Beginner seeking some help

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appst8

New Member
Dec 10, 2021
9
Grand Junction Co
Hello all. I have been lurking for a while and finally reaching out, checked the rules and this seemed like the right place, forgive me if not. I recently bought a house built in the mid 70s with some type of radiant heat (I believe) in the ceiling of each room. Needless to say, it is quite expensive to run, no central heat or anything of that sort either. This is a two story 3000 sq ft house with a wood insert presumably from the 70s in the basement. It works great (though eats a whole bunch of timber) at heating the space in the basement but the air doesn't make its way upstairs much so i was thinking of buying a wood stove for upstairs. About 1400 sq ft on the main living floor. Couple questions and sorry in advance for any rambling.

Two stoves i am looking at are the Lopi endeavor and the Ambiance Hipster 20 which i believe to be the same firebox design as the green mountain 60. The wife really likes the look of the hipster, though the marketing on that stove is atrocious. I am a little apprehensive to go with a cat stove as my first but willing to learn to nuances. I guess first question would be anything I need to be wary of shopping at these mom and pop wood stove stores? The quotes have been pretty consistent around 7k usd for stove, piping, and install which is a huge investment so I am trying to close any doubts before I do something dumb.

I have a wood moisture meter on the way and have about two cords of "seasoned" stacked in my carport that have been there for about 3 months or so. Wood available around me off craigslist is Pine, Aspen, Elm, and Cottonwood. These don't seem to be considered hardwoods. Next year I will go find my own.

Anything I need to consider or missing here? Thanks in advance to anyone.
 

Northern NH Mike

Burning Hunk
Nov 2, 2008
205
Northern NH
Just curious about the stove in the basement. Is it a finished space or a workspace? No grates to move the heated air into the main floor or second floor?
 

appst8

New Member
Dec 10, 2021
9
Grand Junction Co
Hi Mike,
So it's a finished basement area, basically a main level ranch house with three bedrooms and a living room in the basement. There are no registers to bring heat upstairs other than a staircase without doors maybe four feet wide. It stays warm till about halfway up the staircase.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
2,225
SE North Carolina
Getting the cold air down is arguably more important if you have an open stairway. I just installed a second wood burner in my 1000 sq ft basement this season. (2000 upstairs). I had both going one morning just to say I did and man I made 10 trips up and down the stairs in the hour after lightning or reloading. Explore what heating the whole house drone the basement would take. Insulated liner is much cheaper than double wall and class A.

If I was getting a cat stove it would be a Blaze King 30 box. I’d splurge for the King 40 (8” flue) if I had a job/life schedule that meant I could only do 12 hour reloads in the dead of winter. Or I’m gonna throw this out. Replace the ac with a heat pump (assuming you have AC and it’s more than 10 years old) and get a more value brand tube stove.

Second point about stove choice are you sure the 60 box is big enough? How’s you insulation and air sealing? Once you have a hot stove it’s hard to pay for electric heat and I can attest that I just won’t and the bedrooms have gotten pretty cold( floors in the mid 50s)

If your wood was only cut split and stacked 3 months ago you are not going to have much luck burning it in a new EPA stove this winter (unless it’s dead standing pine then you might have a chance). If you are installing soon just consider a pallet of bio bricks/logs as part of the install. Nothing is worse than swearing at a new stove that just won’t burn because the wood is too wet.

Just my thoughts. Thinking is free.

Evan
 
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stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
4,353
Long Island NY
I have a stove in the basement (and yes, the bk 30 box allows me to reload every 12 hrs in dead of winter - so far).

What I have done is to make a register (6*10 I believe) in an appropriate place, added a vent boot to 6"dia, a fire-valve (forgot the English name; flapper that closes when it gets hot because a link that keeps it open melts). Then a flexible duct down to the basement floor, with an inline fan.

This means I pull the coldest air from the (floor of my) living room and push that I to the basement. That in turn pushes the warm air near the basement ceiling thru the stairs back into the living room. I can keep the home at 68-72 this way. Bedroom a but farther is colder, but I'm fine with that.

So, getting a good stove/insert downstairs may work. Hence, what about getting a stove down there, see if it works getting the heat up (keep the current one in storage for now), and if it doesn't work out only then then investing in a chimney stack for upstairs and moving the stove there? It would save you wood also by upgrading the stove there if you keep it there.

(3 months seasoned soft wood may not be good enough for a modern stove.)

How well Insulated is your home? R value in walls and attic, age, and windows?

I second that a heat pump is likely much more efficient than radiant electric. At least for part of the heating season.
 
