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Wood stove proximity to furniture & piano

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by jds015, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. jds015

    jds015 New Member

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    Hello, I'm new to the site and have some questions pertaining to installing a wood stove and its proximity to furnishings in our home. We are looking to heat an area of approximately 800 sq. feet that has 12' ceilings. My wife has recently acquired a baby grand piano from her grandmother who recently passed and she is concerned about the proximity of the piano to the potential stove. We are looking at a drolet savannah. Does anyone have any suggestions of how far away the piano and upholstered furniture should be located? Thanks for any help and suggestions!​

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  2. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forum jds.

    For sure when burning wood the air can get a bit dry. If you are really concerned with the piano, you can always put a humidifier in the room. I've talked to a few folks with pianos and none have reported problems. When I was a young lad our family had one of the old upright pianos that was used a lot and there was no problems.

    As for the upholstered furniture, usually 6' is a good rule of thumb but many have things closer. We have a curtain on sliding glass doors and they are pretty close. I just measured and they are 32" from the stove. I've added a picture of the stove and door so you can see how far the curtain is when they are drawn.

    Stove and wood.JPG
  3. jds015

    jds015 New Member

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    Thanks for the response! When I attempt to measure things out on our house plan it looks like the piano will be about 5' away from the wood stove. I figure a lot of the heat will radiate upwards anyway since we have high ceilings, vs. outwards 5'. I'm sure it will be warm, I just don't want blazing! Still trying to convince my wife that the wood stove is a good idea. She's never really been around one but she gets frustrated with the propane guy coming every month and the thermostat still on 62! I'm trying to explain that free heat at 75-80 degrees is a better way to go. Thanks again!
  4. SteveKG

    SteveKG Minister of Fire

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    I'm no piano expert, but I am a musician and have been around plenty of pianos and their owners. The main problem for the piano is humidity, how much of it there is. This means for the piano to survive, you need to try to match the humidity in the room it's in at your place to what it is used to back at grandmother's place all those years.

    I have the same issue with a guitar made in Madrid, Spain. It is much more humid in Madrid than where I live [we see humidity readings in the single digits at times.]

    A neighbor of mine up the road is a piano tuner and has a piano store in Denver. He has told me in the past that the biggest problems he sees are people who come to him wanting a piano repaired and they've moved from somewhere "back East" or wherever to Denver with its much lower humidity. He has seen beautiful pianos ruined inside from the high stress from the strings breaking the soundboard or cracking something else and a myriad of other problems from our dry air here. He says it is usually not financially feasible to rebuilt the pianos.

    Now, I repeat I am no expert. You may be ahead of the game, though, to speak with someone in your area. Of course, if Gran's piano came from somewhere nearby, forget I even mentioned it.....
    gyrfalcon likes this.
  5. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    I'm no piano expert either but have several piano owners and players in the family.
    Living out East, it's supposedly the big changes in humidity that tears pianos apart.



    No way at all the piano or stove can't go in another room ?
  6. jds015

    jds015 New Member

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    Thanks for the responses. The piano is only making a 45 min. move, so climate (humidity and temp) is the same. We are in the northwest part of North Carolina so we have no issues with low humidity as a general rule, nor extremely cold temps. We would certainly consider a humidifier and without question a pot on the stove with water.
    As of right now, they would have to be in the same room. I know not ideal, but that is our situation.
  7. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Just a little hint here. That heat will radiate in all directions! Back when we had our old stove and before a remodeling, we really had a tough time heating this old crate and had to resort to fans for moving the heat. We did learn that it is best to move the cool air rather than trying to force the warm air. A really small fan setting in a hallway or doorway blowing cool air (on low speed) into the stove room will work wonders.

    Winter air is naturally less humid than summer air so the humidifier would be a nice addition for you.

    Now let's move on to the fuel situation. Are you aware that wood needs to dry for a year before being burned? Some wood takes even longer; especially oak wood. And do not think for a moment that you can buy dry firewood! All wood sellers will say the wood has been "seasoned" for a specific length of time. Then they split the wood usually just before delivery and sometimes cut it to length before delivery. That will not work no matter how much wool they try to pull over your eyes. Wood won't dry hardly at all until it has been cut to length and split. Then it needs to be stacked outdoor in the windiest spot you have. So beware when you are trying to change over to wood heat there is much more involved than calling up a dealer and say you need a fuel delivery. If you do that, you will have big problems with any stove.

