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You may hate this n00b after this, but here goes...

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by bond1973, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. bond1973

    bond1973 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2008
    Messages:
    54
    Loc:
    Weare, NH
    So I currently heat with oil. Live in a 1994 built split level. About 1000sq ft living space. Upstairs is finished, downstairs is foundation, framing and insulation (poorly) over OSB/tyvek/vinyl. To me (a computer guy) the downstairs windows look like junk (wood and skimpy) and upstairs look a little better (wood and a little less skimpy). Tired of paying oil prices. A couple years ago, when pellet stoves were all the rage, we had one on order, it never came in so the place offered us an alternate (higher priced) at the same price as the one that never showed up. We (meaning my wife) was suddenly concerned about where we'd put it as space is minimal, especially now with TWO boys (9 month and 3 years) and their stuff. We cancelled the whole idea at that time. Now I DO have a huge Alaskan woodstove hooked up to a real chimney that I don't use much. I would like to, but whenever I try I fail miserably. The past few weeks I've wondered about replacing the woodstove with a pellet hooked up to the chimney. My concern is...in the unfinished basement, with (currently) no real venting to the upstairs, how well the pellet stove wood heat the upstairs. I have no problem installing a couple/few vents throughout the house to allow heated air to move up easier, I just would hate to do it all to find that the stove works so hard to heat the downstairs that we're still chilly upstairs and/or burn through 5,6,7 tons of pellets. Opinions? Other than me being a meathead. Thanks.

    Rick

    P.S. I realize there are lots of factors and no 100% way to know...just looking for opinions really.

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  2. hossthehermit

    hossthehermit Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Maine, ayuh, by gorry
    Off the top of my head, I'm gonna guess that you'd be less than satisfied with the result from what you propose. Basement installs without proper ducting have a difficult time circulating heat up to other levels. Not to say it can't be done, but you need to be ready for a lot of extra headaches.
  3. bond1973

    bond1973 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2008
    Messages:
    54
    Loc:
    Weare, NH
    Yea....no ducting in my house at all (forced hot water registers, electric hot water) and right now just a doorway, that...when I DO use the woodstove I put a fan at the door to ultimately push some hot air from it upstairs. Guess I should possibly work harder at getting better with the woodstove... bah Or throw out the dining room table and replacement with a pellet stove... heh I like the idea...but I'm married, so.. Thanks for the response.
  4. mascoma

    mascoma Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    Messages:
    326
    Loc:
    Upper Valley NH
    It usually works better to move the cold air toward your heat source and let the hot air move UP on its own.
  5. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2008
    Messages:
    2,440
    Loc:
    Waupaca, WI
    Some euro built stoves have the option of using ducts to distribute the heat... but are pricey due to the devalued dollar.
  6. cncpro

    cncpro New Member

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    Jun 29, 2008
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    Loc:
    NE Connecticut, USA
  7. Havlat24

    Havlat24 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2007
    Messages:
    145
    Well... whats your insulation like up stairs... are you 2x4 or 2x6 construction... hows your attic insulated... If the basement is uninsulated... then learn to use the wood stove... it would probably do a better job.... If you want to heat the place with a pellet stove... insulate the basement.... and if your insulated well upstairs it will work....

    I live in Northern Alberta... around 1300ish square feet. Pellet stove is installed in an insulated finished basement... I can heat the whole place with it on high in -40C. My place is insulated though.

    Good luck.
  8. Snowy Rivers

    Snowy Rivers Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2010
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    1,412
    Loc:
    NW Oregon
    Please dont take this wrong but, I find it hard to believe that you dont have a little spot on an outside wall to place a pellet stove upstairs.

    A corner works great. You dont need a full chimney with these stoves. As long as you can penetrate the wall between the studs and have the pipe exit the structure with 4 foot + from the vent pipe to a window that can open and a few feet from other parts of the structure.

    You dont need any real serious stuff to install a pellet stove.

    A prefab hearth pad that can sit on the floor (can even sit on existing carpet)

    Most stoves work real well with whats called a direct vent system.

