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Old 10-27-2009, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Eastport, Maine
1,131 posts, read 1,496,073 times
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We have an 800 square foot cottage in downeast Maine. It has been renovated, with energy efficient windows, insulation and is fairly tight. The attic and walls have been insulated, but the floor is not. We have a dirt basement, with a sump pump. The house is wood shingled with a concrete block foundation.

How large of a heater/stove, should I be purchasing if I want to be able to live in the house year round? I am looking for a ball park figure of how many BTU's would be necessary. I plan on using propane to heat the house. Any information would be helpful. I am in no real hurry to do this, but I want to make sure I do my homework.
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:54 AM
 
Location: Waldo County
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Does the house have a full foundation? That is the single most important issue, because without it, you will not have warm floors. You can insulate the floors of course, and if you insulate enough, the whole house will be warm with or without a full foundation.

I would not use propane. Propane is a fairly poor source of energy for heating and is quite expensive.

The easiest and simplest way to heat a house like this is with a Toyo Stove...they make a model that puts out around 22,000 btu which is pushed out by a large fan. The fuel used is kerosene which will be stored in a regular 275 gallon oil tank outside and feeds into the stove by gravity. Electricity is required. (Many people will call this a "monitor", but "Monitor" is another brand of kerosene burning stove that is very similar and marketed by MPI, Inc. Monitors used to be very high quality, but in the last decade or so, the product has been cheapened considerably by the use of poor materials in the burner and bearing assemblies. Toyotomi makes the Toyo and Toyotomi brands which are vastly superior at around the same cost.) All of this type of heater is vented to the outside, and brings air inside from outside for combustion. Electricity is required. In a house of around 800 square feet you will need to keep interior doors open for air flow, but you will probably heat the whole house on one tank of fuel (250 gallons or so) per year. My home was designed around using them, and we have three of these heaters in a house that is approximately twice the size of yours. We burn around 400 gallons of kerosene a year in a location with high winds from the water.

I know many people will tell you to burn wood. I have done so in the past but will not burn wood again for many reasons. I will let others speak about the plusses or minuses of wood burning.
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:12 AM
 
Location: Eastport, Maine
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I also had a question about the venting. I can't seem to find an exact definition of a 1) natural vented stove 2) a direct vented stove.

Also, a venting question here, can I vent through the floor, and exit horizontally to an outside wall. Outside wall space is at a premium in the house.

Yes, the foundation is block on all 4 sides of the house.
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Old 10-27-2009, 01:22 PM
 
Location: West Boylston, Ma
172 posts, read 217,284 times
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Suggest you insulate the floor else anything you do to heat the place will be next to useless.

When we renovated the store attached to our house, decided not to insulate the floor - thought that insulating, the walls, celing and a good gas stove would be enough. Big mistake!!!! And now it would be a major production to correct that mistake. the store doesn't have a basement but rests on cinder blocks and you can really feel the cold in the wintertime and the gas stove just doesn't do much other than keeping edge off. So we have closed the store in the winter.

If you are just using the cottage for a seasonal use then it probably doesn't matter much, however if it is yearround - different story. You will just see your heating bills go higher as you try to keep the heat at a livable level.
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Old 10-27-2009, 01:49 PM
 
Location: Waldo County
1,220 posts, read 2,620,496 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maine4.us View Post
I also had a question about the venting. I can't seem to find an exact definition of a 1) natural vented stove 2) a direct vented stove.

Also, a venting question here, can I vent through the floor, and exit horizontally to an outside wall. Outside wall space is at a premium in the house.

Yes, the foundation is block on all 4 sides of the house.
The Toyotomi stoves are direct vent. That means that a 3" hole is drilled into the wall and the exhaust/inlet assembly is fitted through the hold and fastened in place using the large fastener bolt that is supplied. It is a simple installation.

There are some options. There are extensions that are available to move the exhaust port from side to side, or up higher in the wall.

Since exhaust fumes rise (they are smoke, afterall), you cannot vent downward, nor can you vent into an existing chimney. At least those are the instructions that come with the heater units themselves.

If the location of the heater is more than 16" above the bottom of the fuel tank, a lifter pump is necessary to insure proper fuel flow. In point of fact the real issue with tank level is if the bottom of the tank is below the level of the heater, the weight of fuel in the tank won't provide fuel to the heater after the tank is emptied to a certain level. I know of one installation where the bottom of the tank was about four feet below the level of the heater and the tank required filling when about 1/3 full in order for fuel to flow. Fuel is delivered to the heaters through a 3/8" outside diameter copper tube.

There are some of these heaters that have an internal tank that holds a gallon and a half or so of fuel. That tank is removed for filling, but is a PITA to have to handle, so a permanent tank is the best solution for permanent heat.

These heaters are very efficient and clean burning. If properly installed there is NEVER any kerosene smell. THE exhaust must be at least 4 feet from windows or doors by code, I believe. In practice if the windows are new and have good seals the risk of odors coming through closed windows is iminmal to nonexistent.
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Old 10-27-2009, 04:23 PM
 
Location: Northern Maine
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There are companies that will spray foam the under side of your cottage.

