I could really use some advice please. Wood Stove/Heat Pump

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WoodStove182

New Member
Nov 7, 2016
2
Saint John Nb
The house I am buying has a Pacific Energy wood stove thats in pretty good shape. It has a nice chimney and everything is mint.

Its a 1400 SQ FT home with a full basement. The house is well insulated but the currently home owners barely burn any wood and have been using baseboard heaters creating a huge electricity cost. I checked their bill and they spend $500/month in the winter.

The house has 4 acres of land with a bunch of hard wood trees.

My wife wants to get a heat pump but I'm thinking I can heat the entire home with just the wood stove.

Maybe I should get the heat pump for times where I can't make a fire (Gone for the weekend or vacation)
Or so it can heat the upstairs late at night when I don't want to feed the fire.

Having a heat pump installed (Ductless) will cost me $4000 and I'm trying to justify that price when I can buy a 90,000 BTU stove for $1250 and it should heat the place just fine.

Unfortunately the house has no vents from the basement to the upstairs so the only way the heat can travel is through the basement stairway.


I am so confused and not sure what I should do... I just really want to save money!!
Please help!!!
 

mcdougy

Minister of Fire
Apr 15, 2014
673
ontario
Is propane an option in your part of NB? Electricity is going to get ridiculous in this country of ours. I thought there was a push for natural gas in the east as well? But yes you are correct a wood stove will heat your home. What model is the stove or dimensions? Realize that 4 acres of trees will not be enough for long, do you have another source of wood? IMO heat pumps are inefficient .
 

WoodStove182

New Member
Nov 7, 2016
2
Saint John Nb
Is propane an option in your part of NB? Electricity is going to get ridiculous in this country of ours. I thought there was a push for natural gas in the east as well? But yes you are correct a wood stove will heat your home. What model is the stove or dimensions? Realize that 4 acres of trees will not be enough for long, do you have another source of wood? IMO heat pumps are inefficient .


I guess propane is an option, I'll have to look into it.

The stove is a Pacific Energy something.. it was installed in 1998, I don't know the dimensions off hand..

I have no idea if its even big enough to heat the house
 

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Poindexter

Minister of Fire
Jun 28, 2014
2,367
Fairbanks, Alaska
Is the existing stove in the basement or upstairs?

Where would you be spending most of tour time?

How much effort to move the stove upstairs and tag the exisiting chimney?

What i do is set all my oil furnace thermostats at 55-60 df so the water pipes dont freeze whwn the stove goes out, and supplement the oil furnace by burning wood. ur insutance agent really really wants tp hear you say supplement, s/he wants to write a supplemental wood stove policy rider. imsurance companies in general dont want you to use wood as your primary heat source just saying.
 

Rearscreen

Minister of Fire
Dec 21, 2014
743
Vermont
Look into hydronic radiant floor, heat objects not air.
 

StihlKicking

Feeling the Heat
Jan 12, 2016
488
Hatchie Bottom, MS
I'm not an expert on much but from hard experience I feel like I've earned the right to say heat pumps SUCK! I live way down south in MS and my heat pump is so inefficient that I would have $300-400 a month power bills to keep my home 69 degrees during our mild MS winters. I would imagine that Canadian winters are much harsher and that you would be very unhappy with a heat pump. After 2 years of putting up with the heat pump I installed a wood boiler and couldn't be happier.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,518
South Puget Sound, WA
I'm not an expert on much but from hard experience I feel like I've earned the right to say heat pumps SUCK! I live way down south in MS and my heat pump is so inefficient that I would have $300-400 a month power bills to keep my home 69 degrees during our mild MS winters. I would imagine that Canadian winters are much harsher and that you would be very unhappy with a heat pump. After 2 years of putting up with the heat pump I installed a wood boiler and couldn't be happier.
That's like saying all wood stoves suck. There is a huge difference between old and basic heat pump designs and some modern high efficiency ones, just like with wood stoves. We heat our house with an efficient 2-stage heat pump that heats down to 25F pretty well. Some inverter mini-splits heat down to -5F. That's not to discourage wood heating. Actually the combo is pretty nice, so we switch to wood when temps drop into the mid-40's. The electric bill has never been very high, but perhaps our power is less expensive at ~$.10/kwh.
 
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firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,406
Unity/Bangor, Maine
I know a few folks down here in Maine who have mini split heat pumps who have been quite happy with them. One friend pretty much heats his house with the mini split and a wood pellet stove that he cranks up when it gets especially cold.

Me . . . I would want to do both the mini split and a woodstove if I were you. The woodstove could be used to provide the main source of heat on the cheap (assuming you have a source of wood and don't have to buy it) and would give you the option of heating the home when the power goes down, but a mini split (or the -- gasp -- electric baseboard) could be used to provide heat for those times when you are away from the house for a longer period of time (i.e. you decide to go to Barbados in January, are sick with the 72 hour flu or decide to drive to Bangor for the day to do some Christmas shopping.)
 
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EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
You can likely cut down that electric bill by turning down/off rooms that you don't use. How's your insulation? There's no sense paying to heat the outdoors regardless of the heat source. Why not have that chimney/stove checked out, and see if there is a reason why they decided to suck up a $500 bill for months of the year when there was a wood stove down stairs. Maybe the heat doesn't move well without fans. Its better to learn these things before dropping piles of cash.
 

StihlKicking

Feeling the Heat
Jan 12, 2016
488
Hatchie Bottom, MS
That's like saying all wood stoves suck. There is a huge difference between old and basic heat pump designs and some modern high efficiency ones, just like with wood stoves. We heat our house with an efficient 2-stage heat pump that heats well down to 25F pretty well. Some inverter mini-splits heat down to -5F. That's not to discourage wood heating. Actually the combo is pretty nice, so we switch to wood when temps drop into the mid-40's. The electric bill has never been very high, but perhaps our power is less expensive at ~$.10/kwh.

