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Need some help selecting a stove for my home

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

  1. frankinri

    frankinri New Member

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    I'm looking to purchase and install a stove in my home and I am hoping to draw on the experience of this forums users in selecting one. The home is well insulated. The home is 1040 sq ft with normal ceiling height. The basement (where I would install it) is around 700 sq ft because of the garage. The house has a masonry chimney running up the center of the home. the chimney was previously used for an oil furnace that is no longer in the home. Nothing else currently uses this chimney and the hole that is available to use is 6 1/2 inches round. I would like a stove that could heat the upstairs if necessary by leaving the basement door open. It would be nice to have so meting that could burn for 10-12 hours when full.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013

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  2. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Welcome to the site!

    It seems that the square footage for the upstairs didn't show up in the thread which is useful information.

    Some things to consider are that you really should have the chimney inspected before considering hooking a wood burning appliance to it. In the case of my oil chimney, it has combustibles damn near built on the thing. With wood burning, you want to make sure it's legit with a 2 inch clearance all the way around for an interior chimney. 1 inch outside. Here is some more info on the topic http://www.gov.allconet.org/permits/bulletins2/TB 21 - Technical Bulletin Masonry Chimneys Fireplaces.pdf

    Other than that, heating from the basement is a not-so-perfect situation. I am one that has a house that actually heats well with a stove from the basement, many find that they have trouble getting the heat upstairs. When this happens, some will try floor registers but there are safety concerns with those as well (need dampers that close at a certain temp in case of a fire) and also many who find limited success even after cutting holes in the floor.

    With more information about the house, and even some location info, I think we can give you a better idea of what your options are.

    Best regards and again, welcome to the site!

    pen
  3. frankinri

    frankinri New Member

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    Sorry I fixed the post sq footage. The location is RI. The floor between the basement and the main floor is insulated with r38. I was hoping to open the basement door to allow the heat to rise. Think this will work?
  4. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forums !!

    I'd consider a stove on the upper level, if at all possible, especially with this climate (Long Island, here). But....

    Is the down stairs insulated?

    Many things to consider.

    A floor plan (even rough) would help.
  5. frankinri

    frankinri New Member

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    The downstairs is concrete walls and floor with r38 in the ceiling. I have attached some sketches of the floor plan, sorry I'm not good with drawing. I wish I could have it upstairs but I really don't have the space for it.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013
  6. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    This is not a good heating scenario. The uninsulated walls are going to suck up a substantial amount of heat, up to 30% or more. The basement ceiling insulation will need to be removed. The heat that does make it up the narrow stairway will supplement only the LR and maybe the kitchen. The bedrooms will not get much at all.
  7. frankinri

    frankinri New Member

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    Thats what I was afraid of. I wish I could fit the stove upstairs but I don't think I can fit it. Why would you recommend removing the insulation?
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Because in this scenario you don't want to trap heat downstairs. You want it to warm up the floor upstairs.
  9. lumbering on

    lumbering on Feeling the Heat

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    Why not a stove on the main floor? The chimney can be accessed from the main floor?

    If committed to putting stove in basement, how about finishing the basement, insulate walls. Remove insulation in ceiling, heat will penetrate upstairs better. Fan near the stairs?
  10. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    I can see why you can't put a stove on the main floor.

    You have a lot of doors in the kitchen/dining/lr. I believe that having the basement door open will be an incredible pain in the neck. If this were my home, I would rehang the bedroom door of the bedroom adjacent to the bathroom so it opens into the bedroom, to facilitate air movement, and I would do something about the basement door. If the stairwell is wide enough, I might rehang the door so it opens into the stairwell, thus getting rid of the duel problems of having an open door taking precious floor space in the living area, and having a door for warm air to get around to get into the living area. An option, and perhaps the best if you have small children, would be to put up a good half door, which you could leave closed. You could do both, if you want a lockable secure door to the basement when not using the stove. A half door could be made for the application, and be constructed to have alternating open and closed panels to aid in air flow. You could even have a small clip on fan mounted on the top of the half door, blowing into the basement, to encourage air flow and a nice loop of warm air rising and cold air returning to the basement.

