Entire House Heated by Wood Stove

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  #1  
Old 09-27-12, 01:37 PM
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Entire House Heated by Wood Stove

Attached is a drawn floor plan of my house. (Sorry for the bad handwriting). The attachment shows where I think would be the best place to put my wood stove. I wanted to know if it would be possible to heat my entire house with a 3000 sq ft wood stove. Also when I calculated the square footage of the house I need to take into account the second story that is above the living room, dining room, and kitchen correct? If I am correct then the total sq ft of my house is 3913. I am also worried that having the stove above the garage and near the back door will reduce the amount of heat I can give to the rest of the house. I am looking to heat my whole house with wood because I have six acres of woods and oil prices are bad! However, I don't want to heat my house with a wood furnace because if the power is out I need electricity to heat the house and run the blower.
 
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  #2  
Old 09-27-12, 04:00 PM
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Hi mopar and welcome to the forum
I heated my 1,400 ft² cape exclusively with wood for about 10 years with a partially finished home (low efficiency) and a couple of kids to help with the wood. We burned about 8 to 10 cord per year. The real answer lies in the heat loss of your home. I have heard of some super insulated that can get by with 0ne or two cord and actually need smaller wood stoves so they don't get run out.

You want the wood heat to start out as low as possible and may even have to restrict the heat path to upstairs. Moving it around the house, like that room on the side will require a fan, and that brings me to the point of power. A wood furnace or boiler would be designed for much longer burns and more continuous use. They can run off of a thermostat so only need to be fed once or twice a day. A small generator would easily act as a backup. A stove big enough to heat the whole house might be too big to be around and enjoy. But a smaller one could carry you through a power loss and supplement the bigger unit. Example would be the fringe times when you just need to take the chill off. Or during long cold spells if the furnace needs some help.

How well is your home insulated and what has your current fuel use been?

Bud
 
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Old 09-27-12, 04:46 PM
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Do you often have long power outages?
 
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Old 09-27-12, 07:51 PM
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I do have power outages often in my area I currently have a ten circuit gen tran manual transfer switch with my RIDGID 6800/8500 watt generator. This was installed because I was without power for a week 2 yrs ago and I have well water so it is a necessity to have! My idea was that if I am unable to get gas for the generator I could at least get heat near the stove since the blower would not be on. This is why I considered a stove over an add on furnace for my oil furnace. Do you think I could heat the whole house, including upstairs rooms, with the stove and blower on or is it very unlikely given my floor plan. Also, I thought that putting the stove in my new edition would allow me to move a good bit away from it given the wide open space. Thanks for commenting.
 
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Old 09-28-12, 05:24 AM
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You may want to look into plenum heaters. I have one in my house. It is a fairly airtight firebox that burns wood pretty efficiently, heats the air in a plenum chamber and is fan forced once the temperature reaches a certain point. I have an 8" take off from the plenum chamber to my ductwork in the house. It heats fairly evenly using the ductwork, rather than just dumping the heat in the room and allowing for convection to take control. It will heat with natural heat rise through the ducts, should the power go out and if I don't start the generator for the fan, but using the fan helps to circulate really well.
 
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Old 09-28-12, 06:35 AM
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Is a plenum heater the same thing as a wood furnace? If so do you think it will heat up my house at least decently without the power on, given the floor plan and size of my house.
 
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Old 09-28-12, 06:56 AM
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My parents heat their place almost completely with wood (and oil furnace backup).
Their house is only ~1500sqft floor space (plus 1000sqft basement, ~2500total), but is pretty open concept.
Figuring out how to flow the heat through the house is probably the biggest issue. A vent between floors helps a lot along with fans.

One other thing to really look at is the stove you buy.
The newer one my dad installed came with the fan and was constructed with "after burners". Their newer stove has very little ash to clean up and almost no visable smoke leaving the chimney. He did note it was not as hot as the old stove, but the wood lasted a lot longer. Their stove is in the basement (middle of an exterior wall), and has two vents connected to ducts above the stove that does move some heat over to another end of the main floor. If it had a fan, it would move tons of heat, but as a passive setup, it still works pretty well.
 
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Old 09-28-12, 10:14 AM
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Will a add on wood stove will at least moderately heat my house without the blower? Also, this is a little off tropic my neighbor has both an oil and wood furnace. He is now completely on the wood furnace for his house. However he uses the same flue for both furnaces. Now, what he does not do is run both furnaces at the same time, if he decides to go back to the oil furnace he would clean the flue really good before doing so. I wanted to ask you guys is this okay to use the same flue for two furnaces but not at the same time. His flue is like mine it is just 15-20 feet straight up. To me I see no harm as long as it is cleaned really good in order to remove the heavy burnt creosote from the wood burner.
 
  #9  
Old 09-28-12, 11:30 AM
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It is a code issue and can vary with each local authority, but my understanding is it is no longer allowed. Whether it was when your neighbor installed his I have no idea, but today, best advice is to follow your local codes.

Bud
 
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Old 09-28-12, 11:55 AM
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The reason I use the plenum exchanger is because it is in the basement. No more bringing nasty wood through the living room to burn in the open totally inefficient fireplace. Yours, as I understand it, will be on the main living floor. You won't have the benefits of upward convection, as you have to move the heat laterally as well. It will convect upward to the second floor naturally. Here's a pix of mine.

Edit: I have two fireplace flues, one for the upstairs unused fireplace and one for this heater.

