Stove and placement suggestions for 3600 sq foot home

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New Member
Dec 15, 2021
Central NY
Hi all. I recently moved into a 3600 sq foot, 2 story center hall colonial (cathedral ceilings in the entryway) home and am looking to add a wood stove to help with heating it as much as possible, ideally heating exclusively with wood. I have wood stove experiences in other houses over the years, but none anywhere near this big! I'm in the Hudson Valley of NY, heating zone 5. The house was built in '93 and is a modular home. Pretty open floorplan. It has newer replacement windows and I am looking to have air penetrations in attic and basement sealed and bring attic insulation up to R-49. For reference the oil usage has been 1290 gallons (!) per year using the original oil boiler through baseboard hydronic.

I've had Woodstock stoves in the past and have my eye on the Progress Hybrid. I love the soapstone and that I can cook on it. But I'm looking to do heating primarily, so am open to suggestions! Progress owners welcome to chime in too about their spaces. Are there stoves and people successfully heating this much space with primarily or exclusively wood?

I have a couple placement options.

One is in the entryway where there are cathedral ceilings and the stairway to the bedrooms upstairs. My concern here is that much of the heat would go up, where we basically just sleep, and the living areas might miss out. The entryway goes straight into a big kitchen, right into an office, and left into a living room. The other rooms have standard ceilings. The entryway including stairwell and upstairs hall is roughly 15' x 15'.

The other main option is in the kitchen. There is a double sided 'fireplace'. It's an insert like thing, not quite sure how to describe it. Galvanized Chimney, not masonry. The stove would go in the kitchen side of the 'fireplace'. It's on the far west end of a 25' x 15' kitchen. Here I'm worried about getting too hot in the kitchen where we spend a lot of time, and the heat not making it to the rest of the house.

If pictures/video or more details are helpful I'm happy to provide. Thanks for any suggestions!
This may take thinking outside of the box. It would be good to determine specifically what the double-sided fireplace is. Often these are more of a liability and heat losers. If it's a prefab then it might be worth thinking about removing it entirely and installing a new flue for a freestanding stove. Then place the stove facing the living room.

A picture or two and a sketch of the floorplan may be helpful.
Here are pics of a rough floorplan and the 'fireplace'.

Stove and placement suggestions for 3600 sq foot homeStove and placement suggestions for 3600 sq foot homeStove and placement suggestions for 3600 sq foot homeStove and placement suggestions for 3600 sq foot homeStove and placement suggestions for 3600 sq foot homeStove and placement suggestions for 3600 sq foot home
The fireplace isn't in a bad spot for a stove. How wide are the doorways to the rooms? If you were to run a chimney straight up through the bathroom, what would be in the way? Or is there a chase for the fireplace chimney already existing?

3600 sq ft is a lot to ask from a single stove.
This style layout is not the best for easy heating due to the closed off rooms. Fan assistance can help.
Does the LR have an opening to the entryway? Is that a possible location for a stove with a new chimney potentially running up thru the upstairs hallway (boxed in)?
The PH is a good stove but it’s just medium sized. It’s smaller than my little princess and Woodstock is known for overstating their firebox volume.

I would be looking for something bigger.
How so? The EPA measured usable firebox volume for the PH is listed at 2.8 cu ft., almost the same as the Princess (and the Princess is not exactly 'little').
I'm sorry for the poor and confusing layout drawing. Here is one that is more accurate and precise with door openings and scale.

Stove and placement suggestions for 3600 sq foot homeStove and placement suggestions for 3600 sq foot home

There is already a chase. From the installers I've spoken to it looks like I'd need a liner if going that route.

Part of the stove choice question is looking for actual experience as everyone uses different numbers for sq footage covered, BTUS, etc. IS a bigger firebox going to make a difference if I'm here to load? I assume there are also pros and cons to soapstone vs steel vs cast iron and the different types of heat? I'm totally open. If a BK, what are the pros? Why? I don't mind a steel look. Thanks! Stove and placement suggestions for 3600 sq foot home
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The hallway location is not great, for all the reasons you have already noted. Before deciding on the stove the location needs to be figured out. The odds are that an insert can not be put in the fireplace, but that should be checked. It would simplify things. Otherwise, what is being proposed? Removing the fireplace and creating an alcove? Stoves have specific alcove requirements that need to be followed. Usually in that case the chimney is removed too and replaced with class A chimney and the stove connects at the alcove ceiling. Search on alcove install for examples of this type of install.
I've come around to the location being the fireplace in the kitchen. The one installer who came out to see it thought there could just be a liner installed and then plate off the other side of the fireplace. Also add some kind of air draft support with fins to diffuse the heat coming off the pipe?

I spoke to an installer last night who thought we could just do a liner too.

An important detail is that I'm planning that the stove sticks out a bit into the room, venting out the back into a T, then up the chimney. The stove taking up the entire dining area, and moving the dining area into the Den, was the major hesitation, but it seems to make the most sense for heating.

Does that change your thoughts?

The stove, and hearth, would stick out and that space would be dedicated to the stove, wood, etc. We also have a small child and we'll need to gate it off. The wood stove would be 10 feet from the cook stove, island, etc. Other clearances should be fine but I will double check,
The stove, and hearth, would stick out and that space would be dedicated to the stove, wood, etc.
That defines a rear-vent stove which narrows the field considerably. Why couldn't this be done on the den side?
Also add some kind of air draft support with fins to diffuse the heat coming off the pipe?
That sounds pretty bogus. I am skeptical about this idea.
I'm fine with it being on the Den side, but thought it would keep the heat more contained in the den which is on the end of the house rather than in a more main and open space for the warmth to flow.
The layout is going to need fan assist for more even heat distribution regardless of location. This is a typical issue with colonials. There are some past threads discussing moving the heat in a colonial layout.
For more even heat in the house option one would be to put a table or box fan at the LR opening, placed on the floor, pointing toward the Den. Run it on low speed. It will blow the cooler air down low, toward the woodstove. The denser cool air will be replaced with lighter warm air from the stove room. Running this way it will pull hot air through the kitchen and hallway to replace the air blowing into the den. It will also keep the den temp moderate. If there is a basement, then this could be ducted with a quiet inline blower for a hidden circulation system.
I’d put the stove where the family will be. If that’s the kitchen, put it in the kitchen. If it’s the den, put it there. Stoves are space heaters and will most reliably heat the area they’re in.
If you’re considering the Progress Hybrid, I would give Woodstock a call now as they have production runs and most are already sold well before the run.
Totally against trying to heat that with one stove. That foyer and stair case is going suck a lot heat right up the stairs and then of course there will be a small whirlwind of cold air coming down the stairs heading for the stove ( likely this problem already exists)- makes for cold feet and is very uncomfortable. Why not look into a wood furnace/ boiler that you can tie into the the existing hydroponic. This has been done many times. It could be an outside or inside unit. You can still have a stove/stoves on the main floor for ambiance and localized extra heat. In the old days second floors were always closed off just because of the air flow issue ( Modern designers have totally forgotten about thermal flow on the interior of homes got lazy with forced air) You will also need ceiling fan/s in that area to push or pull air up/down depending on the season. other wise the air will stratify in that area. I will leave at this for now. I could write a 4 page dissertation on this subject.
You may want to look at fireplaces like the FP 30 by PE. It could easily be framed into the space the current fireplace is, it can have heat ducted to other rooms so that could even out the heat distribution issues a bit.
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