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Where to put pellet stove in house?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by ktlcorn, Nov 24, 2007.

  1. ktlcorn

    ktlcorn New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2007
    Messages:
    4
    Loc:
    Lincoln, NE
    Hi all,
    We are considering purchasing a used Whitfield Optima 3 stove.

    DH and I are debating where the best place for the stove would be. We have a traditional two story house with a full basement. Even though our boys "live" in the basement, it is not fully finished. We don't plan to finish it until they grow up and move out! There are some interior drywalled walls but the outside walls of the basement are still unfinished.

    Each level of our house is roughly 800 sq. feet.

    I think a free standing stove would be better off in our basement so that the heat filters upward. We've been told that running our furnace fan will help "distribute" the heat.

    DH would like to put it in our dining room on the main level (which basically consists of just our living, dining, kitchen, laundry room and partial bathroom), but I'm not too keen about a hole being cut in my wall and I'm worried about the cost of making it attractive (hearth pad, stone, tiling, etc.). I'm also worried that with the stove right by the thermostat, our basement will become freezing cold and since the boys sleep down there it needs to be half-way warm. We also don't have a lot of space to put a stove in our dining room and it would involve getting rid of some furniture.

    We do have an unused fireplace in our living room which would be ideal for an insert, but a new insert isn't in our budget and won't be for awhile. We can get a good deal on this used stove or should we just wait a few years to get the insert?

    Right now to keep our natural gas heating costs to an affordable level, we have to keep the thermostat at 60 during the day when we're home and 57 at night and when we aren't home. Needless to say, I'm SICK OF FREEZING TO DEATH all winter long. Our windows are shot and need replacing, but alas, there's no money for that either. Would be nice just to be able to heat to a reasonable temp with reasonably priced fuel.

    Thanks in advance for your opinions.

    If you have any opinions on the Whitfield, we'd love to hear them before we make our decision to buy this stove. It was bought locally and has a good dealer to back it. We bought our pellet grill from the same dealer and have had a great experience with them.

    Christy

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  2. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Messages:
    2,491
    Loc:
    South Shore MA
    If you have a fireplace with it's own flue, you
    could probably get a hearth pad extension
    and set the stove there. A full liner up
    the chimney means no holes cut in your wall.


    Before I bought our stove, I downloaded the
    installation manual from the mfg's web site
    just to check out the installation requirements.
    May not be a bad idea for you to do the same
    if you can get a hold of the manual.

    Tough to heat the basement, plus the main & upstairs
    level of a house with one stove so I don't know what
    to say about that. The other folks will jump in here
    I'm sure and comment on that.

    My free standing vented up the chimney with a full liner and capped:
    [[​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
  3. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2006
    Messages:
    5,995
    Loc:
    madison hgts. va
    true enough zeta, i love your install personally. nice clean setup, you might post the picture you have of it for this poster to look at. its quite nice
  4. MrWinkey

    MrWinkey New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2006
    Messages:
    146
    Loc:
    Eastern Washington
    I dont know if you can still get parts for that stove anymore. Somebody else will prolly chime in on that but I would venture to say you need to insulate and other things before you go with the pellet stove.

    Replace the windows or at least put the plastic over them and do some other options first. At 4-5 bucks per bag of pellets it can end up just as expensive to run the pellet stove as anything else.

    Use the fuel calculator on this website....my guess is that you'll get more bang for your buck by fixing your current heat loss than spending the $$ for a pellet stove.

    If you MUST try for a pellet stove I would put it in the areas you are most of the time. Turn it off when your not in the room etc.....so my guess would be to run it up the existing fireplace or where you spend the most time......Kids wont mind they are still going to play in the basement just make em get a sweater on!
  5. Kenny1

    Kenny1 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2006
    Messages:
    304
    Loc:
    Eastern ON
    Hiya Ktlcorn, and welcome to the hearth.

    Some good advice above, and some good things to think on.

    Insulation will provide the best "bang for the buck", along with tightening up the house (caulk the windows and doors, etc). The plastic on the windows does help a lot with leaky windows.

    You have to understand that a pellet stove is a space heater. If you put it on the main floor, you will have a very diffucult time getting heat into the basement. Expect large temprature changes from floor to floor. Yes, heat does rise, but there are a number of factors involved. If you do a search of the forums, you'll find several threads on this topic.


