1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

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. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Messages:
    12,041
    Loc:
    Standish, ME
    They are not needed and present resistance to the air flow (minimal but we don't need any).

    The problem with that is the stove and the vents are out of position relative to each other and the cold air needs to get to floor level where the convection fans intake is. The fastest and most direct path with a ton of cold air just itching to come on down is your stairwell.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. MarkF48

    MarkF48 Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2011
    Messages:
    119
    Loc:
    Central MA
    As suggested have the fans blow upward to pull the warm air from the basement ceiling into the rooms above. The elbows are not needed and since they extend further down into the basement area, they may not be pulling the warmest air which would be available at the upper most ceiling height. It will take a while for the upstairs rooms to come up in temperature as SmokeyTheBear had mentioned.
    I have a two story old farmhouse. With one vent (roughly 8"x8") fan blowing upwards from the kitchen to a second floor room I can maintain about 68-70 F downstairs and 64-65 F in the upstairs rooms. The stairway is my return cold air path. I've run it this way for some 20 years beginning with a wood stove and it's worked OK for me. Not every house will be the same and it may take some experimentation to get what you want. Some smoking incense sticks can give an idea of air flow direction.
  3. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Messages:
    12,041
    Loc:
    Standish, ME
    The old gravity feed hot air furnaces had one huge floor register, they were configured so the outside jacket was the cold air return and the inside area with the firebox in it was the outside of the hot air plenum (and the inside of the cold air return) which extended to just below the register. So the cold air poured (and that is the word for it) down the cold air return getting heated fairly fast near the bottom and by the time it made the turn it was really hot and hauling tail for the ceiling. The old places usually had two stairways to the upper floors and in the furtherest rooms from the stair ways a floor vent. Far more cold air went down through that vent than warm air ever made it up. The whole house became one hot air pump. Worked quite well. But placement played a key role as to how well. Oh and one other thing you always wore slippers and kept your feet up on foot stools in the room with the big vent in it, that cold air flow was quite noticeable.

    Those were that days that bears were bears and shoveled the tonnage both into the furnace and out of the ash pit.
  4. jeff5347

    jeff5347 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Messages:
    59
    Loc:
    Central MA
    ok i have the 2 near the stove blowing up and i have a box fan at the bottom of the stairs sucking the air from upstairs to DS
  5. MarkF48

    MarkF48 Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2011
    Messages:
    119
    Loc:
    Central MA
    Myself, I'd try it without the box fan for a while and see if a natural return flow occurs. Do you have thermometer you could hang up near the basement ceiling not near a vent? Just to give an idea of the temp of the air you could pull upstairs.

    Where in Central MA are you? Brookfield here.
  6. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Messages:
    12,041
    Loc:
    Standish, ME
    Reset your clocks and dump that fan.
  7. jeff5347

    jeff5347 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Messages:
    59
    Loc:
    Central MA
    Mark, im in Leicester...15.20 minutes away. Smokey.. reset my clocks? I shut the box fan off DS we will see what happens. Oh never mind for the 4hrs you mean right?
  8. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Messages:
    12,041
    Loc:
    Standish, ME
    Ayuh
  9. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    Messages:
    3,520
    Loc:
    North Georgia
    Yep, you've been there too!!!! :) Those monsters were not exactly efficient like the new ones. The new ones like I list in other threads are bordering on 85%, which is amazing.
  10. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Messages:
    12,041
    Loc:
    Standish, ME
    Yes, I've been there done that in fact I tore down a chimney from the inside of my house, positioned all of the replacement parts on each of four floors and after the rebuild. I restored an old Glenwood solid fuel furnace with coal grates.

    That could dump plenty of heat and move a couple of boat loads of air.

    Let's just say the place was both plenty warm, I got plenty of exercise, and survived to tell about it.
  11. checkthisout

    checkthisout Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2010
    Messages:
    313
    Loc:
    NW
    I think I agree with this. I hand't realized that he had booster fans in the ducts he installed.

