Winery Reality Check- Looking to Add 2 wood stoves to Fireplaces

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Forrest3290

New Member
Apr 20, 2019
24
Salem, Oregon
Long, long time lurker...newer poster (I feel I now actually have something to share and comment on!.)

Background info:

- I have read all of the recommended buying guides I can find. I really appreciate all the info and knowledge people offer. I love @Hogwildz no-nonsense style and others!

- I have researched as much as I can to try and get the easy questions out of the way.

- I am mostly looking for a BS test, as in does this make sense to you all

Building-

We bought what was going to be a winery with living space above it...it is a BARN. Located just West of Salem, OR, Mid Willamette Valley. Vineyard country. We bought out of a divorce/bankruptcy situation. We got the property for about 25 cents on the dollar over what just the land is worth...my guess is they lost their shirt on this property and that is why they never finished it.

Specs:

Basement- 2000 sf, buried on 3 sides, this was going to be the production room and tasting room. Concrete floors with insulation, 10 ft under grade, 11-foot ceilings, piped for radiant heat (tubes in but they never finished the install of the pump and heaters

Main Floor- 1700 SF (great room has something like 21 ft ceilings)

2nd Floor- 2000 SF (4 of the 6 bedrooms are here)

3rd Floor- 300 SF (1 bedroom)

Total SF= 5000 SF

There is also an unfinished garage (separate structure) that we will eventually be finishing into a 2 bedroom apartment that is another 1150 SF

The home is all electric except for propane for the cooking range. We have a 22.4 KW solar install as well but the bills in the winter are north of $700 regularly. I have JUST done a lot of energy upgrades but my guess is heating and cooling are still going to be BIG bills.

Systems:
2 separate heat pumps and electric back up heat
electric hot water
2 fireplaces (one finished one not) separate flues. Not sure on the chimney, but REALLY tall...my guess is the fireplace in the basement has a 40 foot plus strait run and the one on the main floor 30".

Fuel: My family owns agricultural land nearby and on this property, we have a LOT of Oregon White Oak, Hawthorn and Cherry that we can burn. I have probably 10 years worth sitting in burn piles waiting to be processed that we cut a year and a half ago. Cutting wood is a great job for me, I love it as it gets me outside and I have help if needed (good time with my pops etc.) We also have neighbors we trade with, we let them cut and process the wood and we take a share and they take a share, win-win.

My thoughts are to do something like a Woodstock Progress Hybrid in the main floor as it would match the style of the home. I will confirm the dimensions of the fireplace and get those posted it is the finished one in the pics.

In the basement, my thoughts are an insert and run that to spread some heat to the 3 floors above it as well as the basement.


I know that thing really needs a wood boiler, there is not a place outside to put it (we are on a steep slope, have vineyards all around and the couple of places it could go would mean it was venting right under 3 floors of living space and patios. There is a possibility of an interior one venting into the chimney for the basement fireplace (it is fine if we lost that fireplace, maybe we throw an electric fireplace in there for the look etc. I am attaching the basement layout in case anyone wants to take a look at that. The TV room is silly and we would use that as storage or wood storage etc. Also attached are pictures of the basement, main floor, and the house exterior. We have a large area that was going to be a wine cellar that I can have wood inside as well as “maintenance” room under the front patio that we just sealed in that is 15 x 20 with 11-foot ceilings, all concrete so I have room for wood storage.

I work on this place after work and on weekends and have already finished out a lot of the projects that were left half done (the home was not habitable when we bought it.) It is way too big for us and we plan to do a Bed and Breakfast (we already rent it when we can and stay in our camp trailer to get money for the repairs etc. I can pick up more overtime to pay for the insulated liners, stoves, I just want to do it right and make any mistakes here by asking questions as if I am not careful this place will eat me alive :)

I really really appreciate the time and knowledge of anyone who replies. I don’t know much other than about IT stuff, and have learned some about wood and cows, but happy to help others in any way I can.
 

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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,480
South Puget Sound, WA
That's a beautiful spot. Have you considered subletting it to a winemaker of merit? The wood heat would just be supplemental, especially during colder weather. The insulated ceiling will keep most of the heat generated by the insert in the basement itself.

