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heating entire house from basement

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by bambam, Oct 4, 2012.

  1. bambam

    bambam Member

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    we are looking at buying a house that has a stone fireplace in the living room and a place in the basement to connect a woodstove, the house is 1456 sq ft on one floor and the basement is same sq. footage and completely open. was wondering if placing a woodstove in the basement wood supply enough heat to the main living floor to heat without having to install another heating system, there are already some vents placed in the floor to allow heat to rise, if anyone does this I would love to hear your opinion on how well it works

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  2. zzr7ky

    zzr7ky Minister of Fire

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    It tends to work poorly; radiant heat goes to the basement which is often poorly insulated.

    I have had good success however with wood fired furnaces, or 'Piggy-back' units that pre-heat air before it gets to an existing HCAV unit. to of my relatives used these units until they were too old ot lift wood. They are not as pretty to look at but they did a nice job of keeping the whole home warm.

    Mike
  3. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

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    Insulating the basement is key to this working, without doing this all the heat is lost to the outside walls.
  4. kingquad

    kingquad Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like your going to need two stoves. You can oversize the one in the basement, but you'll need more fire power during the really cold months most likely.
  5. bambam

    bambam Member

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    they do have electric heat throughout the house but I really don't like the idea of paying high electric bills, I have always lived in homes with woodstoves and never had to pay for wood so finding out how to make this work will be a challenge I am willing to take on, I have never used one of the wood fired furnaces before so I might have to do some more research on that idea, the house we are looking at has 6 acres of woods mostly oak and maple from what I can tell so I know I will have plenty of wood to use, definately gives me some thinking to do, no matter what I will be heating with wood that is one thing that is a nobrainer
  6. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    I heated my entire house with my defiant and prior to that a fisher from the basement for 10 plus years. I have 1" of foam on the exterior of my basement walls. The walls and floor does absorb some heat. When I switched to my boiler my wood usage went down as I could put the heat where I wanted to. I didnt use it in spring and fall as it was difficult to keep the heat steady expeciailly as both stoves were quite high output.

    The one issue that some folks dont agree with is that any vents cut in the floor should be equipped with fire dampers. They are a set of spring loaded dampers with a meltable link that fails when the temp goes over a certain amount. Many folks leave their basement doors open so they argue that the open stairwell will conduct flames faster than a vent ever will, but fire dampers are required by most codes.
  7. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    I, too, heat my home from the basement...2000 ft2 on two floors, 1000 ft2 basement. There is but 350 ft2 in a room o Ed my garages where the boiler occasionally kicks in.

    All I do is keep the basement door open while the stove is burning. I have one inch foam insulation on th rout side of the basement walls.

    Heating from the basement does work, especially once the basement has been heated for half a day (I burn 24/7 once the season gets going).
  8. salmonhunter

    salmonhunter Burning Hunk

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    How did you attach the foam? was it with cement screws or can you just glue it? Im thinking about doing it to the one unfinished room in my basement just for insulation even though I dont have a stove down there.
  9. VTrider

    VTrider Member

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    I successfully heated my whole 1500sq ft home from the basement for 8 seasons. This was done with an oversize stove, 'All Nighter - Big Moe'. I had a metal hood which was suspended over the stove which had two 8" ducts attached terminating to registers to the floor above - the heat migrated upwards passively. This worked surprising well, and aside from the obvious code issues which you would run into now this worked out well for my situation / setup.

    EDIT: I also agree that having an insulated basement is 'key' to making this work if you are going this route, otherwise you will end up with a big concrete heat sink.
  10. Coog

    Coog Burning Hunk

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    I did a lot of research on this and decided against heating from the basement. It is doable but can require a significant amount of work around. Heat does rise though. You just need the temperature of the air to be warm enough once it gets upstairs. If there is no other choice, it works. That is how it goes sometimes.

    Is the basement finished? Are you planning to spend time in your basement? Of so, again, it is worthwhile. If you are planning to spend a lot of time upsatirs, putting your stove in that room is optimal. Plus you can enjoy the fire. If viewing the fire is not essential, you may consider a wood furnace. I have found them much more reasonable than wood boilers.
  11. Jack Straw

    Jack Straw Minister of Fire

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    I have a raised ranch, about 800' on each floor and I heat my house easily with a lopi endeavor in the basement with no registers in the floor. I think a larger stove would do the job if your basement is properly insulated.
    northwinds likes this.
  12. rwhite

    rwhite Minister of Fire

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    IS the electric heat base board or forced air? This is my experience with heating my home from the 2nd floor stove. I have NG for air furnace and the thermostat is on the same level as the woodstove so it hardly ever kicks on (maybe around 4 in morning for 1-2 cycles). My basement is below grade except for about 2' and it doesn't ever seem to drop below 60 degrees down there. I dont really have the place for a woodstove down there and really wished I had baseboard heating as it doesn't take much to heat the area. I like having the stove in the living area and seeing the flames. If I had the room I would have 2 stoves but barring that baseboard heaters in the basement would be my next option.
  13. glennm

    glennm Burning Hunk

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    I heat my house from the main floor and ignore the basement. It gets cool down there but not really a problem (maybe high 50's in the dead of winter). We live near Toronto and the house is about 2600 sq ft. The basement is mostly below ground and only insulated at the rim joist. I don't think I would be as motivated to heat with wood if I couldn't see the fire and feel the radiant heat.
  14. Kaptain

    Kaptain Member

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    This will be my 3rd year heating from the basement, it's a ranch style house with 1150 sq ft upstairs and down. There's an open stairwell in the center of the house that goes to the basement which really helps with convection. I've slowly been finishing\insulating all of the basement walls which has made a tremendous difference. I have had no problem keeping it over 70 upstairs when the lows get into the single digits.
    northwinds likes this.
  15. ColdNH

