Wood Stove Questions

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by jenangelcat, Sep 26, 2005.

  1. jenangelcat

    jenangelcat Active Member

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    I intend to purchase a wood stove for the primary heat source in my home either this year or next. The house is a bungalow with a full walkout basement. Each floor is about 1000 sq ft.

    I have a couple of questions before I proceed.

    1. Is a stove rated 1500-1800sq ft going to be enough or should I shell out the extra $300 for the 2000sq ft model? This is assuming that we would be putting it in the basement to heat both stories.

    2. Or should I purchase two smaller 1000sq ft models and put one in the basement and one on the main floor?
     
  2. WindowOrMirror

    WindowOrMirror ..where do YOU look? Supporter

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    ... don't you love that answer.

    It depends on the design, shape, and interior ventilation of your house. We have a three story old farmhouse with heat passtrhough registers in the floors, and a single woodstove on the entrance floor does a fair job of heating it all. A "modern" house design of similar size could NEVER be heated with this stove alone.

    Are you in a place that freezes regularly? Do you need both house sections to be heated all the time? Do you have very different requirements for heating one floor vs the other? You wanna build more than one fire all the time? Do you have alternate heat methods?

    R
     

  3. jenangelcat

    jenangelcat Active Member

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    I'm in Thunder Bay, Ontario, where it's usually -30 all winter. The house is 50+ yrs old. The current heating is an old gas furnace which we want to remove completely. The wood heat would be our only source with maybe a couple of electric space heaters for backup. The ductwork for the furnace leads to floor registers in each room of the main floor. If you remove the ducts you can see the main floor through the registers. Although currently the main floor is used more often, this will change once the bedrooms in the basement are finished. My main reason for currently heating the basment is to avoid frozen pipes.

    I'd prefer to only work with one fire, but am looking at all options at the moment.

    Jen
     
  4. stanb999

    stanb999 Well-Known Member

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    My two cents :)

    A larger stove will put out much more heat than the smaller one. It won't however need to be loaded as often. If you; As you say are heating with wood exclusively with a secondary electric system. I'd get the bigger stove for the long night burns that will be required and learn to add less wood (smaller fires) for the fall/spring temps. that wouldn't necessarily require the added btu output.
    You can always cut back on the wood added to a hot fire. But if the house is still cold and the stove is at max output theirs nothing that can be done.

    Please note I'm saying to add less wood not "damp the stove back". Damping the stove back excessively causes a cold dirty burn which can create cresote and that is a dangerous situation.

    MY experience ........

    Heat will rise from the basement if their is a good open path. The last house I had was similar to the one you stated (approx. 1000SF ranch with finished basement. The stove was located close to the center of the house in the basement. This was right by the stairs. The room with the stove would get very warm in the winter 30 degrees C. This was necessary to keep the upstairs 22 degrees C. We had babies so these temps were desirable. Our bedroom was located in the downstairs in the room next to the room with the stove. If we closed the beddoor the room would stay around 18 degrees C.

    I hope this helps.
     
  5. WindowOrMirror

    WindowOrMirror ..where do YOU look? Supporter

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    ...I would try the single larger stove in the basement with open registers to the upstairs. You'll find that one room might be quite hot while another is cool, but that's one of the pieces of "character" that a woodstove brings!

    R
     
  6. mink

    mink Well-Known Member

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    seeing as you already have the plentum in the basement i'd go with a wood furnace, then you could circulate the heat evenly throughout......mink
     
  7. jenangelcat

    jenangelcat Active Member

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    Thanks for the info. Now I think I'll look into wood furnaces vs wood stoves.

    Jen
     
  8. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

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    Wood furnace is an excellent idea for general space heating, especially with the air distribution already in your house.

    And, a wood burning stove with a big window in it sure is nice, like the Blaze King catalytic heater model. It has a great range, 7,000 to 90,000 Btu/Hr -- with a big capacity and long burn times -- depending on your house's heat loss, and it is wonderful to FELL the radiant.

    Though, your wood furnace idea, is, sadly, more practical, and you will probably go for that.

    [​IMG]
    Blaze King, with clearance reduction side panels and rear fans which also reduce clearance.

