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Suggestions needed for a new woodstove

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by dalmatiangirl61, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. daleeper

    daleeper Minister of Fire

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    Got any idea how the place was heated in its prime? That should give you a clue as to what direction you should be headed. I think begreen is pointing you in the right direction.

    Check out the boiler room forum here on hearth.com, they spend time talking about hot air furnaces along with boiler systems. Tall stacks and large spaces are not something I have experience with, so will get out of the way.

    Good luck and keep us posted as to how you are getting along with any changes you make. Really unique and fascinating space you are working with.

    I'm sure you can heat that place, the question is, can you afford it?

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  2. Bluerubi

    Bluerubi Member

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    If you are willing to plaster the walls, then there are solutions out there that are far more effective than ceramic beads. If that does anything it will purely be reflecting a portion of the IR that hits it, but the thermal conductivity isn't great, so the cement walls are still going to absorb a lot of heat.

    I have refrained from ever getting into commercial related discussions on this site, but am very involved with a product called silica aerogel that is widely renouned as the world best insulating solid material. There are products that I don't personal sell that utilize this technology, and could point you in the right direction if you'd like to get more information. It's a really amazing material, and well suited to extreme applications like yours. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerogel

    Good luck.
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    It sounds like you are essentially heating the outdoors. Maybe pick a smaller living space or an area where you can construct a room within a room? Otherwise get a wood furnace, you're heat loss is so bad that you will probably need double the btus and twice the fuel to make up for losses.
  4. dalmatiangirl61

    dalmatiangirl61 Member

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    daleeper
    When first completed in 1919 the building was heated by coal, I'm not sure if it was a boiler or a furnace, a couple of buildings in town still have original coal furnaces in them. About 1930 a steam line was brought down from the smelter works and most of the buildings on main street were heated with waste heat. About 1960 the smelter was closed and the building was re-fitted with an oil fired boiler, that is when the present SS chimney was installed. About 1985 the building got a new idiot owner, he is the one that gutted it, painted the bricks white, tore out the main staircase to the building, buried the basement windows, and tore out the boiler replacing it with a fireplace insert<>.

    Bluerubi
    Sounds like some interesting material, if there is a type of that product used in plaster please feel free to PM me with a link.

    begreen
    This is the only portion of the building that is presently even remotely inhabitable. Took some measurements, the main room is 33' x 36' = 1188sf + a 9' x 11' bump out = 1287 sf. The bathroom measures 9 x 22 = 198 sf, and the kitchen/pantry is 22' x 25' = 550 sf. So altogether it is 2035 square feet. Ceiling height in main room is 10ft, bathroom and kitchen area have a dropped ceiling 8' high, presently un-insulated sheetrock.

    Since the swimming pool is the feature that sucked me into this project, lets figure it into the heating equation too:). Pool room measures 35' x 58' with a 10' ceiling, again its ALL concrete. If you need it I can figure out how many gallons of water the pool holds.

    I'm thinking I need a boiler, anyone feel like commenting on the safety aspect of living in the same room with a boiler?
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    A boiler system came to mind for me too, but it is much more complex and expensive. A wood or coal furnace is pretty simple in comparison, even with some basic ductwork. What have you budgeted?
  6. dalmatiangirl61

    dalmatiangirl61 Member

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    Budget? Certainly you jest:)! Eccentrics don't think in terms of budgets, its just can I afford it or not. I've given up on the thought of finishing this place because I could throw every penny I have at it and not be finished_g. My plan now is just getting the basement finished to point that I can actually stay here year round, heating the pool and pool room would be nice, but maybe it will just be a summer pool. There is one more large area in the basement, its going to be my shop area, I have a military surplus 300,000 btu oil fired, forced air heater, and it will operate on waste oils which are readily available, but it is pretty loud, too loud for a living area.
  7. aansorge

    aansorge Minister of Fire

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    You are an artist, no? This story sounds strangely familiar.
  8. daleeper

    daleeper Minister of Fire

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    When the boiler was torn out, did the radiators/equipment to distribute heat get removed as well? If you still have some of the heat distribution system in place, then a boiler would be the way to go right away, as it will be able to heat your pool also. If you have an outbuilding, or could build one, that is where I would put the boiler.

    A forced air furnace would get you at least a start on heating that space with less up front costs most likely.

    Keep in mind begreen's comment on the long stack and condensed creosote with burning wood. Coal might be your best bet if using that chimney.
  9. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    Long ago I helped a friend who had an auto shop in the basement of a concrete building. Concrete ceiling, concrete walls on three sides and roll up doors on one wall. The concrete acted like a heat sink and trying to heat the building was almost impossible. He had a couple of portable gas fired radiants that worked well but not so safe in auto shop. He also got an hot air furnace and ducted it to blow the heat where he was working. The key was to heat the air and not try to heat the surrounding structure. When he turned off the heat, the place cooled down instantly. He put up with it for two winters and gave up as the fuel cost (even 30 years ago) was more than he made doing repair work. I have had some success with gas fired radiants elsewhere and notice that places like Home Depot use them to keep the clerks warm at the checks outs near the outdoors.

