Getting a heavy stove in basement with only stairs

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Chargerman

Feeling the Heat
Oct 22, 2009
369
SW Wisconsin
Looking for some advice on getting a 500-600lb stove down a straight flight of stairs.

Would you guys take off the legs and slide it down planks with the help of some buddies or is there a better method?

I already am taking out the brick, door, and anything else to make it lighter.

Thanks
 

albertj03

Minister of Fire
Oct 16, 2009
550
Southern Maine
Mine isn't as heavy but we left it in the crate and slid it down a wide plank. We only had 5 stairs to go down and it went very smooth. We also had a flat dolly at the bottom to slide it right down on.
 

sksmass

Member
Dec 21, 2009
203
Western MA
Not sure if this is an option, but professionals use something called a "stair climbers" that makes easy work of this. Might be rentable. Or if all you need is the stove moved, a local stove retailer, safe retailer, or moving company might move the stove for you using their stair climber for a small fee.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
84,212
South Puget Sound, WA
If this is down many stairs, regardless of method, have a safety rope attached and manned by someone topside to ease the stove down the stairs.
 

Chargerman

Feeling the Heat
Oct 22, 2009
369
SW Wisconsin
Yes, I was going to use a guy with rope to steady it and two on the bottom to slide it down. If I could only get the truck in the living room with the Ramsey winch on the front it would make this much easier. Ha Ha
 

Dune

Minister of Fire
I use a device known as an apliance dolly for this type of job. The dolly has a ractheting safety strap and runners for the sair treads, as well as wheels. Much more controllable than a regular dolly. As mentioned above, a safety line should always be used with that much weight.
 

Chargerman

Feeling the Heat
Oct 22, 2009
369
SW Wisconsin
I have used those before with refrigerators but my wood stove is 36" wide and not a box shape. The door is narrower than 36"so it has to go down sideways. I am not sure if one would help or make it worse.
 

Joe Matthews

Member
Sep 2, 2010
80
Raleigh NC
If you have a strong enough point to get a wrap or two with your rope, you will have no trouble controlling it. You could skid it down on some planks, using assistants to guide it, and have someone man the rope, paying it out slowly. If your rope is strong enough, and the point you have a wrap on is strong enough, you can control anything, no matter what it weighs. I used to work with cranes offshore where stuff swings all around with the seas. This is how they safely land things on the deck without smashing everything or injuring people. I have held a 200 ton boat with one hand using a 4 inch nylon rope and 2 wraps on a bit. I would imagine your biggest problem would be figuring out what you can use to wrap your rope on. Maybe a truck parked outside a window, or a couple of 4X4's placed crossways in a door frame? Good luck!
 
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daryl

Feeling the Heat
Jul 19, 2009
348
Western WI
Chargerman said:
Looking for some advice on getting a 500-600lb stove down a straight flight of stairs.

Would you guys take off the legs and slide it down planks with the help of some buddies or is there a better method?

I already am taking out the brick, door, and anything else to make it lighter.

Thanks
I do this for a living and we always use a appliance dolly. For a irregaler shape stove I put the back of the stove onto the rails of the dolly and strap the heck out of it to keep it secure. Two people at the bottom and one at the top it will slide right on down. It is a lot worse going up steps then down.
 

cammer

New Member
Jan 13, 2007
20
As has been said a few times now, the appliance dolly (aka fridge cart) is the best way to go. You can get very creative with the way you place the stove on it. In a previous life we used to move electronics racks - complete with larger 12V batteries - on a fridge cart. Some of these weighed in excess of 1000lbs and we would move them both down and UP stairs. Get the guy(s) on the bottom to hold the cart "in" towards the stairs rather than attemptting to take any weight. You'll be amazed at how little effort is involved.

Cam
 

Battenkiller

Minister of Fire
Nov 26, 2009
3,739
Just Outside the Blue Line
Joe Matthews said:
If you have a strong enough point to get a wrap or two with your rope, you will have no trouble controlling it. You could skid it down on some planks, using assistants to guide it, and have someone man the rope, paying it out slowly. I would imagine your biggest problem would be figuring out what you can use to wrap your rope on... a couple of 4X4's placed crossways in a door frame?
Joe seems to have a lot of experience with this problem, and his method seems the safest way to me. Looking at that stove, I'd leave it is the box and deal with the extra weight. That is a pretty stove, but it sure has an awkward shape for moving. 600 pounds is a lot of weight. A typical stair rise is about 40º or so, but may be up to 45º for steep basement stairs. Whoever is at the bottom will need to hold back about 400 pounds or so of force. Even divided between two people, most guys who don't work out aren't that strong.