    Those ducts pulling air up and letting the stairway act as a natural return just may get the job done.
  12. jeff5347

    jeff5347 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Messages:
    59
    Loc:
    Central MA
    Ok Smokey. I turned off the box fan at 2. It is almost 7 and i have the stove on medium and it is 70 upstairs. It has risen slowly.... Also it has been about 47-48-49-50 degrees outside adn when outside changes a degree inside does to but its up to 70 better than yesterday at this time... again it was i think in the mid 30s yesterday. I think this might be what i ws looking for. Im gonna go back to some New England Pellets too as i saw a better flame with them . I will keep all posted.

    PS: also t note might degree diff between DS and US is tighteneing up. US is 70.4 and down in about 76-77. :)
  13. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Messages:
    12,041
    Loc:
    Standish, ME
    Jeff,

    Do you know what the flow rates are on your fans you have in those vents? Increasing this would be the next change along with something that I won't mention if this is all that is needed.

    Your basement is now a forced hot air furnace plenum.

    Likely a few changes are going to be needed, I'd get that ceiling back up and something that looks decent up there so it keeps the missus happy or the dog house will be your house.

    When I put the stove in here I was wondering if things were going to work out and tried playing with the fans (have three huge ceiling jobs that are silent run very well on low and move a lot of air).

    I don't use them.

    And look ma no holes in the floor.

    My stove is rarely at firing rate 3 out of 5 which is the fifth of the seven heat settings available (there are actually three firing rate one settings). I'm still playing and I'm currently happy enough that I have a t-stat I'm going to hook up.


    Keep us up to date.
  14. MarkF48

    MarkF48 Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2011
    Messages:
    119
    Loc:
    Central MA
    Jeff,
    On your house layout diagram you showed a room noted as "Daughter". Having had kids years ago, they seem to like having bedroom doors closed. For me this led to complaints such as, "Hey Dad my rooms freezin'". The heat that may be meandering around upstairs won't get in the room unless the door is open. Just giving a hint of what to maybe expect :)

    Glad to hear you're getting some of that heat up there now. It's been mild around here and the test will come when we get back to the 20-30's .

    One other question..... your vent pipe goes out your basement window. Does it simply go straight out or does it have a vertical upright piece on it. If it goes straight out how much clearance do you have to the ground. Just make sure it's high enough not to get covered with snow. Maybe not a problem if the stove is running, but if it's out for a while for some reason, you don't want the end of the vent plugged up with snow on a start.
  15. Countryboymo

    Countryboymo Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Messages:
    412
    Loc:
    W Central MO
    I would say some caulk and spray foam are in order for the basement first. I bet if you open the tiles in the basement where plumbing goes up at the bathroom(s) and other areas a long with wires and whatever else you will probably find large oversize holes that will act like a chimney to the same holes in the attic. The heat for some reason will go like mad up the wall and into the attic. I would go to the attic next and seal as a caulking gun and case of spray foam are the best weapons for saving money.

    I had a energy audit and have 14 recessed lights and in the audit he used a flow hood and checked the cfm at every register and vent along with each recessed light. The ducts were horribly leaky and needed sealed with mastic which helped tremendously. The recessed lights by themselves were leaking 5-7cfm each with the cheap trim rings that were installed which doesn't seem alarming... but thats 420 cubic feet of conditioned air an hour at 5cfm and 10,080 cubic feet per day which is the alarming part. I put sealed trim rings in which dropped each one down around 1cfm if its windy. If you can stop the 'chimney affect' from the basement up that alone will make a considerable difference.

    For anyone interested there is a better way to seal recessed lights than the trim rings that involves styrofoam 12pack coolers and some caulk and foam but in some areas it is against code to not be fire retardant. I didn't go this way because I already had over 20" of blown in insulation to deal with going that route.

    The infrared gun don't lie on where air is leaking. I would look around on your utilities website to see if they have an energy auditor or any program that will offer to pay for or rebate part of it. The state might have a program also. They are the best money you can spend because you can see the air leaks and go after the biggest ones first.

