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Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by AndyinOhio, Mar 29, 2013.

  1. AndyinOhio

    AndyinOhio New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    Northern Ohio
    Hello, I have been reading here quite a bit lately because I plan to get a wood stove in the near future. I have a question(s) on my selection since I see stoves with wide price ranges.
    First, some info:
    My home is about 1300 sq ft with a basement below 90% of it. (built '38)
    Walls and attic are insulated heavily
    Currently using propane (ie, pocket draining tank)
    My plan is to completly insulate my basement walls (1 1/2" foam board, 2x4 studded walls, fiberglass insulation, drywall) Along the base of the perimeter of basement filled with foam.
    I want to put my burner in the basement in a room that is approx 27x12. This room is separated from the remainder of the basement with a block wall with one door opening and an old window opening.
    I have a return air duct to upstairs in the room where the burner is to be.
    Will I be able to heat the house from the basement with a stand alone wood burner?
    Would opening the return duct in that room and running the furnace fan help?
    Thinking of a few open grates in the floors in various spots.
    What are the things to look for in my purchase? Size? sq ft rating? BTU rating? Blower?
    I want to go into this with a good plan.

    Am I on the right track?

    Thanks in advance

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  2. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    SE MI
    Welcome.

    Lots of folks heat from the basement, some with better results than others. Sounds like you are on the right track with good insulation.

    Some points to consider.
    Do you plan on using this space in the basement as a living area? Might need to be pretty warm to keep the rest of the house comfortable.
    Is there an open stairwell to allow heat to rise? Grates in the floor may be against code, as they allow an easy path for fire and smoke between floors. Definitely need firestop dampers in them. A lot of the time, grates are more useful to allow cold air to return to the basement. Something as simple as a small fan on the floor blowing down the stairs can be effective in creating a convection loop, allowing heat to rise to the upstairs. Running the furnace fan sounds like a good idea, but often proves ineffective, or worse, due to heat loss thru the ductwork.
    Do you have a walkout, Bilco doors, or a window to get wood to the basement easily? Carrying wood down the steps is a PITA.

    What is your budget? Don't overlook the fact that the chimney can cost as much or more than the stove.

    Cat or non-cat? Steel, cast iron, soapstone? The Englander 30NC is a very popular, well-built, budget priced stove. For trouble free, 24/7 heating, with a wide range of heat output, the BK Princess would be a good fit. It's a cat stove, and considerably more expensive. Either way, I'd look at 3 cu ft stoves to heat from the basement, though with lots of insulation, you may be able to go a little smaller. I'd say yes on the blower.

    Whatever you decide, if you plan on burning next winter, get your wood supply NOW. Fast drying wood like ash and soft maple. Depending on where exactly you are, there may be plenty of dead ash available that could be burned next winter. Dry wood is key, especially with modern stoves.
  3. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    You got an easy way to get wood in and ash out?
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    It sounds like you will be trying to heat about 1600 sq ft, mostly indirectly. If you have been reading here for a while you know that this is often less than ideal. The stove is an area heater. You will get better heating, a pleasurable fire view and less expensive chimney install on the main floor.

    That said, the question becomes 'how does the heat get upstairs?' Using the furnace ducting system is not ideal and uses a fair amount of electricity to run continuously. Also, just an fyi, code dictates that the return grille be at least 10ft from the stove. Is there a large stairway to the basement in the proposed stove room? If not, you may have to set up the stove like the old gravity vented furnaces. That is with a large grate over the stove and some smaller return air grates on the outer walls. These grates should have fusible-link fire dampers in them. A sketch of the main floorplan that also shows the outline of the basement room could help here.
  5. AndyinOhio

    AndyinOhio New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2013
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    Loc:
    Northern Ohio
    Jeff, The space downstairs will be a semi usable area, no plans at this time. Wood can be brought thru window near the burner. I have been looking at steel for pricing, hope to spend around $2000 total. There are a couple hundred acres of woods behind me that I have permission to clear the dead trees from, or the Amish saw mill near me sells seasoned wood fairly cheap.
    Begreen, I want to be sure the basement is heated as well, as of now, the basement is VERY cold when it is 70-72 upstairs. I am sure the insulation and finishing will help that though. The return air will me more than 10 foot away and between joist. The stairway is about 30 feet away, in the adjacent room but in direct path of the doorway. Ash removed up the steps. I can do a sketch later today.
  6. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    A sketch would help. If you cannot get a thermal loop - it will be futile to try and heat the upstairs (much).
  7. Nick Mystic

    Nick Mystic Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Western North Carolina
    My home has a finished basement of 1100 sq. ft. with a Woodstock Classic stove and 1300 sq. ft. upstairs that I heat with a Jotul F 600 woodstove. The previous owner told me he used to heat the entire house with the Woodstock Classic by circulating the heat using the air handler for the forced air furnace/AC unit located in the garage adjacent to the lower level. I have tried doing the same with little success. Since we mostly live on the upper level the lower level normally drops to 55 F when I'm not heating it. I can run the Woodstock Classic for 6 - 8 hours and get the temperature up to 68 F downstairs, but that doesn't do much heating when I move it upstairs, obviously. I guess if I kept a hot fire going 24/7 in the Woodstock and managed to get the lower level a lot warmer then it might be possible to get some heat to transfer upstairs. Since I have woodstoves on both levels of our home I can tell you from experience that it is much more efficient and enjoyable to heat the upper level where we spend most of our time with a stove located right in the living room. For me, tending the fire and watching it burn is one of the main sources of pleasure I get through out the winter.
  8. AndyinOhio

    AndyinOhio New Member

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    Northern Ohio
    Okay, here is the sketch. The red is the outline of the basement area, the breaks in the red line are the door/opening in the block wall. X marks proposed stove location in bsmt

    Attached Files:

  9. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Okay - couple of things. Heat rises, so the natural convection loop would be to allow heat into the upstairs bedroom. Your gonna hate that.

    Chasing the heat to the other end of the basement so that it is allow to rise somewhere in the kit/living room area may also prove difficult unless it somehow naturally wants to come up the stair case, but it is probably not going to do so. The two basement openings are gonna jumble the convection loop.

    This is simply a best guess/opinion on my behalf.

    If this were my home and I HAD to make it work, I would probably install a small fan fed duct from up stairs to down right about where your BR and bath come to the corner. I am still not fully convinced that even that would solve all the problems.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Agreed, if the stove is going in the basement, put it in the area under the kitchen/LR. The other space will still benefit if the basement is well insulated.

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