1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

Yet another newbie with a question...(or six)

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by MrGriz, Oct 11, 2006.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. MrGriz

    MrGriz New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2006
    Messages:
    1,022
    Loc:
    Waterford, WI
    Hi All,
    :)
    I've been reading posts and information on this site for some time and am really impressed with the knowledge that everyone is so willing to share. Now I'm hoping that I can borrow a bit of advice for my situation.

    Hopefully this will make sense, here we go. I have a tri-level house with a wood burning fireplace in the lower level, across the room from the stairs that lead up to the entry and the main level. The entire house is about 1800 - 1900 square feet, the upper level with the three bedrooms is the biggest, followed by the main level with the living room and kitchen, the lower level with the fireplace is the smallest at about 500 square feet. The entire house has electric baseboard heat, which I would really like to suppliment (or better yet eliminate) with wood.

    I would like to put a wood burning insert in the fireplace, but I'm not sure if I will get enough heat to circulate up to the other two levels of the house. I would like to at least be able to heat the lower level and main level. One twist is that I work out of my home and my office is in the lower level with the fireplace, I don't want to cook myself to keep the upper levels warm. Do you think that I will be able to get enough heat up stairs? I live in southeastern Wisconsin and the winters do get pretty cold.

    I would also appreciate any advice as to what inserts to look at. The fireplace is 36" across at the opening and tapers off to 28" across in the back (approximately 24" deep). I love the look of the wood fire and want as much glass as possible. I think I'm leaning away from the catalytic inserts. I definitely need a blower. Of course, the budget is a concern also, I really don't want to spend more than about $1,500.00. Oh yea, can I get fries and a beer with that? :cheese:

    I really appreciate any help or advice anyone can give!

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. RoosterBoy

    RoosterBoy New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Messages:
    170
    Loc:
    CT
    i think it will be hard to heat a house that size and be comfortable 24hr day so eliminating your electric with wood is probably not going to cut it. i think that all the rooms would be unbalanced and you'll be up and down them stairs all night feeding the thing.

    but i milder days where it's not so cold you could turn down your electric and pump up the stove to heat the house

    with wood stoves it's location location location if you can get it in the center of your main living area you'll have a better chance of heating all the rooms

    good luck
    Jason
  3. suematteva

    suematteva New Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2006
    Messages:
    605
    Loc:
    Rutland, VT//Southern Quebec
    Welcome to the forum.

    The top level with the bedrooms, are any of them over the first level(one with proposed insert)?

    Is it a split level type?
  4. MrGriz

    MrGriz New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2006
    Messages:
    1,022
    Loc:
    Waterford, WI
    No, the bedrooms are above the garage, on the far end of the house. The living room and kitchen are directly above the proposed insert. I was thinking that I could put an open floor vent in from the ceiling of the lower level through the floor in the living room, but I'm not sold on that idea.

    If I could at least heat the lower level and main level, I can always keep using the baseboard heaters in the bedrooms.

    Thanks for the advice!
  5. greenergrass

    greenergrass New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2006
    Messages:
    24
    I have a floor plan similar to yours. I did cut out a section of the ceiling and it seems ok to me. You will be pretty warm while working in the room with all the heat, maybe to warm.
    My 3 bedrooms stay around 65 to 70.
  6. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    I must inform you not all advice is good. The last poster reports how he cut out his ceiling
    He has no regard for his safety or his familly. Ceiling and floors are natural draft stop containment barriers,
    limiting the spread of fire and noxious deadly gases. He is advising creating an expressway to disaster.

    A tri level house is not condusive to a whole house woodstove heater. Wood stoves are zone heaters
    residual heat will move up the stairs and help heat the area above No matter what wood stove you install it will ease the electrical heating load. placement of small box fans may distrobute heat to other areas. Any room at 85 or 90 drgrees is un confortable to reside in a balance and compromise is needed and realistict expectations. At most, you can only use a medium BTU wood heater say 40,000 BTUS Given a range 28,000 to 45,000 btus . I have built 15 or more split/tri levels Iam familliar with the layouts that's why I'm telling you its a zone heater and to be realistic, It will save in electric heat and reduce your heating load, but not entirely
  7. DavidV

    DavidV New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
    Messages:
    792
    Loc:
    Richmond VA
    I agree with others. You still have a heating bill in your future. But the stove will help tremendously. I would go for it. What's the state of the chimney?
  8. MrGriz

    MrGriz New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2006
    Messages:
    1,022
    Loc:
    Waterford, WI
    Thanks to all for the advice, keep it coming.