I once moved a 600 pound baby grand up a straight run and it took six of us young bucks to accomplish the task, tipped on its side and pushing it up on blankets. A couple times, we almost lost the battle. There were no possible attachment points in that house for a belaying rope, so we just pushed and prayed. Using rope and 2x4s in the doorway seems like an excellent way to control your stove's descent. Cut one of them the exact width of the doorway and nail another one to it that's a few inches longer on each end. That way it will be easier to position it, and it won't slip sideways once it's in place.
 

Slow1

Minister of Fire
Nov 26, 2008
2,677
Eastern MA
One good suggestion that helped us (going up stairs, but I think it applies going down too) was to attach a rope/strap to the axle of the dolly and run it under/through the dolly to the topside person(people). This gives a good pull point to slow the weight down from sliding down the stairs that can be well away from the actual stove. It is hard to get that second/third person near the handles of the dolly sometimes after all.
 

Battenkiller

Minister of Fire
Nov 26, 2009
3,739
Just Outside the Blue Line
cammer said:
As has been said a few times now, the appliance dolly (aka fridge cart) is the best way to go. You can get very creative with the way you place the stove on it. In a previous life we used to move electronics racks - complete with larger 12V batteries - on a fridge cart. Some of these weighed in excess of 1000lbs and we would move them both down and UP stairs. Get the guy(s) on the bottom to hold the cart "in" towards the stairs rather than attemptting to take any weight. You'll be amazed at how little effort is involved.

Cam
Cam, I don't doubt that you pros can handle this kind of stuff, but learning how on a 600 pound beauty is not how I'd go about it. Slow's idea seems really useful as well. With the piano I mentioned, the biggest problem was that only two guys could fit on the stairs just behind the piano. The other guys just pushed our butts up the stairs to help. Not very effective when you think about it.

I moved a 1500 pound metal lathe off a flatbed truck and into my shop, but the guy that sold it to me was experienced with moving big equipment. If I did it my way (like we did with the piano), I would have been crushed. He used pipe rollers and a come-along winch and it went without a hitch.
 

Chargerman

Feeling the Heat
Oct 22, 2009
369
SW Wisconsin
Thanks for the advice guys. I can't put the back of the stove against the rails of a dolly as the stove is wider than the door to get it through. I have moved heavy gun safes down stairs like this as well but this thing is really akward. I am using caution here because I know what it took to get the same model into my first level fireplace.

Maybe I should add a outside entrance to the basement. That would be nice for hauling in wood anyway.....Hmmmm.
 

Slow1

Minister of Fire
Nov 26, 2008
2,677
Eastern MA
Chargerman said:
Maybe I should add a outside entrance to the basement. That would be nice for hauling in wood anyway.....Hmmmm.
Don't you just love it when projects take on lives of their own and grow?
 

Wood Heat Stoves

Minister of Fire
Resiburner said:
Chargerman said:
Looking for some advice on getting a 500-600lb stove down a straight flight of stairs.

Would you guys take off the legs and slide it down planks with the help of some buddies or is there a better method?

I already am taking out the brick, door, and anything else to make it lighter.

Thanks
I do this for a living and we always use a appliance dolly. For a irregaler shape stove I put the back of the stove onto the rails of the dolly and strap the heck out of it to keep it secure. Two people at the bottom and one at the top it will slide right on down. It is a lot worse going up steps then down.
you move stoves for a living with an appliance dolly? yikes
a stair climbing lift like escalera is a must-that way one man can deliver and install most stoves solo
 

Danno77

Minister of Fire
Oct 27, 2008
5,008
Hamilton, IL
I once moved a safe that would have been similar in weight top a stove. I did it on my own with a board crossways at the doorway at the top of the stairs and a rope wrapped one full time around that board. I had two planks for the safe to roll down on a four wheeled dolly. It was a little difficult to hold the rope AND make sure the dolly ran down the planks straight, but two people would have NO problem doing it that way at all. Both people could be above the stove in case things went bad. Just one more option to consider.
 

daryl

Feeling the Heat
Jul 19, 2009
348
Western WI
Wood Heat Stoves said:
Resiburner said:
Chargerman said:
Looking for some advice on getting a 500-600lb stove down a straight flight of stairs.

Would you guys take off the legs and slide it down planks with the help of some buddies or is there a better method?

I already am taking out the brick, door, and anything else to make it lighter.

