Need help with overall heating plan

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kenpino

New Member
Aug 29, 2023
2
Reserve, New Mexico
Hi,

I am new to this forum. We live very rural, and totally off grid. We have an older stone home with minimal insulation on our property. We generate all of our electricity with a hydro electric plant. For the last 27 years we have had an abundance of electricity from our hydro plant. We have heated this stone home with electric heaters. This has been quite satisfactory. Climate change is affecting the flow in our river and thus our electricity production. We need an alternative to the electric heaters. There is no basement and no attic, thus no place for ducting. I have uploaded the basic floor plan for the house. There are 2 very old, totally inefficient woodstoves in the house. We are planning to replace the stoves with high efficiency double burn stoves. There is a 5” gap at the top of the Adobe Brick walls between the top of the wall and ceiling that I hope will serve to move heat into Rooms C and F (on the floor plan). All the doors between the rooms can pretty much stay open all the time. I am hoping this will be sufficient to “spread” the heat throughout the house. Any suggestions and/or comments about this plan?

The exception and what I mostly need help with is Room A. There is an older man with health issues that lives in this room. For a number of reasons, the door between Rooms A and D must stay closed most of the time. It is important that Room A stay consistently warm. The wall between the rooms is a standard framed sheetrock wall. I was thinking of cutting some small vent openings between the rooms and using small circulation fans to move warm air into Room A. I have read that using fans can create negative pressure issues in Room D (in our case) that could cause back drafting in the woodstove.

Any help with how to proceed would be greatly appreciated. Will fans be an issue? Where to place them? What else might work? Is there any other approach that is better? Does it seem like the overall plan for the house will work?

Thank You.
 

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Welcome. Are you planning on replacing both stoves or just one? If the stove is in room D then put a fan on the floor of room A (a box or table fan running on low speed will do) and point it toward room D. This will pull cooler air from rm A into rm D. In turn warm air will return into rm A from rm D.

What are some of the dimensions of these rooms? What is the overall sq ftg of the house?
 
Welcome. Are you planning on replacing both stoves or just one? If the stove is in room D then put a fan on the floor of room A (a box or table fan running on low speed will do) and point it toward room D. This will pull cooler air from rm A into rm D. In turn warm air will return into rm A from rm D.

What are some of the dimensions of these rooms? What is the overall sq ftg of the house?

Problem is that the door between room a and d has to remain closed so a fan won't work.
 
Hi,

I am new to this forum. We live very rural, and totally off grid. We have an older stone home with minimal insulation on our property. We generate all of our electricity with a hydro electric plant. For the last 27 years we have had an abundance of electricity from our hydro plant. We have heated this stone home with electric heaters. This has been quite satisfactory. Climate change is affecting the flow in our river and thus our electricity production. We need an alternative to the electric heaters. There is no basement and no attic, thus no place for ducting. I have uploaded the basic floor plan for the house. There are 2 very old, totally inefficient woodstoves in the house. We are planning to replace the stoves with high efficiency double burn stoves. There is a 5” gap at the top of the Adobe Brick walls between the top of the wall and ceiling that I hope will serve to move heat into Rooms C and F (on the floor plan). All the doors between the rooms can pretty much stay open all the time. I am hoping this will be sufficient to “spread” the heat throughout the house. Any suggestions and/or comments about this plan?

The exception and what I mostly need help with is Room A. There is an older man with health issues that lives in this room. For a number of reasons, the door between Rooms A and D must stay closed most of the time. It is important that Room A stay consistently warm. The wall between the rooms is a standard framed sheetrock wall. I was thinking of cutting some small vent openings between the rooms and using small circulation fans to move warm air into Room A. I have read that using fans can create negative pressure issues in Room D (in our case) that could cause back drafting in the woodstove.

Any help with how to proceed would be greatly appreciated. Will fans be an issue? Where to place them? What else might work? Is there any other approach that is better? Does it seem like the overall plan for the house will work?

Thank You.
Are you following this thread?

 
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While having stoves going 24/7 will create natural convection that will keep the heating relatively equal (as just described in the thread EbS-P just linked), your issue is that you're trying to maintain a very small delta (2 - 4 degrees?) across an interior wall, with a very large delta (50 degrees) across an exterior wall, whereas their R value ratios are likely less than 12:1 or 24:1. Obviously, you will need to either move air between room a and another warmer room, or to add supplemental heat to room a.

Is your electric supply sufficient to keep an electric space heater going in room a, for that little bit of added heat required there, while carrying the rest of the load on the stoves?
 
Problem is that the door between room a and d has to remain closed so a fan won't work.
The principle is the same, but it may take an in-the-wall fan to accomplish the circulation if the door has to stay closed. If there is a 5" open gap on top of the dividing wall then than can act as a return. If not, then a return grille may be needed.
Is your electric supply sufficient to keep an electric space heater going in room a, for that little bit of added heat required there, while carrying the rest of the load on the stoves?
Had the same thought. It may be simplest to just heat the one area electrically if it must be isolated from the rest of the place unless an in-the-wall fan can be worked out. Even then, it may be wise to leave an electric heater in the room to maintain a consistent temp.
 
Why not use mini-splits? They have to use less electric than electric heaters and you can control each room/zone. The price of stoves would buy the mini splits and not need wood.
 
Sorry I did not reply sooner. I did reply last Friday but apparently I forgot click the "post" button before I logged off.
Thanks for all the help. The building is just a little under 2000 square feet. Room A is ~265, B ~130, C & F ~360, D ~200, and E ~600. Bathrooms and closets attached to a room are included in the square footages for that room.

The 5" gap between the top of the walls and the ceiling is only above the adobe wall. The other walls go all the way to the ceiling. Therefore Rooms A and B are the only rooms that do not have a gap into Room D or E where the stoves are. I don't think Room B will be a problem because the door is almost always open.

When I originally posted I was under the false impression that fans would create pressure differentials that would cause the drafting issues with the woodstove. The replies about fans and venting are helpful. The wall between Rooms D and A is a standard framed sheetrock wall with no insulation and it would be very easy to install vents and, if needed, in-wall fans. So maybe keeping the door closed most of the time won't be a problem.

I am hoping to find a solution that will not require electric heaters even as supplemental or backup. These would work under the current circumstances, but we really don't know what might happen with the river in the future. There has been significant changes in the last few years. Low water is seasonal so at least for now, it is not a year round issue but the water tends to be on the lower end during the coldest (and hottest) months. I can easily see it getting to the point where there would not be enough electricity available for any electric heating. The same applies to mini splits. They are much more efficient but even so, some day we may not have the electricity available.

The link to ducting options is helpful. I am in process investigating this. The main problem with ducting is no basement or attic so any ducting would need to be near the ceiling and exposed. It still might be an option.

Thanks again!!
 
The best insurance may be to start adding more solar and a bigger battery bank and insulate room A heavily.