Woodstove in basement...issue.


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Old 10-26-09, 11:35 AM
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Woodstove in basement...issue.

Alright. Bought a house (built in 1979). Basement is block wall, 5 ft of which is below grade. I've insulated all exterior sides even below grade with 2" rigid blue styro insulation. The ceiling already has fiberglass batting with 1/2" MDF sheeting on top. There is NO access to the main floor above, and no vents. I lit a fire and fed it for ~24hrs this weekend to test the heating abilities, and while the basement got very toasty, we saw little to no gain in the floor above. I'm assuming the insulation above is slowing heat transfer, so what are my options here? I'm not sure adding heat registers and cold air returns will solve the problem since there are other living spaces not above the basement (split level home). Do I have other options? Or should I be seeking another supplemental/alternative?
 
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Old 10-26-09, 11:59 AM
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I'm guessing the mdf and insulation are doing a good job of blocking the heat from upstairs.

First, make sure all safety issues and codes have been followed. Wood stoves are an issue with insurance companies and code officials as they seem to be associated with more than their share of house fires. Not trying to be a pain, just safe.

Some ducts, returns and registers would probably circulate the air to where you want it. Is your stove an air tight and does it draw it's combustion air from inside or outside. If your basement is too tight, it might result in back drafting where exhaust fumes are pulled back into the basement and then distributed to the whole house. You can't always rely on remembering to crack a window.

As for this being the best choice as an alternate heat source, that would depend upon the stove, chimney, and having everything up to code. Modern air tight stoves with small diameter chimneys and outside combustion air work very well. I have a small fire going as I type. But I have three friends who are living in new homes because the old ones are gone. They can replace a house, but not a lifetime of memorabilia.

Stay warm
Bud
 
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Old 10-26-09, 02:20 PM
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A wood stove is only meant to heat the room it is installed in.
I will echo Bud's comments about insurance as it is not allowed to modify your structure with openings or ductwork to accommodate a wood burning appliance.

Your only way of spreading wood heat throughout your house is if you have a forced air heating system and you properly install a wood burning furnace.
These can be installed in series with most other furnaces.
 
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Old 10-26-09, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by GregH View Post
A wood stove is only meant to heat the room it is installed in.
I will echo Bud's comments about insurance as it is not allowed to modify your structure with openings or ductwork to accommodate a wood burning appliance.

Your only way of spreading wood heat throughout your house is if you have a forced air heating system and you properly install a wood burning furnace.
These can be installed in series with most other furnaces.
So all of the people doing so are violating codes? The house has no furnace. It's all electric baseboard. I know plenty of people who heat their entire home via a wood stove and ambient/radiant heat. They may have not had duct work, but simply radiant heat through a basement door or uninsulated floor (part of my problem). I'm no expert, so I'm just trying to clarify this.

Second question. If the house has an existing chimney, but only a stove pipe access, what would it cost (roughly) to have an insert put in?
 
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Old 10-26-09, 06:51 PM
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People who modify their homes to circulate air from a wood burner would be breaking codes.
Adding ductwork near the stove, making a hood with ductwork to spread the heat, making openings in the floor to allow basement heat to rise, opening the furnace door to draw warm air from the basement and many other methods are not allowed and will void house insurance.

Not sure what you mean by "stove pipe access".
Also, I am not sure how an insert would help you.
 
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Old 10-26-09, 11:57 PM
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If he had a forced air furnace/air handler in the basement couldn't he balance his cold air returns in the winter to draw more air from the basement and get the heat from the stove through the house that way?

I don't know if most people use this method for getting heat from a basement stove to the rest of the house but it seems to me that is the only reasonable/legal/safe option to get any real hear from a basement stove of any kind.
 
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Old 10-27-09, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by GregH View Post
People who modify their homes to circulate air from a wood burner would be breaking codes.
Adding ductwork near the stove, making a hood with ductwork to spread the heat, making openings in the floor to allow basement heat to rise, opening the furnace door to draw warm air from the basement and many other methods are not allowed and will void house insurance.

