Best Way to Power Insert Fan During Power Outage?

jscs.moore Posted By jscs.moore, Aug 30, 2016 at 6:56 AM

  1. jscs.moore

    jscs.moore
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    Hey guys...I'm looking for advice on the best way to power an insert fan during a power outage. I did buy one of those echo-fans that run on the heat generated from the stove or insert, but I'm told they don't really work that well, especially with an insert? I'm concerned that during a power outage with extremely cold temps...I won't be able to move the heat throughout my 2000sq ft. home? I've read some posts where people have said they use a marine battery or something like that and just plug the insert fan directly into it to power the fan?? Seems to me there must be some way to keep a little fan running by battery power rather than having to buy an expensive generator and have an electrician hook it all up? I can't imagine the insert fan uses that much power...anyone have any ideas on this?
     
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  2. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw
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    might look at a "UPS" usually used as a battery backup for a computer. I dunno how long the battery life can be with them but they would work for at least a short term. the amount of time it would run would depend on the wattage use of the blower itself which usually isn't that terribly high. if you can find the data tag on the blower it may list amp draw, to figure watts multiply the amps times 115 (house current average) for instance a 3 amp motor which would be a bit larger you would be using (3 X 115= 345) watts
     
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  3. coaly

    coaly
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    A lot depends on the Insert. An older one that sticks out of the fireplace into the room heats by radiation and has a cook top on the exposed portion. They will use convected heat from the back half made more efficient with a blower, but do gravity flow without blowers. Others use convection only, which is the heat removed with blower. 12 volt marine battery is called "deep cycle" since they are designed to slow charge and deplete voltage all the way down during their "use cycle" compared to an automotive battery designed to keep at a high charge level. Two 6 volt batteries in series gives you far longer cycles between charging. Both require a 12 volt motor or a power inverter that changes 12 volt DC to 110 volts AC. Depending on the Insert, it may require a larger CFM blower than would be practical using more amperage than you can supply with a low voltage motor. Charging batteries or generating electric with the heat produced using thermocouples or thermopiles is possible, but is very low voltage and not enough to power a blower. Instead of hard wiring blower to house wiring, you can plug it into a receptacle and simply plug it into a small generator with extension cord for emergency use. You will no doubt find other uses for a small quiet generator as well. Keep fuel stabilizer in it so it is ready to use in an emergency.
    Bottom line is a stove that radiates in all directions outside of the hearth without electricity.
     
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  4. electrathon

    electrathon
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    I think you will find that if you are using a UPS to keep your fan running you will be lucky to get 30 minutes of power, and that is if you have a very large UPS. A small one (like the common APC 550) you will likely get less than 5 minutes.

    No, you can't plug your fan into a battery, you would need a battery and an inverter. Depending on the battery and the fan motor you may get up to a couple hours of fan operation with that set up.

    A generator and extension cord is a pretty cheap and easy answer.
     
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  5. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones
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    In an emergency, I ran mine off my car battery with an inverter, running a cord through the window. Had to start the car every now and then to charge the battery. Pain in the butt, but it got me by.

    As said above- to use a marine battery, you need an inverter. Even a good sized one probably won't last you through an outage more than a few hours.
     
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  6. bholler

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    have you tried running the insert without the fan? some actually do a decent job circulating the heat with out a fan. Others are worthless the hampton is about middle of the road in that aspect.
     
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  7. jscs.moore

    jscs.moore
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    Thanks for the feedback guys...I guess a marine battery is out. Maybe I'll look into a small generator just for back up.
     
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  8. bholler

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    I would try it before going out and spending the money on something you may not need. But I guess a generator is never a bad thing to have regardless.
     
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  9. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot
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    How about a nice honda 2000watt inverter. But if I'm running that, I might be running the oil heat as well.

    When I've heated with my HI300 in an outage, I've been careful not to run it too hot. I don't know what would happen if I did...maybe nothing, maybe something.
    I cleaned it the day before yesterday and cleaned the fan. I bet convective flow would be better if it was removed. I had some problems pulling the fan out, but I think it was because I was pulling up on it some rather than straight out.
     
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  10. 2fireplacesinSC

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    To power an insert fan during an outage:

    1.inverter attached to deep cycle batteries that you have previously charged....
    A. Using solar panel (and can keep recharging)
    B. Using trickle charger off the wall outlet (no recharge once done though if no
    power still)

    2. Generator
    A.hooked into your breaker box to power other things (be super careful and get
    advice before doing this)
    B.directly connected to fan via drop cord (much simpler)

    3.battery operated fans that use D batteries (check Amazon). I use some with
    rechargeable batteries and they go 24 hours on high and 56+ hours on low if I
    remember correctly. cheapest route if you're really just talking emergency use.
    Plus, I use them in conjunction with the Eco fans and they can really cool off my
    little jotul if it's getting too hot, put them in various locations to just move some
    heat around, cool myself off in the summer, put them on the baby's stroller in
    summer, etc etc. not super powerful but get the job done

    Amazon is your friend on solar panel setup, fans etc. cheapest route in my opinion is multiple battery operated fans with a lot of backup D cells available for emergency use.

    Can't think of anything else right off except some kind of hand fan.
     
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  11. jscs.moore

    jscs.moore
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    Thanks for the feedback! I never thought of battery operated fans, but it makes sense to me in a power outage! Bottom line is I just want to make sure I can still move the heat throughout the house. I guess I could put one on each end of the mantle over the insert and let them blow...would probably work well!
     
