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Yet another 'moving hot air' question... sorry

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Cearbhaill, Nov 23, 2007.

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  1. Cearbhaill

    Cearbhaill Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    I have gathered from comments here that the topic of moving hot air has been discussed to death and that folks are tired of it?
    Having searched and read copious amounts of information (some of which I even understand) I find that each home is different and that what works for one may not work for another.
    So I must chance annoying folks to ask my own questions, repetitive as they might be.

    My home is a simple rectangle with two floors- upstairs living area of 1200 sg ft (several small rooms) and the basement family room 800 sq ft (one big room). There is also a garage on the basement level, obviously in a separate room. The basement has no ceiling- just joists and subfloor. The PE 'Pacific' insert is in the basement on the north end of the house. The stairway is on the same end of the house perhaps eight feet or so to the side of the insert. The stairway door is left open at all times. The upstairs is extremely well insulated, but the exterior doors in the basement are drafty enough that we get plenty of fresh air drawn in (I think).

    The heat from the basement comes up the stairs pretty well as it is with the insert blower alone, and I think the lack of finished ceiling allows for some heat transfer that way, too (right?). But I have an invalid living in a bedroom at the south end of the upstairs furthest from the heat source and above the unheated garage and so the coldest room in the house. I am interested in maximizing the heat to her bedroom. There is a cold air return in her bedroom.

    At first I thought I would utilize a cold air return near the insert and had one installed. But in reading I have learned that this is not the way to go for various reasons, C02 being one.
    Then I tried just using my furnace fan, but as I see has happened to others the air has cooled by the time it exits the registers.

    My question is this- which of the two options would get me more heat upstairs:
    Exhaust some air from the south end of the upstairs where it is coolest to drawn more hot air in? Like a bathroom exhaust fan only larger?
    Or blow cold air back to the downstairs through an existing hole in the floor. I could use a heat register opening by setting aside the ductwork and placing a fan in the opening. Of course then I would lose the register heat to that room...
    Or is simply setting a fan in the stairwell blowing cool air down the best thing? Should it be set floor level?

    I hope I have described my homes layout in a manner that is understandable. If you need more information please ask.

    I know this topic has been discussed to death and I hope like heck I am not violating some secret agreement amongst menbers to cut it out already. I am just learning about air movement so if you prefer to send me to some website to do further research instead of answering that's fine.

    Otherwise- how can I best move my air around?

    (Photo of insert/basement room attached. It was taken months ago and the TV has been moved away from the insert already. Relax :) )

    Attached Files:

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  2. RedRanger

    RedRanger New Member

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    Put a doorway fan on the doorway at the top of those stairs to keep the warm air moving to that upstairs room, and a ceiling fan in that upstairs room, and another ceiling fan on the floor above that. Don`t expect the heat to be instant, takes a few hours. If you look at my avatar, you will see that I have a doorway fan moving the warm air out of my finished recroom and pushing it upstairs, then on the next level I have a ceiling fan to continue moving that warm air, then on the next level I have an even larger ceiling fan to continue circulating that warm air. On cold days like right now, I run my propane insert located on the third level for an hour or so to speed things up. Your fireplace in the basement will not be able by itself to raise the temp for the entire house, you need a boost from another heat source. However, once the desired temperatue is attained, then the fireplace should be able to maintain it-(as it does in my home). Hope this helps. @So basically I have 4 fans running all the time, blower on the insert, doorway fan, and 2 ceiling fans. I should mention that I don`t attempt to move that air around until my recroom has reached a temperature of 75 degrees.
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The wood stove is doing its job. It's not a whole house furnace and is unlikely to provide heat to a remote zone or area of the house. Put a small, safe electric space heater in the room. Some even come with timers so that you can set back the heat at night for sleeping and higher during the day.
  4. Cearbhaill

    Cearbhaill Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    Ok thanks.
    To clarify- the fan should be blowing hot air up the stairs, and the ceiling fan on reverse (blowing up).
    Fortunately I do have a ceiling fan in the first room there- that is the only upstairs floor I have, no second story.

    Yes- I know my furnace will still kick on. I'm just trying (like everyone else) to minimize heating costs.
    And of course keep the basement from overheating. It's like 84ºF down there right now.

