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Some questions from a beginner

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by levsmith, May 19, 2013.

  1. levsmith

    levsmith New Member

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    Hey everyone, new to the forums and I've got some questions for you experts. I just bought my house in january and it is all set up for a wood burning stove in the basement. It has a pipe running through the basement wall, below the garage, up through the garage floor and then of course through the roof.

    Now I am new to indoor stoves, as my parents have an outdoor stove, and I am especially new to the idea of a stove in the basement, which leads to my first question. Is it better to have the stove in the basement? I undertand the idea of heating the basement and the heat rising to the rest of the house, but i also like the idea of having it in the living room just because of the soothing feeling of watching the fire.

    So here is the next question. If it was installed in the living room, would the basement stay warm enough that the pipes wouldn't freeze? It would be fairly easy to install in the living room because the space I would put it is right above the spot in the basement, so about all I would have to do is run the pipe through the wall between the living room and garage and tie into the existing pipe coming from the basement as explained earlier.

    Any help or opinions would be appreciated.

    Oh and since I am new to woodstoves, what are some good brands to look at?

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  2. xman23

    xman23 Minister of Fire

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    If you can I would have the stove centrally located in the living space. You will have the heat where it is needed. One of the biggest issues with wood stoves is circulating the huge amount of heat and cold air. Additional you can make the stove a focal point in the house. There is nothing more soothing than watching the secondary burn flames. Depending on the depth of the basement in the ground, you need no heat or very little to prevent a freeze. A big issue with a basement instalation is getting to cold air from the house above down to the basement. There are many people here with basement stoves that can comment on the positives and negatives.
  3. lumbering on

    lumbering on Feeling the Heat

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    Welcome to the forum. If only I had come here BEFORE I bought my stove, I could have saved myself a lot of headaches.

    I say put it in the living room and enjoy the view.

    Someone else may have to answer the question about the freezing pipes, though.

    As far as what kind of stove to get, there are SO many variables. Do you like steel, cast iron or soapstone? Catalytic or Non-catalytic?

    I'm currently loving the Jotul and Woodstock. Lopi is good. I've been looking at Hearthstone and QuadraFire. And the forum members love their Blaze Kings.
  4. byQ

    byQ Member

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    Have you considered having 2 wood stoves and running them into the same exhaust pipe? That is, just tie the new main floor one into the pipe from the wood stove in the basement. This way you can keep the pipes from freezing in the basement by occasionally firing the basement wood stove. However, you would have to check your local codes and see if this is okay.
  5. levsmith

    levsmith New Member

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    Unfortunately I cant centrally locate it unless I moved all of the flue pipe and patched the current hole, which I
    dont really feel like doing.



    I'm not sure what kind of stove I want yet because I haven't done much research on them yet. Just talked to the insurance company 2 days ago about it.


    I hadn't thought about 2 stoves but it makes sense. I dont have to worry about codes. Around here there are no codes outside of the city limits.
  6. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    Don't run 2 stoves in the same flue, that is not a good idea, and very poor advice.
    ScotO, webby3650 and PapaDave like this.
  7. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    Ding, ding, ding.
    Don't do this.
    Forget about code, it's about safety.
    If you want to have fire IN your home, do it right. Ok, rant over, and on to the good stuff.
    Pics of the current flue setup would be most helpful, and/or a sketch of the layout too.
    I vote for putting the stove in the house in a central location with a straight up flue system.
    If the basement is not well insulated, the walls will soak up a good % of the heat.
    What size pipe do you have now?
    ScotO likes this.
  8. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Correct and also running 2 stoves in the same flue can create a low indoor pressure situation and keep both stoves from drafting well unless you have an OAK installed. (Learned that the hard way)
  9. byQ

    byQ Member

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    I guess the idea of running 2 wood stoves through one flue occurred to me because I saw a mason do this with 2 masonry heaters. mha-net.org/docs/v8n2/wild01c2.htm
    Lower pressure is not really valid because you could argue that one stove creates lower pressure so to be safe you shouldn't install any stove. I saw an exchange on this at arborsite.com. Anyway, the for camp stated that this has been done traditionally with no problems, especially in New England. The anti camp says that you could burn in the lower stove and exhaust the gas into the other upper floor stove and into the living space (this would not be good especially CO gas - fatal). Sounds like it doesn't matter for you since the geometry doesn't work, anyway. I think I would go with 2 separate flues just to be on the safe side.
  10. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    I tried this once and had one stove dangerously back draft as the larger stove had more pull on the draft. This could happen i believe even if you have 2 separate flues and not enough outside air to feed both. I also tried it in as very leaky building with the stoves on separate floors and it worked OK but would not do it again in a home.
  11. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forum levsmith.

    Most folks who have stoves in the basements are not too happy unless they spend lots of time in the basement. Running up and down stairs tending the stove can't be fun and then there is the problem of getting the fuel there and the ashes out. Then there is the problem that you are not near to stove to keep an eye on things. Also, most find that it really is not that easy moving the heat from downstairs to upstairs.

    For sure having the stove on the same level as you are and where you really need the heat is the best way to go. There are also ways of moving that heat in the house that is quite simple but sounds backwards. Answer is you simply move the cool air into the stove room and this will force the warm air out. It works much better that way.

    For recommendations, it will be helpful if you describe your home and especially the square footage.

    In addition, if you plan on burning a good stove like the outdoor boilers, you will be wasting dollars and you won't be warm. This means that you have to have dry wood and most wood takes a year to dry.....after it has been split and then stacked outdoors in the wind. Do it otherwise and you will have the typical problems of new wood burners. If you plan on buying your wood, consider that you will be buying wood that is mostly not fit to burn yet so if you want to do that, get it now. Yesterday would be even better.

