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Pellet stove in the basement

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Last year I took advantage of Oboma's incentive & got a pellet stove. Very happy with it - got a Harmen (made in USA). Now, I'm inerested in getting heat to the next level of my house & heard alot of people cut holes in the second level floor to let heat rise to the next level. My question is - if I just cut 2 holes in the existing HVAC vent - would that make a big difference? Has anyone done this? Also, anyone used a fan inside to draw the heat through to the upstairs.

With the layout of my house - leaving the basement door open doesn't work. I have a very high ceiling in the hallway & the heat just sucks upwards & doesn't do anything for the second level
post #2 of 21
you can use the return vent from the ductwork to pull heat out of the basement.

you MUST make sure you have a return air path to the basement so you don't put the basement into negative pressure and backdraft your flue pipes.
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ted527 View Post
you can use the return vent from the ductwork to pull heat out of the basement.

you MUST make sure you have a return air path to the basement so you don't put the basement into negative pressure and backdraft your flue pipes.



My stove doesn't vent up a chimney - it is a direct vent through the wall. I'm no expert but I don't think the pressure stuff applies in my case.

Using the HVAC fan to distribute would be a great idea if there was a way to put some kind of timer (vs. a thermostat) on/off to automate the operation of the system vs letting it run non stop. I guess one question is does running the HVAC fan to distribute the heat upstairs use more electric than a regular fan (if not) I'm going in the wrong direction.... Also the return duct is floor level in the basement & maybe I just need to circulate the air better in the basement (heat rises) & use the existing system as you suggest to help force air to the upstairs via the HVAC system.

I'm starting to think a timer for the HVAC fan (only) would really be the best, but not sure this exists.
post #4 of 21
I have a conventional wood stove in my basement. It has a blower on it so I cut a hole in the first floor and installed a vent, then I ran a duct from the stove to the vent. My house is a single level rancher and it stays around 70 degrees all winter long.
post #5 of 21
In most places it's a code violation to cut holes from one level to the next. I did it in my new house back in the '80's. When I sold the house it did not pass inspection for CofO.
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
The details on these don't explain about the "program" features. For instance - is it possible to set my system on fan only & have the program kick it on every 30 minutes?

Seems the thermostats are really made for sleeptime & when you're at work - programming (reduce the temp)

I was looking at this as better than cutting a hole...
post #7 of 21
First let me just say that I don't have a pellet stove.

I have a coal stove in my basement. I also have a heat pump with electric back-up so when the outside temperature stays in the 30*'s I just turn it off completely and heat with coal only.

What I did was installed a dampered grille in the return duct as close as I could get to the location of my coal stove. This way I can close it when I'm not heating. The interior door leading down to my basement is always open. I see that's not an option for you. I also have a carbon monixide detector in my basement and one at the top of the basement stairs. In the heating season when I'm burning coal I set my fan to run continuiosly. I've had this set up for the past twelve years now and it works great for me.

Will it work for you? That I can't say for sure.
post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Upper Chesapeake View Post
The details on these don't explain about the "program" features. For instance - is it possible to set my system on fan only & have the program kick it on every 30 minutes?



Seems the thermostats are really made for sleeptime & when you're at work - programming (reduce the temp)



I was looking at this as better than cutting a hole...



Yes you can find thermostats with the features you want, but they are on the high end of the scale. A honeywell 8000 series will let you do 20 minutes out of an hour of fan only and run north of 100 bucks. I have a ecobee t-stat in my house that lets you do all kinds of stuff via the internet and gives you the control of the fan in run time per hour in 5 minutes increments, over 2 beans. A few options out there, but all pricey.



Don't dismiss what Ted mentioned, you placed another combustion appliance in your basement, it needs air to burn unless it has it's own air source. Cutting a hole in the return duct may allow the blower from your duct system to suck more than it blows in the basement, that can cause problems with the flues on the mechanical equipment you already have down there.



Chrlston mentioned the holes from floor to floor he's on the money, its a route for fire to spread, to meet code they would require fire damper(s) if it's even allowed at all.



The stove was a great idea, just remember it has to play nice with the other stuff in your home .
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Upper Chesapeake View Post
My stove doesn't vent up a chimney - it is a direct vent through the wall. I'm no expert but I don't think the pressure stuff applies in my case.



even if the pellet stove is direct vent that brings in outdoor air for combustion and vents through the sidewall you still don't want to pull the basement into negative pressure if you have anything venting into a regular chimney such as a water heater or furnace.

as Ed J said the Honeywell 8000 series of thermostats will do what you want with intermitant cycling of the blower. other thing you could do is wire a thermostat in the basement so if basement gets above a set temperature it will bring on the furnace fan.
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
I found some thermostats, too. They market them as "clean air" models. Meaning they will run the fan only as you want to program it - objective is to cycle more air through the filters in the system.