The PH would look nice there, though the hearth may need extending. How large is the room? Is it very open to the rest of the house?
 

Forrest3290

New Member
Apr 20, 2019
24
Salem, Oregon
That's a beautiful spot. Have you considered subletting it to a winemaker of merit? The wood heat would just be supplemental, especially during colder weather. The insulated ceiling will keep most of the heat generated by the insert in the basement itself.

The PH would look nice there, though the hearth may need extending. How large is the room? Is it very open to the rest of the house?

Thanks! Yeah, it is a pretty special area....I worry I bit off more than I can chew but it was such a good deal vs what the actual cost was to build it.

To answer your question about the main room fireplace, if you see the picture of the back of the couches and the really tall room, that is the view standing directly in front of the fireplace. It is pretty open and the air return for the 1st floor is in that taller room. Getting the air through the arched doorway to go up the stairs is another matter though. I have been digging around on the boilers thinking it could run the water for the radiant heat in the basement and maybe connect into the ducting, but there is one system for the main floor and another separate one for floors 2 and 3
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,480
South Puget Sound, WA
I love that area. We've been to the east of Salem a few times to visit Silver Falls State Park. Some of our favorite wines come from the Willamette and Umpqua River areas.

Water to air heat exchangers are pretty common on commercial systems. My sister's house has this. They are connected to a multifuel boiler (oil/wood). Looks like there's plenty of room in the basement for setting one up. If you want to explore wood-fired boiler ideas, there is the boiler-room forum here.
 

Forrest3290

New Member
Apr 20, 2019
24
Salem, Oregon
Awesome @begreen We are right on Bethel Heights Rd, by Bjorson, St Innocent, Domaine Serene, Zenith, Cristom etc. Silver Falls is a great area. My dad lives in Mt Angel so we go up there all the time.

Should I move this to the boiler area I am not sure what combination would work best. We do have the room, the question then becomes how to get that heat into the other two zones on the 2nd and 3rd floors. I figure we can use the existing systems to spread it around once the heat is in the right areas. I am just not sure if I am being realistic on all of this.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,480
South Puget Sound, WA
This forum is focussed on wood stoves and fireplaces. The boiler room may be helpful if you need a different concurrent discussion as you explore options. Running hot water supply/return lines can be a lot easier than running a chimney up through the floors. You should explore all options. Even if you just heat the basement and 1st floor with the boiler that is going to make a dent and a good portion of heat may convect upstairs from the 1st floor.
 
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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,303
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Yes boiler. My parents and most of my family is from Portland, Tigard, bend. That is a beautiful home and way more than a little 2.8 cubic foot stove can heat! The best reason for a wood boiler is a lot of heat demand and multiple zones.

Good luck!
 
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Forrest3290

New Member
Apr 20, 2019
24
Salem, Oregon
Yes boiler. My parents and most of my family is from Portland, Tigard, bend. That is a beautiful home and way more than a little 2.8 cubic foot stove can heat! The best reason for a wood boiler is a lot of heat demand and multiple zones.

Good luck!
Thanks, Highbeam and Begreen. I appreciate it. Any recommendations on the boiler to look at? I will do some digging around over there...I have read some horror storries about some of them.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,480
South Puget Sound, WA
Thanks, Highbeam and Begreen. I appreciate it. Any recommendations on the boiler to look at? I will do some digging around over there...I have read some horror storries about some of them.
There are definitely some poorly designed wood boilers. Take time to study and ask lots of questions. Decide whether you want a pressurized or unpressurized system. And be mindful of the 2020 EPA regs coming up. Garn is well known for its reliable unpressurized system. Not sure what the latest is in the pressurized systems. I haven't been following this much lately. For sure post a thread in the boiler room here, also start visiting wood boiler dealers in OR and ask lots of questions. Seek out a good plumber too, preferably one that has installed wood-fired systems. And check out their references.
 
