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moving heat to other rooms

Post in 'Classic Wood Stove Forums (prior to approx. 1993)' started by rawlins02, Nov 3, 2012.

  1. rawlins02

    rawlins02 Member

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    I have a Vermont Castings Vigilant that I inherited when I bought my house last January. House is around 2100 square feet. On the floorplan the blue rectangle marks location of the stove. I'm using a fan (marked with the F) siting up about 4 feet off the floor to blow air across the top of the stove in an attempt to get some heat through the doorway and out toward the other side of the house. Some of the heat also is rising up the stairway to the second floor. In 3-4 hours (stove running about 500F) the temperature in the family room went from 59F to 76F. At the thermostat (red dot) the temperature went from 58F to around 63F. The kitchen and dining room have tile floors and are just rather cool. Upstairs in the master bedroom the temperature may have increased 2-3 degrees. I have a cold air return located where the blue circle is shown. My furnace is not currently set up to run fan only. A friend suggested I enable that and see if I can distribute heat from the room through the house. I think I need to do that, as I'd rather not have the family room hot and entire house 15 or so degrees colder. But temperature at cold air return is only 64F as it's on the floor. Does this temperature distribution through my house sound about right. I'm curious how folks use these stoves and move heat in their homes. Suggestions?

    floorplan.jpg

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Duct heat loss often negates any distribution gains by using the furnace fans. This is especially true if the ductwork is uninsulated and running through a cold basement.

    What you might try will at first sound counterintuitive. Blow cold air toward the stove room. Based on the floorplan here is what I'd try. Set a basic 12" table or box fan on the floor, in the Living Room, along the stairwall, pointed toward the Family Room. Run it on low speed. This is indicated by the green star in the picture. What I'm thinking here is to set up a clockwise convective airflow that will pull heat through the kitchen, then living room and back to the FR. Another test to try would be to place the fan at the purple star location blowing into the FR (with blue fan F off) and see how that works.

    heat circ.png
  3. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    I did as begreen says a few days ago,(1300 sq ft house), a 12 in fan in the farthest room,another strange little 4in fan,in the hall, that draws air from the top and bottom, and is like 2-1/2 in off the floor, both on low , and It works super good, 4 to 6 deg difference from stove room, and my floor plane is NOT open, rooms are isolated
  4. rawlins02

    rawlins02 Member

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    begreen: Interesting. I have >25 credits worth of college atmospheric science courses and I teach climatology (hence my multiple observations in the horizontal and vertical...) I'm quite familiar with the process of convection and with temperature/pressure gradients. I assume your second option should result in a counterclockwise flow through the first floor. I will try each and report the results in this thread in a few days.

    HDRock: How is the small fan oriented? In other words, how does the fan draw air from top to bottom? Is this simply mixing in the vertical due to turbulence?
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I have tried this experimentally with our master bedroom. The trick is to have the fan set low, blowing denser, cold air toward the warm. You can visualize the airflow (and get some chuckles from your wife) by hanging a couple feet of toilet paper in the center of doorways. In the case of our master bedroom there was a strong inflow of warm air at the top of the doorway in spite of a steady outflow at floor level. The room temp went up about 5 degrees in 30 minutes.
    Curly likes this.
  6. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Stove is small for size of house too.
  7. rawlins02

    rawlins02 Member

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    Dune: How would a bigger stove reduce the temperature difference between my family room and my dining room?

    I have set up a fan at the location of purple star begreen mentions. IMGP1086.JPG


    The stove is visible in the family room (FR). I note a strong flow through doorway to living room and into the foyer.
    IMGP1087.JPG

    Above photo taken in center of LR. Doorway to FR is at left. Note the toilet paper blowing in the breeze. But here are the challenges to my setup. First, the kitchen and dining room are on north side of house and have tile floors. They are always 5-6 degrees colder than the south-facing LR, FR, den. Second, as shown in photo the foyer opens to second floor stairway. So I suspect much of the heat from the counterclockwise flow will go up and not into dining room. Well, at least the second floor should get much warmer.
  8. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Not saying it would, just pointing out that you have a large house and a small stove. When I heated with a Vermont Castings, it was a Defiant (twice the size of a vigilant) in a house half the size of yours. Likely the folks who owned it before hung out in the stove room till bedtime, then pulled up heavy blankets.
    Begreen has given you the best advice you are going to get. Keep experimenting with fans.

    Put some rugs on your tile floors. Tiles always feel colder regardless of your heat source (with the exception of radiant floor heat).
  9. Ducky

    Ducky Member

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    My situation is a little different as my shop is mostly an open floor plan, 2200sq ft. However there are racks, which create isles in the building... My biggest issue, has been getting the heat, to the front corner, where the water line comes in to the building, then goes from the floor to the cieling, and spans 70ft acrossed the front wall over the two overhead doors, and around back torwards the back wall near the stove....

