Pellet Stove placement help?

mudeprived

Burning Hunk
Oct 9, 2016
157
SW PA
Hi everybody.

I am in the market for a pellet stove for my 960 sq ft home and need help with placement.

I have a basement (also 960 sq ft) that has not so great insulation and half of it is above ground so it gets pretty cold down there. Last year it hit as low as 38. Brrrr. Upstairs is heated by electric baseboard with individual controllers in each room. The house has no ducting.

I have narrowed down my choices to the Pleasant Hearth Cabinet Style stove and Comfortbilt HP22. I'm trying to figure out where to place the stove.

I had an idea of placing it in the middle of the cold basement and adding a few vents in each room upstairs to allow the heat to rise but I'm not sure if the stove will produce enough heat to deal with the cold down there plus heat upstairs some. Will this work for the time being until I can get insulation on the walls downstairs?

Should I forget downstairs and place it upstairs in the living room or guest room? The guest room is the room straight down the hall. If I place it in that room then all the heat will blow into each room of the hallway and hit the kitchen and living room at the end. I could place it in the living room but the opening to that room is like a door way so it's not "open" enough for heat to spread throughout the house....unless it will?

I've never owned a pellet stove so I'm not sure of it's heating capabilities....hence the reason I'm asking you guys. :)

Let me know if you got any input or advice.

Thanks

Chris
 

bogieb

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2014
2,801
South Central NH
I would not count on enough heat rising to keep the living quarters warm enough. Been there done that with a 650 s/f basement and 950 sq/ft main floor - using a P61a; a stove more than capable of heating way more area than I have. I cut vents in the floor plus took the door off the stairway but during the deep of winter the warmest spot on the main floor was mid 60's while the basement was in the 80's and 90's.Used vent fans (forcing air up and down in all kinds of configurations), and that had some impact but still the bedrooms got very cold at high 40's. I slept on the couch all winter because it was too cold in the bedrooms. Even after installing rigid foam insulation along the block foundation, I ended up putting another stove on the main floor (P61a is too big to place on main floor). I will allow as to many people have successfully heated their homes from a basement stove, but you can't count on it.

If you chose to place the stove on the main floor, the heat will distribute much better if you give it a straight shot down the hall. Not saying it won't heat the house in another configuration (you living room), but less need of other fans, or overheating the stove room if the heat is naturally distributed via the stove fan. It is hard to believe the difference just a cant of 45* degrees makes in heat distribution. My first stove that I had in the living room (see drawing) was at a 45 (a true corner set up), in the exact same placement as my current stove - which is pointed straight down the hall. With a true corner set up - the heat stream was pointed at the dead corner in the LR and I had to use several fans to help move heat down the hall. With my current set up (in the drawing), I don't use any supplemental fans.

If I had it to do over, I would have two stoves, but a smaller (and as a by-product, cheaper), one downstairs. However I do love the P61 (along with my P43) and both areas stay toasty warm with the two stoves. Additionally, it is nice to know that if the main floor stove is down (hasn't happened, but just in case), then the P61a will be able to keep the house warm enough to keep from freezing - I would just have to avoid the bedrooms.

Hopefully I made sense in my description of the two set ups I've tried on the main floor. If not, let me know if you have any questions.




Main Floor P43 stove Layout.jpg
 
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Lake Girl

Moderator
Nov 12, 2011
6,940
NW Ontario
Not a good idea to cut holes in the floor as it is ilegal because it proots fire spread if the worst happens putting you and firefighters at greater risk . A cold air return behind where the stove resides downstairs has been found to be helpful. Generally very difficult to heat from a basement especially if uninsulated. Money spent on insulating, upgrading windows, etc is always money well spent.

A sketch or pics of upstairs layout and location of stairwell would help.
 

mudeprived

Burning Hunk
Oct 9, 2016
157
SW PA
Thanks for the quick replies. My upstairs is almost the same as the diagram above. The only differences are the living room is on left, kitchen on right, and living room entrance is before the stairs. The bottom right guest room has the full width of the hallway for the door so I figured placing it in there will blow heat down the hallway into all the rooms.

Then maybe install a 2nd smaller stove downstairs. I can warm the basement to 70 with a kerosene heater so it wouldn't take a big stove to heat it.
 

Lake Girl

Moderator
Nov 12, 2011
6,940
NW Ontario
Pellet stoves cannot be in bedrooms. Really not a good way to catch both kitchen and living room as in bogieb's house?
 

mudeprived

Burning Hunk
Oct 9, 2016
157
SW PA
Pellet stoves cannot be in bedrooms. Really not a good way to catch both kitchen and living room as in bogieb's house?
Here's my layout. We do plan to tear down the small south wall that sticks up at the entrance to the living room to open it up more.