    On the other hand, if you plan on burning next fall, get your wood on hand as soon as you possibly can and get it stacked in the wind. Sun helps too but wind is the most important. If possible, try to get something like white ash and stay away from oak for the time being. Good luck.
  8. jds015

    jds015 New Member

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    I've been reading the thread for a while now and have picked up on the importance of dry wood. I'm learning a tremendous amount from you guys. We will be cutting and splitting our own wood. I've been eyeing some downed oaks and hickories on our property to get to as soon as I have a chance so they can sit and dry for next season. We mostly have oak, hickory, poplar and some maple. I know cedar isn't a good wood to burn per se, but we have several cedars that are down thanks to the power company trimming along the high voltage powerlines running through the property. They also trimmed a lot of poplars and oaks that are down and just waiting to be cut up. We are blessed with enough trees and wood that we shouldn't ever have to cut a tree down, mother nature or the power company takes care of that!

    Regarding the fans and heat, the stove we're looking at comes with a blower and we have ceiling fans in the room where it will be, so hopefully we can disperse it decently in that room (20' x 25'). The ceiling heights are 12-13' so a lot of our heat will go up, although I do understand anything within proximity of the stove will be toasty!
  9. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    On that oak, even though it is down, do not count on burning that next winter! We have some oak we got in December that has been down for 10 years. There is no way it will be ready to burn next winter but we are hoping the following winter it might be ready. If not, no problem as we have plenty of wood on hand (probably 7-8 years worth). Hickory takes a bit of time too because it is so dense. The poplar should be good to go and maybe the maple. If it is soft maple then for sure it will be ready. Hard maple might be a toss up though.

    As for the cedar, burn it! Just mix it in with the other wood. If you burn only cedar then for sure don't fill the stove lest it get a bit hot for you. But early next fall when you need only a short fire or two is a great time to burn it.

    On the celing fan, make sure you set it to suck the air up to the ceiling rather than blowing it down. I works better and works with the natural flow of air rather than trying to reverse it.
  10. KaptJaq

    KaptJaq Minister of Fire

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    We have a console piano about 10 feet from one of our stoves. The end of the piano is towards the stove. The radiant heat and dryness in the stove room threw it out of tune quickly. At the suggestion of the tuner we put a portable partition between the piano and the stove during heating season. Also put a humidifier between the partition and the piano.

    KaptJaq
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Good suggestions KaptJaq. I would also recommend getting a jacketed convective stove like a Napoleon 1400 (or 1400C), Quadrafire Cumberland Gap, or Pacific Energy Spectrum (or Super27 or Alderlea T5) to reduce radiant heat exposure.
  12. homebrewz

    homebrewz Minister of Fire

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    I'm also a musician and am casting another vote for a humidifier. The steamer on the stove is great, but if you can find a humidifier that you can program to keep the room at a specific level, that would be better. Perhaps you could build a small tiled partition between the stove and the piano to act as a heat shield.
  13. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    To expand on this, the reason indoor air is drier in winter is because we heat it. Outside the absolute humidity levels are lower but the *relative* humidity is more or less the same as in summer. But heating air increases its ability to hold water, i.e. drops the RH. Dry, heated indoor air absorbs moisture from various sources -- cooking, showers, humidifiers, perspiration, dog slobber, etc. but if your house is relatively leaky / drafty that that humidified air doesn't stay in the house; it escapes, and is replaced with more air from outside, which gets heated, forcing the RH back down. So to minimize problems for your piano, it'll be best to keep it in a cooler part of your house (5' from the stove definitely isn't ideal) and also to seal up your house to minimize the rate of air exchange if it's drafty.

    Having seasoned wood plays into this too, to some extent, because if your firewood is on the damp side (like that oak will be next winter) then you'll have to allow the fire lots of air to get it to burn at all, and more air going up the chimney means more outside air being sucked in and drying everything out.

    FWIW, I had a hand-built piece of nice furniture somewhat similar to a piano in terms of construction methods in the same room as my fireplace insert, 12' away and shielded from exposure to direct radiant heat, and it still snapped and crackled enough in January that I moved it to another part of the house.
  14. jds015

    jds015 New Member

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    Thanks to everyone again for suggestions and comments. After some discussion with the wife, we feel certain we can at least move the stove to where it will be 15' away from the piano. We will also check into a humidifier because our 100-yr old pine floor splinters more easily in the winter and it sounds like that would be good for us regardless of stove or not.

    Also, I fully understand about the wood now. I cut some oak over there weekend, some that the power company contractor had cut down last fall, very wet and very heavy (can't imagine it would be ready for a while) and then cut some that had been dead and vertical for a while, much lighter and drier, but I do understand it still needs to age. We've got some poplar and cedar down that I am going to go after next as soon as I finish cleaning up the old oaks. Hopefully something will be dry enough for next year, but it was a good learning experience for me to see just how much heavier that newly fallen oak was compared to the oak that had been dead for a while. Same size and drastically different weights. Thanks again, this site and your knowledge is a great resource!
    Backwoods Savage likes this.

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