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Wood Stove in Basement ???

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by carpniels, Feb 7, 2006.

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  1. carpniels

    carpniels Minister of Fire

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    Hi Guys,

    I had a inspector from an insulation firm come over and evaluate the house. He said I do not have properly sealed sill plates and side panels in the basement. You can actually see outside if you look between the block foundation and the sill plates. And the wood boards on top of the sill plates and at the head of the floor joists are also not as well insulated as they could be.

    He said it would heat up the basement nicely if I had the block foundation sealed including the sill plates. He proposed a closed cell foam, because it is a vapor barrier, air tight and a good insulator.

    When he saw my wood stove and the fans I run, he said that after the perimeter is sealed, I could put my woodstove downstairs and heat the house evenly through heat convection through the floors. No more dust and wood mess for my toddlers, etc. My wife loves the idea. I kinda like it too, especially since I have an extra flue in my masonry chimney for the wood fireplace that I do not use.

    What do you guys think? I read the following post "I’m so glad I put it downstairs! " and most guys that have done it, like it.

    Couple of comments/questions:
    - my basement walls are NOT insulated (you see the block on all 4 walls)
    - I would have to cut a hole in the mason chimney for the 6 inch wood stove flue. Then I also need to enlarge the rectangular trapdoor in the fireplace that was used to get the ashes down into the chimney in the basement. Then I need to seal the original first floor fireplace so the smoke does not enter the house.
    - Or should I reline the entire mason chimney from basement to top with SS liner, but that is expensive. Plus I still need to make the old fireplace look pretty.
    - I do not have a stairway from the house to the basement, only from the garage.
    - Should I unhook the registers from my oil furnace so that the heat from the wood stove directly enters the first floor? Or do I cut new registers only for wood heat and leave the old ones attached for emergency oil heat? Or no registers at all and rely on the cracks in the floor or radiant heat?
    - Which stove should I use? A vermont castings Interpid II cat stove (small but efficient), a jotul castine (non cat, mid size) or a Hearthstone II non cat soapstone stove? Or should I sell them all and get a large stove like a Quadrafire Isle Royale or a jotul firelight?

    Any comments are greatly appreciated. It is quite a large home improvement job to change everything around so the more I know, the better the decision.

    Thanks

    Carpniels

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  2. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    So your counting on only the convection up through the floors? I think you'd loose most of the heat into the ground through all that cement block before any real usable heat came up through the floors.

    Opinion only here: Reline the chimney. A liner isn't as expensive as the local dealers charge. Look online. Something like ventingpipe.com or other.

    In the basement (how big is it by the way?) I'd use something big, efficient and not all that decorative. A hearthstone is an awful nice looking stove to put in a non-finished basement. I'd go with something like a big PE Summit, Osburn 2400, or Lopi Liberty. Heck, a coal stove in the basement would work real well. A Harmon Mark III.

    You have hot air heat? If so how about a wood add on furnace. Home Depot sells a huge black beast that has it's own blower that you add onto your existing hot air supply pipe. They're cheap too.
  3. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I've heated with a wood furnace and they work pretty well, in my experience. That would be my suggestion. But I would shop around and spend a few more bucks to get a decent one. Unlike a boiler, a furnace is subject to overheating and I would want something constructed with some decent boiler plate and firebrick. The extra you spend (and it might not be that much more) will more than be paid back through better, safer and longer operation.

    Safety is an important consideration. If it's hard to get from inside the house into the basement, you might not want to put a wood-burning appliance down there.

    If you ever need a hand or the use of a pickup truck Carpniels, just let me know.
  4. SeanD

    SeanD New Member

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    I have the wood furnace Warren is referring to. Love it. It is in the basement and connected to the ductwork of my gas furnace. It is meant to supplement the primary furnace, but for me it has become my main source of heat. We only use the gas furnace when my wife and I go away for a weekend.

    I would be very skeptical of trying to heat a home with convection alone from a basement wood stove. Woodstoves are good for area heat. While heat does rise, I think you will be very disappointed with the results.
  5. joshuaviktor

    joshuaviktor New Member

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    I have to add my 2 cents. Just bought a Pine Barren stove. Its a Monster! Claim from the guy that makes them is 100k btu's. Its a wood/coal, but I'll be using it for wood.

