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Posted By aspinfo,
Apr 12, 2013 at 5:40 PM
I recommend sub-dividing. This mansion isn't going to be heated with any one stove.
That is amazing Nate considering how cold it gets there and the length of the burning season! Your home is probably tighter and has higher R-value which would be standard in your climate but still very impressive and speaks well of the BK Princess too..
I live in a house of a similar size. We have a 3 cu feet Travis Hybrid Large Flush Insert. We've been burning it almost non-stop since October.
We are only "medium" happy with the heating ability.
1. The fireplace is in a two story family room. Even with the ceiling fan on high, much of the heat is lost to the upstairs. Even during this past cold winter (Penna), we could just about turn off the heat in most of the upstairs (4 bedrooms, 3 baths) if we left the doors open. It is amazing that when you walk halfway up the stairs in our family room, the temp seems to go up about 5 degrees.
2. These inserts are A LOT OF WORK Like is said, many of us find the wood cutting and fire tending a pleasure. I'm lucky to live on a country property with an endless supply of primo wood. It's my hobby, exercise and sanity keeper to be out cutting, hauling and stacking.
3. Then there is the tending. Insert needs to be fed about every 6 hours. In the am, it's hardly putting out any heat, but starts up w/o new lighting, just a few small pieces of wood and crack the door, starts right up. The ashes need to be cleaned out every 5 days or so when going full tilt. Also, we are lucky to be able to stack the wood up right next to the fireplace, but there is never ending sweeping the hearth area and then vacuuming when the wood goes down, taking wood in, and just in general. But I don't find it a chore.
4. The fan is noisy. It's completely adjustable, and works fine at half speed, but I would think the output is down at half speed, but it's hard to listen to TV at full speed.
5. Be careful that you have enough hearth. Our opening is raised from the floor about 16 inches with a stone in front of opening that's about 8-10" wide. But even with about 30" between opening and rug we have had some ashes pit on the rug, when tending the fire. Also, as the ash builds up, it tends to overflow onto the hearth if a log falls forward inside.
6. If you have to buy your wood, I don't think an insert is worth it, but if you can get it for free, have a good back and enjoy all the work, and enjoy a fire, then go ahead.
7. Before we installed the insert, we were burning almost every evening anyway. I have no regrets whatsoever about putting this insert in. Although realize by the time you get done paying for installation, chimney liner and etc.'s, the total price could be 2.5 x the insert. Be careful if you think you could do it by yourself, maybe you can, but you don't want to take any chance of a fire in that expensive house with an amateur installation job.
aspinfo, welcome to the Hearth.
You mentioned the single shared chimney, but I'm curious how many flues there are.
It's been mentioned, but if you're serious about burning wood, get it yesterday and put it in a very windy spot....c/s/s. Sun would be helpful as well.
You'll have a miserable burning experience if you try burning wet wood.
I think I'd also recommend a single large stove to start. How is access to the area the stove will be, from where you'll have your wood?
If possible, get us some pics, or a floorplan sketch.
I started in a very similar place (that place being "My electric bill is HOW much?") about 5 years ago. I am heating about 2200 sf in a center-hall colonial, 3 fireplaces/flues, pretty well insulated.
After some experimentation with an old smoke dragon, I got my NC30 and it heats the first floor perfectly. If I wanted to go 100% wood/no electric, I'd probably add a smaller stove in the master bedroom upstairs (location of one FP).
That said, making a hobby of wood gathering is kind of a must. The folks who told you to start gathering wood NOW aren't kidding- good dry wood is the difference between loving and hating your stove. However, if the guesstimates are that you're going to need 10 or more cords of wood, that boiler might make sense. You're in the right place to ask those questions.
Came up writing on another thread: If you do decide to go with stoves, Woodstock does offer financing at 5% through a local bank. And, they have a 6 month 100% refund policy, no questions asked, if you wish to return the stove. They even pay return shipping.
If the intent is to make a serious dent in the oil bill, I'd look into a Caddy Max wood furnace and tie it into the trunk duct with a backdraft dampering system. And order up about 10 cords of wood right now and get it stacked, oriented so that the broad side of the stacks face the prevailing wind. You will go thru a lot of wood to heat the place. If possible avoid oak unless ordering a year ahead for fall of 2014. If you have the budget, go ahead and also put in an area heating wood stove too for milder weather and a nice ambient fire. I like the idea and look of a nice freestanding stove in the fireplace, but get one with a blower and install a damper-sealing block off plate.
