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Newbie to Pellets stoves, regretting right now buying one

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by jeff5347, Dec 13, 2011.

  1. jeff5347

    jeff5347 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Central MA
    Hi Everyone,
    Im new to this site and new to the world of pellet stoves. I just had a Heatilator PS50 installed on Friday 12/9/11. Looks great, nice flame like a stove but im not sure if im running it right or what i can do to make it better. First, i have tried 3 different pellets... New england, Instant heat and LG. I have the stove downstairs in my semifinished basement and when you are down there it is piping hot, but to get it to be warm upstairs i need to set everything on max and that is only with 30 degree nights. If it is only keeping up now im in trouble on single digit nights.
    What i have done
    Installed a vent almost above it which is in the livving room
    Installed a vent about 6-7 feet to the right of it which is in the kitchen
    Installed a vent about 20 feet away which is in the hallway
    Placed a fan about 12-13 feet away to blow on the right side of the fan to start a circulation effect.

    In the daytime its good, im at 69 degrees right now with it on Med and the thermo is set at 90, but 69 upstairs
    I opened the fuel adjustment rod to pretty much all the way as the flame was only about 2 inches tall. Noticed this gives a little more heat out of the blower but not to much for all around warmth in the house.
    My house is 1364 CuFt upstairs and 600 downstairs. I have an open stairway to the downstairs so i dont need to worry about a door or hallway to the downstairs. All in all i thought i would have to keep the stove turnd down so as not to be cooked out of the house but im at the complete other spectrum. I have the oil heat we used completely off since it was installed on Friday so i know the stove is doing a good job on the house. I just would like it to be a bit better.
    Can anyone give me pointers or help on if im messing something up or what else i can do. Im a complete newb to this and i know it will take trial and error.
    All it seems at night when i leave the stove alone and just make sure its full the temp drops 7 degrees or so and getting up in the morning is not pleasant.
    I dont know if i missed anything such as a damper ( dont even know if this has one) or anything else, bur please ask me and ill see if i can get the answer. Any help would be greatly appreciated

    Here it is installed

    PS: just for more info i am currently at 2 or so bags a day and have just burnt the first 2 bags of LG's


    Thanks Jeff

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  2. Salty

    Salty Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    that basement is going to absorb alot of heat. Check your insulation in your attic....sounds dumb to say this but all that warm air rises... Air sealing and insulation fixes that. That house isn't that big.
  3. smoke show

    smoke show Guest

    Is the vent 3" or 4"?
  4. philbrick

    philbrick Member

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    Im new myself but how about calling up the place you bought it and have them stop by and check everything out
  5. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Two things you have to produce enough BTU's to over come the heat loss of the area you are heating and then get the heat distributed after producing it.

    Producing it usually isn't a problem keeping the houses heat loss down and distributing the produced heat can be a major headache.

    First lets see what the whole house sort of looks like I'm assuming that the cubic feet you posted is actually square feet so you have the stove in a basement room is the basement fully finished and all walls insulated and if they are insulated with what and how thick.

    Second can we see a picture looking up the stairs from the basement and down the stairs from the first floor?

    Frequently there is an air block that sets up in most stairways.

    Third where in relation to the door out of the room is the stove's convection air system pointing.
  6. MarkF48

    MarkF48 Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2011
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    Loc:
    Central MA
    I have an upstairs room that has a vent to the kitchen below. The vent by itself doesn't contribute much to getting upstairs room warm, so I ended using a fan like this Suncourt HC300 Heating & Air Conditioning Booster Fan which is placed over the vent. This has helped considerably. Also I think it's important to have a path for air to return to the heated area to develop an air flow circulation.
  7. silverfox103

    silverfox103 Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    Littleton, NH
    If the upstairs is where you spend most of the time, you probably should have installed the stove on that floor. Some have had luck doing it the way you did, but many have had problems, as it is tough to move hot air.

    Tom C.
  8. Ogilvy

    Ogilvy Member

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    Loc:
    New Brunswick
    What do you mean by air block?

