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Jim Dam 06-24-2008 12:32 PM

Add-on wood furnace in a small house?
I live in Vermont in a 1400-foot ranch house. I currently heat with just a forced-air oil furnace (a Newmac). I would like to heat mostly with wood. But Iím not sure what the best way would be to do that.

I wouldnít mind getting a wood stove. However, although our chimney has two separate flues, the chimney on the first floor is not located in a place where a wood stove would make sense. (It passes between two bedrooms.) We could add a stainless steel chimney in the living room, but in addition to being expensive, I donít think that would look so good.

So Iím thinking an add-on wood furnace in the basement would be better. However, Iím worried about how safe this would be. First, Iím worried that our house is just too small for a wood furnace and we would have a lot of creosote build-up. Second, Iím worried that if the power went out in the night or while I and my wife were at work, the furnace might overheat and burn the house down.

How unsafe would a wood furnace be in the basement of a 1400-foot house?

If it would be safe enough, which furnace should I get? (Iíve been looking at the Yukon "Big Jack," the Vogelzang Norseman 1500, the Fire Chief Model 300, the Newmac WAO, and the Harman SF-1500.)

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


javan 06-24-2008 01:48 PM

All good stoves
I have a similar setup in my house, wood furnace add-on to existing oil-fired hot air furnace. I like it, but my furnace is quite old and needs replacement. That being said. This is one of the best set-ups to utilize the heat from a wood stove:
-Heated plenum for distribution through the ducts (usually, you have a separate t-stat that will control a combustion air fan, and a draft fan.
-Radiant heat from the stove, to heat your basement. (do you have uninsulated floors?).

Regarding a free-standing stove on the 1st floor, for a chimney, you would only see the black metal (or other color) stove pipe in the room. The Stainless tripple wall, or similar will starte at the ceiling and run through the attic and outside. You do not see this in the room. I have installed a few of these and they are not difficult to do, but yes they are pricey. If I had the space and money, I would go with a free-standing soap-stone stove (Hearthstone most likely), right in the corner of the living room. But if you do not want to have the wood mess up there, then go for the basement add-on.

Lastly, You do not have to do an add-on in the basement. If you basement is all open, and the floor uninsulated, you could just get a good sized box-type stove and use that heat the basement, and subsequently, the floors above. I did it this way for a few years in an older house.

Anyway, regarding your initial question about safety. I felt that the add-on stove is quite safe. And the newer the model the better. Better controls, better operation etc....

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