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I would like a little advice from my friends

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by wendell, Jan 22, 2010.

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  1. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    2 years ago, I decided to install a wood stove and due to an unused utility chimney in the house, decided to install the stove in the basement so I could tap right into the chimney. I was concerned about heating myself out of the room it was in and liking the idea of soapstone, went with a Morso 3450. I soon learned the negatives of a 1 cf firebox and although it is a great stove decided to upgrade this past year.

    Still concerned about buying too much stove for the room and really liking the effect of the soapstone, decided to install a Woodstock Fireview. What I have learned this year is the negatives of having a stove in the basement. Even though the basement (walkout) is insulated (or at least half of it is) with how much colder it has been this winter, there is so much cold coming up from the floor alone that there is not enough heat to keep the upstairs as warm as we (especially my wife) would like.

    With both stoves we have dealt with too much draft and did install a damper a few weeks ago but according to Woodstock, we are still having too much heat go up the flue (600 degree internal temp with more than a little flame [or a setting of 1 or more for Fireview users]). We have probably seen a little more heat with the damper (but it has been warmer so hard to tell) but really no difference in the flue temps (which I find rather hard to believe).

    So here are my thoughts.

    1) Leave the Fireview where it is and install the Morso upstairs, venting straight back 2 feet into the garage and then up. Pros: Easiest install, it would look the better of the 2 in that room and the close clearances mean we would lose less space in that room. Cons: I don't plan on trying to burn the Morso 24/7 so when it is not running, the upstairs will still be cooler than we would like.

    2) Move the Fireview upstairs and reinstall the Morso in the basement. Also vent the Fireview straight back into the garage and up. Pros: More heat to the rest of the house. Cons: Moving that big rock is not going to be fun, not nearly as convenient to get the wood upstairs, more significant hearth pad required.

    3) Admit that although the Fireview is a fantastic stove, it is not big enough, return it and buy a Firelight, T6 or Summit, Liberty, Isle Royale or maybe even a Blaze King King (although since I'm a Morso, Scan, Rais kind of guy, that may be a bridge too far). I guess an Equinox could be on the list but I'm not sure I want something with baffles that break.

    Home: 1959 Ranch so many small rooms, 1200 feet on each the first floor and basement, 700 sf second story added in '67. New windows, steel siding, most likely poor wall insulation.

    Ideal: I would like to vent straight back (and yes, i know I can vent up and back but kind of like the look of no pipe showing) as it helps me keep the new chimney as far away as possible from the 2 story part of the house so I can avoid any draft issues or turning the second story house black. :cheese: I know many people don't like ash pans but I found the one on the Morso works great so I guess I should say a functional ash pan. I like side loading but also would like the front to open so I can clean the fly ash off the glass easily (I like REALLY clean glass). I've only owned radiant stoves so not really sure what difference a convective stove would make.

    So, actually, my perfect stove would be a Fireview that was a cf bigger, looked like a Morso and had easily cleanable glass.

    I hope that about covers it. What do you think?

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Ranches are a PITA. They are designed for sprawl and not efficiency. The partially uninsulated basement can be a major heat sucker. Well, you could always move to a new house. :coolsmirk:

    Joking aside, when you say cold floors is this referring to the basement or to the 1st floor floors. Was it better with the Morso?? Sounds like the options are more btus, or address the loss of them.
  3. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Trying heating a house that was built 270 years ago. Every 50 year the farmers would add on a square. Killing me.
  4. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Any stove no matter what size stove it will be hard pressed to heat 3 floors from a basement install and it would just make the basement more uncomfortable. Move the Fireview up to the main floor and use the Morso to take the chill off in the basement. I may try this some day when I get sick of living in the basement. I would try this out before your 6 month return policy is up and if you decide you need to go another direction you still can.