    Curious as my P38 does not heat the main floor of my bungalow much at all. Used to be able to stand at the top of the stairs and get "blown away" by the heat from my previous woodstove. I attribute the lack of heat upstairs due to the size of my pellet stove and the simple fact i do not crank it all the way up. It burns me that i still require the use of baseboards to keep the main floor warm...
  9. BradH70

    BradH70 Feeling the Heat

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    Considering that you have the vent going out the window, it would not be to difficult to move the stove to main (first?) living floor. You may get better results as some of the other members have mentioned.
  10. Trickyrick

    Trickyrick Feeling the Heat

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    Western MA/ Eastern NY
    Jeff, a little more info is in order here.

    Your house has some other form of central heat right? What type and how many BTUs did you use through that before adding the pellet stove.

    This is important because it tells you and us how much heat you actually need to keep the house comfortable.
  11. jeff5347

    jeff5347 New Member

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    Central MA
    Smoke show, the pipe exiting the basement window is a duravent. One of them says 3pvp-36. I measured it and it looks to be 3.5 inches.

    Smokey,
    The house is from the 50s. HOnestly not sure what is insulated downstairs. I can tell you that it has a drop ceiling with insulation between the rafters downstairs. The downstairs is pretty much fully open until you have to round a corner to get to the laundry room. The stove is blowing straight at our garage door. I will upload pics. i have quite a few and the should give you a good layout. I dont know if the walls a re insulated since it was finished before we bought it. It is hot down there once it is going. The insu on the drop ceiling is the pink fiberglass stuff and roughly 5-6 inches thick. I was thinking of removing this...?

    Phil,
    Yea thats my next move as well

    I will post the pics in a few minuts
  12. BIGISLANDHIKERS

    BIGISLANDHIKERS Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2007
    Messages:
    314
    Its always difficult getting the heat upstairs. Remember a pellet stove is a space heater, not a furnace. Your basement is only 1/2 the size as your main floor so that will make it even harder for the heat to reach upstairs. It looks like our basement ceiling is tiled and perhaps insulated which adds to your difficulties.

    Try putting a fan at the top of your stairs and blow cold air down the stairs. Put another one at the bottom pointing towards the stove. This may push the the warm air up the stairs.

    X2 on putting it upstairs if possible.

    Goodluck
    BIH
  13. jeff5347

    jeff5347 New Member

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    I had/have oil heat. I honestly dont know how many BTUs we went thru. The house is comfortable at 69 but once night comes she drops like a rock and that is with only 25 degree nights. I am not looking forward to 4 degree nights.
  14. jeff5347

    jeff5347 New Member

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    Brad, yes my thoughts have been heavily on bringing it upstairs. Was i wrong to think of using the stove as my main heat for the winter and hopefully only use the oil for water heat?
  15. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    The cold air can't get down the stair well and the warm air ride up over it. It takes two air flow paths to distribute heat, in a hot air system (which a pellet stove is) one is the convection output (hot air) and the other is the convection input (cold air return). With a ducted furnace these two paths are physically separated by the duct work. With a pellet stove they are sort of separated but only by a couple of feet. So what happens is if there is a long path that things have to take the two mix and nothing really moves between the floors.

    Most stairways are not all that tall these days so the hot air doesn't get a chance to continue rising. It takes a lot of heat and air flow to force air movement in this situation, pellet stoves frequently need an assist.

    Some folks do the fan routine, some do the fans and additional holes in floors and walls. If anyone goes punching holes in walls and floors they need to pay attention to safety. Fire chases result from doing such modifications, it needs to be done correctly.

    I have a nice tall straight up wall just outside the door to my den where the stove is and there is a half wall at the second floor landing the air flow here is such that you can feel the cool air down low and the warm air coming over the half wall and the warm air also goes up the tall wall to the ceiling.

    The only issue I have is moving enough air through the stove to heat it all. There is a massive amount of air in a multistory house and all attempts to heat a house from a basement are in fact heating a multistory house.

    Now for the OP.

    What is the gross firing rate of your oil system it should be on the makers plate or the burner it is stated in gallons per hour.
  16. jeff5347

    jeff5347 New Member

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    Here is the layout i have more coming. I know the house is a mess right now

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  17. jeff5347

    jeff5347 New Member

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    the last pic is walking away from the stove and into the laundry room

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  18. jeff5347

    jeff5347 New Member

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    Smokey here is what you asked for

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  19. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Once the night comes 2 things happen. You loose the solar assist and the outside temp drops, So your heat loss sky rockets. 2 ways to fix it. Over power it with more BTU's or Tighten up the joint.

