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How do you keep your basement warm?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by claybe, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. claybe

    claybe Member

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    I will be moving my stove to my main living level this weekend. Currently it is in our finished basement and the heat is not getting to the main level especially when it is around zero. The basement has lots of windows and gets chilly when the stove is not running. And our kitchen pipes froze this weekend when it was below zero. Thankfully no pipes burst but I need to be able to keep it warm so things don't freeze. How do you keep your basement warm if your stove is on the upper level? I do have radiant heat in the basement but trying to avoid the electric bill!!!

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  2. TheGriz

    TheGriz Member

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    Leave the stove there and put another one upstairs
    blujacket, Oldhippie, jeff_t and 2 others like this.
  3. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    Ya, I'd say if you're freezin' pipes on one level or the other, you're really going to need two stoves or some type of furnace / wood boiler which can circulate heat to both levels. Sounds like one stove on one level just can't circulate enough heat for the whole place - regardless of which level it's on.
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Run the furnace once a day if you have one. When the temps get cold you need to adjust your routine for the conditions. If you don't have a furnace, put an electric milk room heater down there and turn it on during cold snaps.
  5. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    How often to you use the finished basement? Insulating your pipes should be the first point of order in all this. There is no reason for pipes to freeze when pipe insulation is dirty cheap. Safe to assume these are on an exterior wall?
  6. Beetle-Kill

    Beetle-Kill Minister of Fire

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    Claybe- I believe I've mentioned this in a past post- Keep your insert where it's at, and add another stove on the main level. It's costly, and it sucks, but you'll be better off for it when done.
    These last few days have been cold, I hear ya' on that. 2 stoves when it gets this cold should work for you.
    (that's what I'm doing, anyway)
    EDIT- If this helps, because I don't have the NC-13 installed yet-
    My lower room, 380sq./ft. approx., is a walkout, with 2 big windows and a barely adequate door.
    It is unfinished, needs mucho work. I cut and wedged some R-13 poly/iso foil backed rigid foam board into the window openings. Sealed the door with foam, and covered it in 6mm plastic .
    An oil-filled radiator heater from HD set on med. keeps that area in the mid-50's.
    If you can deal with the looks, that 2" thick foam board will make a difference.
  7. heatwise

    heatwise Feeling the Heat

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    We have 2 stoves. It's a nice set up if you can go this route.
  8. CT Pellet

    CT Pellet Minister of Fire

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    Bingo! Probably not the cheap and easy solution that you were hoping for but two stoves on two levels is getting your cake AND eating it too. Mmmmmm....cake.
  9. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    I still have a wood furnace in my basement. I unhooked the ductwork and use it to warm up the basement as needed. I fired it up yesterday and kept it burning all night. We are leaving for the weekend, and I'm trying to have the house as hot as possible, so the furnace runs as little as possible.
  10. Oldhippie

    Oldhippie Minister of Fire

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    +1 what he said
  11. blwncrewchief

    blwncrewchief Burning Hunk

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    Many good suggestions above.

    If you have a basement, especially one with many windows, walk out, exposure to outside from being above elevation, or not insulated you will have to have some type of heat source down there. Second stove is a good option employed by many with wood stoves. If you have a central forced air furnace or a/c system that has vents on both floors running the blower to circulate heat, even if only enough to warm it up a bit can be used. A space heater or electric baseboard heat can be used. Another possibility is a small duct and blower to pull heat from the main level and blow it down into the basement. Last resort would be insulting the water lines and installing heat tape on them to keep them from freezing. If it just a small localised area that is having the freezing problem, a really cheap and cheesy solution is a light fixture with a incandescent light bulb to throw some heat on it. One of those metal hooded clip on fixtures would work good for this and if you want it to be self regulating just get a line voltage thermostat like the ones used for baseboard heaters, mount it next to the water lines, and wire it inline to control the light.

    If it is freezing in just one area, especially if it is by the outside perimeter, look and search for an air leak. This is one of the most common reasons for frozen waterlines. If they are in a cold area such as as a basement or crawl space it takes a very small amount of outside air coming in close to the waterlines to push them over the edge and freezing.