For heaters I recommend Rinnai, Toyo and Monitor in that order. All of these require cleaning every 3 to 5 years. The Monitor is the most expensive to service and the advice above about bearings is correct too. The reason you can't vent into an existing chimney is that all these stoves are extremely efficient. Their exhaust is so cool that you can put your hand on the vent. It is too cool to make a chimney draw efficiently.
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Old 10-27-2009, 04:58 PM
Status: "Older and decidedly wiser!" (set 27 days ago)
 
8,759 posts, read 11,695,127 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Maine Land Man View Post
There are companies that will spray foam the under side of your cottage.

For heaters I recommend Rinnai, Toyo and Monitor in that order. All of these require cleaning every 3 to 5 years. The Monitor is the most expensive to service and the advice above about bearings is correct too. The reason you can't vent into an existing chimney is that all these stoves are extremely efficient. Their exhaust is so cool that you can put your hand on the vent. It is too cool to make a chimney draw efficiently.
This was true with our new oil burner too. We had to have the chimney lined so it would draw properly as the gasses produced have little heat left over to warm a big flue and allow for proper draft. I guess not having heat go up the chimney is a good thing.
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Old 10-28-2009, 07:34 AM
 
Location: Penobscot Bay, the best place in Maine!
1,843 posts, read 3,764,842 times
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My ONLY heat source is a propane heater (used to have a wood stove, but landlord removed it after we had a chimney fire...). Mine is a ventless, wall-mounted model, and I have found that it heats my house (only just a little bit bigger than your cottage- maybe 900 sq ft) very well, even through the Maine winter. My house does not have a basement, but I do bank it with plastic in the winter, so it is not totally open underneath, and also have plenty of rugs and carpets on the floor for added barrier. I have not found propane to be very expensive (I think we have spent less than $700 on propane in the last year), but I also keep my small house on the cooler side.

I would look for a model that does not have an electronic thermostat/control. I previously had a nicer model (Rannai) that did have the electronic control and when the power went out... no heat. I like having the option of still having the heat when the power goes out! Another thing to look for is which direction the interior fan will direct the heat. My current heater direct the heat upwards, which I find to be annoying, as it all hangs around the ceiling a while before actually warming the people-level of the house. My previous heater directed the heat outward, from the floor level, and if/when I ever have to look at another heater, I would make sure it did than as opposed to the ceiling heater.

When my first heater pooched, I called around to a few companies that offered propane services/furnace repair, and was told by more than one that they would not work on a Monitor (specifically), but as that mine was a Rannai, they were able to. I have always wondered (and should have asked) why they would not work on the Monitor brand. ???

Last edited by deerislesmile; 10-28-2009 at 08:54 AM.. Reason: I made my small house even smaller than it really is!
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Old 10-28-2009, 08:48 AM
 
Location: Eastport, Maine
1,131 posts, read 1,496,073 times
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What is the approximate cost to have insulation sprayed under the floor if you have a basement? Who does it downeast? I know I have a lot of questions, but you guys are the Encyclopedia of Maine Information! Thanks!
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Old 10-28-2009, 09:01 AM
Status: "Older and decidedly wiser!" (set 27 days ago)
 
8,759 posts, read 11,695,127 times
Reputation: 3436
Quote:
Originally Posted by deerislesmile View Post
My ONLY heat source is a propane heater (used to have a wood stove, but landlord removed it after we had a chimney fire...). Mine is a ventless, wall-mounted model, and I have found that it heats my house (only just a little bit bigger than your cottage- maybe 900 sq ft) very well, even through the Maine winter. My house does not have a basement, but I do bank it with plastic in the winter, so it is not totally open underneath, and also have plenty of rugs and carpets on the floor for added barrier. I have not found propane to be very expensive (I think we have spent less than $700 on propane in the last year), but I also keep my small house on the cooler side.

I would look for a model that does not have an electronic thermostat/control. I previously had a nicer model (Rannai) that did have the electronic control and when the power went out... no heat. I like having the option of still having the heat when the power goes out! Another thing to look for is which direction the interior fan will direct the heat. My current heater direct the heat upwards, which I find to be annoying, as it all hangs around the ceiling a while before actually warming the people-level of the house. My previous heater directed the heat outward, from the floor level, and if/when I ever have to look at another heater, I would make sure it did than as opposed to the ceiling heater.

When my first heater pooched, I called around to a few companies that offered propane services/furnace repair, and was told by more than one that they would not work on a Monitor (specifically), but as that mine was a Rannai, they were able to. I have always wondered (and should have asked) why they would not work on the Monitor brand. ???
Banking the house is a time honored Maine tradition deerislesmile! My father tacked up plastic with tack strips all around the foundation of our house extending it out a couple of feet on the ground then put bales of hay around it too on top of the plastic "skirt". It worked quite well and under that plastic and hay was a great place to find worms for spring fishing when the snow was all gone!
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