    How warm is it down by the stove? Betting not to bad!

    I'm thinking the stoves too small to heat all that in the house's present condition. Move it upstairs and at least be warm up there. Pick up a stove or something to warm the basement. Or sell it and add a pellet furnace with ducting to move heat where its needed. The radiant from the furnace will keep the basement somewhat warm. Adding insulation to the basement is optional with the furnace. But a must if you try heating with a stove! Edit: You already have a boiler, SO there is another good option. Add a pellet boiler to that. You can sister it right into it!

    Many people try this stove in the basement thing and think it will heat both area's just fine. Not so, heat loss is tricky. You'll get some upstairs, As the warm air rises it is mixing with the cooler air. So you loose some heat. But as the temps drop the heat loss effect gets larger and the efficiency drops like a stone! Insulating the basement helps but it is still hard when the real cold comes by. So in turn you can make it better, But it doesn't totally go away. Forcing the heat thru a duct is the ticket. Once the ducts warm you don't loose as much heat. Specially when you insulate the duct work. Less area to absorb the nasty cold.

    I speak from many years of experience heating from the basement and tried about everything possible with a pellet stove down there. But as soon as the temps started dropping I always seemed to have trouble. I'd get typing cramps if I typed everything I tried to move more heat upstairs. My latest was the ticket. I made my big beast of a stove the closest I could get to a furnace. I added duct work and a larger blower to move the air thru the duct work. I now have 74ºF temps easily upstairs and mid 60's down stairs. Pellet consumption dropped as well. Wished you would have asked us sooner. I would have definetly pointed at the pellet furnace!
  20. whosthat

    whosthat New Member

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    Interesting I was floating that idea myself, hooking duct work up to my pellet stove and turning it into a forced hot air furnace, I however dont have much trouble heating the upstairs but it does seem like a waste of money to keep my basement 80 degrees all the time.
  21. fidiro

    fidiro New Member

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    I wonder if your basement is very well insulated that it does not have any fresh air coming in but rather it is sucking in from the upstairs somewhere.

    I would look into OAK to see what happens. This way it is sucking air right at the stove and not from any possible air leaks from the upstairs. It might help.
  22. fidiro

    fidiro New Member

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    BTW, I like your idea of running it out a window.LOL

    I did the same thing thinking it will be just temporary until I get used to using pellets, well it's my 3rd temporary season running it out the top of a double hung window. It's so temporary that I can't even show pics of my install. Another reason to not making it a permanent install was if I decided to sell the house I didn't want to leave stove behind and leave a hole in the wall if I did take it.
  23. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Its really not cold yet. Wait until the singles and below come. I was fine until that happened. I'd have to crank the stove to over come that. I only need to run the stove on medium heat settings even in the bitter cold. Next chance I get this stove will be replaced with a pellet furnace!
  24. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    One major difference between your layout and mine is the shot across to the other area of the basement so you are heating the entire basement. This diverts the amount of heat that can go up the stairs. My stairwell is solid wall with a door in it that leads to the garage and that wall is insulated and double layered.

    So it appears that you are attempting to heat close to 2700 square feet of house, but likely really needs close to 33,000 BTU of output to do that (going by the boiler figures and some weird adjustments for domestic hot water and reasonable temperature recovery rates on cold days). The BTU figure for your stove is an input firing rate (I swear it is on a good day with no head wind using the best possible pellets to boot) so at full bore you are getting about 37,500 (using another dubious efficiency figure).

    You need to stop some of that heat from going across the bottom of your stairwell and get it going up the stairs instead as well as run the stove full out (if it can handle that).

    I hear ya Jay, I hear ya.

    Do you know the convection blowers air flow rate on that stove and what are the ceiling heights in your basement and first floor?
  25. BradH70

    BradH70 Feeling the Heat

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    You should be able to heat your house with just pellet stove considering the sq/ft that you mentioned if you move it to the main living floor. I am heating our house (two floors) which is ~2200sq/ft with just the pellet stove insert. The oil burner is now used only to heat DHW.

    Are you trying to heat the downstairs(basement) because it is part of the living space?

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