Not sure what you mean by "stove pipe access".
Also, I am not sure how an insert would help you.
It's a fully functional brick chimney on the main floor of the house with a tile hearth. The original owner has a wood stove there, and the stove pipe ran directly into the chimney via a clay stove pipe liner.

A fireplace insert would help me because it's on the main floor, rather than the basement. Add to that the factor that it would most likely have a blower to circulate the heat a little better. The first floor is a very open plan, so the only "issue" I might have is getting the heat to the upstairs.
 
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Old 10-27-09, 05:42 AM
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Do you have a fireplace? that's where an insert stove is used? it won't work with a chimney that just has a thimble to connect the stove pipe to the chimney.
 
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Old 10-27-09, 06:16 AM
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Originally Posted by marksr View Post
Do you have a fireplace? that's where an insert stove is used? it won't work with a chimney that just has a thimble to connect the stove pipe to the chimney.
I know. What I'm asking is can an existing chimney be modified to accept an insert? Obviously there would be some substantial masonry work involved, but can it be done?
 
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Old 10-27-09, 07:44 AM
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I just can't picture what you have there.

Are you saying you have a wood stove installed in the lower level connected to a masonry chimney?
And do you have a separate chimney on the main level that has a hearth and a thimble that has been capped off?

Clear in-focus pictures of what you have would tell the whole story.
If you are able to take pics you can upload them to a free site like Photo Bucket and provide a link.
If you upload the pics and have them resized to 640 x 480 there is a button above the reply box where you insert the link and have it appear in the post.
 
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Old 10-27-09, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by GregH View Post
I just can't picture what you have there. Are you saying you have a wood stove installed in the lower level connected to a masonry chimney? And do you have a separate chimney on the main level that has a hearth and a thimble that has been capped off? Clear in-focus pictures of what you have would tell the whole story. If you are able to take pics you can upload them to a free site like Photo Bucket and provide a link. If you upload the pics and have them resized to 640 x 480 there is a button above the reply box where you insert the link and have it appear in the post.
No problem inserting pictures, this isn't my first go around on forums I will try to get pictures taken tonight. In the meantime, I'll do my best to describe the situation. The workshop/basement is a walkout. There is NO access from the inside of the main living area. There is a wood stove with a stove pipe running up out of the stove and through the block wall (via a clay thimble), and into an outside stainless 8" chimney. The main floor has a brick chimney with a slate base and a clay thimble as well (there was ALSO a wood stove here when we bought the place). The base of the chimney where it would normally be open in a traditional fireplace is closed. Basically the house has two chimneys. One complete exterior stainless one, and one original brick interior/exterior.
 
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Old 10-27-09, 09:14 AM
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"The base of the chimney where it would normally be open in a traditional fireplace is closed"

Was there originally a fireplace that was closed off? or was it always set up just for a stove?
I don't know enough to say for sure but I would think to put a new fireplace in would involve building a new chimney. Is there a reason you don't want to use a wood stove upstairs? It should heat as good [or better] than an insert.

Pics always help
 
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Old 10-27-09, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by marksr View Post
"The base of the chimney where it would normally be open in a traditional fireplace is closed"

Was there originally a fireplace that was closed off? or was it always set up just for a stove?
I don't know enough to say for sure but I would think to put a new fireplace in would involve building a new chimney. Is there a reason you don't want to use a wood stove upstairs? It should heat as good [or better] than an insert.

Pics always help
Sorry, that was poor wording on my part There was never a fireplace there. It's just solid brick down to the floor. The only opening is for the thimble.

I should have left the wood stove in there, but we removed it because it took up too much room, and moved it to the basement to replace the older once down there. We were hoping to avoid tracking all the dirt, bark, dust, etc in the main living space which is why we moved it down there. Plus this room would be where we are 95% of the time, and we thought even a small stove would heat us right out of the room.
 