    Good Luck

    Alex
     
  9. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    Hello Janangelcat,
    I live also in N. Ontario with the same weather in winter as T. Bay.
    In town I had a newmac wood furnace in the basement. It heated through the duct work of a 2 story house was hot as hell most times. It was very efficient, but also you need to supply it with short pieces of split seasoned wood. It kept all rooms of the house warm. If you had an open concept type of smaller dwelling with only one floor and maybe a loft, I'de go with a large wood stove. Either of these that you get will also be somewhat messy bringing in the wood. I stored a couple of cords in the basement at the time and loaded through a small window, was easy. The wood stove is nice if you want economy for the wood if you have to pay for it especially, as it will use less.
     
  10. jenangelcat

    jenangelcat Active Member

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    Decisions decisions! I'm definitely leaning towards the wood stove, but the furnace seems more practical. Well, I've got a year to think about it. My bro in law is in the electrical/hvac business so I'll present him with the same questions the next time I talk to him.


    If anyone has any good links regarding wood furnaces please post them. I can't seem to find much about it.

    Thanks again.

    Jen
     
  11. thedonkeyman

    thedonkeyman Well-Known Member

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    Save heat by adding on an enclosed porch at every outside door two doors. An air lock of sorts. Every time you open the door heat will go out at an alarming rate and if your the type to stand there and talk to the mail carrier, or milk man all the heat goes out, and the children don't leave the door open do they ? You could also use a Wind Mill to power a fan to move that Heat inside.
     
  12. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    For primary heat the wood furnace is the practical way to go. The stove is nice supliment to a different furnace, but will not evenly heat a house not built for it from the beginning.

    In the USA insurance & permits are difficult to get if you don't have a different heating system & call the wood system the 'supplimental' system. Whatever you actually use all the time....

    Tarm & AHS are the premium wood furnace systems in the USA, I got a Harman one which looks good, slightly cheaper (I've got radiators, boiler system), closer dealer. There are many others, I needed a boiler & I believe I found 7-8 brands in the USA, all made furnaces plus more brands. There is a wood heat group on Yahoo that is very good, go to the usergroups on Yahoo. If you get a free email address & sign up you can 'belong' to the group for free, or just browse the messages without signing up. A good group of people, helped me a lot. Most prefer in-house furnaces, not outdoor types. :)

    You can get gasifiers, catylitic, or recurculating furnaces, or simple burners. The first 2 are fussy with what you burn but very efficient. The cat requires a lot of attention & replacement is what I hear. The symple burners use more wood. Seems the recurculators (have a swirly chamber that reburns some of the gasses) seem to be a good compromise.

    You can get combo units that will kick in with LP or oil or electric if the wood runs out & the house gets cool - I would look into one of those combo units if I were tearing out the old furnace....

    --->Paul
     
  13. thegirlnextdoor

    thegirlnextdoor Member

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    [q]Every time you open the door heat will go out at an alarming rate and if your the type to stand there and talk to the mail carrier, or milk man all the heat goes out,[/q] yes, my husband is always teasing me about saying goodbye already so he can shut the door cuz I'm letting all the heat out!;)

    Jenangelcat:

    Not sure exactly what we have, but out house came with a black iron fireplace stove thingie, one on each floor, and this winter when we'd hardly had any rooms with actual electricity as we're renovating our old house, the fireplace stoves heated up each floor in about 45 min, and after that kept everything toasty warm all day, with a little wood burning slowly.

    It was a bit difficult learning (for me) how to get the fire going by myself, but now I don't need anyone's help. I cut some kindling with the ax, on the cement back porch. Then put some rolled up paper in layers with one smallish log on top, light the kindling sticks....and then when that is going I can add a larger log shutting the front opening almost completely so the wood burns slowly and heats better.

    Really saves us money! And, I can cook on top, or keep things warm (like soups, coffee, hot chocolate etc).

    The first two are just wood, but the third is wood on the bottom with a top door for oil--again can cook on top. We get the oil delivered when needed. Just make sure you have a good firewall around each---ours is about two feet on either side, plus tile on the bottom underneath, as we've got old wood floors.
    --GND:)
     
  14. jenangelcat

    jenangelcat Active Member

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    Hubby has decided that it would probably be more practical to go with the wood furnace. The stove would be nice to have but it seems to be less practical and more of a room "feature" which it won't be in the place we have in mind for it.

    Thanks again for all the info. I enjoyed reading all the responses.

    Jen