
    Charlestown, RI
    I've a stove in the basement. Insulated walls but cement floor. No vents in the 1st floor. Heat is only going up the stairs. Similar to you, I get the basement to about 90 and the first floor to around 72. I can't give you much advice but I shall watch this thread with interest. Good luck!
  8. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    Next to nuke plant Berwick, PA.
    How tight is your house?
    I live in PA and here it is very windy, sustained winds of 22mph or so with higher gusts. Lots of gusting going on at the base of the mountain here.
    Could be enough air leaks to be having the heat robbed by the wind. Just a thought.
  9. wkpoor

    wkpoor Minister of Fire

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    I get about an 8-10 degree drop ea floor I go up. Walkout basement and no additional registers. The stairwell does its own 50/50 split between falling cold and rising hot. Seems to work pretty good until you get in the zeros. I've tried the furnance fan and it didn't seem to make any difference. Someday I would like to ad another stove on the first floor for those really cold nasty days. I've debated this for yrs and a guy said once, we just live mostly downstairs when it gets real cold. Seems like simple enough solution.
  10. albertj03

    albertj03 Minister of Fire

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    I have my stove in the basement with just the basement door open for air circulation. It's a walk out basment so most of the back half (side walls and back wall) is insulated. I have no problem getting the first floor 72+ and it seems like I've been getting some heat to the second floor as well as it was 71 up there the other day with the thermostat set to 69. I found that during this time of year when it's not that cold out I can get the 1st floor up to 75 with a full load in the stove, which I try not to do.

    What kind of door do you have going to the outside in your basement? If you don't already, you may want to build or buy an insulated door.
  11. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    I think your going to find out as it gets colder that uninsulated basement is going to suck more and more heat away. In the past I mostly heated from a walkout insulated basement install and weather will really effect the heat up stairs. It could be below zero out and no wind and I'll only have a 5 degree difference between floors but if I get strong winds blowing towards the walkout side the heat difference will be much more.

    This year will be different for me with the new Keystone upstairs to help out. I should have nice even heat throughout the whole house. Maybe it's time to think about another stove for your main floor?
  12. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    I'd be suspicious of the wind and drafts, too.
  13. KB007

    KB007 Feeling the Heat

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    I put an additional register within a few feet of the stove and used a register fan to help some additional air come up and it made a big difference in our sitaution. Similar - basement door open, other register for the cold to drop down. The added one was about 10 ft away from the stove but close enuf that I could feel the heat radiating up through it. (I think some codes say there has to be 10 ft, not 100% sure on that - it cold be the 10ft is for a cold air return for a central heating system.)
  14. wkpoor

    wkpoor Minister of Fire

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    I'm also heating from a walkout basement and the wall with the double french door has no insulation so when it get down in single digits that wall really drags on the system. I've been threatening to insulate it for yrs. I'll bet the comfort level would really encrease with all the walls insulated.

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