New Homeowner looking for advice

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brecchi

New Member
Oct 12, 2021
13
Falling Waters
Hello, I'm starting from scratch and looking for some advice. We bought our first home in West VA earlier this year. Three floors, the basement and middle floor are about 1200 sq ft each, and a Cape Cod 3rd floor that's about 600-700 sq ft.

The basement actually has a wood stove, so the sq ft area I'd like to heat are actually just the top 2 floors, about 1900 sq ft. I'm looking to install a pellet stove in the second floor living room, although unfortunately the master bedroom on the 2nd floor is not conveniently located to where the stove would go.

Fortunately, the chimney which the wood stove in the basement is connected to is exactly where I want to put the pellet stove on the second floor, directly above it. There was a wood stove many years prior in the same spot, so I believe it wouldn't be too hard for a pro to install a new stove.

I'm looking to spend around 3k total, if possible. From my own research, it looks like the Comfortbilt HP22-N might work well for me. It looks like a nice balance between price, performance and size for my space. I really like the 3 split window setup.

Besides the right stove to get, I'm looking to find out the best way to purchase one, and how much it would roughly cost to have a specialist set it up. I can take and attach pictures of the space if that helps. Thanks in advance for any advice.

-Ben
 

johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
3,756
Eastern Ontario
Trying to heat 2 floors some do some don't
The thing to remember is that a pellet stove
is a space heater not a central furnace
your best bet is to have an installer look and
give you a price and advice
 

brecchi

New Member
Oct 12, 2021
13
Falling Waters
Thanks, its really about heating the main floor, we do have central heating as well so it would be a nice supplement more than anything else. The second floor is small and would just be a bit of "bonus" heating if we happen to be up there.

I'd be curious as to people's experiences with the Comfortbilt brand. I've read some stuff but haven't found too many detailed real world experiences described.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Feb 7, 2010
5,273
S.E. Michigan
My only comment is... If the basement wood stove is exhausting in that chimmney, you cannot exhaust a pellet -biomass stove in the same flue. It's against code for one and your insurance carrier will cancel you in a second if they found out and if you have a fire they won't pay on the policy if an investigation determines that is what you did. Stove brand irregardless. I'd call a professional installer and see what they say.

You won't get much for 3 grand. Just then venting required will be 500+

My 2 cents.
 

brecchi

New Member
Oct 12, 2021
13
Falling Waters
Thanks, this is the kind of thing I would have had no idea about.

I guess I will have to factor in the extra cost or (presumably) add another wood stove to keep things closer to the 3k mark.
 

mtnbiker727

Burning Hunk
Mar 11, 2019
185
PA
It's possible your chimney has two flues. My dad's oil furnace and his wood stove go into the same chimney, but each has it's own flue. Look in the basement and see if there are two cleanout doors. If you can't tell from the basement, it might be worth (carefully!!!!) taking a trip onto the roof and look at the top of the chimney.

If your chosen pellet stove has a constant burn option, and enough BTU output, you may be able to heat a lot of your home. But the house layout is very important as is the location of the stove. An open floorplan is a must, and open stairwells to the upstairs would help a lot as well.

You should rethink your budget. If you buy a cheap stove, you might not get what you were hoping for. And it will cost a bit for professional installers to come, especially if they're cutting open walls and stuff.

You're in West Virginia, or Western Virginia? How cold are your winters there? You might want to consider buying a bigger BTU stove than you think you need. Pellet stoves operate over a range of output, so if you think you want X BTU's to heat your house, you should buy a stove with a max BTU output higher than that, and then your stove won't have to crank at full throttle all the time to keep up.
 

brecchi

New Member
Oct 12, 2021
13
Falling Waters
Thanks, I'll check to see if there are 2 flues. The house was built in 1979, but we are on central heating and air with the large wood stove in the basement as a supplement. I'll check to see how many cleanout doors there are.

I think I'm good with the stove I was looking at if possible, the Comfortbilt HP22-N. I have yet to hear anything negative about it, on this thread or anywhere else so I'm assuming it will get the job done. I'd definitely like to hear some real world reviews. I could up my budget more, I just assumed around 2-2.5k for a stove, several hundred for piping and accessories and maybe 1k for an install directly into a chimney with pre-existing infrastructure. I'm realizing now that I may have to up the budget if another flue is needed, or perhaps just go with another wood stove (assuming 2 wood stoves can share the same flue.)

Again, its just a supplement, and I spend a lot of time in the room it will be in. Its right next to an open staircase which leads upstairs, although its badly suited to heat the master bedroom - separated by a large hallway wall.

