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Old 08-19-2009, 09:37 AM
 
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Does anyone own and/or have experience with woodstove inserts? My home is about 1000 to 1200 square feet on one level with basement below and finished attic above.

I am considering two stoves, one that heats up to 1200 square feet, the other is bigger and can handle up to 2550 square feet. My concern is the small stove might not cut it and the burn times shorter. I am assuming bigger stoves can be banked down to heat smaller areas with addtitional heating capacity in reserve and will have longer burn times. Or will the larger stove be too much and burn wood too quickly?

Any advice would be appreciated.....
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Old 08-19-2009, 10:25 AM
 
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Do not buy more stove BTU capacity than you anticipate needing for your place. There are several drawbacks:

1) You cannot "bank down" the bigger stove to an efficient fire and lesser heat output. They are designed for so much air flow, so much fire in the firebox, etc., that you'll always have to run it somewhere close to it's designed capacity to keep the combustion temp up. Otherwise, you will build up creosote and other fouling due to the lower than designed operating temperatures.

2) With the stove insert being a "point source" of heat for your 1200 sq ft house, you'll find that it's difficult to have a comfortable area by the stove and distribute the heat to the rest of the house. It will be way too hot by the stove, and cool in another. Even with circulating fans, it will be problematic to be comfortable.

3) You'll use a lot more firewood in the bigger stove than the appropriately sized stove.
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Old 08-20-2009, 09:11 PM
 
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I heat 3600 sq ft with 2 inserts. The original was installed downstairs, and could heat the whole house in moderate weather. Added one designed for 1200 sq/ft upstairs before last winter. Furnace hasn't run since, even on the very coldest days.

They are most efficient when burning as designed and not throttled back.
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Old 08-22-2009, 01:34 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShouldIMoveOrStayPut...? View Post
I am considering two stoves, one that heats up to 1200 square feet,
The keywords being there "up to", when a manufacturer gives a figure like that its usually under optimal conditions. e.g mild weather, good insulation etc.

Use a heat loss calculator to find out what you need.
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Old 08-22-2009, 05:20 PM
 
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Thanks everyone for the replies, am taking it all in and using the info to help with the decision of which unit to go with. Even though my home is about 1000 sq. ft. on the main living level it has alot of windows including two big picture windows facing south. Many of the windows are original with cast iron weights and triple track aluminum storms.

Add a full stand up drafty basement underneath same 1000 square and cape style sloped ceiling and knee wall insulated and semi finished attic, close proximity to water with windy conditions. It's hard to calculate but I'll do my best. I'm thinking the one that only heats ut to 1200 square (as stated under optimal factory conditions) may wind not productive enough.
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Old 08-26-2009, 08:11 PM
 
Location: Charleston, WV
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I'm not discouraging you from an insert, I actually like ours, but ....

We have an insert at our cabin (insert is in family room which has peaked ceiling) - while the family room stays nice and toasty, the bedrooms (on the same level) are chilly, especially the guest bedroom which is next to the family room cuz people always shut the door.
When the remodeling was done, after long discussion and for whatever valid reason, the thermostat was placed in the same room as the fireplace. I think this contributes to the chilly bedrooms.

We used to use our insert at our house all the time for supplemental heat - did help with the electric bill and helped warm the whole house -- although all the rooms except the family room (where insert is located) were cooler than family room.

Just don't do like hubby used to do - sometimes he'd crank that insert up then go to bed with me still in the family room watching TV. It would get so hot in the family room I'd be sweating and finally would open all the family room doors and windows for a while (even if it was 10 degrees outside) just to get it cool enough so I could breathe.