    I figured it was going to be impossible to heat the entire house, but anything will help. The chimney is in good shape, should be cleaned before the season really gets going.

    Elkimmeg, those are good points. Venting through the floor was a suggestion from a friend. I didn't think of the possibility of spreading gasses or a fire. I just didn't think it would be a very efficient way to distribute heat and that it would allow too much noise from one level to the other.

    I also thought about replacing the light fixture above the entry way (top of the stairs to the main level) with a ceiling fan. That way I could reverse it and draw heat from the lower level. I do have a central air unit that is attic mounted with duct work running to the upper and main levels of the house. The cold air return is in the hall at the top of the stairs in the upper level. I thought that if I could get enough heat to rise to that point I could use the fan unit to circulate the heat to the bedrooms.

    Any suggestions for a good insert?

    Thanks for the help.
  9. Throttlebender

    Throttlebender New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2006
    Messages:
    9
    Loc:
    Cincinnati, OH
    I guess that I can see Elk's point to a dregree and I know that he is all about safety but...
    I think a ceiling to floor grate could be a very convenient and effective way to distribute heat. If you keep your stove in good working order and have functional CO2 and fire detectors on all levels, then I believe you'll be in good shape. You could literally think yourself into the corner of "inaction" if you let every possible scenario alter your choices. Be aware, and take things into account; then make an eductated choice. EVERY choice you make in life is a calculated risk.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    46,729
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Just be sure the register has a fire damper - fusible link that closes it if the link is melted.
  11. MrGriz

    MrGriz New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2006
    Messages:
    1,022
    Loc:
    Waterford, WI
    I agree, the register would have to have a fire damper. The safety issue definitely trumps the others, but every action does have an associated risk. You just have to find a balance (with everything).

    I think I'll start without blasting any holes and see how things go. It's always easier to add a hole than fill one in!
  12. Throttlebender

    Throttlebender New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2006
    Messages:
    9
    Loc:
    Cincinnati, OH
    well put. I'm faced ith the same choice and have decided to wait and see how it heats the upstairs without the register.
  13. greenergrass

    greenergrass New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2006
    Messages:
    24
    WOW!
    I had no idea cutting a small vent in the ceiling to help with the heat flow was so dangerous. I have had two chimney sweeps and the company of 45 years experience, who installed my sove, take a look at it and they all 3 said it was perfectly fine. They obviously don't know anything about heating with wood! I will however take immediate action and fill and/or cover the small vent to make sure my families life will be ok. The last thing I would want is for them to die over a small vent hole!! I would like to thank you for your comments and hope to read and learn more in the future. I will contact all 3 individuals who said it was fine let them know my concerns.
  14. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Messages:
    2,859
    Loc:
    Eastern Nebraska
    or you could do as Begreen stated. This is what i have done. Elk has even mentioned doing it.
  15. gerhardrp

    gerhardrp New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2006
    Messages:
    1
    Hello:
    I have been searching the web for through-floor registers with a fire damper. Does anyone know of a supplier, or do I have to cobble one together using dampers designed for forced air systems?
    We have an Osburn insert that heats admirably. The house is small, about 600 sq ft on each of two main floors plus an attic.

    Gerhard
  16. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    there are a few designs the cheapest ones are mechanical spring loaded using a fuseable heat related link
    it melts and the spring closes it off There are different melting points to the link for these purposes 140- 160 degrees should be your target range
    you might try goggle to smoke dampers fire dampers

    a more costly solution is a motorized damper tied into you smoke alarm system

    Remember you are cutting into natural containment floors also just thinking about moving air one also has to plan a path to return air.

    I'm not advising you to cut holes in your floors or ceiling, ( natural containment barriers), but there is an amount of safety you can imploy
    fusiable link dampers is a better way to go
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page