I live in West Virginia, on the MD border. We are at the base of some mountains out here, in general we are abut 10 degrees cooler than DC, about 1.5 hours away. The BTU's of the Comfortbilt wouldn't be enought to heat the house on its own, but I think it would be more than enough as a supplement, no full throttle needed. Its a pretty powerful stove to begin with, as far as I can tell.
 

brecchi

New Member
Oct 12, 2021
13
Falling Waters
I didn't realize that, thanks for the insight.

Regarding the chimney, there doesn't seem to be any cleanout door - the chimney isn't mated to any exterior walls, its kind of in the middle of the house. The wood stove attaches to it at the base, I just clean the ashes from the stove. No cleanout door on the interior base of the chimney.

Am I ignorant and missing something simple?
 
Last edited:

johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
3,756
Eastern Ontario
Before you spend money on a stove get a sweep in to check your chimneys
for type, how many, and condition. Then you will have a good idea what it will cost you .
Also, a good time to have them cleaned
 

mtnbiker727

Burning Hunk
Mar 11, 2019
185
PA
Maybe we should have asked first: is it a brick chimney? This is generally what a cleanout door looks like at the base of the chimney. My dad's chimney has two, one for each flue.


Chimney_Cleanout327-DFs.jpg


If it's just a stove pipe running up through the middle of the house, then you won't see a cleanout door like this. You should, however be able to see if there is more than one pipe coming out of your roof (one for each stove). If not, you can direct vent the pellet stove pipe out through an exterior wall somewhere else. There are setbacks for windows and doors and stuff like that.

As far as your stove of choice, 50,000 BTUs is pretty good for supplemental heat. You could probably get away with only the pellet stove at least in the rooms nearest the stove.
 

johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
3,756
Eastern Ontario
That is typically a cleanout for a masonry chimney
each chimney will have one
If one is in use for your central heat other if not used can be for the pellet stove
Have it checked to make sure it is in good condition and clean
 

brecchi

New Member
Oct 12, 2021
13
Falling Waters
Maybe we should have asked first: is it a brick chimney? This is generally what a cleanout door looks like at the base of the chimney. My dad's chimney has two, one for each flue.


Chimney_Cleanout327-DFs.jpg


If it's just a stove pipe running up through the middle of the house, then you won't see a cleanout door like this. You should, however be able to see if there is more than one pipe coming out of your roof (one for each stove). If not, you can direct vent the pellet stove pipe out through an exterior wall somewhere else. There are setbacks for windows and doors and stuff like that.

As far as your stove of choice, 50,000 BTUs is pretty good for supplemental heat. You could probably get away with only the pellet stove at least in the rooms nearest the stove.
Hello, and yes, its a brick chimney. The somewhat weird thing (to me) is that the chimney is in in the middle of the house, i.e. it doesn't touch the exterior walls of the house. The base of the chimney is only visible right behind the wood stove in the basement, and there is no ash door to speak of. In regards to venting the pellet stove somewhere else, the closest wall unfortunately leads out to a large covered porch which I think would complicate things as it would have to be routed around that. I believe the pipe would also be pretty close to the stairs leading to the 3rd floor, possibly a safety issue.

I've attached some pictures. In order they are:

1. First 2 pics are the basement wood stove and the only visible part of the chimney base.

2. The upstars living room, directly above the wood stove. The brick wall is basically the middle part of the chimney.

3. An aerial view of the outside of the house, with chimney location. If you follow the chimney down to the second floor, the brick wall directly below it would be where the venting pipe would exit, if the chimney was not an option.

4. Close up of the top of the chimney. Its just an open space as far as I can see down, which is not far at all. I wasn't prepared to remove the top. Also, just FYI for everyone, the chimney had some touch up work done a year or so ago, and I believe it was serviced in the last 2 years as part of a previous house sale.

IMG_1103.jpeg IMG_1104.jpeg IMG_1105.jpeg 3e1ed81afdfeb064261d91c6f91f1d5a-uncropped_scaled_within_1536_1152.jpg IMG_1106.jpeg
 

johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
3,756
Eastern Ontario
From your photos, you only have the one flew
Will need to vent up through the roof or our
the side or back wall or last resort out and up
through the porch roofs
Just my nickles worth.
 
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SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Feb 7, 2010
5,273
S.E. Michigan
100% correct and if you read in any stove install instruction manual, it plainly states that a pellet stove cannot use an existing flue that another stove uses.

You are gonna have to vent is separately, through the roof or through the wall. Your other option is to remove the wood stove entirely and vent through there with a flexible liner to the top of the chimney.