My stove pulls air from the outside burns the pellets & exhausts back through the wall.

I don't see / understand any problem with using the HVAC unit to distribute heated air to the upstairs. Basically it runs like this anyway, just not on the fan only mode.

Talking to you guys has helped me & I think this will be a more professional approach & get the heat up to the area I'm looking to add heat.

The thermostat in the basement idea - is another thing to think about. That would be using a thermostat as a thermostat vs a timing device.
post #11 of 21
I've been burning an old Fisher woodstove in the basement for years. Just decided to switch over to pellets this year. My Harman P-68 should be in Friday. My house is a 3280sqft raised rancher. The stove is in the basement along with the heat pump. I could keep the entire house at 80 degrees with the woodstove no matter what the temp outside. I hope I can do the same with the Harman.

I close off all the returns in the house by placing 1" foam board insulation in the return duct. I then open the 16"x16" duct near the stove, and I leave it like this all winter. My heat pump blower has a 3 speed fan that you adjust by moving the fan connector wire to one of three pins. I run the fan on low speed 24/7 through the winter also, which also helps clean the air and spreads the mostier from the humidifer{sp?}. I've been doing it like this for the oast 6 years and have had no problems. I keep a 16"x16" cheapy filter in the grate leading to the basement, and have a 24"x24"x6" whole house filter down line from that. The big filter is good for about 6 months at a time. Here's some photos of my setup minus the stove, let me know if I can help.
Phil



post #12 of 21
Now we're getting somewhere.



Mr. Pin,



Why do you block the returns?



And where will you install the thermostat for your new pellet stove? Will it be mounted upstairs in the living area or in the basement with the stove.



I'm contemplating the same type of set up. Pellet stove in basement, forced air system in house, getting basement heat upstairs. I thought of mounting a separate blower in the duct trunk and hooking it to a thermostat upstairs. Let the rising hot air in basement be force drawn into the trunk line and forced upstairs.
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadhead View Post
Now we're getting somewhere.

Mr. Pin,

Why do you block the returns?

And where will you install the thermostat for your new pellet stove? Will it be mounted upstairs in the living area or in the basement with the stove.

I'm contemplating the same type of set up. Pellet stove in basement, forced air system in house, getting basement heat upstairs. I thought of mounting a separate blower in the duct trunk and hooking it to a thermostat upstairs. Let the rising hot air in basement be force drawn into the trunk line and forced upstairs.


All the returns in my house are open registers meaning that they cannot be closed. I want all the air that's pumped out upstairs to come out of the basement where the stove is. If I don't block off the return line before the 16x16 grate, the system will still draw air from upsrairs. The efficiency of the heat pump sucks set up this way, but if I keep it warm enough in the basement, it never comes on.

The T-stat for the Harman stove is in the stove. It has a temp sensor that is attached to the back of the stove with a 8 foot wire that you are suppose to locate above the stove on the wall. Once you get the room temp where the stove is located where you like it, you set the stove for that room temp. The stove will shut itself off and restart when needed to maintain that room temp. sounds pretty slick, just hops it works, it better for the price!!!!!
post #14 of 21
OK. The T-stat for my pellet stove is on the wall, eye height, 10' from the stove, mounted on the same exterior wall as the stove pipe exit. It does a great job regulating the heat in the basement. Works like a charm. Automatic ignition, feed and burn rates, modest cleaning, can't say enough good things about the stove. I don't miss cutting wood and the mess and wear and tear on equipment.



My primary heat system is oil fired forced hot air.



I tried to simply run the furnace fan and draw the heated air from the basement to the upstairs. No good. I never got as far as changing fan speed. The air intake for the furnace is low to the floor and was pulling the cooler air upstairs while the pellet stove was heating the upper atmosphere of the basement to tropical levels.



I thought about tapping into the duct trunk and adding a forced air intake above the pellet stove but I was concerned about what happens when the furnace comes on.



From Mr. Pin's photos, it appears the return or intake duct for the heat pump has been applied higher from the floor so that hotter air is drawn through the system.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadhead View Post

From Mr. Pin's photos, it appears the return or intake duct for the heat pump has been applied higher from the floor so that hotter air is drawn through the system.


I put it there for that reason, even angled the fins up to draw off the ceiling. If you open up your return up high, and block off the one down low, it won't make any diff in the operation of you oil burner, you just won't be sucking the cold air off the floor.
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