    If you are trying to save money vs gas, be sure to check your local pellet supply, and use the calculator on this site.

    Having said all that, I love our pellet stove. It sits in our basement (raised ranch), and really cuts down on the oil we go through in a winter!

    Cheers

    Kenny
  6. Mr Whitfield

    Mr Whitfield Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2007
    Messages:
    311
    Loc:
    Northern Cailfornia
    Look for a used pellet insert and use the fireplace. Check craigslist.com. You can find some nice units on craigslist, I heat my home all winter long using pellets, its cheaper to run the pellet insert than my central heat (Gas) .
  7. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Messages:
    1,830
    Loc:
    Casper Wyoming
    The Optima 3 uses the photoeye technology, be ready to clean the photoeye lens and replace an ignitor or two, auger or three etc. Honestly I'd stay away from this particular Whitfield. What is your cost per therm for NG? I would do the math and make sure that pellets are the way to go for you. The savings might not be there or be as much as perceived. Right now in my area it is less expensive to burn gas and that's pure fuel cost, not taking into account annual maintenance costs etc. It sounds like your making the move to pellets in order to save money and be a little warmer. I would hate to see you make the jump and have it cost you as much. Don't think I'm down on pellet heat by any means, I heat my own home with a pellet stove. As for placement I have my stove in the basement or a split level home. The stairwell gets a fairly decent convection loop going so heat travels well. However I have seen numerous instances of heat getting trapped in the basement due to the homes natural flow and the basement actually getting uncomfortably warm before the upper levels saw any heat. If you have an existing fireplace I would lean towards using that in lieu of the basement option. It might be possible to relocate the thermostat for the furnace to prevent your children from freezing down there.
  8. ktlcorn

    ktlcorn New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2007
    Messages:
    4
    Loc:
    Lincoln, NE
    Thanks everyone for your replies. Dh bought the unit, so we have it.

    We still aren't sure what to do yet. I know codes vary from city to city, but in general, what would be the code for a basement install? If it were in the basement, can we run the pipe out between the concrete and basement ceiling (to avoid having to drill a hole in the concrete)? How far from the ceiling does the pipe have to be?

    I would prefer to have this freestanding unit in our basement, and purchase an insert for upstairs.

    However, if a basement install is going to be such a hassle, we may try to sell this unit and go with the insert. The guy we bought it from had several interested buyers, so I don't think it's going to be a problem to get rid of it if we had to.

    Thanks!
    Christy
  9. ktlcorn

    ktlcorn New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2007
    Messages:
    4
    Loc:
    Lincoln, NE

    Our house is only 15 years-old and is well insulated. It is our windows that are the problem, but we pay cash for everything, so new windows are going to cost us an arm and a leg. We plan to replace them one at a time slowly, but we have a lot of windows to replace. Unfortunately, we can't put plastic on them. We have a daughter with an autism-like disorder and she'd make quick work of any plastic....the effort would be fruitless.

    I guess I'd like to save a bit on our gas bill, but DH wants the stove more for the aesthetic qualities.....the hearth glow with the extra heat a bonus, so saving money isn't a big issue for both of us.

    I regret this purchase much more than he does, that's for sure!

    Christy
  10. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2006
    Messages:
    2,019
    Loc:
    Oakhurst, California, USA, Earth
    Looks good
    but that horizontal run from the stove to the T looks like it is going down hill a little
    I would try to pull up on the pipe more or prop the pipe more (i see the brick you have now) up so you have a little rise.



    Back to the stove

    I WOULD STAY WAY FROM THE WHITFIELD
    they discontied the line and the photo EYE is a pain in the @ss
  11. Tailrace

    Tailrace New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Messages:
    123
    Loc:
    Bullville NY
    That is a nice setup zeta!
  12. Kenny1

    Kenny1 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2006
    Messages:
    304
    Loc:
    Eastern ON
    You may want to start by getting a manual for the stove. It should have instructions for typical installations.

    Our Simpson Dura-Vent manual requires 3 inches clearance from the pipe to combustables.