Kind of an interesting arrangement on the wood stove too. I would have come straight up with a single 45 to the wall thimble and put the damper in the vertical. The more elbows you have the more ash collects in them.
 
Nov 14, 2021
1
WI
I have the Comfortbilt HP22. Bought it new from HD in oct of 2020. For the price and the BTU's, couldn't beat the deal. I was a bit skeptical at first to purchase from such an unknown company, however, I have yet to have any issues with it. Servicing it so far has been a breeze. The whole front opens up, so cleaning is easy. It heats our 3000sqft Victorian home nicely. The stove is not picky about pellets, I buy pellets from tractor supply for around $225/ton. They give you what they have in stock, which can vary depending on the time of year. The pellet hoper is on the smaller side, will only hold 40lbs, but it wasn't a deal breaker to me. There is NO low pellet alarm however, so due to the auger coring out the pellets, you have to shift the pellets by hand every couple hours. I graphite painted the inside of the hopper with EZslide, works great, helps keep the pellets from bridging up and seems to help keep down the coring. The ash pan needs to be emptied about once a day to every other day when running at full bore, but its a very easy task. All in all, I really like the HP22, it has served our family well so far.
 

zrock

Minister of Fire
Dec 2, 2017
1,162
bc
Looking at your chimney you may want to have a mason come and rebuild the upper part. You can see where it has been patched several times... This is going to lead to a early failure and water intrusion causing the brickwork to fail and cost you more money
 
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brecchi

New Member
Oct 12, 2021
13
Falling Waters
I have the Comfortbilt HP22. Bought it new from HD in oct of 2020. For the price and the BTU's, couldn't beat the deal. I was a bit skeptical at first to purchase from such an unknown company, however, I have yet to have any issues with it. Servicing it so far has been a breeze. The whole front opens up, so cleaning is easy. It heats our 3000sqft Victorian home nicely. The stove is not picky about pellets, I buy pellets from tractor supply for around $225/ton. They give you what they have in stock, which can vary depending on the time of year. The pellet hoper is on the smaller side, will only hold 40lbs, but it wasn't a deal breaker to me. There is NO low pellet alarm however, so due to the auger coring out the pellets, you have to shift the pellets by hand every couple hours. I graphite painted the inside of the hopper with EZslide, works great, helps keep the pellets from bridging up and seems to help keep down the coring. The ash pan needs to be emptied about once a day to every other day when running at full bore, but its a very easy task. All in all, I really like the HP22, it has served our family well so far.
Thanks very much for this real world review. I'm probably going to end up with the HP22-N, which has the larger hopper. Its a bit hard to bite the bullet when a PelPro is around $800 cheaper, but I really like the design, larger hopper, and thermostat that the Comfortbilt has.
 

brecchi

New Member
Oct 12, 2021
13
Falling Waters
Looking at your chimney you may want to have a mason come and rebuild the upper part. You can see where it has been patched several times... This is going to lead to a early failure and water intrusion causing the brickwork to fail and cost you more money
Thanks for the advice, I never would have known otherwise. Do you have any idea how much it might cost to have a repair down by a professional?
 

sam08861

Member
Jan 30, 2019
108
NW NJ
As some anecdotal information.

I purchased a 25 pdv englander (The Summer's Heat branded model) at Lowes (or maybe it was HD, I can't remember) and in my 3rd year of ownership.

Costs: Stove $1500, 4" flue kit, $150 (vented out the side of the house), $100 approximately for the inspection/permits and $100 for a 'hearth' (looks like a 2" tall floor mat, but made of fireproof tile and has a steel border) as required by the person performing the inspection.

Stove was pretty easy to install and took maybe 3-4 hours total. Biggest part are making 2 holes in the side of the house.. one for the exhaust thimble and one for the cold air intake.

House is 2,700 square feet, give or take, and also has a basement not included in that figure. House also has natura gas central heat, but between delivery charges and cost here in NJ, about twice as expensive to heat that way vs. pellets.

The stove, which is rated for 2,200 square feed, heats the whole house fairly easily and most of the time I'm able to run it at a 2 or 3 (out of 9) setting to keep my house at ~70 through the winter. When the temperature dips into the low 30s, I am at 4 or 5 and when it's closer to zero, I'm usually at 6-8.

I do also run the big vornado fan on the low setting when it get's extra cold as that really helps to circulate the air evenly. If you have ceiling fans, that will be even better. In my case I have a great room that's 2 stories that seems to collect the heat and be warmer than other areas, if I don't run the fan. I simply point the fan straight up to cause the air to mix.

Good luck with your search!
 
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