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Old 10-27-09, 09:38 AM
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My wood stove is in the corner of my living rm and it does take up a bit of space. It has a good size firebox [bought before I got a heat pump] If you aren't carefull it can over heat the room but generally once you get the fire going good and basically turn it down to an idle - it's fine. A fan helps to distribute the heat thru out the house although the far rooms won't be as warm. A slow burn is great for heating but it does come at a price. The chimney will need more frequent cleanings. When all I used was wood heat, I cleaned the chimney every month!

The wood stove is messier than the heat pump. My wife notices it more than I do but I do like the wood heat a lot better
 
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Old 10-27-09, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by marksr View Post
My wood stove is in the corner of my living rm and it does take up a bit of space. It has a good size firebox [bought before I got a heat pump] If you aren't carefull it can over heat the room but generally once you get the fire going good and basically turn it down to an idle - it's fine. A fan helps to distribute the heat thru out the house although the far rooms won't be as warm. A slow burn is great for heating but it does come at a price. The chimney will need more frequent cleanings. When all I used was wood heat, I cleaned the chimney every month!

The wood stove is messier than the heat pump. My wife notices it more than I do but I do like the wood heat a lot better
Wow once a month! I would have never guessed. When we removed the stove pipe from the thimble in the main living area, we could see the chimney was in dire need of cleaning. The previous homeowner is lucky he didn't have a fire.

I LOVE burning wood which is why I'm trying to make this work. I have 1300 acres to cut from, and I already cut 5 cords for this year, and it would be a shame to not be able to use it.
 
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Old 10-27-09, 10:48 AM
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Ok, I think I get it.

If my understanding is correct you want to try to make better use of the heat that is currently downstairs.
The answer to this would be no you can not.
You can not alter your home to distribute this heat unless you install an approved furnace and duct it according to instructions, plus get it added to your home insurance.

Also, there use to be a wood stove in the living room, it was removed, the chimney opening capped off and you are now wondering if you could reinstall a wood burner there?
As far as the chimney in the living room goes a suggestion if you were thinking of using it, would be to get a written assessment of it's condition from a licensed and insured chimney sweep.


I am not sure about prices in your area but a cord of mixed wood, cut but not split is about $150.00!
Maybe you could cut and sell your wood then buy a pellet stove with better temperature regulation.

I use to have a stove in my living area as well and in order to make use of the heat to reduce heating costs you need to have the living room temps elevated to the point of uncomfortable.
We now have a wood furnace and as long as you stoke the fire properly you don't even know you are burning wood and the mess is in the furnace room.

As far as cleaning goes under firing the furnace is the leading cause of creosote build up which is normally because your stove is too big for the area.
My furnace is a bit too big for our house so to allow for this we will crack a window slightly when the weather is milder and are burning.
We also every other day get a raging fire going while keeping an eye on the stovepipe temp to not overheat it and use one of those creosote removal products.
Normally cleaning only involves knocking off a very thin layer and it is quite loose.
 
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Old 10-27-09, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by GregH View Post
Ok, I think I get it.

If my understanding is correct you want to try to make better use of the heat that is currently downstairs.
The answer to this would be no you can not.
You can not alter your home to distribute this heat unless you install an approved furnace and duct it according to instructions, plus get it added to your home insurance.

Also, there use to be a wood stove in the living room, it was removed, the chimney opening capped off and you are now wondering if you could reinstall a wood burner there?
As far as the chimney in the living room goes a suggestion if you were thinking of using it, would be to get a written assessment of it's condition from a licensed and insured chimney sweep.


I am not sure about prices in your area but a cord of mixed wood, cut but not split is about $150.00!
Maybe you could cut and sell your wood then buy a pellet stove with better temperature regulation.

I use to have a stove in my living area as well and in order to make use of the heat to reduce heating costs you need to have the living room temps elevated to the point of uncomfortable.
We now have a wood furnace and as long as you stoke the fire properly you don't even know you are burning wood and the mess is in the furnace room.
Not a bad idea selling the wood I may have to just look into the costs of having a wood furnace put in. How do they generally compare to a heat pump cost wise?
 
