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Newbie pellet stove question -sqft vs BTU output

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by High Altitude, Jul 12, 2008.

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  1. High Altitude

    High Altitude New Member

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    Hi,

    I am looking to get a pellet stove. I have my eye on a St. Croix Hastings.

    I have not been able to get a good answer to the following question, hopefully people here with experience will be able to help me out.

    My house is two levels. Basically it is a 30'x50' box on top of a 30x50 walk out basement. I will try to attach some very crude drawings of my house plans. I hope you will be able to get a basic idea of my layout. Basically for the walkout basement the front half is the garage, second half is the stairway, living room, bathroom which is somewhat under the stairs, utility room and bedroom.

    Top floor is the family/kitchen/dining on top of the garage with a hallway/bathroom/bedroom and master suit on the other half.

    House is heated with a propane force air furnace. No zones.

    The basement is much, much colder than the top level. The walkout faces north so gets no sun in the winter. Top floor does get some sun so it is much warmer.

    I want to place the pellet stove down stairs in the family/living room so that I can heat the down stairs seperately and hopefully get some residual heat up the open stairway to help offset the propane cost to heat the rest of the house.

    My main concern is that I do not know how the pellet stove will perform given the layout and sq footage situation.

    Please help me out and comment based on your experience.

    Do you think the stove will be too big for the lower level or do you think I will be OK.

    Thanks

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  2. High Altitude

    High Altitude New Member

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    I also want to mention that in the upstairs family room there is a propane insert fireplace. I think it is rated at something like 27-30k btu input. It does an OK job but with the open layout with cathederal ceilings it isn't something that gives you instant heat. It also has no thermostat.


    Hopefully this winter I won't have to run the furnace too much. That thing sucks down the propane :)
  3. hoverfly

    hoverfly Minister of Fire

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    If your main goal is to supplement your gas furnace you can get away with a smaller pellet stove, just on very cold days or nobody around to keep the stove fed then the gas furnace will run. Since you have a forced hot air furnace, you can use it's fan to evenly move the heat from th pellet stove around the house, just make sure the cold air return is on the same level as the stove(s). Another idea is you can get a small stove for the down stairs and an pellet insert to replace the gas as well. Also if all the heat is going up to the ceiling why not add a ceiling fan?
  4. High Altitude

    High Altitude New Member

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    I just got back from looking at the Hastings again and it has a pretty loud fan with no adjustment. The fan appears to have only one speed. It also never completely shuts down when using the thermostat or until over an hour has gone by if using the smart stat setting.

    Given the small area I am heating, I am thinking about going with a quadrafire castile.

    For those that use the Castile, how do you like it? How much sq ft are you heating and how does the stove perform?

    Thanks
  5. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    to answer your title question , pay more attention to the square footage than BTU. BTU's are produced by burning fuel at the input rate of 8500 btu per pound per hour, for instance a 40Kbtu claim may require you to burn from 5 to 7 lbs/hr trust me you will not need that much. therefore rated square footage (this will very likely be "best case" ) is generally a better barometer.

    the stove is going to be in a living room so high volume utility furnaces like our 25-puf , or the breckwell big-e are likely not choices you would want for aesthetic reasons , both excellent heaters but not exactly conversation pieces. the quad castille is a good unit , i like the santa fe better but its as much personal prefference, the harmon xxv is a nice unit in that class as well but may be late in getting stocked. enviro makes some nice ones as well. were you looking at our units , the 25-pdv , or corie's new 25-ep when it comes available would be the best choices from our line.
  6. Shortstuff

    Shortstuff Feeling the Heat

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    High Altitude, I just finished installing my free-standing Castile and am awaiting final inspection, so I haven't used it yet. But after all my research, I've determined that this particular stove would be MORE than adequate for what I am planning to use it for.

    As you can see below, location #2 in red is the current location of my Castile, which is an area of 820 sq.ft. If all goes well over next winter, I will be purchasing and installing another Castile at location #3 which will easily heat the remaining 1330 sq.ft.

    My goal is to become oil-free as soon as possible. I would much rather purchase pellets made here than oil from overseas!

    Steve

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  7. High Altitude

    High Altitude New Member

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    Mike,

    If you have two stoves and one stove is rated to heat more sq ft but you burn the same amount of pellets per hour in both stoves, won't you get the same amount of heat out of them and be able to heat the same amount of sq footage?

    I am having a really hard time deciding on how big or small of a stove to use. I did some remeasuring and the entire sq footage for the downstairs living room, bedroom and bathroom is only around 550 sqft and the living room itself where the stove will go is about 300. Upstairs is around 1500 sq ft.

    the reason for putting this stove downstairs is to be able to heat it seperately from the rest of the house. It gets much colder down there compared to upstairs.