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appst8

New Member
Dec 10, 2021
9
Grand Junction Co
Thanks Evan, unfortunately in the dry western colorado area homes are usually fitted with swamp coolers so no ducting for anything. I hate them because I am surrounded by a forest of elm trees and now the elm seed bug has invaded colorado and thus my home. I digress. The store that sells the hipster/gm stove also has the blaze kings, maybe I will have to see what they have in stock. They seem to be regarded well by everyone. The home is nothing short of strange but it is insulated well to my knowledge, ceiling has probably 2 ft of blown in insulation and its in the walls too. Is there any way to asses air sealing in a house? I have a feeling its not great as there is a light fixture over the kitchen sink that pours cold air into the house, I think it is coming from the non insulated garage area since they are close. And lastly, little nervous on the wood moisture myself, it was advertised on seasoned but I cant speak to when it was split. It's burning in the insert in the basement fine but seems like the new epa stoves are quite finicky.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
4,353
Long Island NY
A blower test (by a good company) can assess tightness.

Yes , EPA stoves are finicky for wood and draft requirements (i.e. chimney heights). But meet the required specs and you'll be happy.

How tall would your chimney be for the stove in the main floor?
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
2,225
SE North Carolina
My second stove will probably see 40 loads a year. Think the 10 coldest days. I wouldn’t want to be running two any more than that. If the BK Princess insert looked better I might have gone that route for my first stove. But passed on it as the second just due to cost. I just did a DIY Drolet 1800i insert with 25’ insulated liner for 2000$. I’m probably going to add a mini split to my basement soon.

New stoves just have tighter design specs to get higher efficiency. Boiling off all that extra water keeps temps to low given the restricted air intake. Get the right draft and feed them dry wood that’s all the new stoves need. I grew up on the KS / CO border I understand the elm forest and dry heat.
 

appst8

New Member
Dec 10, 2021
9
Grand Junction Co
That's a good question, reading the quote it's not clear but I can speculate. 8ft ceiling so about 6ft to the top for the stove, about 3 ft in attic as its in the corner of the house, and I think approx 8 ft once it gets past the roof bc it's supposed to be 3ft above anything within 10 feet and it's close to the swamp cooler. So rough speculation is 17 feetish? I will have to get a blower test, I've definitely got some old windows. You guys have me wondering if I should start over and look at a more efficient insert in the basement and try to add receptacle in the floor somewhere to draw heat. My current insert doesn't have any wood stove piping either so I am sure both options will be just as expensive.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
4,353
Long Island NY
17 ft straight up should be ok for most if not all modern stoves.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
2,225
SE North Carolina
That's a good question, reading the quote it's not clear but I can speculate. 8ft ceiling so about 6ft to the top for the stove, about 3 ft in attic as its in the corner of the house, and I think approx 8 ft once it gets past the roof bc it's supposed to be 3ft above anything within 10 feet and it's close to the swamp cooler. So rough speculation is 17 feetish? I will have to get a blower test, I've definitely got some old windows. You guys have me wondering if I should start over and look at a more efficient insert in the basement and try to add receptacle in the floor somewhere to draw heat. My current insert doesn't have any wood stove piping either so I am sure both options will be just as expensive.
Double wall and class A are more expensive than an insulated flex liner. An insert without a liner is not safe and no longer allowed. If that the case of your current insert, a tax credit eligible insert would be my first choice as to remove the inefficient and unsafe slammer. have you had it cleaned and or inspected?
 
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appst8

New Member
Dec 10, 2021
9
Grand Junction Co
Double wall and class A are more expensive than an insulated flex liner. An insert without a liner is not safe and no longer allowed. If that the case of your current insert, a tax credit eligible insert would be my first choice as to remove the inefficient and unsafe slammer. have you had it cleaned and or inspected?
That's good to know. I'm glad I said something. I had a guy come check it out and he said it was old and not up to today's code but didn't make it seem like it is dangerous. Chimney wasn't in need of a sweep apparently. I am going to start my focus on inserts now. Really glad I posted on this site!
 

john26

Minister of Fire
Oct 27, 2008
755
Wildwood MO
If you are interested in the hipster you might check Hearthstone Green Mountain 60 it seems to be the same stove. There are probably more reviews and threads on here about them. Also might look at Drolet Cape town 1800 it is a very similar look but and heat output but is slightly smaller and doesn't have a catalyst.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
2,225
SE North Carolina
That's good to know. I'm glad I said something. I had a guy come check it out and he said it was old and not up to today's code but didn't make it seem like it is dangerous. Chimney wasn't in need of a sweep apparently. I am going to start my focus on inserts now. Really glad I posted on

Here’s the thing. most chimneys are not built with the required 2” clearance from the outside masonry to combustibles. This includes all framing, floor and roof decking ect. Mine isn’t. My in laws was but whoever redid the roof filled the gap with wood. Installing an insulated liner allows the the combustibles to touch the masonry.