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New Member: Some Questions

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by lessoil, May 31, 2008.

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  1. lessoil

    lessoil Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Messages:
    726
    Loc:
    Rumford, Maine
    We will be buying a Pellet stove this Summer!!
    I am new to this and have done a lot of reading.

    We have a 24' X 32' Cape (2300 sq ft counting basement) and are planning on putting the stove in the basement.
    We burn around 900 gal per year during a "Cold" Winter.
    Last year we burned just under 700 gal. We have a 40 gal boiler mate for hot water.

    I have looked at so many stoves that I am dizzy!
    The Harman 38 looks like it might work well.
    I am prepared to install fans; grates etc to get the heat to the 2nd floor.

    Any input would be great!

    Thanks

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  2. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,225
    Loc:
    western Ma , close to NY state border
    I have the same situation with my P-38 stove just installed in the finished basement and ready for next year with 4.5 tons of pellets. I have 2400 sq ft with open stairs and 2 floor vents and I`m hoping to significantly reduce the 750-800 total gals I used last heating season.
    If not the stove goes upstairs and the basement shut off for the winter. I refuse to spend 4K + on fuel oil .
    The one thing I`m pretty sure of is that very little if any heat is going to drift up to the second floor with the stove in the basement. This is far too much to expect from a small stove especially given 3 floors to contend with..
    John
  3. lessoil

    lessoil Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Messages:
    726
    Loc:
    Rumford, Maine
    Thanks for the reply.
    I will post results. I can't believe that I am looking forward to this!
    Summers are short. I plan on stopping at the dealer this afternoon.
    They gave me a price of around $1850. Does this sound about right?
    Even if the heat dose not reach the 2nd floor, the 1st floor will be warm
    without burning oil. That would be almost half our heating requirements.
    The basement is unfinished and usually stays around 60 in the Winter.
    I fabricated a heater from an 8 ft baseboard with a box fan blowing through it.
    With that running, I could keep the basement at 68. So the pellet stove should
    push the temp to 80 I would think.
    The cellar door is coming out and putting in a screen door.

    Mike
  4. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,225
    Loc:
    western Ma , close to NY state border
    $1850 sound about right for the Harman P38.
    The real trick is to get the excess heat upstairs. Just so much will naturally flow up the stairs . You really need to cut in a cold air return to increase that flow. Placement will also play a role. Normally it works quite well if the return vent is cut in at the opposite end of the house where the heat flows up from the stairs. You might even need a fan to help with this. Every home has it`s own unique air flow patterns. Search around the net to get an idea of air flow patterns in homes . It might help you decide where to place that hole in the floor.
    John
  5. mralias

    mralias Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Messages:
    894
    Loc:
    MA
    I would suggest that you put the stove on the first floor and not the basement. I have a 1590 sq ft small colonial and the stove does my entire house for both floors. By putting the stove in the basement you are heating a large area that is unused. Pellet stoves are area heaters and not really made for entire homes. I had a Quadrafire 3100i insert wood stove for the last 12 years and it made the entire house nice and toasty 80 downstairs and 68 up with temps as low as 10 degrees outside. The problem with the wood is it was not consistant and required loading in the middle of the night and a lot of wood splitting, cutting and handling over and over. Getting to old for that. I now have a Quadrafire 1200i pellet and have used it towards the end of this season. Even on the low setting it made both floors 75 dgrees. Better heat displacement and a lot less work. If you don't use the basement then don't waste the heat.

    I do have 2 8" floor grates in the floor to the second floor and a fan in one. One acts as a cold air return and the other a heater.

    Good luck....and buy your pellets early....I suspect a run on them this year with oil right now in my area at $4.25 a gal....WOW!!!!!
  6. trehugr

    trehugr New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    Messages:
    234
    Loc:
    Greenwood, Maine
    lessoil, I caught your post by looking at the new members list. I reside mostly in the Boiler Room. I'm here to tell you that you should have every confidence in heating your entire home with a pellet stove. We did this year from Jan on. I don't know if its ok to do this, but here goes. We have a Harman P68 for sale. Purchased new from Caron Stoves in Lancaster NH 2 years ago. It was a life saver this winter. Reason for selling? Installing a EKO 25 wood gasification boiler this summer and simply will not need it. I will deliver (and possibly assist with installation) as I see you are in western Maine as well. If your interested or just curious, PM me and we can talk.