    And I definitely agree. Get the insulation out of the floor, except perhaps in the garage, unless the garage is really tight to the outside. If it isn't, get a good outdoor insulated door for between the garage and stove room. Maybe you can repurpose the floor insulation and put it on the walls in the basement?
  11. Seanm

    Seanm Feeling the Heat

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    I have mine downstairs but its a finished basement with carpet, drywall and wall insulation. My daughter has her bedroom down there, my wife has an office and our rec room, spare room and 3 piece bathroom are all downstairs. We have a dry walled ceiling downstairs but its not insulated, our stairwell is a split level style with lots of space for air to move upwards and no doors. We have plants in the area and even without fans we see the leaves moving quite a bit. Under this situation its nice to have it downstairs as my floors feel like I have in floor heating and I don't even have to wear socks or slippers in the winter because my floor is so warm. The downside to this set up for us is that if we want the temperature upstairs to be higher than 22c in the dead of winter we have a hard time getting there. That's alright with me though. Im posting this to let you know that like others have said if your basement is finished it can make a good place to put the stove and you might find you will spend more time downstairs but you have to take care of the concrete first.
  12. frankinri

    frankinri New Member

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    Sounds like I will wait on this for now. Because the basement is not finished and the stove could not fit upstairs. Thanks for the help everyone.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  13. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    I know it may be just impossible but IMHO the optimal place for a stove would be upstairs in the LR/kitchen at the right top corner of the bathroom. You could install the pipe into the back of the chimney there and have a nice central location for the stove. Something to keep in mind if you ever plan a remodel.

    One other thing: If you still see a stove in your future even before buying it think about getting the wood. You will probably need about 2 to 3 cords per winter split and stacked in a sunny and windy location in your yard. If you can give it at least 2 years to dry you will be really happy with your stove once you get it.
  14. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Everyone keeps telling him to put his stove upstairs. The room is maybe 24 x 24, has three doors and a hallway, so has the need for traffic areas. It comprises his living room, dining room and kitchen. He needs to put the stove in the basement...he is quite right. So the question becomes, what can he do to maximize heat transfer to the upstairs. Answers include getting the right stove, establishing good air movement, removing obstructions to air flow, removing floor insulation, adding wall insulation, being sure the garage is as tight as possible.

    I think we have overwhelmed him with our comments, and he feels he has to wait to do a stove install.

    Hope, Frankinri, you stick to the notion of wood heating, and are able to address a few of the issues to your satisfaction.

    I think it is going to be really important to get the right stove for your application. Are your plans to eventually finish and use the basement, or is it to be basically a utility/storage area? If you are not going to use the basement for living and go with a slightly oversized stove, and remove some of the floor insulation, you could aim to get the basement quite warm, which should get you toasty floors and more heat upstairs.

    Stay in touch and let us know how things go.
  15. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    My brother in law heats his 1600 sf ranch with the Englander 30 in his unfinished basement and does a great job, he doesn't have insulation between the ceiling and floor so that may help but after reading about people have troubles I was surprised how easily he heats his house.
    The thing you have going for you is the overall square footage is on the smaller side so I think with a little tinkering you could pull it off.
    Another fairly inexpensive fix could be to add insulation to your basement walls, one of my friends bought the rigid panels and did his basement with that because he was having trouble heating from his basement, he also had a much smaller stove than he should have.
  16. frankinri

    frankinri New Member

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    Grisu - I wish I could fit it upstairs but it would not leave much room for my kitchen table if I did. Also I am cutting down some trees and stacking them now.

    rideau - Thanks for the update. I will eventually finish the basement. I am still torn between a finished drywall ceiling and a drop ceiling. The insulation is also in place for sound dampening. The basement has some noisy days with the wood shop and the garage. The insulation helps to keep it quiet upstairs. I was hoping to not remove the insulation but get the heat up there another way. This is why I was hoping to use the basement door. Also my father uses a wood stove to heat his house in Maine. He has vents in the floor that let the heat in from the basement. I like the idea of the door rather than floor vents because I don't have to cut up my brand new wood and tile floors. Also the vents would allow the sound and dust from the wood shop to enter the house. In addition to be clear I'm not sure of what the end goal of this wood stove will be. I say this because I am not sure if it will be cheaper than my current heat source, a highly efficient on demand gas fired boiler. Currently my worst winter months cost $130 and that is for 2.5 to 3 months. Cords of wood here are 200-250. If the wood is not cheaper as a heat source then this will only be for use in the basement as a heat source and a novelty item. In addition this will be used if the gas is not available or the boiler is broken.

    weatherguy- Thanks is that 1600 total up and down or 3200 total. I always get confused with this spec. If my house is 1040 sq ft does that make it 2080 with the basement? Also I notice that the Englander 30 is a steel stove and this gets me thinking what is the diffrence between steel , cast, and soapstone?
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2013
  17. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    First difference is money. If you are only spending $400 a winter to heat (or $600), it is going to take quite a while (if ever) to recoup the cost of an iron or soapstone stove. They are considerably more expensive. The soapstone produces a softer heat through the soapstone sides and top (feels like sunlight), and both the soapstone and cast iron retain and release heat for longer...the soapstone about twice as long as the cast iron, and both a lot longer than steel.