    No matter what, you cant play tricks with the physics, the heat loss due to conduction through the walls and ceiling is going to be substantial so all you can really do it find a fuel that isn't costly as you will be going through a lot of it.
  10. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    I have block walls in my basement. I dont have an issue with absorbing too much of my heat. I have painted my walls with Valspar from Lowes the Duramax exterior paint as its one of the toughest most durable coatings I have found. One of the ingredients that makes it tough is ceramic dust they put in it. It dries like rock hard, you cant even put an impression in it with a finger nail.

    But anyways later on I got to investigating the reflective paints and how they reflect heat radiation back into the room. I cant remember the exact number but like 67% of heat loss in a house is heat radiation and not convection heat loss from air flows.

    They have products designed to reflect heat back into a room, products that have "low emissivity". Well Ceramic is heat radiation reflective and is used in kilns to help heat retention. Since the paint I used on my basement walls has alot of ceramic in it and since I painted my walls white which is also a good color to reflect heat radiation. I think it helps the issue of basement walls absorbing the heat from the stove. They use this same technology on the heat tiles on the bottom of the space shuttle to keep heat off the crew during re-entry to earth.

    So anyone with this problem I am going to suggest to use Lowes white Valspar Durmax exterior paint in your unfinished basements. Plus painting your block basement walls will help with moisture in the summer also so its a good thing to do anyways.
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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  12. Bluerubi

    Bluerubi Member

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    I spend a lot of of my time at work doing thermal modeling and deal quite a bit with the manufacturers of the ceramic based paints. While I can say the math around reflectivity and emissivity work in some cases, it unfortunately is often universally applied to all heat transfer situations resulting in ridiculous statements being made. Some goes as far as to claim very high "R equivalency" values for a thin layers of paint, and by the same logic could calculate massive improvements by just gluing shiny aluminum foil to all your walls. Also keep in mind that something that has a "low emissivity" values doesn't automatically translate into something that is good at impacting all wavelengths of electro magnetic waves for reflection/blocking (visible, UV, x ray, etc). A good analogy that I once heard at an insulative coatings conference was that asking a reflective ceramic paint to block all forms of radiant heat gain would be similar to rubbing sunscreen on your skin around a campfire to keep yourself from feeling too hot. Doesn't mean the performance claims for the sunscreen provider are wrong, just not appropriate for the application.

    A funny story on how these numbers can drive the wrong behavior can be found here. Pretty unbelievable what some people will do. http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com...lating-paint-salesman-tripped-his-own-product
  13. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like you have had many chimney fires. Have you had that chimney inspected. I'd speculate there is a good chance it needs replacing.

    If you are getting 10 gallons during once a year sweeping, why are you not sweeping every two or three weeks? Might stop the chimney fires.

    Have you considered insulating the floor above you? Even just laying insulating board down? The floor under you?

    Could run heavy insulating drapes along the inside of the exterior wall.

    How sunny are you? Any possibility of filling the pool and heating pool water with solar panels? How open is the pool area to your living space? Is it under it?
  14. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    Bluerubi,

    So since you work around that business will radiant heat reflective paint reflect a percentage of the heat radiation back into the room so less is absorbed by the basement walls. I use my stove in basement as a radiant heater as I dont use a blower. I use an under sized stove to heat an over sized house from the basement and it heats my house really well. There are alot of people posting over time on this board that their basement walls absorb too much of their stove's heat. I am not sure if they have painted or unpainted walls or if they used a heat reflective paint.

    I know I have used a simple 4' by 4' piece of galvanized metal propped up behind a campfire and the amount of heat reflected back to the other side of the camp fire is amazing , you get warmed up pretty dang quick with that trick.

    Keep in mind we are talking heat radiation not convective heat.
  15. Sons924

    Sons924 Member

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    I have to say I thought you were trapped in a prison before you put up that link. As stated in the previous posts I would really consider having your chimney replaced. Having a burning building come down on your head doesn't sound like much fun. But a somewhat affordable solution could be the
    Vogelzang Ponderosa High-Efficiency Wood Stove
    152,000 BTU, EPA-Certified, Model# TR007
    Found on northerntool.com. 152000 btus is a lot of heat.
    It is pretty cool to read an original post that doesn't contain space restrictions!!!!
  16. Bluerubi

    Bluerubi Member

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    Painting the wall with an IR reflective paint will definitely help direct some of the radiant heat back into the room making you feel warmer when in a line of sight situation (your campfire example is a good one), but expectations just have to be realistic about what heat loss benefits will be seen. I definitely believe in products of this type, especially in the area of reducing solar heat gain since you're reflecting the suns energy into essentially an infinite amount of space, but in a basement those IR rays have to end up somewhere eventually, and concrete walls are a great heat sink. I think you might also be surprised by how much convection is going on, even without a blower. For fun try holding a lit piece of incense over the stove when it's cruising along. There will be a whole lot of air rising up and flying around the room, so the stronger your currents the more the IR reflective paint benefit is decreased (film coefficient for air flow has gone up at the wall interface).