Thanks
I do this for a living and we always use a appliance dolly. For a irregaler shape stove I put the back of the stove onto the rails of the dolly and strap the heck out of it to keep it secure. Two people at the bottom and one at the top it will slide right on down. It is a lot worse going up steps then down.
you move stoves for a living with an appliance dolly? yikes
a stair climbing lift like escalera is a must-that way one man can deliver and install most stoves solo
We always use a two man crew. Always safer with two. Escalera,s are great but they are heavy and akward to get around. Once two guys learn to run a dolly together you can move a lot of weight without killing each other.
 

Dune

Minister of Fire
Yeah, back to the appliance dolly, I have a few, one on nantucket, one at my blacksmith shop, one at my parrents house and one at my brother's plumbing and heating shop. My brother and I have set many a six hundred pound boiler in the cellar of houses using an appliance dolly and a good piece of rope. And hauled them out the same way. As for the stove being too wide for the doorway, mount it sideways on the dolly. Done it that way many times. Hard work, but plenty safe enough if you are safety concious.
 

Chargerman

Feeling the Heat
Oct 22, 2009
369
SW Wisconsin
I will check out the local rental center for an appliance dolly. If the stove were placed on end I would have to build up a jig out of wood so that it would sit level on the dolly. I can see that working out as I don't want the stove shifting left or right on the way down.
 

webbie

Seasoned Moderator
Nov 17, 2005
12,176
Western Mass.
I've done a LOT of these, as well as worked with much heavier equipment (boilers up to 1800 lbs) down basement steps.

The most conservative way to do it might be to use planks and have a rope around it at the top and someone on the bottom - in most cases you will actually have to put pressure on it to make it go down the steps.

However, as pros we used appliance dollies (hand trucks) for most stoves up to about 550 lbs. If you do so, you must use a good hand truck - the one with the stair belts on the bottom and a GOOD rachet belt which goes around the stove. Lighten up the stove as much as possible by removing grates, doors and anything else which comes out.

We usually had one guy on the top and one on the bottom - again, if you do it right you will have it under complete control step by step, as you usually must raise the top of the hand truck a bit to make it go down the next step, etc.

If you do have someone on the bottom, it is often good for them to have a escape route in mind, although we never once had a runaway stove.
 

sksmass

Member
Dec 21, 2009
203
Western MA
Discretion is the bettor part of valor. If there is a non-trivial chance that you'll do either the stove or yourself a permanent damage, then at least explore the cost of hiring it out to someone with the right equipment and experience.

Heck, it may be even cheaper -- considering that you need to factor in the cost of renting the appliance dolly, the case of beer and three large pizzas you'll need to buy your friends, the return favors you'll owe them, buying a GOOD rope, fixing the damage to your door frame, and the chiropractor's boat payments.
 

Chargerman

Feeling the Heat
Oct 22, 2009
369
SW Wisconsin
sksmass said:
Discretion is the bettor part of valor. If there is a non-trivial chance that you'll do either the stove or yourself a permanent damage, then at least explore the cost of hiring it out to someone with the right equipment and experience.

Heck, it may be even cheaper -- considering that you need to factor in the cost of renting the appliance dolly, the case of beer and three large pizzas you'll need to buy your friends, the return favors you'll owe them, buying a GOOD rope, fixing the damage to your door frame, and the chiropractor's boat payments.
While you make some good points I would probably rate this no more dangerous than many of the other activities like dropping trees, running chainsaws, wood splitters, etc.

As for the help, they are the same guys who I make firewood with so there won't be any favors owed. Plus, we are a group of do it yourselfers anyway. I am looking at the stairway as we speak and I just might be able to use my trucks winch if I can get creative with a pulley setup.
 

Joe Matthews

Member
Sep 2, 2010
80
Raleigh NC
I think a winch would be overkill. If you can get a truck close enough with a winch you could use a trailer hitch ball on it to wrap a hold back rope on to safely lower it. A length of 1/2 inch poly rope would be more that adequate for this job, so no special rope is needed. Even 1/4 inch poly rope is rated at 600lbs, but the 1/2 inch would be a better choice. If you tied a rope to the stove you could take one or two round turns on the trailer ball and lower the stove down the stairs as slowly as you would like using one hand. When you pull back on the rope it is like you are putting on the brakes. Even if you were going to use a dolly to lower it down with some help, it is still a good idea to use a holdback rope. You never know when someone may stumble on the stairs and loose their grip, possibly sending the whole works crashing to the bottom. You also would most likely not want a greasy winch cable rubbing on your floor as it turns to go down the stairs. Good luck however you decide to do it.
 
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