    I have gone so far as putting a space heater in that corner... :eek:

    However, I have found, that using the cieling fan, that is pretty much dead center in the shop, which the stove is dead center from end the end, but sits back about 10ft from front to back... (10-15ft back, but centered - if that makes sense, from the fan) turn that on HIGH when im working in the shop, or after I leave, helps to DRASTICALLY increase the warmth of the shop...

    In my case, I have so much stuff, tools, equipment, and materials, the trick isnt to warm the air so much as to warm the STUFF! Once the STUFF gets up to say, 62-65F keeping the air, in the shop at 70 is a piece of cake... However I have to time my burn times correctly, in the begining of the year, to catch the stuff from dropping in temp... cause getting it warmed up is a bear! Right now the STUFF is 57F...

    From last winter's experience, I found out, that running the stove at night... (when I can tend to it every cpl hours, add wood, ect... gives me 2 things. 1) i use 1/2 the wood... and 2) gives me more heat...

    but the ceiling fan, in the center of the shop, running full speed, all night WITH the stove, seems to heat up all the stuff rather well... vs using a bunch of fans. In my case, my ceiling is 13ft high... and its easily 10F warmer with in 5ft of the ceiling.... with the fan on, the heat is much better 'spread out'.
  10. rawlins02

    rawlins02 Member

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    That is what I'm doing too. I'm trying my best to avoid using the furnace. Last winter I went through $400/month in propane for heat alone, while keeping the thermostat at 55F and running the Vigilant on weekends (house has cathedral ceilings). And we had a very mild winter, warmest on record, which extends back to 1836! During weekdays I plan to come home from work and go right up to master bedroom with my 1200 watt space heater (25 cents per hour). Same as last winter. I should mention it is just me in this 2100 sf contemporary.

    It's becoming clear that the thermal inertia of those tiles is the biggest factor in the considerable temperature difference. But there is now a slight breeze going from foyer and into dining room, which undoubtedly helps. Will try other locations for fan(s).
  11. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    The small fan is actually a little heater I had,It is squaty, with little legs, an opening at the top and bottom, with a squirrel cage fan, and blows out the front, I am using it on fan only, no heat.
    I have it setting at the end of the hall, where three doorways meet.
    I wasn't sure how well it would work, being so small, but I works really good, I guess because it is so close to the floor , and just a gentle air flow .

    Another fan I bought for a different spot is Honeywell HT900 - Super Turbo Three-Speed High-Performance Fan, Black ,at Menard's, 16 bucks, $22.87 At Amazon
    http://www.menards.com/main/applian...able-air-circulator-fan/p-1393844-c-12727.htm
    I only mention this cuz It's a good price and made by Honeywell , plus It's perfect for this type of use, I think, because of it's round shape and it's size, there is a lot less chance of bumping into it, like the corner of a square fan.
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That's why in older times they only had cathedral ceilings in cathedrals. If I bought a house with this setup I'd be tempted to turn that space into a loft or at least setup a sheet plastic barrier for the winter. Have you considered a wood furnace for the future?
  13. rawlins02

    rawlins02 Member

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    Ceilings aren't high everywhere. Just half of the living room, family room, and dining room. So no place to build a loft. Haven't thought seriously about a wood furnace. I understand a natural gas line is getting close to my neighbourhood. That would be first choice.

    I wish I had the nerve to run the stove at night. Given that the damper has flopped open a time or two, I just can't bring myself to load the firebox and turn in. Waking up to 55 degrees is tough. Call me cheap. I'm just hoping to run the furnace Dec-Mar only to keep from freezing to death :rolleyes: .

    Edit: Then again, perhaps I should hook up a sling like cmonSTART came up with!
  14. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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  15. rawlins02

    rawlins02 Member

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    Yes, it should be reliable. I believe the fireback is warped. After I get my roof done ($10K) and save up a few bucks, I'll likely sell it and upgrade to modern technology and a bigger stove. For now I'll run her when I can watch her.
  16. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    I picked up an 8 inch fan, because I figured once it really got cold. The little one in the hallway wasn't going cut it, and now I only have a three degree difference to the other end of the house, as opposed to 7° before..
    This is great. The information that I can get from you veterans here :cool:
  17. rawlins02

    rawlins02 Member

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    Starting to believe that it's going to be a real challenge getting my kitchen and dining room to a decent temperature. For two reasons. Tile floors and a cold garage below the rooms. They are also on north side of house. I'm running the fan (schematic above) in the living room, pointed toward family room. There is a slight clockwise convective air flow. It's like the heat vanishes. Family room with stove can be 75F, and it will be barely 60F in kitchen. Using electric space heaters there now. Sometimes you can only do so much with a wood stove, 2100sf, and high ceilings. Will have to run propane-fueled furnace quite a bit (sucking sound of dollars going out the doors) :p
  18. WhitePine

    WhitePine Feeling the Heat

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    How is the insulation between the garage and kitchen? The thermal mass of the tiles is actually a good thing, but it sounds like they might be conducting heat away from the house because of poor insulation below them.