    I grew up heating from an uninsulated basement, and it worked pretty well. Key was running all the time, so the temperature differential between the cement and the room would get relatively small. The bigger the gap in delta T, the more energy in driven to move from hot to cold, so as your foundation (which does have some R value and a lot of heat capacity) comes up to temp, less energy is going to be absorbed. Same concept behind why an ice cold house takes a lot of energy to initially warm up, but then once at temp a stove can burn low and slow to maintain. Fun stuff.
    Huntindog1 likes this.
  17. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    Delta T , or Temp Difference , now thats a concept I have struggled to explain on this board a few times.

    I catch heck on here all the time from people , so then I get stuck in how do you explain it.

    Glad to meet someone else bringing it up.
  18. Bluerubi

    Bluerubi Member

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    All the equations I can think of for radiation, conduction, and convection involve a "T2-T1" component as a multiplier. In the case of radiation it's raised to the power of 4, so it's easy to see why not too much of a difference in stove top temperature can really be felt when you put your hand close.

    As wood burners I think we are all well aware of the effect of temperature difference, it's just the math that muddies things a bit. Shoulder season has a relatively small delta T so it's easy to warm your place up, dead of winter has a large delta T, so more energy needs to be used to maintain temp.
  19. dalmatiangirl61

    dalmatiangirl61 Member

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    Aansorge
    As I've searched for answers on different problems this building has been seen on multiple sites, and people call me a lot of things.

    daleeper
    He left 2 radiators, both appear to be 60's vintage, one in the bathroom, its a ceiling mounted forced air job, and another wall mounted unit on the 2nd floor. Beyond a few pieces of pipe that were too hard to remove, its all gone.

    begreen
    I was thinking something more like this http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-automat...694?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4d12ee57ae
    I'm just not sure how many btu's I need.

    Bluerubi
    Thanks for that link, any insights on glass/ceramic microspheres as an admix for plasters?

    rideau
    I have visually inspected the chimney after each fire, I remove cleanout on the bottom and look thru from the top, after a fire it looks pretty clean. I believe the main problem is the 2 90 degree bends at base of chimney, and I cannot access those to clean them. Chimney is a stainless steel metalbestos, not sure if its double or triple wall design. Cleaning the chimney is a 2 person job, and getting help out here can be difficult, and in the dead of winter the roof can be icey. Insulating the floor above me is on the to-do list (along with 100+ other jobs), but I need to get 1 room finished and heated so I can stay here full-time so that I can get more work done. And before any work can be done on upper 3 floors, the building needs a new roof. There is no floor under me, just earth. The swimming pool is north end of basement, my living area is in the south end of basement. Solar heating for the pool is a possibility, panels would go on the roof, as soon as I have a new roof.

    I'm thinking the heat loss is not quite as bad as you would think it would be, night time temps are already down in the 20's. I did load the wood stove twice last night, and my room is 70 right now, but I also have 3 of the electric oil filled radiator heaters running 24/7, one in kitchen, one in bathroom, and one in main room. With no heat at all in the winter I do not think my room ever hits freezing, every year when I leave in mid december I leave a sealed mason jar full of water in the sink, it has never broken. Temps last winter got as low as -40, I did have one pipe above kitchen with a low spot that held water freeze and split.
  20. Bluerubi

    Bluerubi Member

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  21. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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  22. dalmatiangirl61

    dalmatiangirl61 Member

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    I have not made any firm decision yet, been reading on this site and nepa site for a few days trying to make up my mind on where to go. My main priority is no more chimney fires, so my choices are coal, oil, or propane,,,,, or a Soviet Surplus shipping container mounted nuclear reactor:). Being that this thing would be in the room I live in, I'm thinking a hot water boiler would be safer than a steam boiler, I'd rather grab a mop instead of a Kevlar suit. Not sure how much noise a stoker unit or hot air furnace makes, but I want whatever I install to be quiet, so maybe I should be thinking about a hand stoker.

    I'm a pretty handy gal, I can sweat fittings, cut pipe threads etc, and my real job is hustling industrial parts, so I'm ok with some complexity.
  23. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    You are probably losing at least half of the btus generated so getting something in the 120K btu range is not out of the question as long as it will run with a partial load of fuel in milder weather. That's why I suggested the Kuma Sequoia if wood. The coal folks can help you if you want a coal stove. I think of Hitzer and Harman and that is the extent of my knowledge there.

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