I have a 2 ton mini split and a 4 ton package heat pump. Both 3 years old both carrier brand units. I can't speak for any other heat pumps but mine are not great. They are expensive to operate and produce poor quality heat. I'll have to see what I pay per KWh.
 

VirginiaIron

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2013
1,086
Central Virginia
That is a nice stove. I looked at that stove, but decided on another brand. I have a heat pump with oil backup and I like it very much. We have also been very happy with the hot water radiant heat, oil fired, but when the fuel jumped I need to make changes. When fuel was .89 a gallon, our heating bill was about $2.67 a day, but installed the heat pump when fuel sharply increased. With a fossil fuel kit, my oil furnace only comes on in defrost and has been minimal over the last several years. Several factors are involved with heat pumps. Typically, the heat pump will perform better at moderate temperatures and that is nice when I do not want to bother with wood, or company is coming over, etc. When it gets cold, and it is below the structures balance point, heat pumps require supplemental heat in the form of electrical resistance, oil, or gas. My electric has been the highest in the winter, but that is relative. I thought mine was high at $90, but some of my family and friends are complaining about several hundred dollars a month. With the heat pump, I would suggest an upper and lower return that can be switched, if it can be installed. With my heat pump, I close off my lower return in summer and let the heat return through the uppers. In winter, I close the upper return and let the cold air return for heating. Now that I have a large wood stove, I will keep the uppers open when the stove runs so that it will spread the heated air.
 

ckr74

Burning Hunk
Mar 3, 2006
136
There's nothing wrong with a heat pump if it's sized correctly. I think some people think that there's supposed to be a hot blast of air coming from the registers when it comes on. Not going to happen. Don't do large setbacks when the space is unoccupied and don't make large temp. changes at the thermostat. Heat pumps are designed to run constantly when close to the balance point.
 
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MaintenanceMan

Minister of Fire
Feb 25, 2010
526
Southern IN
I worked in the HVAC field for years. What is the current a/c situation in the house? Is there any ductwork at all?
 

Simonkenton

Minister of Fire
Feb 27, 2014
1,974
Marshall NC
We have a nice big 2200 sq ft rental house in Asheville NC. The old oil furnace went out 3 years ago. We made the mistake of letting our heating and air company talk us into replacing with a heat pump.
This thing is bad news. Very high electricity bills and the tenants complain that the house is not warm enough. We had to buy 2 plug in electric heaters to put in the bedrooms so they could get the bedrooms warm. Needless to say this really put electric bills through the roof.
We wish we had gone with a propane central gas furnace.

I know some people down in Georgia who have heat pumps and they are not happy.
 
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StihlKicking

Feeling the Heat
Jan 12, 2016
488
Hatchie Bottom, MS
We have a nice big 2200 sq ft rental house in Asheville NC. The old oil furnace went out 3 years ago. We made the mistake of letting our heating and air company talk us into replacing with a heat pump.
This thing is bad news. Very high electricity bills and the tenants complain that the house is not warm enough.
We wish we had gone with a propane central gas furnace.

I know some people down in Georgia who have heat pumps and they are not happy.

I would rather pay a high gas/petro bill and have a hot blast of air from my registers than pay a high electricity bill and have a heat pump keep my house "balanced". Very poor quality heat. I live in a comparatively warm state, and this is pretty much the consensus on heat pumps. I can't imagine people further north liking these things. My buddy in PA had one installed and replaced it two years later with a wood boiler. He said that it was completely worthless in the PA winter and constantly ran on backup. Very expensive and cold.
 

VirginiaIron

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2013
1,086
Central Virginia
Heat pumps get bad reviews when they are improperly designed and/or installed, or installed in the wrong application. If the workmanship is poor, if the air ducts have gaps, joints that are not sealed and/or taped properly, or ducts that are not insulated/properly insulated the customer will suffer. I went into an attic one summer day, close to 100 degrees and due to the poor workmanship, the attic was cooler than the living space below. Also, it is important to keep the air filter and coils clean (indoor and out) as this will permit a better heat transfer. I am a believer since heat pumps typically provide a better coefficient of performance.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,518
South Puget Sound, WA
I have a 2 ton mini split and a 4 ton package heat pump. Both 3 years old both carrier brand units. I can't speak for any other heat pumps but mine are not great. They are expensive to operate and produce poor quality heat. I'll have to see what I pay per KWh.
Sounds like you are heating/cooling a large space. In your climate it could be the systems were designed for best cooling performance. Conversely our system was designed and chosen based on heating performance. We've used the AC side about once a year for the past 10 yrs..
 

MaintenanceMan

Minister of Fire
Feb 25, 2010
526
Southern IN
One thing to consider about any heat pump is the air temperature coming out is fairly cool compared to wood heat. A lot of folks tend to think of them as drafty when they are used to other forms of heat that put off much higher temps.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,518
South Puget Sound, WA
Draftiness is often an issue with poor supply register locations. This can happen with ceiling mounted registers which is really better for AC and not heating. A good system should not blow air on people, but instead should be located in the floor around perimeter walls.
 

mcdougy

Minister of Fire
Apr 15, 2014
673
ontario
Here in Canada the building science has conceded that heat pumps are a dismal choice. Anything currently that relies on niagra falls is a disadvantage. I believe that there are happy people with heat pumps and also believe that they drove a pinto and felt safe :)
 
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