    Anyway, it doesn't fit in any of the 5 fireplaces I could put it in. So I'm putting it in the basement, and running a SS liner through an old ash dump pipe, up into a fireplace, and then up the unlined brick chimney. I plan to block it off at the fireplace damper, and at the top. In the fireplace it goes through, I'm going to build a flase back to the fireplace with brick, and stick the candle fireplace thing that's in there now in the remaining space/hearth.

    As for getting the heat upstairs, the stove I bought has a 265cfm blower on it, blowing through a jacket around the firebox, and blasting HOT air out some circular holes in front. Plan:

    Once its piped, checked, inspected:

    1. Leave cellar door open, and see how much hot air comes up directly into center hallway of Center Hall Colonial. IF sufficient, we're good.
    2. Stove is sitting next to the 8 foot on a side triangle of stone and brick that rises up to the second floor of the house, with three fireplaces in it. Hoping it'll act as a half fast masonry heater, via radiant heat, i.e. pick up heat in basement, drop it off in first and second floor.
    3. If cellar door is INsufficient, and the MANY cracks in the floor, and conduction of hot boards is insufficient, then we'll build a duct from those circular holes to a register in the center hallway. Already have a bad modern patch in the floorboards covered by a rug. I have no qualms about putting a large grate in the floor there(itd be more attractive anyway).

    I don't know if this helps, but I hope it gives some ideas.

    Good luck.

    Joshua
  6. Corie

    Corie Minister of Fire

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    All I can say is we've had both of our stoves in the basement. And neither did a great job, although the pellet stove did a much better job of keeping the upstairs at a reasonable temperature. No suprise there.

    Anyway, after the coal stove failed to meet our expectations for heat upstairs, I cut out the one wall that encloses the stair case going down. Then i did the whole register deal with the intake pretty close to the stove and the output of the register in the kitchen. I put a 300cfm duct booster fan in it, and a radiation damper at the entrance.

    After conducting tests with the fan on and off, it has now made it possible to be about 72 upstairs and 76 downstairs which is quite comfortable. Of course the basement is a rec room so we haven't contained the mess i an otherwise uphabitable area of the house, BUT putting the stove down there has still given us the ability to heat the whole house.

    Just some good for thought I suppose
  7. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    If your stairway leads to your garage and not the main level of your home, I would think you would be wasting your time. Unless you want to heat your garage? Stairwells are the main supply and exhaust for transfering heat to your upstairs. Floor registers help, but you would need lots of them to get the effect of a stairwell. Also insulating a basement is crucial, or the heat just gets absorbed by the cement. I would leave the stove in the main living area. Maybe later install another stove in your basement after it's finished.
  8. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    Well, I second the "Stove in the basement" is a bad idea philosphy. Think of wanting to put a window AC to cool off your house. Do you put it in the top floor, and expect the cool air to come down your stairs to cool off the floor below? That's about how practical putting a stove in a basement sounds for heating the floor above. It's one thing if it's finished and people spend time down there. But, it's almost impossible even if the basement is finished to balance the heat in the basement, with the heat on the floor above. Read this http://www.woodheat.org/technology/woodstoves.htm where it talks about "For Heat upstairs, don't put the stove in the basement". I'll just mention one line of that. "Usually, in an effort to keep the main floor living spaces comfortably warm, the basement is overheated.". What that means is, if your basement is finished, or will someday be finished, you'll have to have the basement at scorching temps to make the floor above comfortable, rendering your basement unuseable in winter. You need one heck of a well insulated house or mild climate to make it possible.

    Once again for all, I'll tell you about my stove in the basement for 25 years heating my house. Got a stove with water pipes inside, as I lit a fire, the water in the pipes heated up, and went through the baseboard radiators. The heat was distributed well through the house, was great. Except for one thing, those pipes only lasted about 2 years in the harsh stove environment, and broke. When they broke, it was a disaster. It was nearly impossible to remove them from constantly heated/cooled. Long story short, after several years it wasn't worth those water pipes inside. Now, I had a regular stove heating a house. I had to keep the basement oh... around 95 air temperature to make the floor above it be around 70, and the floor above that would be around 58 degrees. Add in the radiant heat a steel stove puts out, it felt like it was 110+ in the basement and about 10 cords of wood to heat the house. So, we insulated all the basement walls with 3" of foam insulation. That was a big improvement, now I could have the basement around 85, the floor above that around 70, and the floor above that 58 or so. Still, add in the radiant heat the basement felt like it was 100. So, we put in a huge kitchen hood thing right over our stove in the basement that collected the heat and vented it into the kitchen. We put a fan powered vent on the side, that ducted the heat into the living room on the floor above. We put in two vents that go into each bathroom above, we put a vent at the top of the stairs going into the bedroom on the top floor. It was a ton of work. You know what? Now, we could keep the basement around 80, feels like it's 90 from the radiant heat of our stove, the floor above 70's, and the top floor was low 60's. All that work, probably biggest disappointment of my life and forever made me a big anti-basement stove person as I'd have been so much better just moving the whole damn thing up and converted the fireplace. You need one well insulated basement, house, and air distribution system to even consider putting a stove down there as far as I'm concerned. In a decent insulated house, and all those channels, took 8 cords of wood in the end to heat the house and the basement was UNUSEABLE. Having to make it feel like it's 90 down there so the floor above it is comfortable, I couldn't take being down there for long.