    ColdNH Minister of Fire

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    In our last house we had a stove in our finished half of hte basement (roughly 250sq feet) with insulated walls. Above the stove there was two 10x8" grills in the ceiling/floor that allowed cool air from above cycle as the hot stove air rose up the stairwell in the center of the house. the house was a full dormered cape with approximatly 800 sq feet on the first floor and 600 and the second floor + the 200 for the basement.

    on a typical winter day the house was typical 75-80 in the basement, about 70 on the first floor and around 65 on the 2nd floor. worked out just fine for us as we only slept on the 2nd floor.
  16. DaveGunter

    DaveGunter Member

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    I put 2" foil faced polyisocyanurate (Dow Tuff-R) on the interior walls of my basement, by simply attaching it with 3" Tap-it concrete anchors and taping the seams with foil tape, you will need a hammer drill to make the holes in the concrete. I also pieced the polyiso into every rim-joist bay and sealed the edges and seams with expanding foam. It can be a bear of a job esp if your basement is full of stuff and the other mechanicals are already installed, you end up having to piece in the insulation around the pipes/ducts etc. I went with foil faced polyiso as I had no intentions of finishing the basement with sheetrock. I found a lot of information on doing this work here:
    http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/
    specifically here:
    http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/how-to-insulate-basement-walls/
    it is a great site in general.
  17. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    I never intended to heat my house from the basement. I remodeled the basement and put a stove in to heat the family room down there. My wife wanted a fire place to watch the fire so I got the wood stove that the glass stays clean so she can sit in her new family room all cozy and watch the flames dance.

    I used to heat with a wood furnace but hadnt for several years.

    To my surprise the stove I put down there was able to heat the upstairs also. Now in the mornings the ends of the house are a little chillier than the center. Like the center of the house when I wake is around 70 and down at the ends of my 1900 sq ft ranch style house it will be around 68. But we like sleeping a little cooler so as to have the covers on.

    I attribute this to the fact I put in all new energy efficient windows a few years back and blew in an additional 10-12 inches of insulation in the attic. Making the house much easier to heat.

    Another thing that helps is above the stove is a vent that was there when I bought the house as someone heated that way years ago most likely back in the 70's. My stove is designed such that most of the heat radiates straight out of the top of the stove and shoots straight up thru that vent in the center of my house. This seems to get most of the heat upstairs rather than the heat trying to heat the basement walls.

    Plus there is even one more aspect I attribute to being able to heat my house from the basement is that my floor joist down stairs are open. I am going to paint them this fall. Its the open floor joists and the fact that upstairs I have wood floors that the heat also radiates up thru the wood floors like if you had cable electric heat in the floor.
  18. Kaptain

    Kaptain Member

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    Good point - forgot to mention that. I removed the insulation from the floor joists to help allow the heat to rise - definitely another difference maker.
  19. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    I've heated 3 homes from basement installs and they all reacted a little differently. I think it all depends on the layout and how well you can get good air circulation. It will always be warmer in the basement and you could see a temp difference up to 10 degrees upstairs. It sure is nice to have 2 stoves, one on each level to even out the heat on colder days.
    northwinds likes this.
  20. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    If you have electric heat why not run a little experiment? It may cost you a few bucks in your electricity bill but should tell you whether one stove may work. Turn off the heat upstairs and let the baseboards crank downstairs maybe supplemented with a little space heater. Watch the temp upstairs for a few hours to see if the heat really rises and what the temp difference between the two floors is. That should give you an idea if your plan has a chance of working.
  21. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    In my case its the really hot temps above the stove causing a rush of heat up thru floor vent. If I had to try and heat the entire basement to get some heat to move upstairs I dont think it would work as well. I know some people use fans to get air movement. Actually my basement is most likely not as warm as a good chunk of the heat gets shot straight up to the upper floor. But it should be said that in most areas its against codes to have vents in the floor like this.
  22. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    The insulate was installed on the outside of the foundation before back filling. It is not inside.
  23. thetraindork

    thetraindork Member

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    take a look at the englander add on furnace, that's what i have. the thing is a beast. i heat 2000 square feet of house with it. i ran separate duct work to heat both the upstairs and the downstairs. i didn't pipe it into the existing duct work for the furnace. i got the upstairs 95 one day just playing around to see how hot i could get it. there was no way i could get it downstairs so it's in the dining room with pipes going upstairs. just a thought.
  24. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I glued a 2" extruded foam layer on the wall and also attached it with furring strips and glued another layer on top of that, with grooves dadoed into them so they were flush. I'm just now getting along with screwing densarmor drywall to the furring strips. Electric wires were put in grooves that were routed in the surface of the first layer. I also put multiple layers of xps foam in the rim joist area - that and the dadoing were a pain. Screwing the drywall to the furring strips is turning out to be remarkably easy (sans any finishing though). The areas where stuff is next to or attached to the concrete are annoying - water softener, well water filter manifold, pipe for boiler, breaker box, oil tank, etc. There's fiberglass in the joist area overhead, so the plan is to cover and contain it with landscape fabric. I thought about covering with drywall, but I'd have to do some boxing in, which wouldn't be bad I guess, but I know I'd have to get up there periodically-I can always add it if I don't like the fabric. I also don't think I'll make a boiler room, since who knows, maybe there'll be a pellet boiler there one day. :) Still don't know what to do with the floor -.tile, paint?

    Sorry for the extensive hijack, but I'm still working (slowly) on it and it does help keep the heat in. :)
  25. realstihl

    realstihl Feeling the Heat

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    If you ever plan on finishing ceiling, don't put drywall on it. Use a drop panels instead, because if you ever need in there it will be a pain. I put tile on the floor.

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