 

Last edited by chandler; 09-28-12 at 12:49 PM.
  #11  
Old 09-28-12, 12:46 PM
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Also, this is a little off tropic my neighbor has both an oil and wood furnace. He is now completely on the wood furnace for his house. However he uses the same flue for both furnaces. Now, what he does not do is run both furnaces at the same time, if he decides to go back to the oil furnace he would clean the flue really good before doing so. I wanted to ask you guys is this okay to use the same flue for two furnaces but not at the same time. His flue is like mine it is just 15-20 feet straight up. To me I see no harm as long as it is cleaned really good in order to remove the heavy burnt creosote from the wood burner.
Definately a code issue in most areas (or all) and could add drafting issues.
My parents are running a propane and wood fireplace (propane on the floor above). Both have their own flue (side by side) inside the same chimney.
 
  #12  
Old 09-28-12, 02:01 PM
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Mopar, you never replied about the insulation in your home, age of house, or last years cost to heat it. If you went through 1,200 gallons of oil last year, that's going to take a lot of wood or sacrifice how well you heat it this winter with just wood.

Bud
 
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Old 09-28-12, 05:45 PM
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It's hard to say how well the house would be heated with the one stove. I think the first floor owuld have very little issue. It's the second floor that concerns me. Even if you didn't get the stove to take over all the heating, I think you will see a good reduction in your oil use if you only used the wood as a supplement.
 
  #14  
Old 09-29-12, 07:43 AM
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My house is very well insulated, on average we go through 600-650 gallons of oil a year. The houses foundation was originally built in 1902, but the house has been redone and added to multiple times. I think that I should go with the add on wood furnace but do you think it will at least partially heat my house without the blower on for a days? Also, my flue for the oil furnace is a five inch flue and it goes into a 6 inch flue that is in a 12 inch flue, it has space around the 6 inch one to cool it. Is there any way that I can put two flues in the 12 inch one and have both furnaces in there. That way I do not need to cut a hole in my roof. Thanks again for all input I just want to buy the right product for my house.
 
  #15  
Old 11-05-12, 01:15 PM
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I am still debating between a wood stove or add on wood furnace. Here are my two questions:

1. Without the blower will the wood funace send heat up about a foot laterally about 7-9 feet and then up again through my duct work. I am leaning to the add on furnace because we have a well and pipes might freeze if wood stove is on first floor.

2. My second question is that I like the fact that I could use the wood stove as a cooking stove if the power is out. Can I use the wood furnace in the same way or is this not possible? Also any way to hook up wood furnace to heat up water like when you put coils in back of wood stove?

Thanks for all help.
 
  #16  
Old 11-05-12, 01:23 PM
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My house is very well insulated, on average we go through 600-650 gallons of oil a year.
I used that much oil over a couple months. Wish I only used that little.

1. Without the blower will the wood funace send heat up about a foot laterally about 7-9 feet and then up again through my duct work. I am leaning to the add on furnace because we have a well and pipes might freeze if wood stove is on first floor.
I don't think the system will radiate heat up the ducts all that well.
As for the basement pipes freezing, if it's a full below grade basement (don't remember reading about your basement), you should have a long time before they could/would freeze.

2. My second question is that I like the fact that I could use the wood stove as a cooking stove if the power is out. Can I use the wood furnace in the same way or is this not possible? Also any way to hook up wood furnace to heat up water like when you put coils in back of wood stove?
I've seen the chimney coils for hot water, but I don't know much about them or if they would be against any codes.

For the cooking bit... Do you have a bbq?
I don't think a wood furnace would be setup to allow some sort of cooking surface. Would all depend on the unit however.
 
  #17  
Old 11-05-12, 06:49 PM
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Thanks however my basement is underground but where the water lines are they are actually level with the ground. I was planning on installing a 3000 sq ft wood stove as my primary heat source. However if my basement gets to cold and the pipes freeze I would rather install an add on furnace. I would like to have the furnace be able to cook with and make it heat up water like the stove could? What do you think my best option is?
 
  #18  
Old 11-05-12, 06:52 PM
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Also, I forgot to add with the add on furnace if I go that route why wont heat dissipate through the duct work itself? If it can maybe the blower uses very little power to where I could use solar panels.
I also wanted t mention that I want to heat a pot of water on the wood stove not connect pipes to a hot water tank. I have heard of too much unsafe situation with stoves heating up pressurized water. I want to set a pot on the stove and heat the water up , can I do this on a wood furnace?
 

Last edited by mopar969; 11-05-12 at 07:22 PM.
  #19  
Old 11-06-12, 04:38 AM
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It's doubtful you will get any heat outside the furnace carcass. It is designed to send heat into plenum chambers and not radiate outward. There may be models out there that have that feature. Wood stoves, of course have hot tops, but "furnaces" will be insulated all around. The one I pictured earlier I can lay my hand on the flat top next to the plenum and it is only warm to the touch. I normally don't leave my lighter on it, but that pix was not during a heating season
 
  #20  
Old 11-06-12, 05:44 AM
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Hey Chandler since you have a plenum furnace will it heat your house without the blower? If not about how much electricity does the blower use? Can I power it with solar panels? Also, will my pipes freeze if I go the wood stove route? Thanks
 
  #21  
Old 11-08-12, 11:07 AM
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In addition to how much heat does a stoce put out, there's also the question of moving it around. We have, in addition to a ceiling fan in the room the stove is in, a tower fan next to the stove that helps move heat around. Also, what about the option of a pass through grate between thw first and second floor?
 
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