    The house I have now, is much worse for insulation and tightness and just a hair smaller. I have a wood insert on the main floor, and so far only taken 3 cords of wood and I get to enjoy the fire right there in my living room all day & night. I don't have to keep the floor feeling like it's 90 to heat my house, I just need to make it 70. If you do go the basement option, please make sure it's a convection wood stove instead of a freestanding and by the sounds of your house, with no basement wall insulation, and you can see right through to the outside, from experience, you don't stand a chance of being able to heat your house with a stove down there. There's about a 15-20 degree temperature difference for each floor, so if you want to keep your main floor 70 your basement needs to be 85-90 degrees. Too hot to be useable, and that's a lot of wood to maintain that temp in an uninsulated, exposed foundation basement.
  9. Rick

    Rick Member

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    I agree with everything Rhonemas said. In my last house I had a stove in the finished basement. I had to keep the basement 85 to 90 to make the upstairs (ranch home) around 70 at the top of the stairs and 60 in the bedrooms. We'd be in t-shirts and shorts downstairs, go upstairs and it would feel freezing. Even though it was 60 degrees. It wasn't all bad, but I like my current setup in this house much better, stove is in the main living area, and I'm not trying to heat the whole house.

    Rick
  10. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    The point in central heating is to get the heat into the living space as quicky as possible, and with as little heat loss as possible. A forced air furnace would do that, pretty much regardless of how well insulated the basement is, while a wood stove would not.

    You'd like a furnace, Carpniels.
  11. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    The old advice applies....

    A stove in the basement is best if you want to heat the basement. If you really don't care about heating the basement, then you are definitely wasting a LOT of energy....

    Let's think of it this way...you have a acre lot, 1/2 woods and 1/2 lawn. Assuming that the forest is healthy, would you install an irrigation system to water the entire acre, or just the lawn (the part that need it).....

    So, yes, brute force can always do the job....but, in general, a central heater if in the basement and a space heater in the lving area.
  12. bruce

    bruce Member

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    im for the basement,, i have the normal raised ranch with an outside door in the basement, i heat the entire house from down there, always about 74 upstairs and about 78 downstairs, i use my humidifire to push the heat upstairs works great,, leave the mess downstairs,, with a ceiling fan on the main floor always on low it does the trick
  13. carpniels

    carpniels Minister of Fire

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    Hi Guys,

    Thanks for all the reactions.

    Rhonemas, that was a great explanation. Did you read what Todd did? He installed one register with a fan and it worked fine. 5 degree difference between basement and first floor.

    It seems that most guys are against it. But in the other post "glad I put it downstairs", guys were generally really happy. Where are the reactions from Rudysmallfry and Runs with scissors?

    I definitely cannot afford to heat with 8-10 cords a winter. I don't have that much wood. 2 -3 cord tops. So I believe a wood furnace is out. I have heard from colleagues that have friends who have wood furnaces and they really dry out your house and cause problems with cracking furniture, walls, etc. My original idea was a Tarm, but I am about $9,000 short. Plus Tarms are water heat, and I have forced air.