    Kevin
  7. sinnian

    sinnian Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Messages:
    894
    Loc:
    Limerick, Maine
    Lessoil,

    I have a similar cape to yours and typically use 800 gals of oil a year (no water heater/storage). I wanted to do what you propose, and have I have checked and asked around extensively, and there is no way your 2nd (3rd counting the basement) is going to be warm, so your oil BURNER will have to supply the heat. You typically use 900 gals, so let's say conservatively you use 300-400 gals to heat the upstairs. At $5 a gal (which may be less or more next winter) that's $1500 - $2000. That is also $1500 - $2000 you could have put towards something that would heat your whole house, i.e. wood/pellet/coal central heating boiler. It is more upfront money, but it would heat your house house comfortably without fans or cutting holes in your floors.

    Personally, I am going with the Harmon PB 105 pellet boiler for $6040 (negotiated) at a dealer in East Wakefield, NH. I will also get an indirect hot water tank, and with both plus delivery and installation I will be looking at about $10K. I'll keep my existing boiler for back up, or if my plan totally back fires and pellets go to $500 a ton, and oil drops back down to $2 a gal I can always switch back. However, if the current trend in oil prices and pellets continue, I will see a return on my investment in about 4 years.

    Anyway, that's my two cents. Good luck with your decision!
    ~Jeff
  8. lessoil

    lessoil Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Messages:
    726
    Loc:
    Rumford, Maine
    Jeff,
    Thanks for the info!
    Many good points.
    If we can keep our 1st floor warm, that should cut oil usage
    by maybe 40%. That would be a step in the right direction.
    That would pay for the stove in 2 years.

    Have you seen this yet??

    http://www.pellergy.com

    A direct replacement for you oil burner at around $3500.
    I talked with them last week. Your boiler would have to
    be cleaned more often 3-4 times a year vs 1 for oil.

    If we go with a stove in the basement, I would expect that
    the first floor and basement would be fine.
    As far as the second floor, time will tell.
  9. tyru007

    tyru007 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2008
    Messages:
    15
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    My brother does energy audits for homes, including IR scope and blower to check infiltration. WE have discussed basements heating systems in length.

    Some common misconceptions are this:

    Heat does not rise. If heated air is rising in your home then you have a significant air leak and the air has a place to go. A properly sealed house has an air exchange of about 50 to 100 cfh. This is not enough to heat upper floors from the basement.

    If you have and unfinished basement and the walls are not drylocked, the you have a humid heatsink. A typical unfinished basement will lose 20,000 BTU to the concrete to heat the earth. You spend another 5000 btu to turn water into vapor, which then condenses somewhere in the walls or goes through an air leak to the outside.

    You should only consider a stove in the basement if you have drylocked everything and finished the basment including foam and insulated panels. You will then need a fan/cirulation system to get the heat to the upper floors.

    Just my $.02. Your milage may vary.
  10. sinnian

    sinnian Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Messages:
    894
    Loc:
    Limerick, Maine
    Yea I saw that and sounds promising. Unfortunately I can not afford to put all my eggs in one basket quite yet. If that Pellergy fails then YOU'RE without heat. I am going to keep my oil boiler as of now for back up ;-/
  11. lessoil

    lessoil Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Messages:
    726
    Loc:
    Rumford, Maine
    After reading all of the posts above, we will be putting the stove in the living room.
    We may also put a new doorway/opening in the wall between the living room and computer room.
    This will help the heat circulation. Our basement should be fine.
    Wow, we will probably be able to heat 100% with pellets!
    Will be getting a Harman P61A or P68.

    Thanks!!

    **Oil cash price today.....$4.44/gal***
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