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Wood stove in the basement

  1. #1
    Whiskey bent & hellbound BMFR6's Avatar
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    Wood stove in the basement


    Looking for opinions/experiences with putting a wood stove in the basement and cutting some holes in the living level floor to put some registers in. The basement is unfinshed and uninsulated. At the front (north facing) side of the house the basement walls are surrounded by about 5' of earth then my property slopes to the back yard (south facing) where the walls have a good 3-4' exposed to the elements. Basement isn't super air tight, but it's not the wind tunnel it used to be. House is small, about 700 sq. ft. and the stove would be on the west end of the house, directly below both bedrooms. The west end has the least amount of exposed basement wall. Wife works days and I work nights so theres pretty much always someone home to load the fire. Think there is any real value in adding the stove or do you think I'll just end up losing most of the heat to the basement walls?



    In addition: I only have a single flue chimney thats already hooked up to my oil burner (forced hot air) in the center of the house, so hooking up to the existing duct work and adding a blower isn't an option.

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  2. #2
    Take Chance, Shit Pants TheIglu's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove in the basement

    Put the stove as close as you can to living space. You have a lot of non-insulated concrete down there that is going to be sucking up a lot of your heat.

    I'm sure people will say otherwise, but physics doesn't lie.

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  3. #3
    Lifer
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    Re: Wood stove in the basement

    I'm sure it will heat the house fine, but it's not an ideal location. If the basement isn't sealed up very well, I'd think about adding an outside air kit to the stove so it's not sucking cold air in through all the cracks. Is the house a ranch?

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    ...inside the van. loudog's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove in the basement

    Quote Originally Posted by TheIglu View Post
    Put the stove as close as you can to living space. You have a lot of non-insulated concrete down there that is going to be sucking up a lot of your heat.

    I'm sure people will say otherwise, but physics doesn't lie.
    True story. You'll lose a lot of the heat to the un-used (?) basement. We're currently looking into a woodstove too, I examined the potential of the basement and quickly dismissed it. My brother has a pellet in his basement and says good things...but imagine if that bad larry was in the living area. A quick analysis of his heating costs didn't impress me, similar to ours (he's in a colder climate though, southern NH compare to southern/central MA). So it helps him, but not dramatically. It'll take a while to recover the $3k to install the stove.

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  5. #5
    Lifer Falko's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove in the basement

    A lot of the heat from a wood stove is radiant. You'll have to heat the basement well and get the heat to come to the living area convectively. not ideal.

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  6. #6
    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove in the basement

    the question I have is what is your primary heat ? I have found that while a wood stove in the basement is not the most efficient way to heat the living space above, heating the basement will go a long way in reducing fuel consumption for your primary heat source

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  7. #7
    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove in the basement

    I'm with Claybones. To effeciently heat your house with the stove used as primary heat, you'd need to do a lot of sealing up down in that basement. Otherwise your stove's energy will be used heating that cold basement before it gets to heating your living area. And if it's struggling just to keep it's surrounding area heated, it sure as hell is gonna have a tough time heating the living area. Most of the heat would be just dissipating. Seal up the basement, cut a few registers and install some ceiling fans and you're good. But as someone pointed out, maybe run a bit of a cost analysis including the initial install as well as fuel costs. You may find that the return on your 'investment' isn't really worth it at all. That is if cost is your motivating factor...

    And of course everybody's situation is a little different. As thorough as you tried to be, there's still a lot of unique factors...

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  8. #8
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove in the basement

    My basement is pretty warm in the winters. Dunno about the rest of ya'll.

    Although I'd still put it in my living room. Fire is awful nice to look at.

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  9. #9
    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove in the basement

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    My basement is pretty warm in the winters. Dunno about the rest of ya'll.
    That's my point. Imagine if that heat went UP into the living area rather than be 'wasted' keeping your basement warm...