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  12. coaly

    coaly
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    Is there a stove top that sticks out of the hearth for a Sterling Fan to sit on? They are the only heat operated fan that really moves air.
    As far as removing convection heat from around firebox, (the most comes from around outlet flue pipe) the CFM of the blower you have is required. That will be much more than battery operated fans. They need to blow cool air into bottom to force heated air out. When you have very little power to move air you want to move cold heavy air into warm. You won't move hot expanded lighter air into colder heavier air. You must move it with the natural flow allowing gravity to help it along.
     
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  13. NoGoodAtScreenNames

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    I don't have a flush mount so my experience may not apply to everyone. I'm also a suburbanite and don't lose power often and never for days on end. But in the case of the snowpocolypse this is my plan assuming that my portable generator that I've never used doesn't work.

    - Do stuff near the stove. It is easier to move people to the stove than to move air to people far away.

    - Run the stove as normal without the blower. We get good heat with the fan on low or off. I rarely run it on anything other than the minimum.

    - Push the stove harder with smaller and more frequent loads (tube stove) to keep it at peak output being careful not to let the fire go nuclear.

    - If this is still not enough then I'd resort to a fool proof method to get the fan running without electricity. I would spend an hour removing the surround so that I basically have a free standing stove under the block off plate. My surround is a pita to take off and worse to put back on. So once I get it off I'm sure the electricity would come back on right at that moment.
     
  14. jscs.moore

    jscs.moore
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    Excellent point on taking off the surround on the insert if you have a block off plate installed. I just had my dealer install a block off plate a month ago in preparation for this burning season (I was definitely losing heat to my 28ft exterior chimney last season). I have an Hampton HI300 that does extend a little onto the hearth so I'm sure it will radiate heat without the fan better than a flush mount insert. But I have also thought that during a power outage...I would probably be a big help to at least take off the top plate of the surround to let more heat escape into the room? I don't think I would take off the whole surround but I think taking off the top plate would allow a lot more heat into the living room area? Has anyone tried this during a power outage??
     
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  15. sportbikerider78

    sportbikerider78
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    Get your generator working.
    Why not just fix the generator, if anything is wrong with it? I depend on rarely used items all day long. Maintain them and expect them to work.
     
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  16. NoGoodAtScreenNames

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    Ha! No I didn't mean it that way. I have one but have never had the need to use it yet - thankfully. I was just saying for the hypothetical if we were snowed in and I couldn't get it started then what would I do.

    At the start of the season I do put a tiny bit of gas in and give it a test run with a light bulb - that's the heaviest work it's ever seen.
     
  17. sportbikerider78

    sportbikerider78
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    Oh..gotcha. :)

    Keep the tank full. Helps prevent condensation. Run it till empty and refill (with stabilizer/gas).
    I run 1 tank through mine each year and then change the oil if it is dark. It takes so little, I can't see not doing it.
     
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  18. mellow

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    During a power outage in the winter you will most likely be in the same room as the insert anyway to conserve heat and energy, battery powered fans and removing the surround would be your best bet. I have a UPS hooked up to mine but it won't last that long, it will last the short 1 hour long outages but for more than that I would hook up the generator to the house.
     
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  19. byQ

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    I would be tempted to buy one solar panel, marine battery, and an inverter,. I would run this connected threesome through a not hot area to the chimney. Next, I would hide the battery (like behind a built-in wall) and have the inverter connected to an outlet. So power from this outlet comes from a battery which is charged via the sun. Only a theory. Or you could skip the battery - and go solar panel to inverter to outlet, but your fan would only work when the sun was out.
     
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  20. mass_burner

    mass_burner
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    Op, how are you planning to keep your fridge going?
     
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  21. bholler

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    If you have to worry about heat from the insert you should not have to worry about the fridge. We have rolled ours out onto the back porch during extended outages. But about the time we do that the power usually comes back on.
     
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  22. mass_burner

    mass_burner
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    What about in summer? One our longest outtages was after a summer storm, was that Irene?
     
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  23. bholler

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    Yes obviously in the summer you would have to deal with the fridge. Ours stays fine for 2 days as long as you keep it closed. Otherwise you just need ice to keep it cool not to big of a deal unless it is out for more than a week.
     
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  24. Brian26

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    My blower on my Drolet 1800 insert only draws about 100 watts. I have a Walmart deep cycle battery and an inverter. The 2 or 3 times I used it when we lost power it ran the blower for about 5-6 hours with no issues. Not sure on how long it would run but it could easily be recharged off one of the cars with jumper cables. Maybe someone can do the runtime? Its says 125 amp hours at 1 amp on it.

    I also have one of those cheap $100 harbor freight 900 watt 2 cyle generators that get great reviews and sip gas.
     
  25. HisTreeNut

    HisTreeNut
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    You might want to pm TheRambler in this thread.

    https://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/size-ups.149137/#post-2003059

    I was going to have/buy/make a simple battery back-up system last winter but life happens and it dropped low on the priority scale. It is something I hope to do before winter this year, as a just in case measure.

    As for power outages & fridges...I am a food guy and here is the simple advice for power outages.

    1) Your fridge will keep food cold as long as you are not constantly opening and closing the door. Don't open it unless you are cooking a meal.
    2) Keep snacks, cereals, cereal bars, chips, juice boxes, bottled water on hand to keep #1 from happening.
    3) Keep your freezer stocked. A full freezer will stay colder longer than an empty one.
    4) Keep bags of ice in your freezer to help keep it cold. If the power goes out, put some of the bags of ice into the fridge...or mix dry ice with regular ice in metal container and place it the fridge & freezer.
    5) If running an inverter or generator, the fridge/freezer needs to be hooked up every 12-ish hours for 2-3 hours.

    Hope that helps a bit.
     
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