    I keep thinking that if I get a bigger stove compared to the castila or lets say the englander 25-pdvc that it will be too much for the downstairs sq footage.

    Is it really realistic to think that you can use a bigger stove down stairs and be able to heat the whole house with out it being too hot downstairs or is it more realistic to use a smaller stove to heat the down stairs and then use other heaters (like the upstairs propane fireplace and of course the main furnace (I can close off some of the vents downstairs)) to heat the upstairs????

    I have zero experience in using a pellet stove so I have no clue what to do.






  8. hoverfly

    hoverfly Minister of Fire

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    First, you are complacating things for your self to much with numbers off of panflits. If I were you, go to the local delear(s) take along your floor plan and ask them questions, let them paly with the numbers in their head.
  9. High Altitude

    High Altitude New Member

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    I have all ready done that.

    There are only two local dealers in my area.

    They both have done a great job at explaining the different products, pros and cons, features, installation advice etc..... but when I ask questions about sizing a unit for my application (and what kind of performance I will get) and show them my floor plans I get the deer in the headlight response.

    I can't seem to get any definitive answers to these type of questions.

    Do I size the unit with the expectation of it heating the entire house and if so will it over heat the down stairs trying to heat the upstairs?

    OR

    Do I size the unit for only the down stairs and if so will the rest of the house steal the heat causing the smaller unit to
    work to hard?
  10. hoverfly

    hoverfly Minister of Fire

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    It sounds like you are going to make a judgment call by your self. Buy one stove this year, something around 50,000 BTU place it down stairs and see what happens. If it does not work to your liking you can buy a smaller one for down stairs and move the bigger one up stairs.
  11. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    well, its a "point source" heater , like a woodstove or oil stove , all the heat radiating from a single point looking back at the floor plan the units i mentioned would do the whole house but it would be considerably hotter in the room with the stove in it. now if you are looking to heat just the lower area, a small unit like the pdvc running on its lowest range would handle that i doubt it would be a chore for any pellet stove to heat a 550 sq ft area.
  12. High Altitude

    High Altitude New Member

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    Thank you everyone.

    After all the reading and searching on this great forum I am certain that I am going to go with the smaller type stove.

    MainePellethead, I read several of your past posts and they where of great help. You are heating a little more sq footage with your castile in an older house compared to mine and having no problems. Your posts where of great help, thanks.

    I am going to use the smaller stove downstairs and run my upstairs living room propane fireplace and see how it goes. The fireplace is undersized for the space but with the pellet stove downstairs, I think it will help it out some. If the fireplace doesn't cut it, the propane central air furnace will fill the gaps.

    My family is going to be very happy this winter with a nice warm walk out basement. It will probably be the warmest part of the house which is a big change. My wife and kids are all ready talking about all the family time we will be having down there.

    Eventually, if I really like the pellet stove, I will replace the upstairs fireplace with a nice size pellet stove insert and call it a day.

    I really believe having a heat source for each floor will, in the end, work the best.

    Tomorrow I am going to go visit several dealers that are a little farther from my house that carry different brands compared to my local dealer.

    I ended up putting a deposit on a quadrafire castile from a local dealer. I have 30 days to get a 100% refund or complete the purchase. The stove was slightly discounted and cost $1,999. I believe this is a good price. I am going to do the install myself no matter what stove I get.

    Some other stoves that have caught my eye are the avalon newport and the harman XXV and p38. I would also check out the englander stoves but the HD and lowes around here aren't even stocking them because it is summer.

    This is going to give me time to look at some other stoves but not have to worry about missing out.

    One thing I have learned is that daily/wkly/yearly maintenance is THE KEY to having years of quality performance out of any pellet stove.

    This forum is great, thank you!!!!
  13. High Altitude

    High Altitude New Member

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    I went and looked at a Harman Accentra.

    I understand why a lot of people end up with Harman stoves.

    Very nice and IMO it has the best user interface.

    Of course you pay for it.
  14. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    hey , harman makes a great product , no doubt about it. the quad you looked at is a good unit as well. if it comes down to those two units , i think the selling point would be the service package v/s price point. you said you would likely do the install yourself in a previous post , which isnt hard for the most part for a moderately handy person. you should see depending on if you do the install if it has any effect on the service package or warranty of the unit. with an acceptable service package you really cant go wrong with either of those stoves.
  15. first&ten

    first&ten New Member

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    FYI, Just got a call from the Harman dealer in Palmyra, Me. Harman is not going to be delivery any more pellet stoves to Maine. Hundreds of people (possibly a couple of thousand people in Maine who order their stoves in latespring/early summer) will not be getting their stoves. I am sitting on a couple of tons of pellets so I am scrambling to get on another companies waiting list. I think I am going to get a Quadra Fire Classic Bay 1200. Any comments on the CB1200?
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