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  10. #10
    Whiskey bent & hellbound BMFR6's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove in the basement

    Quote Originally Posted by TheIglu View Post
    Put the stove as close as you can to living space. You have a lot of non-insulated concrete down there that is going to be sucking up a lot of your heat.

    I'm sure people will say otherwise, but physics doesn't lie.
    Agreed about the physics, guess thats why I had asked. I should have also pointed out that a good portion of the basement walls are "super" thick. Reason being, originally the walls were half field stone then concrete block the for the top half. Forms built and concrete was poured on the inside to square up around the field stone so the bottom half of most of the walls is 8-10" of field stone directly under the exterior walls then 10' or so of concrete. I have a bunch of 1/2" foam board insulation I could put on the interior as well...... just not sure 1/2" is enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by burnham View Post
    I'm sure it will heat the house fine, but it's not an ideal location. If the basement isn't sealed up very well, I'd think about adding an outside air kit to the stove so it's not sucking cold air in through all the cracks. Is the house a ranch?
    The house is a bungalow, like 35'x20' give or take. To finish sealing the basement I just have to replace the door and one window, old house so the sizes of those two items aren't off the shelf purchases. There are 4 hopper windows (2 on each end) that I've already replaced in the past couple years.

    Quote Originally Posted by loudog View Post
    True story. You'll lose a lot of the heat to the un-used (?) basement. We're currently looking into a woodstove too, I examined the potential of the basement and quickly dismissed it. My brother has a pellet in his basement and says good things...but imagine if that bad larry was in the living area. A quick analysis of his heating costs didn't impress me, similar to ours (he's in a colder climate though, southern NH compare to southern/central MA). So it helps him, but not dramatically. It'll take a while to recover the $3k to install the stove.
    The whole basement is "used", just not finished or lived in. I can work down there in a sweatshirt in the winter and be okay but wouldn't want to sleep down there. Cost shouldn't be too bad as I have a couple stoves that can be gifted to me, just need to get the dimensions and figure out which is the best size and condition. Wood is plentiful and costs me nothing but time. Only installation costs should be the double insulated stove pipe for the chimney, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by RandyO View Post
    the question I have is what is your primary heat ? I have found that while a wood stove in the basement is not the most efficient way to heat the living space above, heating the basement will go a long way in reducing fuel consumption for your primary heat source
    Oil would be the primary heat that I would depend on....... but I would like to be at the point where I hardly even touch the oil.

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  11. #11
    ...inside the van. loudog's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove in the basement

    Quote Originally Posted by BMFR6 View Post
    Cost shouldn't be too bad as I have a couple stoves that can be gifted to me, just need to get the dimensions and figure out which is the best size and condition. Wood is plentiful and costs me nothing but time. Only installation costs should be the double insulated stove pipe for the chimney, etc.
    Sounds like a win to me. I'd still try to put it upstairs, but if that's not reasonable...why not do it. Free stove, free wood (minus the time spent)...you'll definitely save $ in the long run.

    BTW: The chimney liners are about $500 from what we've been seeing around here (Uxbridge, Franklin, Warwick, Ashland, and Holliston shops). We're being quoted anywhere between $1,000 to $1,500 just for install (including the liner). I imagine it'll be a bit cheaper for your situation, but it's not negligible.

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    Last edited by loudog; 10-11-12 at 01:12 PM.

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    Take Chance, Shit Pants TheIglu's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove in the basement

    Putting in a Simpson Duravent Triple wall stainless is pretty straightforward. I did it. If you can find a spot in the first floor of your house to put the stove, then start the chimney directly above it, you'll have less chimney to buy and will get more of the BTU's you put into the stove into living space with the least amount of loss.

    Remember, heat where you live. You don't live in the basement, so why heat it? You don't water your driveway so the lawn will get wet, do you?

    Just think about having to get all that concrete and the fieldstone behind it up to temp before you really start getting any heat upstairs. Then the constant loss from those high thermal mass items transferring into the outside air and even worse, the ground. In a battle between heating the ground around your house or the ground cooling your house, the ground always wins.