    A few clarifications:
    - There is a door at the bottom of the stairs to the basement that will keep the heat in the basement. So little or no heat will escape to the garage.
    - The basement is 48 by 26 with an additional crawlspace of 20 by 26 for the addition. Both would be heated with the woodstove.
    - Warren, I first asked about the stoves I have, before I invest in a bigger and better stove.
    - before I do anything, the basement sill plates would be insulated so that there is no air infiltration and proper insulation around the perimeter. The air for any stove would come under the door from the garage.
    - I do not want a coal or pellet stove, because those fuels costs money and wood is free (well except for saws, labor, gas, bar oil, etc).
    - It seems that extra registers would get the heat into the first floor quite fast and I would not have to rely on convection (therefore eliminating the need for the 90 -100 degree basement). At least according to Todd and Bruce. Is this correct?

    Any other comments?

    Carpniels
  14. joshuaviktor

    joshuaviktor New Member

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    Look, Carpniels. It appears that in this question, we are in the same place. Hopin it works.

    It appears from the answers above, that everybody has a different opinion. I think it really has a lot to do with how each individual house is constructed. May I suggest a proof of concept?

    Put a heater in the basement. MAke it an electric, a propane heater with massive output, whatever. turn it on, watch it carefully, give it an hour or 3. See if any heat gets upstairs. Actually, thinking about it, fix the basement walls, cause you're going to do that anyway, right? Then borrow one of those construction site propane heaters, and stick it in the basement. They punch out anywhere from 30-75k btu's. See if heat gets upstairs. This negates having to do the serious work necessary to install a woodstove in the basement, only to find out it doesn't work.

    Good luck.

    NOTE: I have never used one of those construction site propane heaters, so I have no idea about the vents/exhaust for it. Please be careful.

    Joshua
  15. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    I was going to make the same suggestion Josh.

    I have an upright kerosene heater that puts out 22.5k btu. Two of the would closely match a woodstove output.

    Nice proof of concept.
  16. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I think josh has a great idea. Good thing to do before making a big investment.

    There's a world of difference between boilers and furnaces, Carpniels. Furnaces are a lot cheaper. There are plenty of manufacturers with a wide range of capacities and price points. My guess is you're in the $2,000 to $3,000 range for a decent furnace, but that's just a guess.

    On the wood consumption question, I maintain that if you do your burning in the basement, you're going to use a lot more wood regardless of what you burn it in. You'll just do it more efficiently (get more heat and use less wood) if you install an appliance designed for what you're trying to do. Do you want the extra cords you burn to go into your living space, or into the foundation, in other words?

    I don't buy the dry air argument, either. Forced hot air is forced hot air. A wood stove is basically just a furnace without a means of conveying the hot air away from the appliance.

    Insulation is always a good idea.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
  17. egghead2004

    egghead2004 New Member

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    I think a lot depends on the house. If there is no stairway leading to a central area in the living space, forget it. However, I have a 2100sq/ft cape with an unfinished basement with a central staircase. Our primary heat is oil, but starting whenever the temps drop to the 30s, (late October) I run the wood stove in the basement as a secondary source of heat. After the stove has heated up the basement walls and floor, about 2 hours of wasted energy I know, the heat really flows up the stairway into a centraly located hall on the first floor. the heat quickly finds its way to the kitchen and then to the foyer that is open to the second floor. I close the bedroom doors upstairs until the downstairs is up to 68 or 70, another hour or so @ 20F outside temp. After that I crack those doors open to keep those rooms around 60, we like it cool up there.

    Once the house is up to temp on a day when it is in the 20s outside, the basement is in the mid 80s on the side where the stove is. The first floor is around 68 in the kitchen on the opposite side of the house, but that is where the stairway comes up. The carpeted living room which is directly above the stove with an insulated floor is around 72. The open foyer is cooler if I have the bedroom doors open, usualy 65, but who sits in the foyer? The upstairs bedrooms are around 60, just the way we like it, and best of all, the oil is only running for hot water.

    I run the stove non stop from Friday evening till Monday morning. The oil boiler barely comes on unless the temp gets below 10F and especialy aroound 3-7am on any day when the fire starts to die. I add more wood in the morning. When I come home from work on the weekdays, there are still coals and the baesment walls are still warm, so I add more wood to the fire. Heat then is felt on the first floor within an hour. I pick one day a week, the warmest, too not add wood in the morning so I can clean the stove after work one night.

    Normaly I have 180-210 gallon oil fill ups in October, Early December, Early January, late January, mid-late February, Mid March and late April/May. That all adds up to 1300 gallons a year on average.

    Since I started burning on the above cycles, last year's fill ups were in October, early January, mid February, and April. Oil consumption down to 725 gallons last year, burned 3 cords of hardwood to achieve this.