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Forrest3290

New Member
Apr 20, 2019
24
Salem, Oregon
Awesome thank you! I will get back to researching. I want to have a baseline of knowledge so I am not wasting anyone time in here and so far I have mostly been reading about stoves and inserts.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,480
South Puget Sound, WA
A stove and an insert will make a decent dent in the heating bill, but they are primarily area heaters. A boiler can be plumbed for the whole house.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,303
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
@Highbeam wow your family is surrounding me almost..haha. You make it down this way often?

Unfortunately, due to deaths and a bit of job induced wandering we are now away from Tigard and more in Vancouver (no income taxes) and the puget sound area.

Every year we used to run to Lincoln city on the coast from Portland and hit the peach orchards on the way.

As I get older I appreciate the quality of the land where your home is. My mom grew up on the tualitan (sp) river surrounded by filbert orchards. They call them hazelnuts now!
 
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Forrest3290

New Member
Apr 20, 2019
24
Salem, Oregon
Unfortunately, due to deaths and a bit of job induced wandering we are now away from Tigard and more in Vancouver (no income taxes) and the puget sound area.

Every year we used to run to Lincoln city on the coast from Portland and hit the peach orchards on the way.

As I get older I appreciate the quality of the land where your home is. My mom grew up on the river surrounded by filbert orchards. They call them hazelnuts now!

I have considered moving to WA for the no income taxes...but I grew up just south of here and I always come back, it is in my blood I think. Filberts..haha, yeah you know someone is from here when they call them Filberts..I used to work summers taking old trees out in Highshool when they were converting to grass seed, berries etc. I remember one old farmer saying "I don't care what the new crop is, those trees take 15 years to produce well, I will just sit and let my competitors cut their own throats..." I wonder if he is still around...he was 100% right..they are putting them in now like MAD.
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,596
Northern NH
I would suggest you either learn how do a manual J heat loss calculation or have someone else do it. That will establish the maximum heat loss of the building. Yous are closer to a small commercial system than a residential system. I dont have any experience with the NW but given its a winery area that implies to me that the solution may be a water to water geothermal system as the prime heating source (with potential for cooling if you want to install air handlers). You could still convert the fireplaces to wood stoves but they would be more of a design feature and expect the aesthetics like big glass windows would be more important than actual BTU output. I dont have lot ot experience with ground source geothermal but believe in moderate climates that the COP is up in the 3 to 4 range. If you have standard electric heat ground source geothermal will cut your power bill substantially. If you are planning to run it as a B&B, the standard warning is most small B&B owners are on the run constantly and adding handling and processing wood is extra work that they do not need.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,717
Philadelphia
With your comments about this being more space than you will ever need, and biting off more than you can chew, have you really cemented your long-term goals, here? If you’re considering renting or subletting, then relying on a manual-load wood-fired system seems a poor choice, whether stove or boiler.

There are others here who can give you better guidance on boilers, or even specific stove models, but I can speak to heating large spaces with wood. I’m heating roughly 8000 sq.ft., half of that completely un-insulated, in a 5000 HDD/year environment. I’m using a mix of wood, oil, heat pumps, propane, and resistive heating.

I grew up splitting wood with my father and other older relatives, my childhood home had four fireplaces, and many of my older relatives kept a fire going in their fireplaces all winter. It was a romantic / embiance thing, and I had fond memories of time spent processing wood (as a kid... never fully responsible for 100% production), so I was all gung-ho to get back to it in my 30’s.

Fast-forward almost a decade and 100 cords (yes, I rip thru about 10 cords per year), and it’s wearing on me. It’s no longer fun. I still enjoy getting out and felling a tree, or splitting wood for the occasional hour or three. But our weather has conspired against me the last few years, and now making time to process this volume of wood on the few days with weather suitable to do it, has become a real chore.

I go into all of that, because you are approaching a similar scale to my situation, in the face of completing a lot of other projects and maintaining a fairly large place. If it were me, esp. with my assumptions of your climate, I’d be optimizing the heat pump system, and simply installing two wood stoves (or inserts) for supplemental heat and ambiance.

I would not even consider a boiler, which comes with all of the work, but non of the pleasures of burning wood. No way in hell I’m going to fell, skid, haul, buck, split, stack, move, and then load 10 cords per year, to hide it in a black box in the basement. I want a fire in a stove, when I sit down on the couch to watch some TV, after all of that.