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  13. #13
    Changes come butcher bergs's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove in the basement

    700'/ sq should be nothing to heat. I've been heating quite a bit more than that with a woodstove located in the basement on one end of the house.

    Takes about 5hrs or so for it to truly begin heating the entire house but getting indoor temps up to 80 is not unheard of. Waking up to warm floors throughout is a nice thing also.

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    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove in the basement

    Quote Originally Posted by butcher bergs View Post
    Takes about 5hrs or so for it to truly begin heating the entire house but getting indoor temps up to 80 is not unheard of. Waking up to warm floors throughout is a nice thing also.
    And there within lies the problem. Our stove is on the lowest living area and can get our entire 2500+ sq. ft. up to temp in less than a coupla hours in sub-freezing temps. No blower, no stove fans. Just a 12x12 register directly above it and ceiling fans throughout the house. See? Less than two hours to get up to heat compared to 'about 5hrs'. Not very efficient...

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    Changes come butcher bergs's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove in the basement

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoneman View Post
    And there within lies the problem. Our stove is on the lowest living area and can get our entire 2500+ sq. ft. up to temp in less than a coupla hours in sub-freezing temps. No blower, no stove fans. Just a 12x12 register directly above it and ceiling fans throughout the house. See? Less than two hours to get up to heat compared to 'about 5hrs'. Not very efficient...
    Your house is a 4'x4' foot print and 50 stories up.

    Seriously though, my house is something like 55' across and the woodstove is at one end. If that stove were located where the spa currently is I'd estimate cutting the heating time by half.

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    Whiskey bent & hellbound BMFR6's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove in the basement

    Quote Originally Posted by TheIglu View Post
    Putting in a Simpson Duravent Triple wall stainless is pretty straightforward. I did it. If you can find a spot in the first floor of your house to put the stove, then start the chimney directly above it, you'll have less chimney to buy and will get more of the BTU's you put into the stove into living space with the least amount of loss.

    Remember, heat where you live. You don't live in the basement, so why heat it? You don't water your driveway so the lawn will get wet, do you?

    Just think about having to get all that concrete and the fieldstone behind it up to temp before you really start getting any heat upstairs. Then the constant loss from those high thermal mass items transferring into the outside air and even worse, the ground. In a battle between heating the ground around your house or the ground cooling your house, the ground always wins.
    Trust me, I'd LOVE to put it on the living floor but with me, my wife, a two year old and two huskies.......... and all the toys and shit, theres no way I could even pull it off. We'd be at some hospitals burn unit with in a week of installing it.

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    Your Father csmutty's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove in the basement

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoneman View Post
    And there within lies the problem. Our stove is on the lowest living area and can get our entire 2500+ sq. ft. up to temp in less than a coupla hours in sub-freezing temps. No blower, no stove fans. Just a 12x12 register directly above it and ceiling fans throughout the house. See? Less than two hours to get up to heat compared to 'about 5hrs'. Not very efficient...
    In sub freezing temps when is the stove ever out where you would need to get it from zilch to allmotherfuckinggunsblazing?

    We have our stove in the basement and it heats the house to 68 degrees about. Warm air goes up the laundry chute to the 2nd floor and then cool air returns to the basement down the stairs.

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    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove in the basement

    Quote Originally Posted by csmutty View Post
    In sub freezing temps when is the stove ever out where you would need to get it from zilch to allmotherfuckinggunsblazing?
    I was playing off Berg's reply. But you've never had to restart a fire from scratch? Yeah, THAT'S believable. It DOES happen, even to those that use it as primary heat sources...

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  19. #19
    Your Father csmutty's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove in the basement

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoneman View Post
    I was playing off Berg's reply. But you've never had to restart a fire from scratch? Yeah, THAT'S believable. It DOES happen, even to those that use it as primary heat sources...
    We all work different shifts at home so someone is always feeding it. It never completely goes out. There is always coals. Especially with the new stove. Can't believe the difference that the new technology makes.