    So far this year, I am on a better pace, the weather was coder than normal Oct-Dec, but since January, it has been warm so I have not been running the Stove as much.

    I have immediate plans to insulate the basement walls and remove the insulation in the basement ceiling, I imagine I'll save a bunch there. I am not sure on which way I am going to proceed, fiberboard with a wall in front, or fiberglass batts with a vapor barrier. I wish there was a clear cut direction to go, I seee so many opinions on this subject out there.

    OBTW, I do cool my entire house from the upstairs in the summer, but it is a 2.5 ton cental AC unit so that's a bit bigger than a standard window unit :)
  18. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    Well, I never succeeded in having a 5 degree temp difference and I had 5 registers, 2 went to the top floor, 3 went to the lower, plus a stairway near my stove in the basement and one register powered by a small fan, and insulated all my foundation walls with 3" foam insulation. It was 10-15 degree temp difference between each floor AND the stove in the basement shooting radiant heat made it feel warmer than it was so sure the air temp was around 85 but with the radiant heat sure felt like it was 100. I'd be wearing just shorts and sweating if I spent any time down there. What more could've been done, I don't think 6 registers or 16 would've done it, I think your success depends on how well insulated your basement is, how tight, and if you live in a mild climate like Tenn it can probably work. I happen to live north. That house was built in 1964 and above normal insulation and tightness for that time (had a whopping 4" of insulation in the walls when the time the norm was 2", seams caulked (air sealed) which was unheard of then, and the previous owner people said was crazy having 6" fiberglass insulation in the attic, everyone had 3"). It took 8 cords of wood to heat it after all the registers I added and insulation. You also have to understand that was a 70's stove, not as efficient as todays models. It was 70,000 btu's and could fit 11 log splits and advanced for the time as it forced the exhaust & smoke to go through the coals & fire before heading out, so some of the smoke was burned before leaving. Todays 60,000 btu stove can fit 8 log splits, that's around a 25% difference as a guess. If that be the case using a new stove would take probably 6 cords of wood to heat that house the same way, with the basement still too hot to be useable. So, I didn't have luck balancing the temp between the basement and floor above with all we did, and I had 5 registers, a fan, a huge kitchen hood thing that extended way out beyond the stove to capture any heat rising off it and pipe it into the kitchen above AND a stairway right near the stove leading up.

    The house I have now is no comparison to that previous house in terms of tightness & insulation and here I am 3 cords of wood used so far. Simply amazing. They say every degree higher you maintain equates to 3% more fuel, something to that effect. Having to keep my basement at 85 to keep my floor above 70 to be comfortable should take 45% more wood than having that stove in the upper floor and only having to maintain it at 70. So, instead of 4 cords to heat if on the main floor, that formula also works out to around the 6 cord figure to do the same putting it in the basement. So, it looks like 2 things back up that you need 50% more wood. I don't know how to get a 5 degree temperature difference, 5 registers, fans, kitchen hood, stairway, and insulating my foundation my basement was still 80's (and add in the radiant heat making it feel like it was 100) to keep the floor above it in the 70's.

    Not to say it's not possible, my attempt was a failure and I think I put more effort, and had more things than anybody to try to make it work. To hear a staircase, or 1 register makes it work for some really upsets me because I had a staircase, 5 registers, fans, and a kitchen hood sucking the heat, spent tons of money, and an entire summer doing all of it and IT DID NOT WORK for me. Maybe it depends most on how tight the rest of your house is and where you live. I'm sure in Tenn. it can probably work, not as far north as me. Or, maybe todays super efficient houses. Anyway, brings back a lot of painful memories for me and my hatred of stoves in the basement.
  19. egghead2004

    egghead2004 New Member

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    Rhonemas,
    I think the configuration of the house makes a big difference. It sounds like you had your stove near your living space in the basement driving you out of the area. My basement is 28*40 and the stove is on one side. My stairway is centrally located and I have 6m plastic dividing the basement in half so most of the heat funnels up the stairway. The stove is on the side where I have my boiler, well, oil tank, hot water tank, laundry, workshop, etc. It gets in the 80s there. However on the empty, soon to be finished living space on the other side of the stairway and plastic, it may reach 68 at best. I'm sure with finished walls it will be warmer, but I am planning on dividing the two spaces with a wall anyway, so it will never get hot on the living side. My wine is overther and 80 degrees is bad.