The left side is the street side a.k.a "back of the house". The south is the driveway side. The right has my front porch and parking spot. The top faces trees and my neighbor's house. My house is built the opposite of most houses, backwards.
 

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bogieb

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2014
2,801
South Central NH
Pellet stoves cannot be in bedrooms. Really not a good way to catch both kitchen and living room as in bogieb's house?
Pellet stoves are not allowed in sleeping rooms of mobile homes (according to my stove manual). It doesn't say anything about stick built homes. However, I would caution you to check the manual of the stove you plan to buy (for restrictions) along with your state and local regulations. And also check with your insurance company before installing if you determine the guest room is where you really want it. Even if they all say it is okay, you should still recognize that you will lose a lot of furniture space to the clearances required and that you don't want the possibility of bedding being pushed off and into the restricted zone. Not saying you shouldn't do it, just make sure that is what you want to do (heck, I sleep in my living room most of the time, so technically my stove is in my bedroom)

If you open up that doorway, a corner install in the living room would allow a lot of the airstream to be pushed thru. However, when it bumps into the corner of the bathroom, I don't have any idea of what it will do.
 

Lake Girl

Moderator
Nov 12, 2011
6,940
NW Ontario
Could always try a large fan in the proposed spot and tape up some flagging ribbon (use painter tape) to see what convection loop would be generated. Fan should be approximate height of the stove heat exchanger.
 
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Lake Girl

Moderator
Nov 12, 2011
6,940
NW Ontario
It won't be exact because you won't have the full effect of the warmer air moving out of the stove and colder air being pulled into the stove from closer to the floor. At least it will give you an idea...
 

mudeprived

Burning Hunk
Oct 9, 2016
157
SW PA
Ok I over-did this test project a bit lol. I bought black knitting string and started cutting 4 foot sections and taping them to ceiling throughout the first floor. Every room and the hallway had a bunch of string hanging all over. I soon learned that I converted the house into a play house for our 11 month old kitten. :rolleyes:

I placed the fan in the guest room against the left wall facing the door and turned it on. There was air flow going about 4-5 feet into the hallway and then nothing. Barely any of it entered the bedrooms on the left. I did not see any string movement in the kitchen. This was a bit strange.

I then moved the fan to the top left corner of the living room aiming towards the entrance. There was string movement throughout the kitchen and about 4 feet down the hall way. I believe this is the better spot of the two and once I take down that small section of vertical wall then it will open up for more heat distribution.
 
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Lake Girl

Moderator
Nov 12, 2011
6,940
NW Ontario
Sounds like the kitten had fun! A little early for a creepy house for Halloween;lol Kind of figured the LR corner would be better but you never know... Sometimes better to see airflow in action rather than what logic dictates.

Keep us posted on the install. Doing it yourself? Pay careful attention to clearances. Likely safest to vent out the wall without the window just make sure there are no intakes for furnace, gas meter if you have one etc. Should install an outside air kit.

Keep the cat off the top of the stove and away from the vent pipe as they do get warm. Cat and dog have singed fur off tails on the door glass at our house!
 
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mudeprived

Burning Hunk
Oct 9, 2016
157
SW PA
Sounds like the kitten had fun! A little early for a creepy house for Halloween;lol Kind of figured the LR corner would be better but you never know... Sometimes better to see airflow in action rather than what logic dictates.

Keep us posted on the install. Doing it yourself? Pay careful attention to clearances. Likely safest to vent out the wall without the window just make sure there are no intakes for furnace, gas meter if you have one etc. Should install an outside air kit.

Keep the cat off the top of the stove and away from the vent pipe as they do get warm. Cat and dog have singed fur off tails on the door glass at our house!
Yeah the top wall in the LR has no windows or anything restricting the exhaust vent so it is a perfect candidate. I will also install the oak according to the directions of the stove.

I need to choose a stove now. I have the Pleasant Hearth Cabinet and Comfortbilt HP22 as my top two but I'm starting to sway toward the Castle Serenity based on the reviews here. I like the PH stove cuz of it's 5 year warranty and huge hopper. I like the HP22 because of it's reliability and build quality. But now alot of you guys here recommend the Serenity. I guess I gotta research some more....
 
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Lake Girl

Moderator
Nov 12, 2011
6,940
NW Ontario
A cautionary note on the comfortbilt, I have yet to see any mention of UL testing, Warnock hersey, or Intertek certification. Manual is silent on that so you may want to confirm testing before buying. Save you from getting in trouble with your insurance company.

Pleasant hearth has the intertek cert so you are good to go there. I think the Serenity is OK that way too but the manual isn't downloading for me tonight.
 
