Tri level house heat circulation

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nightowl

Member
Sep 25, 2014
7
NW> Ohio
I have a tri level with a Buck 81 insert in the lower level and a Brunco Hearthglow on the mid level. I don't burn both at the same time unless it is really cold. I don't think I even fired up the Brunco last winter. I would rather burn upstairs and not downstairs but the Brunco eats too much wood. The Buck burn time will last twice as long as the Brunco or longer just because it is more efficient and uses half or less wood.
I am thinking of replacing the Brunco with a more effient stove but the price of new stoves is over my budget. If I could just get the heat from the lower level thru out the house I'd be OK. I have tried fans, leaving the furnace blower on, but just can't get much heat from the lower level to the rest of the house. Any ideas or is it just that way with tri levels?
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,970
Long Island NY
I have a stove only in the basement. My main floor gets heated well. The (half) floor above that less so.

My experience is that it helps to have the air be able to create a looping current. For me the heat comes up through the stairs, and colder air goes down through a vent. Having all go through the stairwell was not as efficient for me.

This still leaves the upstairs rooms at 64-ish if the main floor is 70-ish (and the basement where the stove is at 78-85-ish, depending on how high up one measures and how well the air there is being mixed.
 
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ABMax24

Minister of Fire
Sep 18, 2019
1,216
Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
I also heat from the basement with 2 floors above, the heat moves just fine up the stairs, the basement runs about 25c, the main floor 20c, and the upstairs 18c when heating with wood.

I've tried using the furnace blower to circulate the air, and it does almost nothing, leaving the stairways open is my best option.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,970
Long Island NY
Funny. Exact same numbers for me.
 

ToastyRanch

New Member
Nov 15, 2021
41
Coastal Massachusetts
I have a tri level with a Buck 81 insert in the lower level and a Brunco Hearthglow on the mid level. I don't burn both at the same time unless it is really cold. I don't think I even fired up the Brunco last winter. I would rather burn upstairs and not downstairs but the Brunco eats too much wood. The Buck burn time will last twice as long as the Brunco or longer just because it is more efficient and uses half or less wood.
I am thinking of replacing the Brunco with a more effient stove but the price of new stoves is over my budget. If I could just get the heat from the lower level thru out the house I'd be OK. I have tried fans, leaving the furnace blower on, but just can't get much heat from the lower level to the rest of the house. Any ideas or is it just that way with tri levels?
I’ve found it’s all about the location of the HVAC return. When you’ve got a return near the stairwell on your upper level then all your heat gets sucked up into there, and it’s a struggle to get the heat to stay down on the lower level, even if there’s another return on the lower level.