    My house is pretty tight, 6" walls fully insulated, 12" insulation in the attic, so there is little heat-loss. Also the airflow from the top of the cellar stairs right to the second floor roof is non restricted due to the open foyer. If I stand at the bottom of my basement stairs, it feels like someone has an airconditioner blowing down there. The colder air from those upstairs bedrooms falls quickly down that open foyer around the corner down to the basement which forces the hot air up fast. So there is not a lot of heat build up in my basement. Now, when I am in the basement and someone closes that door, I immediately start dripping with sweat. It heats up to over 90 within 5-10 minutes.

    In my case, the stove in the basement works OK, not the best, but I still need to insulate those basement walls.

    Another factor in my house, it was is a modular. It was delivered unfinished on the second floor so there is 6" insulation between the 1st and 2nd floors. Now no heat can penetrate the ceilings, so most of the heat transfer has to be by airflow through the foyer up to the 3 bedrooms. I think this encourages all the cool air from those upstairs bedrooms to converge in the foyer and rush even faster right down to the cellar more so than in a normal house.

    Every house is different, but I still say that if there is no stairway from the basement to the central part of the 1st floor, forget it, no chance will it work unless the home owner is willing to put a 8-10 sq/ft register in a central area and several smaller ones along the parmeter.


    cheers
  20. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Josh has a great idea. Try a electric or kerosene heater first. I just don't see your setup working because of the lack of a stairwell.

    Like others are saying, there's lots of different factors. One big one I think is house pressures. I read about this somewhere and I don't know if it's true or not but it seems to make sense to me. Your basement has to have positive pressure to push the hot air out of the basement. Most basements have negative pressure because lack of windows, doors, and numerous other leaks. I have a walkout type basement with large windows and also installed a Condar air supply ventilator about 3' from my stove, so I think I have a positive pressure from my upstairs and a natural stack effect for heat to rise.

    Years ago I rented a split level type house with an old wood stove in the lower level. There was a floor register over the stove and it acted as a cold air return and heat flowed up the stairs to the other 2 levels. When I put a floor register over my stove in my current home, I was thinking it would act the same, but the heat rose up the vent. You just never know until you try.
  21. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Another consideration is air quality. If you cut vents in the floor of your living space from the basement, you have no control over the smoke, dust & other stuff that is going to rise up with the hot air into the house. With a furnace, on the other hand, the air blown into the duct system is drawn from the floor, and can (and should) pass through a filter on your blower before entering your living space. That's a big consideration when you're dealing with a relatively dirty fuel like firewood.
  22. Homefire

    Homefire New Member

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    Eric nailed it. Air quality is a big reason that gas and oil were adapted so widely in America in the 50's & 60's .
    Unless you have a boiler in an out building there is almost no way to keep your living space air clean when using coal and wood for heat.
  23. michael

    michael New Member

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    Is there a conspiracy by the dealers to sell prettier more expensive stoves for your living/family room, rather than cheap ones for the basement? HMMM...

    I lived in a split level home when I was a kid (70's), and we had a stove in the basement. Worked great as I remember!

    I have a friend who has a wood burner in his basement, and he easily heats their two story house with it. His basement stairs are centrally located and there is no wall obstructing the heat flowing up.

    I think convenience is more a factor than anything. If you have a walk out basement where wood can be brought in and stacked, a stove in the basement may be just the ticket.

    Remember though, feeding the hungry brute is problematic when your butt is glued to the sofa in the family room. That's why I chose a more aesthetically pleasing stove for the living room. It's about 7 steps from my couch and a few more to the fridge. Aren't we lazy in the winter?

    I know it goes against popular woodburning wisdom (and science), but a stove in the basement works for some people. Stick that in your slide-rule and smoke it ;)
  24. carpniels

    carpniels Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Messages:
    536
    Loc:
    Rome, NY, USA
    Hi Guys,

    Thanks for all the latest reactions. I seem to see a pattern that the guys that have a basement stove, have a insulated basement and a center staircase. That way, the basement stove seems to work well. Since I have neither, it looks like a bad proposition. But I have to say thanks for the tip about running a salamander in the basement for a few hours just to see if it will work. That is a cheap way of testing things before I start rebuilding.