    You will pay two to three times the cost of an Englander 30, which by all accounts is a great heater. Since you are doing a basement install, and into a presently unfinished basement, probably makes a lot of sense to go with an Englander, IF it "makes sense" to put in a stove at all. Your heating costs now are remarkably reasonable. However, a wood fire is nice, and life saving in the event of a major winter storm that knocks out power, if your home heating system is in any way dependent on power.

    You can use the difference in cost between a cast iron or soapstone stove and the Englander to do some of the insulating and finishing in the basement. Nothing to stop you from selling the Englander, probably for not too much less than you paid for it since it isn't expensive, and getting a cast or soapstone stove down the road, should you so desire.

    There is also the question of cat versus non-cat. A cat stove will burn with a lower output when needed, will burn somewhat longer (because of that) and will burn somewhat less wood for the same amount of heat. In your application, I'm not sure those are really important points at the moment. Would be more important if you were using the basement space for living.

    A cat iron or soapstone stove will likely run you two to three times a steel stove. Read 1000 vs 2000 - 3000.

    Is the floor solid masonry? If not, you need a pad of some sort. IF you need a pad, then I would seriously consider doing one that would work for future installs since you are planning to eventually make the basement, or part of it, a living space. You might also consider whether you want a raised hearth....

    But if you are solid masonry, then no problem. You can make changes if and when you finish the basement.
  18. Bluerubi

    Bluerubi Member

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    What about one of those small wood furnances you can get at home depot? Could that be installed in the basement and then just ducted to the first floor? Not much more than a grand I seem to recall.
  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    There are several factors working against this setup, an uninsulated basement, the ceiling insulation, the stairway being at the end instead of central and the door on the stairway. It may be possible to improve heat circulation by installing a floor grate toward the garage end of the hallway. Because of the noise concerns the grate should enter an insulated sheet metal box with a ducted fan attached and have an insulated duct attached. The fan would pull air out of the hallway and blow it into the stove room. The negative pressure will pull warm air out of the basement up the staircase and toward the hallway.

    The caveats are heating loss, dust and noise because the stairway door would need to stay open. But after a fashion it could work. Still, there are enough caveats that it would be wise to pause and really look at all options before committing. Think out of the box. Can the workshop be moved to the garage or can a new workshop be built outside? Can furniture be rearranged or even pared down so that a stove will work in upstairs?

    FWIW, we have a 15 x 17 living room with a big stove in it. We reversed the living room furniture layout to make this work. And it does work. The stove does not overwhelm the room either visually or heat wise. For a moment, consider the options and play with them. It costs nothing to make a scaled drawing of the house layout on graph paper and then cut up some squares to represent movable items like furniture, electronics and lamps.
  20. frankinri

    frankinri New Member

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    Thanks for the input everyone. The basement floor is concrete. Is the Englander a cat stove? Do they make stoves at that price range with the cat? When you are recommending moving items around to try and accommodate the stove I was thinking it had to stay close to the chimney and that was the only choice. I guess you are recommending the possibility of not using the chimney?
  21. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    Your best bet for those trees is to not stack them until they've been cut/bucked and then split. They won't dry worth a hoot in log form in any sort of time frame that will help you.
  22. frankinri

    frankinri New Member

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    I have to get it split. Do you guys split with an axe or have a splitter? I was thinking of going with an axe to be cheap. Also I thought it would be easier to split if it had a chance to dry out first. Do you split it right after its cut or let it dry first?
  23. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    You know your house's layout the best. This may or may not be an option. Sometimes it makes more sense to put in a new chimney if the current one is awkwardly located. Or perhaps it means extending a partition near the chimney and changing the traffic flow. I'm just guessing because we haven't seen the house and the challenges you face.

    The 30NC is a non-cat stove. I'm not sure what the least expensive cat stove is that would be appropriate for this house but wouldn't be surprised if it came in at close to twice the cost.

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