If your climate is half as near to optimimum heat pump territory as Highbeam and begreen claim theirs to be, I’d be headed that way for my primary heating, and running a few stoves for fun.
 
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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,303
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
With your comments about this being more space than you will ever need, and biting off more than you can chew, have you really cemented your long-term goals, here? If you’re considering renting or subletting, then relying on a manual-load wood-fired system seems a poor choice, whether stove or boiler.

There are others here who can give you better guidance on boilers, or even specific stove models, but I can speak to heating large spaces with wood. I’m heating roughly 8000 sq.ft., half of that completely un-insulated, in a 5000 HDD/year environment. I’m using a mix of wood, oil, heat pumps, propane, and resistive heating.

I grew up splitting wood with my father and other older relatives, my childhood home had four fireplaces, and many of my older relatives kept a fire going in their fireplaces all winter. It was a romantic / embiance thing, and I had fond memories of time spent processing wood (as a kid... never fully responsible for 100% production), so I was all gung-ho to get back to it in my 30’s.

Fast-forward almost a decade and 100 cords (yes, I rip thru about 10 cords per year), and it’s wearing on me. It’s no longer fun. I still enjoy getting out and felling a tree, or splitting wood for the occasional hour or three. But our weather has conspired against me the last few years, and now making time to process this volume of wood on the few days with weather suitable to do it, has become a real chore.

I go into all of that, because you are approaching a similar scale to my situation, in the face of completing a lot of other projects and maintaining a fairly large place. If it were me, esp. with my assumptions of your climate, I’d be optimizing the heat pump system, and simply installing two wood stoves (or inserts) for supplemental heat and ambiance.

I would not even consider a boiler, which comes with all of the work, but non of the pleasures of burning wood. No way in hell I’m going to fell, skid, haul, buck, split, stack, move, and then load 10 cords per year, to hide it in a black box in the basement. I want a fire in a stove, when I sit down on the couch to watch some TV, after all of that.

If your climate is half as near to optimimum heat pump territory as Highbeam and begreen claim theirs to be, I’d be headed that way for my primary heating, and running a few stoves for fun.

Good points. It's one thing to be enthusiastic about buttering your own bread but when you have to butter the whole loaf it's a much bigger commitment. Be sure to realize that every stick of wood you burn is that much less electricity you must buy. So you can partially heat with wood, just as much as you want to and then let the central heat pickup the slack.

Wood or even pellet boilers are insanely expensive and complicated to set up. There is likely no local expertise since it is not common to heat with water in our area.
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
5,283
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
If you wind up doing inserts, plan in advance how you will install a damper on both. You will need to rig up a control for the thing that you can operate from the outside of the fireplace.

I think you will wind up pulling the inserts to add a damper otherwise with 30 and 40 foot flues.

Consider extending the hearths and adding freestanding wood stoves in front of both fireplaces. This will get you bigger fireboxes, more heat, and less damper hassles.

If the place is currently heated with electric forced air, consider an add-on wood furnace. That would be significantly less hassle than two stoves.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,480
South Puget Sound, WA
The house is currently heated with heat pumps. It sounds like they are air source with resistance backup. I thought of switching to ground source for the heat pumps. The installation will be expensive but I'm glad peakbagger brought this up. It should increase savings. He is exactly right about the work required to keep up a proper B&B. If this is to become a destination spot then there may be other tasks that develop like a restaurant or vineyard. An alternative, to keep costs down in the near term, may be to just live on the main floor and keep the basement and 2&3d floors at 50º during the winter.
 
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Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,717
Philadelphia
Ground-source heat pumps / geothermal are the only way to go, where I live. But I figured your maritime climate would make a tougher justification for the install cost, if you have an ASHP in good working order.
 
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maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
10,809
Nova Scotia
No one right answer here.

A boiler can do it, sure. Geo maybe also. Both fairly high $$ up front. Boiler (or anything wood) will need regular tending. Which can get to be a pain after a few years. Lots comes down to situational & personal preference in these cases. Not sure what you have in mind budget-wise, but I would expect a boiler/storage system to ballpark at $20k, and Geo maybe $30k. All depending on how easily each would adapt to what you have now.