    I enjoy the energy audit stuff so anyone who is interested feel free to pm me and pick my brain.
  16. jeff5347

    jeff5347 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Messages:
    59
    Loc:
    Central MA
    Smokey here are the fans specs
    Specifications
    Duct diameter: 6"

    Unit weight: 2 lbs

    Max boosted CFM: 250

    Free air CFM: 160

    Amps: 0.35

    Housing length: 6"

    dBA/Sones: 52/2.4

    Blad type: Polycarbonate

    Motor: 110V, Class B, Thermally Protected (TP)


    Mark, My kids are 4 so i dont have the "i hate you dad" syndrome yet. We leave there doors oepn at night and day and all the rooms seem to equalize.
    also the vent pipe exits 16 inches off the ground and extends about a little over a foot from the house. The end has a turn down of about 45 degrees. Thats a good point about the snow.


    Country, i look into that to cause upstairs and downstairs has recessed lighting. I know if i told the wife i want to work on sealing any leaks from them she will serve me for Xmas. Today will be windy and running my new bag of New Englands today so we will see how the heating keeps up....
  17. Countryboymo

    Countryboymo Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Messages:
    412
    Loc:
    W Central MO
  18. saladdin

    saladdin Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2011
    Messages:
    337
    Loc:
    West Tennessee
    Any update Jeff?
  19. bcb1

    bcb1 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2011
    Messages:
    149
    Loc:
    WV
    If you are having issues with your pellet stove not heating your upper floor properly from your basement, keep in mind that basements are traditionally a large source of air leaks. Not as big a source as attics but they still tend to be leaky. Add to that the fact that you're moving warm air up through a ceiling between your basement and first floor (even with vents that you've installed) and yes, it's going to be challenging to try and heat your house from a basement pellet stove.

    I'd recommend - as some others have previously - that you try and move the stove to the first floor, but if that is a no-go situation, then I'd definitely recommend hiring an energy contractor that specializes in energy audits and air leaks/sealing. The first question you ask is if they do a blower door test. If they say "huh?" - hang up and move on to the next one on the list. A good energy sealing contractor will use a blower door to make your air leaks easy to find. Many also use thermal imaging cameras to spot areas in walls and ceilings that are cold. The fix for air leaks is not new doors, new windows, or laying down more insulation in your attic. It's using expanding foam and rigid foam insulation board to stop air leaks - that is where you're losing most of your heat. A good energy contractor can go through a house and air seal it properly with a hundred dollars worth of foam and insulation board, and save you a lot more money in energy bills than if you installed all new doors and windows.

    We have a fairly new house, built in 2002 - in other words, up to code as far as insulation standards go - and still had serious deficiencies in our upper floor as far as heat loss. It's a cape cod style, which are notoriously hard to properly seal correctly, much more difficult than a standard rancher or standard two story. It's not that builders cut corners on purpose, it's just that they all pretty much make the same mistakes when it comes to air sealing. Putting batts of insulation in wall cavities, caulking all the stud plates, throw in some R-19 or R-30 in the attic and that's pretty much it. Blowing in 6 more inches of insulation in the attic did nothing. I even had a 2nd floor INTERIOR bathroom water pipes freeze up due to air infiltration running under the bathroom floor. The energy contractor came in, did a blower door test, and went about fixing all the air leaks. He cut holes in closets, crawled into places that were seemingly impossible to get to, and used nothing more than rigid foam board and expanding foam to seal up air leaks. He also replaced all the recessed light trim with the newer style trim that is sealed against air leaks. The difference was astounding - not only in terms of energy savings, but also in terms of comfort level.

    Sorry to be so long winded - I guess the point of my story is to find and fix your air leaks in your house - which will greatly add to your comfort level.
  20. RKS130

    RKS130 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2011
    Messages:
    443
    Loc:
    Croton-on-Hudson, NY
    Many utility companies will perform the energy audit for free, including infra red photos, pressure testing, etc - of course this varies widely from company to company. But they all have access to the bottomless pocket of green Federal Tax dollars to do it. Might be worth looking in to.

Share This Page