Insert upstairs and wood stove downstairs dilemma

Hoodster

New Member
Aug 11, 2019
3
Washington
I am currently considering installing a 70k BTU wood burning insert in my upstairs fireplace, and a 56k BTU wood stove in the basement. The upstairs area is about 1300 sq feet, and the basement is just over 600 sq feet. I was wondering if anyone had an opinion on whether installing both units is worth the extra cost? Would I be better off installing a lager wood stove downstairs and nothing up upstairs for half the cost? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
80,791
South Puget Sound, WA
The stove is primarily an area heater. If installed downstairs, how would the heat get upstairs? Is the area open with an open stairwell nearby? Where do you spend the most time in the winter?
 

Hoodster

New Member
Aug 11, 2019
3
Washington
We are in the process of buying the house, but I’m sure we will spend most of our time upstairs. The downstairs is open to a decent size stairwell, and I’m assuming the heat pump will help circulate the heat.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
80,791
South Puget Sound, WA
Then it sounds like the stove would be best sized for heating the upstairs. A ducted heat pump system may help to distribute the heat if the ducts are properly sealed and all are well insulated.

It's better to go by firebox size and shape than btu output. Climate will make a difference. Is this for eastern or western WA or is the new house in Oregon, near Mt.Hood?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
80,791
South Puget Sound, WA
The question is whether a large stove downstairs will heat the house adequately. It might. This will depend on how easily heat will convect upstairs, whether the basement has a ground-level access to bring in wood, the basement insulation, whether it's ok to have the basement at say 80F for 72F upstairs, etc.. If there the only access to the basement is upstairs, then I'd start with just the upstairs seeing that area is what is most used. Running two stoves, hauling wood down to the basement, gets old.
 

coutufr

Feeling the Heat
Sep 16, 2017
253
Montréal
I live in a much colder climate than yours (Montreal) in a cottage + finished basement. I run the central air all winter and my Ashford 30 heats the whole house easily. Basement is 21c and main floor is 26c all winter. If I don’t run the fan the basement is at 15 - 16c which is ok if you don’t really spend time there. I would buy a quality wood stove for the main floor and improve the insulation. My basement concrete walls have been sprayed with urethane.
 
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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
16,724
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
I’m amused at the “70k btu “ insert. Don’t think for a second that this insert will make heat like a 70k btu furnace.
 

Simonkenton

Minister of Fire
Feb 27, 2014
1,513
Marshall NC
Upstairs Downstairs Basement ??

Is this a one story house with a basement? If so, put the wood stove in the upstairs and forget about the basement.
 
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jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
4,536
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
Some people do heat from their basements successfully, but it can be very difficult.

First, venting can be a problem. Draft may be very high due to a 30'+ tall stack through the roof, or draft may be low due to multiple elbows.

Air intake is usually a problem for those wanting or needing outside air. The air can't be supplied from above the firebox to prevent Bad Things from happening in case of draft reversal, and this is generally an impossible ask unless it's a walk-out basement that is only partially below grade.

Then the install has to cope with the fact that the earth is an infinite heat sink. The only way to deal with this is to insulate the floors and walls, and a lot of people don't want to hear it (though they sometimes do still want to say that their stove doesn't put out much heat).

Once all of the above issues are overcome, there's the big one: heat distribution. How will you get the warm air upstairs? (There are a jillion threads on this topic here.)

So basement stoves: success is possible, but there's a lot more obstacles to success than a main level stove faces.
 

gordonm1

New Member
Jun 16, 2019
5
Yakima, WA
Edit to be more on point:
I think I would get the big stove like you planned for the main floor and forget the basement remembering you will have the option of running your central fan to circulate heated air downstairs. 600SF in a hole is too small an area to burn safely in my ignorant opinion. If it really is safe I would think you could add it later if you want to occupy the basement more.

I just did my first fire in a new regency 2600. I'm in Yakima in a 1950's brick rancher with daylight basement 1500/1500. I have a main floor fireplace but I put the new insert in the basement where the old uncertified insert was. My installer agreed with the location since he was going to be removing the old insert as part of the "deal" for the install.

There's other reasons for the location choice, keep main floor cleaner, keep the controversial wood burner out of sight, and the upstairs location has the face and one side open and selection did not allow for a good looking fit.

I burn to offset power cost from the heat pump when it is working hard near freezing temps. My central fan for the heat pump is a big help on distributing heat to the upstairs. I run the central fan on low and only notice a draft when the place is cold and warming up. I'm just learning my new insert so I'll try to come back with more to report this winter. I have apple wood from orchards and mill ends that are dry to burn. I don't expect the 78,000 BTU rating insert to keep up with the worst cold until I seal up the basement better but I expect less wood will be used since the firebox is half the size now.
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
20,264
central pa
Upstairs Downstairs Basement ??

Is this a one story house with a basement? If so, put the wood stove in the upstairs and forget about the basement.
What if the basement is living space? I really prefer heating from the basement regardless
 

gordonm1

New Member
Jun 16, 2019
5
Yakima, WA
My new ci2600 installed this summer has a temperature probe that is now only reading "HI". you press the power button and you see "-18.7" flash and then it reads "HI". This is after only the first test burn when the gauge was originally showing the temps rise to upper 600's F?
Edit: While I wait for a warranty replacement temperature probe I removed the backing plates for the insert and looked at the install and cleaning. I had an old insert that was open at the top with no pipe/liner. Shiny creosote is everywhere above the insert. Should all that be cleaned out when you install a liner in the chimney?
 
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