Also, most of the people around here I have talked to who put Geo in ended up with higher electric bills than they were anticipating. Maybe their anticipation was skewed, not sure, and also not sure on exact numbers, they didn't seem to want to tell me.

Start with a heat loss calc. As mentioned above. Should be first order of business. Not sure how moderate your climate is - but in moderate climates, modern cold-climate mini-split heat pumps can work wonders while using very little electricity. Fairly easy install compare to a boiler or Geo system. Three units might do you, guesstimate $10-12k installed if you can find a good installer around you. You could just keep existing fireplaces for ambiance if needed.
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
5,283
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
Well, if you have space for a ground mounted 22kw pv array, you have space for horizontal geothermal, which is way cheaper to install than a vertical loop.

The one guy I know who had a heat pump geothermal system told me that it was marvelously cheap to run, but it never got warm enough in the winter.

"Ambiance" fireplaces are an excellent way to double your heating bills, though it sure is nice to sit in front of an open fire. The increased bills could end up worth it if it's bringing in paying customers.
 
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maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
10,809
Nova Scotia
Having $700+ power bills while also having a 22kw array seems to me to be waaay high electricity consumption. What exactly do you have for existing heat pumps? They must be very inefficient, with strips running near constant. Or is it a lot colder there than I am thinking?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,480
South Puget Sound, WA
Having $700+ power bills while also having a 22kw array seems to me to be waaay high electricity consumption. What exactly do you have for existing heat pumps? They must be very inefficient, with strips running near constant. Or is it a lot colder there than I am thinking?
The arrays may not be producing much power in NW winter conditions.
 

Hogwildz

Minister of Fire
I'd be looking at a Garn for the basement. Shame, as you have the makings for a masonry heater around that fireplace, but it wasn't built with the exhaust chambers to make it an actual masonry heater. Lose the insulation in the basement ceiling, so the heat can transfer upward more easily.
You have the tubing in the floor for radiant, so that would be put to good use with the Garn also. And with the underside of the main floor exposed, it may not take much to add radiant to that floor. That should cover two floors.

You can do a stove or insert on the main floor in the fireplace or in front of it, and that will help with the main & next floor up.
Those ceiling are fkn high! A lot of heat is going to get trapped up there. Maybe you can add transoms to the doorways to allow the heated air to travel horizontally and possibly upward at the stairs. Not sure of your feelings on ceiling fans, but they would certainly help move air around.

As far as the top floor, and especially if you are considering a B&B. You will want zoned heat in those rooms. Each guest is going to want warmer/cooler rooms as to their likings. Will save you a bunch of grief from whiners and complainers who need their room temp just so to their tastes.

Back up electric heat on heat pumps basically negated any savings on the heat pumps when they kick on for long periods, which you are experiencing with the $700+ electric bills.

Even if you put good quality electric fireplaces in the bedrooms, that would prolly be cheaper than the back up electric heating everything necessarily.
A place that big begs for a good boiler (Garn), and zones, zones, zones.

You're lucky to have oak, love the stuff. Cherry is so/so, medium heat and craploads of ash. Great for open fireplaces and scent, but not my favorite for serious heating. Maybe a nice firepit and seating to enjoy the view outside.

Have you looked at the Equinox for the main level? Huge, gorgeous, but will eat some wood. Not a problem since you have shittons.

Keep in mind, you will be tending to many things in a huge house, and especially if a B&B. Keep that in mind when considering how much dicking around you nant to do with loading wood stoves etc.

I still think a Garn would put a huge dent in your heating needs, and give you the most heat from your wood and least amount of work for the most amount of heat per load of wood. Look up holding tanks, as you can prolly make a pretty large one in the basement.
I would not even bother thinking about an outside boiler with that basement space begging to have a nice big boiler installed.

Save me a room, I want to come check it all out!

BTW, Good luck when that place needs painting done, holy shitsky, that's a lot o paint. I am def a fan of natural wood, clear, let the beauty show, and done. But you place is gorgeous. You ahve the makings of an Airbnb getaway. I want a discount!
 
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