    This is the exhaust from the stove exits the house and is about 2 feet past the siding with a down turned cap/screen on it.

    usually these can be installed in a couple hours with simple tools.

    All you need is a spot that is close to a 120V outlet.

    Be sure that the spot you choose to penetrate the wall is between the studs and will not have wiring in the space.

    Look over your choices of spots to install and then pick a stove that has an exhaust that exits the stove in a suitable place to allow easy install.

    I have 3 pellet stoves in my house. These alltook less than 2 hours to do the actual install.

    Once has a built up hearth so that took some time, but the actual tim to do the cut through the wall was minimal.

    The basement stove trick is going to be tough to get any reall good heat upstairs though.

    Look the house over for good spots.

    We have two small grand kids 4 months and 3 years and the stoves are no problem.

    You can snoop arouind on this site and find several Piccy's of various installs.

    The mfg give specific info on how the stove needs to be installed as far as clearances and such.



    Keep us posted.

    Snowy
  9. HD41

    HD41 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
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    Loc:
    Northern Ohio
    I think you have almost answered your own question with your question, heating an unfinished basement with a pellet stove would not result in satisfactory heat upstairs or any fuel savings. A wood stove is a workable choice for an unfinished basement provided one has cheap source of wood, time and doesn’t mind the work, dirt, and stove tending that goes with it. Not that they are any more efficient but they overcome the heat sink effect because they are generally larger and the amount of wood that can be burned is greater. It will heat the floor above and hot air will migrate upwards reducing the amount of fuel oil consumed to heat the rest of the house. A pellet stove would take space, motor and fan noise can be objectionable depending upon location in the living area. Unless fuel oil takes another trip to the sky, stay the course.
  10. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Messages:
    13,580
    Loc:
    Northwestern CT.
    Heating from the basement with a stove can be done. But your going to have to work at it. I am doing it but have a tank of a stove. had to cut in ducts and then added a louvered door for the basement. Insulate the knee walls and cement walls. I still need to do the floor someday.

    If I had to do it again I would just plug in a furnace. Send the heat to the living area's. What I spent on the stove and insulation would be just about what a pellet furnace would have been.

    They do make add on boilers you could sister to the primary furnace. Might be the best bet?
  11. vvvv

    vvvv New Member

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    MAINE
    heat from pstove is convective mostly & if fan blows @ open stairwell,might work some better than radiant sides of wood stove which get absorbed by walls like from a flashlight! i'd guess a pstove would heat the floor above better than a woodstove
  12. save$

    save$ Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2008
    Messages:
    1,916
    Loc:
    Chelsea Maine
    I too have a raised ranch. 1300 sq feet up and a little less than that down. Heat the whole place with my stove located in a central area on the lower level. I will tell you that at first, when I didn't have a furnace, I was able to heat the whole house and my hot water with a wood stove. With a pellet stove, to do it right, you need to do as much insulating as possible. This will be your best area to consistently stop heat loss and save money. Consider cheap clear plastic storm windows. If you have one of your doors that goes out to an enclosed porch, use that one all the time. CK all your doors and windows for drafts. pull down ceiling attic stairs are another heat loss area.
    Cool air is heavy and harder to move, so like stated in another post, move the air toward your stove. The cool air drawn out will be replaced with the warmer air which moves easily. As far as using your chimney, that may be a problem. Usually the vent can't exceed 4 inches wide or much more than 15 feet in length. Whatever stove you get will have a manual that will address most setups. You'll want to stick with those recommendations and not get "creative". Never would I advise anyone to put a pellet stove in a poorly insulated area. Your heat will be sucked out before you get much benefit. Of course the pellet stove is not my only source of heat when it gets real cold. When it is 15F, the furnace will kick in for a few minutes. I went 15 months on one tank of oil (196 gallons), and most of that went to heat hot water. You can heat with a pellet stove, but you will need to prepare all the spaces you intend to have the stove heat. PS, if your stove recommends OAK, then don't even consider not using it. Without it, you will be creating a vacuum sucking cold air in from every crack there is. School of hard Knocks is a tough way to learn.

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