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bogieb

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2014
2,801
South Central NH
Ok I over-did this test project a bit lol. I bought black knitting string and started cutting 4 foot sections and taping them to ceiling throughout the first floor. Every room and the hallway had a bunch of string hanging all over. I soon learned that I converted the house into a play house for our 11 month old kitten. :rolleyes:.
That is funny!

I placed the fan in the guest room against the left wall facing the door and turned it on. There was air flow going about 4-5 feet into the hallway and then nothing. Barely any of it entered the bedrooms on the left. I did not see any string movement in the kitchen. This was a bit strange.

I then moved the fan to the top left corner of the living room aiming towards the entrance. There was string movement throughout the kitchen and about 4 feet down the hall way. I believe this is the better spot of the two and once I take down that small section of vertical wall then it will open up for more heat distribution.
The warm stove air should move more than the fan air did because the heat will help create its own draft (although you won't know exactly how much until it actually happens). Glad it seems to work fairly well from the LR - that will keep the warmest air in the room that probably sees the most activity during waking hours.

I need to choose a stove now. I have the Pleasant Hearth Cabinet and Comfortbilt HP22 as my top two but I'm starting to sway toward the Castle Serenity based on the reviews here. I like the PH stove cuz of it's 5 year warranty and huge hopper. I like the HP22 because of it's reliability and build quality. But now alot of you guys here recommend the Serenity. I guess I gotta research some more....
Harman! :);lol==c
 

mudeprived

Burning Hunk
Oct 9, 2016
157
SW PA
That is funny!



The warm stove air should move more than the fan air did because the heat will help create its own draft (although you won't know exactly how much until it actually happens). Glad it seems to work fairly well from the LR - that will keep the warmest air in the room that probably sees the most activity during waking hours.



Harman! :);lol==c
I would love to get a Harman but it's way over my budget. Dealers around here want $3500 to $4000 for one. I can't seem to find a place to order one online either.
 
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bogieb

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2014
2,801
South Central NH
You won't order a Harman online, they are dealer only. And, that was more of a joke than anything - Harman is always the best answer to any question (except the answer to life, the universe and everything - that is always 42).
 

rich2500

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2005
1,321
Berks County PA.
Wise choice if you choose the Serenity over the other two choices.If you haven't seen my post here Serenity saga give it a read and the final outcome. No other co. Is gonna provide customer service like that.Then you have the ease of cleaning, no complicated passages to worry about or panels to deal with removing just a simple effective design.
 
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mudeprived

Burning Hunk
Oct 9, 2016
157
SW PA
Wise choice if you choose the Serenity over the other two choices.If you haven't seen my post here Serenity saga give it a read and the final outcome. No other co. Is gonna provide customer service like that.Then you have the ease of cleaning, no complicated passages to worry about or panels to deal with removing just a simple effective design.
I am most likely going to choose the serenity and maybe get two so I can put one downstairs. I will wait and see how I like the first one.

I did contact ComfortBilt regarding the testing and certification. Glenn from ComfortBilt has been super helpful and emailed me the documents right away. He also sent me the letter from intertek that shows the testing results. So it has been tested and certified, it just doesn't state it in the online manual.

Looks like both ComfortBilt and castle have excellent customer service.
 
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mudeprived

Burning Hunk
Oct 9, 2016
157
SW PA
Ok so I put the order through Ace Hardware for the Serenity.

Now I'm not mistaken the stove does not include the OAK and I know I need the exhaust vent.

You guys have any personal preferences regarding the air and vent kits? I see Duravent is popular and there are a number of OAK out there.
 
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rich2500

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2005
1,321
Berks County PA.
no oak with the stove, any oak setup is fine as long as it's metal, you can go with the separate one or a thimble with the built in oak, for exhaust duravent is fine as long as you seal all the joints or Selkirk kits are also reasonably priced on Amazon.
 

bogieb

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2014
2,801
South Central NH
Duravent works well and you can seal up with hi-temp silicone tape so it is easy to pull apart if needed (RTV can get tiresome to remove). I don't have experience with other pipe, but think as long as you make sure it is rated for a pellet stove, then it doesn't matter - I would use a major brand as you know that you will be able to get replacements or additional pieces that fit later if needed.

For the OAK you want metal semi-rigid flex pipe that will go over the stove outlet (don't use the dryer vent hose) - example here. For some stoves that is a 2" pipe for others 3" (actually a tinge under). My Harmans take the larger hose, but I was able to use 2" for the Hastings I had previously. You can get a thimble that has both OAK and exaust holes, but be aware that it is made for a 2" OAK pipe , not a 3" pipe. But if your stove has a 2" OAK, then the kit usually includes the flex hose.
 

rich2500

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2005
1,321
Berks County PA.
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