    Good luck!
  13. eernest4

    eernest4 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Messages:
    603
    Loc:
    ct
    Dear kticorn,

    I have a pel-pro 55,000 btu pellet stove in my living room. I cut the 3 inch diameter hole in the wall. It is not a big deal. If you ever take the stove out, just board up the hole on the outside and wall board compound on the inside. one hour work, tops.

    MY STOVE MANUEL SAYS TO NEVER INSTALL A PELLET STOVE IN A BEDROOM WHERE PEOPLE SLEEP BECAUSE THE STOVE COULD LEAK SMOKE,CO2, CARBON MONOXIDE OR JUST MAKE THE IMMEDIATE ROOM TOO WARM TO BEAR. ALSO,PELLET STOVE BLOWER MOTORS ARE NOISY AND NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TO SLEEP WITH.

    THE PELLET STOVE CAN ALSO BURN UP THE ROOM AIR THAT YOU NEED TO BREATH PROPERLY ALL NITE LONG, SO IF THE KIDS SLEEP DOWNSTAIRS, THEIR BED ROOM IS NOT THE PLACE FOR A PELLET STOVE.

    That was a safety issue ,so i used capital letters, i hope you dont mind, but I felt it was very important that you be warned.

    I would much rather see you put the pellet stove in the day room you occupy the most, so you wont have to worry about anyone getting axpiciated or poisoned in their sleep & the fan blower motor noises wont keep anyone from sleeping.

    While the double stainless insulated 3 inch vent kits cost 300.oo to 350.oo each as a kit, you can buy the parts seperately for about 110.oo

    This is because the kits sell you many parts you wont ever use, but end up paying for anyways.

    When I installed my pellet stove, I bought a 3 ft double wall stainless, 3 inch exhaust pipe
    ,35.oo, a two foot d.w.s., 29.00 , a coupler 16.00 and a wall thimble, 28.oo
    which came to 108.oo

    I went to auto zone and bought a 2 in inner diameter hot air accordian tube, it pulls out to 24 inch long, and it fireproof. It originally went on a car, from the exhaust manifold sheet metal shroud to the carburator air filter housing for $14.oo and a 2 1/2 in stainless worm gear clamp to affix the hose to the cold air intake pipe in back of the pellet stove.

    This, instead of buying a $84.oo cold air intake kit.

    The cold air intake kit goes through the wall and allows the pellet stove to draw combustion air from outside, instead of creating negative pressure in the room where the stove is.
    Negative pressure will pull outside cold air in from every air leak in ajoining rooms, making the floor frigid cold.
    It also prevents the stove from burning up the room oxygen that you need for breathing.

    Go to the stove manufactures website, look it up on ask.com of you dont know the website address and download the owners and installation manuel for your stove.

    You can install the stove yourself and save $300.00--$ 400.oo on rich sucker, installation costs.

    Use 10 in x 18 in x 1.5 in thick cement rectaingles ,place the cement rectaingles together so that the sides all touch each other, 1 layer only, right on your hardwood floor, and set the pellet stove attop the bricks. You can put acouple of these rectangles behind the stove under the stove exhaust pipe if you want, to protect the floor from heat but they are not really necessary behind the stove.
    They are imperative under the stove because the base of some pellet stoves gets too hot to
    touch after only 30 minutes running & a danger to the combustable floor may well exist without the cement rectangle insulation.
    They cost just under $30.oo, compair to a rich sucker $90.oo heat shield pad.

    I give your wallet, here ,the benifit of my experiences, as i gave my wallet ,last year.

    You can have it professionally installed, but your wallet wont like the price; or DIY & smile all the way to the bank.
  14. ktlcorn

    ktlcorn New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2007
    Messages:
    4
    Loc:
    Lincoln, NE
    Well, that settles it. It won't go in the basement. Even though my sons do have a separate bedroom in the basement, the stove would still be quite near their room.

    If we keep it it will go upstairs. However, we are considering selling it and just getting a new insert, unless a used one comes up between now and then.

    Christy
  15. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2010
    Messages:
    7,101
    Loc:
    Salem NH
    That is a nice install Xena.

    I went the basement install route and cut registers into the first floor. Many of us on the forum are very successful heating both the basement and 1st floor with one stove by adding the registers.
    Also my stove is right near the stairwell to the 1st floor which is a tremendous help.

    So It is a matter of home layout here, which is the best way to go. Good Luck

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