    In the end you need to keep the lines from freezing. A heater, even electric, will not cost very much to run just to keep it warm enough to eliminate freezing. And running the heater will be far cheaper than the cost from frozen and ruptured water lines.
  12. BobUrban

    BobUrban Minister of Fire

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    +1 on insulation and/or pipe heaters. They are inexpensive when compared to replacing pipes. Beyond that I run(or will run) my furnace a little bit to keep above freezing in the basement. My basement is unfinished and where I keep my work shop for finishing my knives so not a big deal except for the pipes. Last winter it never got cold enough to worry about it but this next week may call for a little bit of furnace use. As a precaution I keep a bottle of water on the foundation where my garden hose pipe leaves the house and a couple other strategic spots. I figure if that starts to freeze I need to turn on the heat. This has not happened yet.
  13. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    After the air leaks are fixed in the rim joist area you could insulate it. Maybe getting someone to spray some foam in there.
    (Or maybe, if you spray foam, that'll seal the air leaks too.)
  14. Bluerubi

    Bluerubi Member

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    Look around for a cheap used stove. If its only going to be used as supplemental heat for extreme conditions, then there are deals to be had. The first stove I had heating my basement for 5+ years was free, all I had to do was get it out of the previous owners house. Not a single thing wrong with it.

    I have a VC merrimack that runs all the time, so I spent the cash and did everything perfect. For the emergency backup I realized I'd never get the benefit of spending many thousands on something of equal quality, so I accepted needing to burn a few extra splits per day in a less efficient unit.
  15. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    My stove is in the unfinished basement, so that is by far the hottest area of the home. My hot water is generated by the boiler, so I also get some warmth from that. I think the suggestions above will do the trick for you.
  16. DianeB

    DianeB Feeling the Heat

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    We wrap out exterior wall water pipes with heating tape. This solved out problem. Foolishly the builder of this home put water pipe in an unheated garage and oddly enough, they would only freeze when temps got close to zero. The rise up an exterior wall in the garage into our kitchen that is right above it. We are in a raised ranch. In the winter we stay in the upper level mostly, have a TV room, extra bedroom and another bath downstairs plus the garage. We just heat the TV with electric for a few hours at night. I would like to get a propane stove in that room at some time. Not sure we could handle the wood for two stoves ourselves.
  17. claybe

    claybe Member

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    Thanks for all the suggestions! I will be moving the stove because I think it will do the best job where we spend the most time. I have thought about adding another stove and I actually have a fisher insert but worry about how inefficient it is. As for the pipes, the are against an outside wall. Since the basement is finished I will have to rip out the ceiling to insulate them. Thanks for the info about the air. The pipes are very near a window that is downstairs And I bet it is not foamed around it! That will be the first priority! This is a new house to us and first time with a basement so just trying to figure it all out :)
  18. DianeB

    DianeB Feeling the Heat

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    http://www.brookstone.com/econo-hea...=47448616764&gclid=CI2TyfKO8rQCFQSf4AodAgMAFQ

    What about something like this right on the wall - 400 watts. I have a friend that uses one of these in a bathroom
  19. fox9988

    fox9988 Minister of Fire

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    I would be installing the Fisher in the basement. Hot fires and dry wood will give decent efficiency, that Fisher has probably kept someone's house warm for decades. Keep an eye on the chimney and clean as needed. Upgrade later if you choose.
  20. DianeB

    DianeB Feeling the Heat

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    We used it for 32 years and pulled it out this year not looking for problems, but found a couple of hairline cracks on the back of the stove near around the rear outlet. We tried to find a welder to repair and we could not. Also, coaley onthe non-epa pages described a baffle we could create to make the stove more efficient. Unfortunately, we retired the stove to the barn. Would like to some how get it fixed to re-use either myself or give to my son.
  21. Berner

    Berner Member

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    I too anticipate having a similar problem once I install my stove. I like the idea of having some sort of vent/fan pulling hot air from upstairs down to the basement. Has anyone had any success or failure stories behind this sort of setup?
  22. TheGriz

    TheGriz Member

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    I have a fisher papa bear installed in my new unfinished basement. The fishers can be inefficient, but if you burn dry wood and don't choke down the dampers, they are great. I would have liked to have a newer stove down there, but maybe in time. The fisher does eat wood, though.
  23. adams614

    adams614 Member

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    +1 on 2 stoves. NC-30 in basement, Morso 1440 upstairs. The 30 heats the whole house pretty well, when temps drop below 15 or so I fire up the 1440.
  24. TheGriz

    TheGriz Member

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    Pushing hot air down does not work.
  25. ArsenalDon

    ArsenalDon Minister of Fire

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    Build on a slab?! sorry, could not resist...so glad the 2008,,,3000 sq ft home we bought last year is built on a slab I guess. and well insulated too, so much so that our stove has it 68 degrees in the furthest room up around the corner upstairs while it is 19 degrees outside.

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