    As far as the internal temps go, I believe your setup was with single wall pipe? Internal temps are same as mine and I have single wall pipe. That Condar probe works better for double wall and reads a little high with single. When I asked WS about internal/external we had long discussion and they told me my internal temps were too high as well (600-700) but then said external on single wall should be 250-300 which is what I get, so who knows. On this site people that run double wall pipe have lower internal temps with the Condar probe compared to you and me so I'll blame it on a bad designed probe by Condar that's calibrated more for double wall than single. I'm sticking to an external temp, it's easy to just do the math and double if you need to know the internal temps.
  5. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    I don't know your burning habits or where you spend the most time in your house. My initial thought is to go with Option 1.

    Option 2 sounds good if you spend more time up stairs.

    I have a different take on Option 3. Sell the Morsø 3450 and buy a 3610.
    My reasons for this:
    -You don't have to move or sell the Fireview (which you seem to like)
    -It seems that even if you get a bigger stove to replace the Fireview the upstairs may still get cold (that's what I have gathered from how you have described your floorplan)
    -You like the Morsø, so get a bigger one.
  6. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    I'm referring to the basement floors but actually the first floor floors aren't any too warm, either. Is there any good way to insulate the floor of a basement?

    I didn't notice the cold s much with the Morso last year but it wasn't as cold either, so I don't see any way to not be comparing apples to oranges
  7. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, I've given up on the third floor and just have a space heater up there to get the kids through the night. I did think of trying to move the Fireview up now for the reason you mention but I guess the converse is true, also, I could see if the Morso upstairs can pick up enough of the slack to make that option work. The problem is the two stoves are going to penetrate the wall at different spots so going to make a bit of a mess if it still doesn't work.

    Yes, single wall pipe. I was very clear with them that I was talking internal temps but maybe the stove is running just fine. Again, it almost seemed like I got more heat from the Morso in some ways and maybe because of the cast front and top, it felt that way?

    I wish I felt a little better about doing the penetration on the roof and making sure it isn't going to leak because I think the only way I'm going to figure out if option 1 or 2 works is to try it.
  8. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    I spend all of my time in the basement by the stove. What is compounding this issue is for some reason, I seem to be bothered by cold a lot more this year. It has never bothered me before and I've actually always really liked winter best. I must be getting old.

    I like your option 3 except that I couldn't sell the 3450 for enough plus the 3610 is only 2 cubic ft. If I'm going to go bigger and a non-cat, I figure I need to go at least 3 cf. Financially, if I make a change it is the Fireview that will need to go.
  9. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Maybe get rid of both stoves and install a wood furnace in basement? It will heat the whole house.
  10. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, I didn't realize you were still within the 6 month return window for the Fireview.
  11. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    I thought of that but i need to have a stove so I did think of returning the Fireview and getting a furnace but I would still like to have the stove in the basement as that is where the big TV is ;-) but there is only 1 chimney. If I did put in a furnace I could put the Morso upstairs and just add a lot of venting to keep the basement warm enough to use.
  12. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    "Wendell,

    My real name is Chris, I'm a union carpenter by trade. Before joining the union (mostly commercial construction) I built houses for a few years as well as remodeling and floor installation. So you can pretty much say, as far as carpentry's concerned, I've done anything from foundation to finish. IMHO:

    1. yes, there is a way to insulate basement concrete floors. They have to be sealed first. Then rigid insulation can be put down with pressure treated studs in between and plywood sub-floor to top it off. You'll lose 2-3" depending on what kind of floor you choose (wood, laminate, carpet, etc.) However I don't think a lot of heat is lost due to the concrete floor. In my opinion, the best floor to lay in a basement is tile. It is water friendly and will never rot as a result of water exposure. If you were to decide on tile a cement underlayment would have to be put down on top of the insulation. This can be costly.