    Good luck.
    Trilifter7 and PapaDave like this.
  12. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    "Anyway, the for camp stated that this has been done traditionally with no problems, especially in New England"
    Never have heard of any one doing that traditionally any where.
  13. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    That's a no-no.. Each stove needs its' own flue..

    Ray
  14. lumbering on

    lumbering on Feeling the Heat

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    Ok, now that you've decided NOT to burn two stoves through one flue, and will likely be better off having the stove in the living room, there is a tremendous amount of good advice available here that I hope you'll take advantage of.

    First bit of advice, pay attention to everything they tell you about the wood. The quality of the wood will make or break your first winter. Even if you're not buying the stove until October, get the wood now. And even if you get it now, it may not be usable until NEXT winter, unless you buy kiln dried.
    PapaDave and raybonz like this.
  15. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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  16. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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  17. levsmith

    levsmith New Member

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    Thanks backwoods. I'm not really sure what you need me to explain about the house, so some of this may not be needed and may not have what you need. It is a single story brick ranch style, with a full basement, half finished. right at 1200 sq ft not including the basement. 3 bedroom (all on main floor), 1.5 bath and built in the mid 60's. Hopefully this helps some and if there are anymore questions, I'll be glad to answer.

    I have already started gathering wood, but admittedly, most of it is still wet. I am getting my wood by helping a tree trimmer friend, so i should be able to get ahold of some dead stuff soon. If I cant get ahold of any here, I can go cut at my parents place where there is plenty of dead stuff laying around

    Thanks for all of the advice so far everyone!
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  18. lumbering on

    lumbering on Feeling the Heat

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    Knowing the size and layout of the house helps them determine what the best size stove will be to suit your needs.
  19. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Going back to your OP, heating from the basement is done by many, and there are both advantages and disadvantages to attempting this. The primary advantage is keeping any and all wood mess out of the house, as well as keeping your basement warm, should it be finished. The big disadvantage is that most basements are surrounded by earth, a phenomenal heat sink. Unless superbly insulated, much of the heat you generate with a stove in the basement goes toward heating your basement walls and earth around your house.

    With a few exceptions, it is generally preferable to put the stove in your family room or living room, where you'll be spending the most time. Centrally located is ideal, although I couldn't do that in my floor plan, so I simply installed a stove at each end of our first floor. Putting it on the first floor will allow heat to radiate up to the second and third floors. Your basement will feel cold, but assuming your sills are insulated, it should not freeze. You will have a warm blanket above (your first floor) protecting the basement from outside air, and much of the basement should be below the frost line, such that there's little reason for it to ever see temperatures near freezing.
  20. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Another vote for putting the woodstove into the main living space -- you get the value of the radiant heat, get to watch the fire (sometimes it's a better view than what's on TV) and it's a bit easier when you're right in the room with the stove to know when it's time to reload.

    As for freezing . . . Joful nailed it . . . freezing pipes should not be an issue. In my own case here in Maine I have not had any issues with frozen pipes. Insulated sills are important . . . as is being below the frost level and getting a bit of heat from the earth. I also suspect the bit of domestic hot water being run for showers, dishwasher, etc. helps a bit. I do however run my oil boiler if we get several days of sub-zero temps . . . just as an additional precaution.
  21. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    You will much happier with the stove in the main living space. Joful is right, in the basement, maybe 30% of the generated heat will go into heating the the soil outside unless insulated. Concrete has virtually no insulating value at all. Now if you will be insulating and finishing the basement for living space, the dynamic changes, but I'd still put it upstairs.
  22. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    There are exceptions and i don think the basement lose,s heat as fast as some may think. Remember the earth surrounding the basement is about 57 Degrees ,much warmer then the winter air surrounding your next floor up. My stove in in an uninsulated basement room approx. 20x20Ft. That room get up in the mid 90,s rather quickly when the stove is running even on lowest setting its in the high 80s,in there quite a bit hotter than i want any room i spend a lot of time in. The adjoining finished bsmt(also uninsulated) area stays around 85. The Main living floor above around 75 (Just right)the floor above that(bedtooms) 70 I would not try this with a small stove however as it would never completely heat my 3000 Sf house the way the harman does.
  23. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Maybe true. This issue comes up now and then, but I've never seen an objective, measured study to show just how much heat is lost through the concrete. In some cases, it may not be a deal breaker, especially if there are other good reasons for a basement installation. Especially if the stove room is partitioned off and exposed wall area is minimal. In that case, it may not be terribly expensive to just insulate the walls in that room.
  24. lumbering on

    lumbering on Feeling the Heat

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    There may be more considerations for you, OP than absolute efficiency. You may simply enjoy having the stove where you can watch it.
  25. Dave A.

    Dave A. Minister of Fire

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    Some other things to think about favoring basement stove:

    1. Anything iffy about foundations, like aren't fully under frost lines or concern about a frost heave because of catching on not smooth foundation. Heating the basement might prevent a heave.
    2. In a not well insulated house, once you've got the basement walls warmed up, the rest of the house walls are going to heat from the bottom up surrounding you with a layer of warmth.

    If that house is newly built, you should be even more concerned about freezing pipes. You're the one who is going to discover the builder errors either from a freeze or by inspection. The uncorrected builder errors will show up in the first few years in 0F weather -- might want to look around in the basement at the cold water piping in particular (it is a good idea to insulate all the pipes) and look for any that are close to outside walls and look for any openings in the envelope where a blast of cold air on a pipe could cause a freeze.

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