This said a "mouthful" you need to understand the work and time requirements of feeding woodstoves/inserts even if you buy the wood. If you have someone home during the day to feed the stove on say mid-afternoon so you can a keep around the clock heating going, that i a big plus.
I didn't read all lines of all posts.. so forgive if this is redundant.
I think Nate still uses a boiler and radiant heat from the floor for some of the load. It's not apples to apples when a guy also uses central heat.
Can it go in basement? I enjoy my fireplaces just the way they are, but admittedly lousy at heating the house. Anyway myhome is 4400 sq ft and this is my first year with a wood stove. I put my jotul 500 in the basement (so heated space by stove is 6600 sq ft) has knocked my oil bill in ½ (see avatar to left). I could probably go to near zero with 2 stoves but don’t want that much work. I don’t have an accurate count on how much wood I burned but definitely over 5 cords. My home is well insulated and tight-very important, including basement walls. I installed a fan directly into one of 3 heating systems trunks and that sucks hot air from basement and works great. I stopped burning about 2 weeks ago but plotting and planning for fall.
I think this is good advice. Get one big stove and run it. Enjoy the cost savings, warmth and beauty and supplement with the furnace. I say go Cape Cod or Woodstock Hybrid.
feeding a stove 5 cords of wood is a LOT of work!
Exactly, so maybe one stove is enough for now. Add another stove in a few years if you're a nut like half of us on here.
Welcome to the forum. I did not read any of the other responses thus far, but I am also heating a big old house (actually, larger than yours), and was ripping thru oil at a rate averaging more than 1400 gallons per winter. A big part of my problem is drafts from 240 year old doors and windows, which I am now addressing, but that's aside from the solution.
There are two ways to look at this:
1. While heating a house this large entirely by wood has many challenges, any BTU's you can add to the heated space is reducing your oil bill. I figure roughly $700 of oil saved per cord of wood burned, thru some rough math. So, while it would be nice to heat entirely by wood, I accept the fact that I will still burn some oil and propane.
2. I would keep a multiple-stove solution in mind, as a possible final solution. That said, if you haven't already had experience keeping one stove going 24/7, I would not go right to multiple stoves. Install one stove, but keep in the back of your mind the idea that you may want to move to a multiple-stove solution down the road, should you decide you don't mind tending stoves.
With some digging, I figured out roughly what the previous owner was using in oil and propane, and figure they must have been close to $7000 per year in combined heating costs. In my first year of heating, I had only one stove installed (in a less than optimum location), and was able to lower the heating bill to a yearly average of $5000 (accounting for deviation from the normal year, as it was a warm winter). After installing a second stove in January (in a much more ideal location), I was able to drive the yearly trend for oil + propane below $3000. With better wood on hand, and two stoves ready to run the full year next year, I'm looking forward to see where my usage settles in.
The cost to me is a LOT of time processing wood, moving it about the property, and many hours tending two stoves. I enjoy the work, but it does eat up a big chunk of my time. I do all of my own felling, limbing, bucking, splitting, hauling, etc. It would make more sense to have the wood delivered, given I could buy in larger quantities, but again... I enjoy the work.
edit: I just scanned and saw a few recommendations for a boiler. If considering that, plan to more than double your wood usage. The yearly wood usage I've seen quoted for boilers points toward some almost unbelievably poor achieved efficiency.
Also saw a recommendation to check out my install(s). One is in my avatar, and the other is documented in this thread:
Unless that place is wide open, even 2 large stoves ain't going to heat that place.
If I was you, I'd be looking into a wood gasifier or a coal furnace.
10-4 on an efficient gasification add on boiler.
And unless it is a bowling alley you don't live in and need to heat all 5,000 sq. ft.
The trouble with any boiler is that they're all work and no play. If I'm going to do this much work, I wanna sit down in front of a pretty fire at the end of the day, damnit!
Still think an efficient wood furnace is the best bet here. The joint already has the duct system in place. Sticking by my MaxCaddy recommendation. Add a stove or insert upstairs if you want ambience and mild weather heating.
I can't argue there, but is the goal 100% elimination of the oil/electric bill, or just reduction of it? The idea of feeding a boiler is so unappealing to me that I'd rather have the two stoves, and still pay for some oil. Everyone has different goals, though.
I think it is accepted that the wood burning will only partially eliminate the heating bill. It's not an all or nothing situation fortunately, and every stick of wood burned results in several sticks worth of oil saved.
With that much space and ducts (or radiators) in place I'd be installing a wood boiler or furnace for the heavy lifting and then have a stove to really warm up the part of that mansion that gets used the most.