    2. I think most of the heat is lost in a basement by going into the ceiling or any exposed foundation walls. The benefit of heat loss in the ceiling is that the floor up above is warmed up. Heat that goes into the foundation walls is mostly wasted. I noticed around the exterior of my house the snow melts around the foundation. I can only imagine how much heat it takes to bring the concrete temperature high enough to melt the snow outside. Our downstairs stove burns for about 20 hours a day so the concrete never really cools off. I would insulate all exposed foundation walls! This is probably the cheapest/most effective way to save heat. Also attic insulation: my father in law, who's also a local 107 member, has two feet of insulation in his attic. He also has a duct work system that supplies hot air from his basement stove to all rooms of his house. He has a raised ranch. My one story ranch was built in 1960. The first floor is 1200 ft2. The basement is 1000 ft2. We only heat 760 in the basement and 1000 of the first floor with our two stoves.

    3. I think the most effective way to heat your house is to put the stove with the most heat output/longest burn time on the first floor. This way you may stand a chance of some heat going upstairs (as long as the room you're putting it in is centrally located and will disperse the heat.) We have our high output stove in the basement because the stairwell is centrally located and the stove is only 12 feet away from the stairs. We also don't have a second story. The heat rises very well and disperses throughout the house. I could not have the high output in the living room (where our second stove is) because it's not open enough to distribute the heat.

    If your house was built in 1959 it probably has some exterior wall insulation. If I were you I would insulate the basement as much as possible. I am new to wood burning, but I think insulation is the most important heat saver in any house (stove or no stove.) We wood burners just don't think about it as much because we are spoiled by our warm houses. My thermostat, which is hooked up to a central heating system, reads 76 degrees. It would never be this warm if I was burning oil. The highest I ever set it was 69. Now it's set at 60, but the forced hot water baseboard heaters have not been on this year. All that said, I sure wish I had a fireview to heat my house!!! Good luck to you, burn on.
    Chris"
  13. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    Chris, thanks for the advice. To insulate the other half of the basement, can I just glue some foam insulation boards to the walls? In the 5 years I have been in this house I have not seen any leaking through those walls but would be concerned some condensation could occur leading to mildew and mold.
  14. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    Also, I realize that having the bigger stove would make more sense upstairs but for several reasons, it will actually work better to leave the big one downstairs. It does sit right at the base of the stairs and I do get some good heat coming up the stairs with a fan at the top pushing the cold air down and I did add a bathroom fan above the stove that I vented to the base of the stairs that lead to the second story. The problem has been I haven't had enough extra heat in the basement to run that much.
  15. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like a job for an Englander 30 in the basement complimented by the Morso on the first floor.
  16. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Half of my basement has 1" foam glued to the walls and it works just fine for my work shop and laundry room. The other half has 1" furring strips 2' apart so I could finish it off with paneling. I also have an exposed walkout type basement so on that side along with the foam board I had an insulation company spray foam insulation inside the concrete block which has made a big difference when I get a strong cold east wind.

    What kind of temps do you see in your basement when the stove is good and hot? Sometimes mine can get up to 82.
  17. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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  18. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    I've never brought a thermometer down here but I'm sure it is not more than the mid-70's in the area with the stove, mid 60's in the other areas. I have thought about ripping off the drywall on the exposed wall and re-insulating. My exposed wall is studs, not block.
  19. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    Now, that is interesting. That would certainly take my scrounging to a whole new level!
  20. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    It was posted yesterday. It should still be available. How much could you get for the Morso? I've seen them listed on CraigsList for $1200 (not sure if they got that price or not). So the Fireview in Minonk may be an even swap or only cost you a couple of bucks.

    Do it! Succumb to the multiple stove lifestyle!
  21. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    I was hoping to get at least that so it could be an even up swap. The only problem is where I would put another 12 cords of wood!
  22. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like insulating will help a lot, but I still think you wont be totaly satisfied unless you have another stove on main level. Two Fireviews would be awesome!
  23. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    How in the hell are you burning through 12 cords of wood in the Fireview? Last year I was burning the Vigilant hard and had far more 24 hour burns and I only went through 4.5 cords. I know my weather isn't as cold as yours, but 12 cords in one stove is brutal.
  24. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    I'll put my bets on it being 4 cords a year and wanting to have 1 cord for current season and then be 2 years ahead... Do I win the cookie?
  25. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    That would make sense. At least I hope that is the case.
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