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  20. #20
    Super Duper Anti Squid Doc's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove in the basement

    My Father (and Grandfather before that) have always heated their house with a 55 gallon drum wood stove in the basement. Not all that efficent but it gets damn hot in that little old house with only the woodstove running.

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  21. #21
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove in the basement

    Quote Originally Posted by BMFR6 View Post
    Trust me, I'd LOVE to put it on the living floor but with me, my wife, a two year old and two huskies.......... and all the toys and shit, theres no way I could even pull it off. We'd be at some hospitals burn unit with in a week of installing it.
    Really? I grew up with wood stoves, we never had problems with it. If you're super paranoid, put one of those kiddie fences around it.

    And your dogs are either way stupider than mine... or will be fine. Hell, our new pup just loves parking her ass in front of the stove more than almost anything.

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  22. #22
    Whiskey bent & hellbound BMFR6's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove in the basement

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    And your dogs are either way stupider than mine... or will be fine. Hell, our new pup just loves parking her ass in front of the stove more than almost anything.
    haha. Unless your new pup is a siberian husky, there's no comparison. Take a crazy 2 year old that loves to play and two huskies hopped up on snow and cold weather and there is probably enough energy generated in my living room that I could power my house for the entire year.

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  23. #23
    Don't bother me! R7's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove in the basement

    As mentioned, all houses and climates are different. I can think of more reasons to heat a basement, than to not heat it!
    ..Warm floors are awesome..proabbaly the #1 reason for me!
    ..Your oil fired system is likely in your basement...you'll get much less radiant heat loss from your boiler and hot water tank if your basement is 80+ vs 50 yeah, those numbers don't lie
    ..Heating your basement with wood will give you a MUCH more even spread of heat vs 1 hot room upstairs and the others cool.
    ..All that concrete that everyone feels sucks out the heat (which I agree to a point that it does) also acts as a source of heat storage while your stove is out.
    ..No mess in the house..if you're a clean freak, you'll be cleaning up after the stove at least once per day..in the basement, you can let that slip a bit.
    ..I can go on...

    That being said, I heat my house 100% with a woodstove in the basement. What works for me, may not work for everyone..but I can tell you I have probably used less than 20 gallons of oil for heat in my house in the past 5 years...and less than 100 gallons per year for hot water.
    My stove is in the center of my house in the basement and I have about 2' of exposed uninsulated foundation showing around the entire house. I also have 2 non insulated glass windows and a steel uninsulated 4' wide double entry door. The walls below grade are insulated on the outside with 2" R-10 foam. My trick is not to ever let the stove burn down so it goes out. I've found it pretty easy to get 10-12 hours of burn with 6 or 7 logs in it, so overnights and work are not an issue for me.
    I try to go by temperatures, 80-85 in the basement will keep my 1st floor around 70-72, and the 2nd floor around 65-67. To get my basement to 85, my stovetop temp needs to be around 400. If the stove does go out for some reason, the basement doesn't go below 70 and if you feel the floor and walls below grade, they are all still very warm. I also have no holes cut in the floor, just leave the door to the basement open all the time, and the bedroom doors upstairs open.
    Total sqft including my basement is just under 2,000 and I burn about 4-5 cord of hardwood a season..and I'll go out on a limb and say maybe 5 gallons of oil per winter

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  24. #24
    Lifer Stromper's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove in the basement

    You can a wood stove that is intended to meet up with some duct work

    Run a couple of ducts to floor registers above it and then a free return across the house

    If you want a cleaner house doing it in the basement really helps with the mess.

    - - - Updated - - -

    You can a wood stove that is intended to meet up with some duct work

    Run a couple of ducts to floor registers above it and then a free return across the house

    If you want a cleaner house doing it in the basement really helps with the mess.

    google wood furnace

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  25. #25

    Re: Wood stove in the basement

    What about a free standing pellet stove in the living space, maybe like the one that was for sale on here a little while ago

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