    Also, do you have any ceiling fans? It sounds like the house could use a couple. We have several which we keep on low blowing upwards. It helps to distribute the heat. You probably could use a really large fan below that cathedral ceiling.
  19. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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    We have a 4000 sq foot house with a 60 ft x 30 ft full cathedral ceiling Great room with two open lofts upstairs that open up onto the Great Room, which is in the center of the house running front to back. A large kitchen/dining area runs on one side of the Great room and two bedrooms and baths on the other side of the GR.

    We heat solely with a VC Vigilant and oak firewood. We have two heat pumps installed new six years ago that have probably been run (for heat) less than ten hours total in those six years. With the fire going well, the temp in the Great Room (thermostat on opposite side of stove) will be about 74 degrees. Bedrooms may be mid 60s but we like it cool while sleeping. The lofts can get quite warm.

    Ceiling fans are our friends.
  20. Augie

    Augie Feeling the Heat

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    To the OP,

    2 Questions

    Do you have a ceiling fan in the Dining room?
    And more importantly are the ceilings the same height from the stove room into the dining room?(IE: no doorways)

    If so your solution may be as easy as turning on the fan in the dining room.

    I have a ceiling fan in the Master bedroom at the opposite end of my house, a ranch, as the Stove.

    I removed the wall above the doorway and turn on the fan in the MB. This encourages a convection loop that keeps the bedroom about 2-3 degrees cooler than the stove room with the fan on. Only 4-6 cooler with the fan off. I have no Fans in the Stove room or the rest of the house. Most of the time I turn on the fan for 30 min to jump start the loop when I reload the stove first thing in the morning then turn it off. The fan is more effective pushing air down than pulling it up too.

    It is all about encouraging a convection loop. Hot air across moves the ceiling to as far away from the stove as possible. as it moves away from the stove and heats the rest of the house it cools, becomes denser and falls to the ground. To be replaced by more hot air behind it and the cool air on the floor moves back to the stove room to rise as it is heated.

    So for 30 min of fan in the morning my house is pretty even all day long. 74 in the Stove room and 70ish in the bedrooms. After a 10 hr burn Mornings tend to be 64 in the Stove room and 60 in the bedroom till I stoke the stove. This is using a mix of pine and maple right now.
  21. rawlins02

    rawlins02 Member

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    No. Ceiling is 8 ft in the dining room. My ceiling fan is high above the stairway, above hallway on second floor. That does help push warm air down, but obviously not much to DR and kitchen.

    There is, unfortunately, a doorway between the stove room and the hallway leading to kitchen. I get your point. Moving heated air out of family(stove) room and out to kitchen.

    Seems no easy solution give the north side of house, tiles, and cold garage beneath those rooms. And of course it's tough to warm up all the cool stuff after coming home from work. Everything sucks up the heat, leaving nothing for the air!
  22. rawlins02

    rawlins02 Member

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    There is drywall for ceiling in garage. Not sure what is up there above the drywall. Ceiling fan is at top of stairs, way up there, about 15 feet above second floor hallway. Since the kitchen and dining room have low ceilings, nothing there to push down.

    Maybe I should try simply pushing hot air out of the stove room. Running space heaters in those rooms does make a big difference. Get the sense most folks here can't relate to inability to warm a house with just a wood stove. I could try pushing stove room up to 85F, then seeing if other side of the house becomes comfortable... LOL.
  23. TradEddie

    TradEddie Minister of Fire

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    Far from it, there are probably dozens of threads about this problem every year. Every house is different, but most find that it is far more efficient to blow cold air into the stove room than trying to blow hot air out. I've spent countless hours trying to use my central air fan to distribute the warm air, with limited success. This year I tried the opposite, using it to blow more cold air into the stove room, and it is a dramatic improvement. I simply partially close the supply vents in nearby rooms, this has a double effect, increasing supply to the stove room, and drawing more air from the stove room to the return ducts in nearby rooms. Using this method I can get much better heat distribution. Some furnace fans can have variable speeds for the "fan only" setting, I also increased mine from "low" to "med low".

    TE
  24. rawlins02

    rawlins02 Member

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    I have no central A/C, and my furnace is not set up to run fan only. I'm having some trouble following your logic. Does duct heat loss, as begreen said above, not a negative factor? What do you mean by "...increasing supply to the stove room..."

    I'm not comfortable running my stove 24/7. Too risky for me. Perhaps overnight soon as I trust the setup. So the house and everything in it get cool during the workday (Mon-Fri), and heating all the stuff up in a short amount of time, I'm finding, is quite the challenge. That said, I can easily get my kitchen and DR up to a tolerable (60F) level on weekends, provided the stove room is over 75F. That large gradient in temperature between the stove room (FR) and dining room I find most interesting.

    Looking forward to reading other similar threads on overcoming this challenge. Good news yesterday: propane rates have been going down here, now around ~$2.50 per gallon. Yippee!
  25. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Cut a hole and see what's up there. Chances are it is not insulated. 15% of heat loss occurs through the floor.
    It sounds as if you are not using the ceiling fan? That's just not going to work. Hot air rises.

    As to your last comment, not sure about 85F, but you would certainly need to have the stove room hotter than the other rooms, no way around that.

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