    I am afraid to give her a space heater as she forgets things, falls over things, drops things, and in general prefers that I don't come in and "mess with her stuff" too much. I am afraid she will burn the house down. Funny I'd say that as I'm the one playing in the fire, but I can't get past worrying about it and would feel the need to check it every hour.
  5. RedRanger

    RedRanger New Member

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    Thats how mine is set up, blowing the warm air upstairs. For your info, my fireplace has been running for 3 hours, and recroom temp is 76,second level is 72, third level is 68, and fourth level (bedrooms) is only 62. Our moderator friend is quite correct-you can`t expect to heat the far extremities with your fireplace alone. The temp on my 4th and 3rd levels has dropped 2 degrees since I turned off the propane insert an hour ago. The temperature outside right now is minus 2C (or I think that would be 28F).Also, for your info, our home is approx.1900sq.ft. Last year we spent $550 for oil (central heat is an older oil-fired boiler)-$300 on propane(24000)btu efficient insert. And $660 for wood(4 cords@$165 per cord). I know we could do it even cheaper if we were to install a wood insert on the 3rd level and remove the propane insert. Not doing that though cause of the extra dust and mess created, and also would have to cut into the nice hardwood floors to expand the hearth. And most importantly, we have to think of resale value. Not everyone will enjoy bucking and splitting wood as much as we on this forum do.lol As for which direction to run the ceiling fans, well I found that was "trial and error".. Good luck!!
  6. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    My mom is old and very forgetful too. That's why I suggested a heater with a timer and thermostat. You can install a safe, water or oil filled baseboard heater that is mounted, can't tip over. (FWIW, I think any good model electric heater has a tip over safety switch installed.)

    PS: In general you want to blow the cold air towards the stove for best results.
  7. Cearbhaill

    Cearbhaill Feeling the Heat

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    Now that is a very succinct and thus extremely useful reply!!

    I will research space heaters but frankly they scare the bejesus out of me. Back in my childhood (50's) it seemed every week someone's house burned down due to a space heater. I guess they have improved the safety of them since then.
    Remember folks I've lived in the tropics for the last 30 years and somehow didn't keep up with heating technology :)
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    There are varieties of heaters that can ignite nearby fabric, like curtains, especially if placed underneath them. That is probably what you are remembering. Safety is why the oil or water filled heater became popular. If you are looking for a permanent, safe solution, consider an Intertherm (now Cadet - Softheat)baseboard electric heater. They are quite & safe because it heats a water filled copper tube. That keeps it from getting too hot to ignite curtains, etc. if they should inadvertently come in contact with the heater. Cadet Softheat makes them in permanent baseboard (220v) or portable (120v) styles.

    With any electric heater, be sure the circuit is matched correctly to handle the load.

    http://www.prosupplyco.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWCATS&Category=44
    http://www.electricsupplyonline.com/prod/baseboard_heaters-cadet.php
  9. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Another item that hasn't been mentioned - How is the insulation in the floor under that bedroom? I believe you said it was over an unheated garage?

    I know my GF grew up in a house with her bedroom over an unheated garage, and always complained about it being the coldest room in the house. After she moved out and went to college, her parents turned her bedroom into an office, and decided she was correct. :lol: When they insulated the garage ceiling, the apparent temp in the room went up considerably.

    Gooserider
  10. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    begreen is absolutely correct, inslulate the floor under that room , its at the other end from the stove so its not getting passive heat throughput anyway, adding a doorway fan at the top of the stairs is a good idea as well, also adding one into her room is an easy addition that will help somewhat , as for a local heater, a small ceramic heater can be set on a dresser or table away from the bed which can be run at times too , they do quite well in in enclosed room and can be as small as a 6 inch cube. they do generally run from 750 to 1500 watts though so they use a bit of power. insulating the floor will help a lot more than you might think though , with a cold floor its not pleasant to get up and walk on it and take it from me ive been in some of the coldest climates in the world in my time chasing bad guys wearing the green suit. cold ground is miserable, cold runs up your legs quickly and makes joints ache, get that floor insulated and the heat in the room will build much easier, and it wont be as hard on the occupant to walk on.

    as for tiring of a question , if we did would we still be here , ask away!!!!

    hope this helps :)
  11. RonB

    RonB Feeling the Heat

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    Cearbihill, The deck is stacked against you, as far as successfully heating that room with the stove. I live in Michigan and have a similar layout. That room over the unheated garage is always the coldest one, even when the furnace runs. When company comes and uses that guest room we provide them with a small ceramic electric heater. Since you have an invalid living in that room full time find a practical room/space heater.
  12. Cearbhaill

    Cearbhaill Feeling the Heat

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    The garage is unheated, yes, but I have my orchid room in there with some serious HID lighting which is keeping the temps up- so far. The insulation is old but intact. My own bedroom is over the same unheated garage and it is quite comfortable- I am sure she is cold simply because she never moves.

    I did my space heater research and as it is an older home I have to have another circuit run in order to use one safely.
    I set it up today and will pick her up a small oil filled thingamajiggy.
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