Also keep in mind that it is a very, very dry heat - hope you have a humidifier or something. In addition to other factors - it plays havoc on your skin.
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Old 08-27-2009, 02:29 AM
 
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Inserts are convenient but they are generally not as efficient as standard stove. Another benefit of standalone stove is you can place it where you want or even tie it into existing ductwork. Here in the Notheast most houses have basements and many of them will be damp. A typical setup would place the stove in the basement even if it was unfinished. With a solid fuel appliance that is constantly producing radiant heat usually the best method to distribute heat is with a cold air return. You can tie this into an existing system or do it standalone with a hot air jacket:



Leisure Line Coal Stoves - Automatic Coal Stoker Stove Home Heating Systems



Much of the heat is directed upstairs from the basement however you'll still be keeping the basement comfortable and humidity down. Heat goes up so you'll get some nice warm floors as well which is important for a comfortable house, warm feet can make a huge difference. If you don't have an existing system you could just have it ducted right into the room above or ducted to a few areas. You don't even need the jacket but just a way for the heat to escape into the uspstairs. I've seen some people simply place a in floor grate above them. The cold air return inlet would be placed at the other end of the house, second floor etc. and terminate at the bottom of the stove instead of going into the upwards ducts as shown here. You create a natural loop that will circulate in most houses, you can get constant run fans that are placed righ inside the cold air return ductwork to provide assisted circulation.
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Old 08-27-2009, 03:07 PM
 
1,644 posts, read 4,104,614 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecoalman View Post
Inserts are convenient but they are generally not as efficient as standard stove. Another benefit of standalone stove is you can place it where you want or even tie it into existing ductwork. Here in the Notheast most houses have basements and many of them will be damp. A typical setup would place the stove in the basement even if it was unfinished. With a solid fuel appliance that is constantly producing radiant heat usually the best method to distribute heat is with a cold air return. You can tie this into an existing system or do it standalone with a hot air jacket:



Leisure Line Coal Stoves - Automatic Coal Stoker Stove Home Heating Systems



Much of the heat is directed upstairs from the basement however you'll still be keeping the basement comfortable and humidity down. Heat goes up so you'll get some nice warm floors as well which is important for a comfortable house, warm feet can make a huge difference. If you don't have an existing system you could just have it ducted right into the room above or ducted to a few areas. You don't even need the jacket but just a way for the heat to escape into the uspstairs. I've seen some people simply place a in floor grate above them. The cold air return inlet would be placed at the other end of the house, second floor etc. and terminate at the bottom of the stove instead of going into the upwards ducts as shown here. You create a natural loop that will circulate in most houses, you can get constant run fans that are placed righ inside the cold air return ductwork to provide assisted circulation.
Thanks for this!
We have a wood burning stove (not fireplace insert) and our problem is that it gets too hot!
This would seem to be a far better method, but we burn our own wood so no cost. How much does coal cost?
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Old 08-27-2009, 08:34 PM
 
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Well you can do it with any solid fuel appliance. The manufacturer where that picture came from fabricates the hot air jacket specifically for their own stoves but that doesn't preclude you from fabricating one yourself.

Coal costs are relative to where you're at and there is two types. Typically most people are going to want anthracite which is double the cost of soft coal right off the bat. It starts about $165 per ton delivered right now if you're close to a breaker but can go as high as $350 a ton. Anything above that and the cost savings are no more. It's only mined in Northeast Pennsylvania so the farther you get away from that area the more it costs.

The soft coal can be used but can be troublesome, produces a sulfury odor and black smoke when burned. It's not very suitable for anywhere except rural areas and for people which are willing to put up with it. It is significantly cheaper than anthracite.
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Old 08-27-2009, 09:12 PM
 
Location: Lost in Montana *recalculating*...
11,855 posts, read 15,497,601 times
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My friend uses a wood stove add-on furnace for his 1800 sq. ft rancher. Unit in the basement and it heats the whole house. It eats some wood, but boy is it nice.

Installation is not that easy, at least in his case. It's tied to his heat pump's air handler. Need to route fresh air from the outside to the solid fuel appliance, use a secondary filtration box with the return air and conditioned air, tie in the solid fuel appliance's blower/stoker motor to turn on when the thermostat kicks in..

But in the end- he has a fine primary heating system. Have to clean the chimney every month, but what a great heater.
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