    Most likely, this test will have a negative result. With that in mind, it looks like I will need to insulate the basement ceiling so that I can isolate the first floor (with the wood stove) from the cold basement. The guy from the insulation store said it is almost as if I have a electrical heated house. Heat is generated where it is needed and thus that space must be insulated. In houses with central heat (i.e. furnace in basement and some transportation to the living area) you do not need an insulated basement ceiling since the furnace creates heat and thus the basement never gets really cold (55-60 or so). As someone said, 15 degree difference between the floors means 65-70 in the living area.

    BUT now the question becomes the following: My wood stove is in the sunroom (addition to the back (south) of the house. I use two fans to get the hot air from there to the rest of the house. This is not ideal, since I loose a lot of heat through the ceiling into the attic (cold) and it is not properly insulated and no extra insulation can be added (new 2nd addition). Should I sell that and another stove and add some cash and get a fireplace insert for the centrally located masonry fireplace? I can eliminate 1 possibly 2 fans because the heat is centrally produced and will be distributed by the insert fan and natural air movement plus I will not loose as much heat because I have an extra floor above the main living area. What are your ideas?

    My plan of action is would be the following:
    - get a salamander and test the heat transfer to the living area.
    - insulate the perimeter of the house and crawlspace to prevent airleaks, make a moisture barrier and prevent the cold from entering the basement, which should keep the upstairs warmer.
    - insulate the basement ceiling (actually the living area subfloor). Should I use fiberglass matts or is there something better/more efficient out there?
    - sell 2 stoves I do not use and add some cash and buy an efficient, as-large-as-will-fit-my-masonry-fireplace wood insert.
    - kick back and enjoy my improvements.

    As usual, any input is appreciated.

    Carpniels

    PS. if all or most of you advice me to buy the insert, I could really use some tips on how to convince the wife that an insert is the way to go. Right now she is quiet negative (wood splinter, dust, etc everywhere)
  25. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    "In houses with central heat (i.e. furnace in basement and some transportation to the living area) you do not need an insulated basement ceiling since the furnace creates heat and thus the basement never gets really cold "

    ITs statement like this one has to wonder if any of the guy's opinion are valid. At $2 .40 per gallon, it behoves me to make every effort to get the heat I'm paying for into the living space. I do not want it escaping in the anun-insulated basement.

    To answer one of your very first questions, the poly fill foam expanding spray is an excellent choice to fill the foundation sill drafts.
    I have addressed this very situation many times before. The same reasons to prevent heat loss before entering the living space all hot water and heating pipes, duct transmission and returns should be insulated. You may not be able to solve all you heating with the sun room wood stove, but at-least you will feel, more heat you are paying for in the other living space. Plus preventing heat loss that is now occurring. If I remember right you just bought an Oslo How is that working out?

    IF really into wood heat and able to maintain a supply, then the add on wood boiler, as Eric suggested, is the way to go.
    Plan on 8 cord a year consumption. You will have to address you current gathering system, with either a small to mid size pickup or trailer option. The small 4cly pickups will hold about 1/3 cord and still get in the mid 20 for gas mileage, Add a trailer you might approach a cord at a time

    You do have options and combinations. You could sell the oslo and probably get 75% of you money back that could be applied to the add on wood burner. Still want to sit by and enjoy the atmosphere and stove heat, Re work you Intrepid II replace the cat and put it back in the sun room First priority would be button up your existing setup. There is a lot of debate here going on about insulating the floor. How much improvement from r 13 to r19. To me is its money use r 13 seal the sill and insulate pipes and ducts Most bang for the buck. Raising the r value to 19 may not save a whole lot more. Using r11 is an improvement but not cheap enough you should consider. There also is an r15 which is a compromise position, however no vapor barrier and its unfaced.
    The vapor barriers is faced to the heated side. Contrary to what one idiot said, You will benefit from insulating you cellar floor in an unfinnished basement. I read threw the thread and everybody who replied gave you more accurate info than that original idiot.
    Cutting holes in the floors requires engineering. The I think it will work approach, from people that do not understand the dynamics required to design air flow, does not cut it for me, Considerations of return air, balancing, openings sizes, and locations are not factored. For this reason, every final inspection, I require complete balancing reports. So that some poster don't read this the wrong way, I am not a mechanical engineer. There is no degree I can hang my knowledge on. I am not claiming I am an expert,
    To the ones who have had success at cutting holes in the floor and distributing heat, congrats. With humor, I look at that approach as even a blind squirrel finds an acorn sometimes
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