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Old 10-27-09, 01:19 PM
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You can't really compare the cost of the two as they are two different things.
If you install a wood furnace you would need to install ductwork throughout the house but the energy costs would be nearly free if you burn your own wood.
A wood burning furnace would need a back up energy source and a common way is to install an electric furnace next to it and duct the two in series.

A heat pump would still need the ductwork throughout the house but use refrigeration to save a small amount on your heating bill but with an added bonus of air conditioning.

However, this is a major project and a bit off tangent from your original question.
.
 
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Old 10-27-09, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by GregH View Post
You can't really compare the cost of the two as they are two different things.
If you install a wood furnace you would need to install ductwork throughout the house but the energy costs would be nearly free if you burn your own wood.
A wood burning furnace would need a back up energy source and a common way is to install an electric furnace next to it and duct the two in series.

A heat pump would still need the ductwork throughout the house but use refrigeration to save a small amount on your heating bill but with an added bonus of air conditioning.

However, this is a major project and a bit off tangent from your original question.
.
I suppose the issue is right now the woodstove and the baseboard is my only choice. The woodstove in its current spot will NOT heat the house. Running electric baseboard all winter will certainly run up our electric bill. Worst case scenario is we simply run the baseboard electric, and keep the fire going downstairs to do a LITTLE supplemental until we figure this out, but I would like to heat the entire house with wood. End of story. So I'm looking at options that will allow that
 
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Old 10-28-09, 08:01 AM
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Just as an update. I sent a message for my insurance agent to get back to me so I can discuss this situation with him. I figure I will figure out my options after I determine specifically what WON'T void my insurance, or raise my rates.
 
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Old 10-28-09, 09:18 AM
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Seems your problem is two fold (excluding cost for the moment). Fuel source and delivery. If you have a ready supply of wood, then look at a hot water heating system. I know there are boilers that use wood, but I'm not sure if there is one that looks like a wood stove, to serve the dual purpose of a visual appliance and a boiler. A quick search for "hydronic woodstoves" turned up the following, which might be good reading.
Hydronic woodstoves by Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #105

Something to think about at least.

Bud
 
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Old 10-28-09, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Bud9051 View Post
Seems your problem is two fold (excluding cost for the moment). Fuel source and delivery. If you have a ready supply of wood, then look at a hot water heating system. I know there are boilers that use wood, but I'm not sure if there is one that looks like a wood stove, to serve the dual purpose of a visual appliance and a boiler. A quick search for "hydronic woodstoves" turned up the following, which might be good reading.
Hydronic woodstoves by Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #105

Something to think about at least.

Bud
Thanks, good read. Not sure I want to go to the extent of installing an entire boiler system at this point in the year, but it may be an option for the future.
 
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Old 10-28-09, 07:59 PM
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Ya, a wood boiler would be nice but you again need to find out what the regs are on these.
Here, a wood fired pressurized hot water boiler is not permitted.
What is common here is to use an outdoor open boiler system a minimum of I believe 25 feet from any building.
These use glycol as a heat transfer medium pumped to the house.

They are quite popular where you need to heat a large shop along with your house.
 
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Old 10-29-09, 07:40 AM
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Just talked to my provider, and they said that adding registers/returns to redirect woodstove heat will do nothing to my current policy as it's clearly indicated that I have woodstove heat. He said he can't speak for other providers (should we decide to sell the house, the buyer might have an issue depending on the provider), but All-State is a go. I suppose that's my next step.
 
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Old 10-29-09, 03:09 PM
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Ok, that's good news but not what I am use to hearing.
It would be a good idea to see if they would put that in writing.
 
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Old 11-04-09, 10:08 PM
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After reading all these posts, I belive the only options is to get a wood/coal furnace. As far as I have read, seems like ducting it into the main living area is a mute point as far as underneathe, maybe, if possible duct can be ran into the attic of the main living space with registers installed in the ceiling as in a 2 story split system. I recently purchased a wood/coal furnace to heat up to 2,500 sq ft. The furnace itself ran around $1,400 after taxes and shipping. My main concern would be the installation of the duct work you might need and the $$$$ that would run. Hope this might open up an idea for you.
 
 

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