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Old 09-30-2011, 10:15 AM   #1
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Heat for a basement with Pellt Stove on Main Floor


I live on Long Island NY in a one story 1,400sqft ranch. The home has a full finished basement apartment w/ additional area of 700sqft. The basement has a Weill McLain furnace/Beckett oil burner and Weill McLain indirect fire hot water heater.

A few years back I purchased a Bixby Maxfire 115 pellet stove to cut on fuel costs which is capable of 45,000 btu's, and has more than enough capacity to keep things toasty on the main floor. I didnít install the pellet stove in the basement because I donít have central a/c or any ducts to move air up to all the main floor rooms so this seemed the right thing to do. In addition my basement is ĺ below grade which present problems for venting the pellet stove in the basement. I cannot place the pellet stove in center of the basement living space as I have a basement apartment and cannot make the heating of my home the responsibility of my tenant.

The problem is that I still need to use heating oil to keep my basement warm. My home heating system has a single zone that runs near the basement ceiling below the main floor and loops up to each radiator and back down to the main loop and also loops down to radiators in the basement and back up to the main loop. Since I purchased the Pellet stove, I had no need to heat the main floor but still needed basement heat so I purchased 240V cove radiant heating units which turned out to be a mistake with over $1000/winter in additional electric bills. I then installed a new zone just for the basement only using Pex/Slant Finn baseboards. The other zones are still in place although I donít run the circulating pumps for them, just the new one for the basement.

I then tried placing two registers behind the pellet stove on the main floor and with duct fans attempted to draw warm pellet stove air from the living room upstairs downward but as you know, hot air does not travel down well.

Iím considering purchasing a second pellet stove just for the basement but venting in a ĺ below grade basement is problematic.

So it would seem my only option would be to somehow find a much better approach of moving the pellet stove warm air from the main floor down to the basement via ducting. Even if this means I will consume more (cheap) pellet fuel, it would still be a cost savings over oil. The installation of a full Central Air system would seem to be cost prohibitive and Iím not really sure if that would be an appropriate solution.

Iíve also read about garage/warehouse heavy duty electric box heaters but donít know the electric bills Iíd receive with such a unit.

Any suggestions would be most appreciated.


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Old 11-20-2011, 08:55 AM   #2
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moving heat where needed

I had the problem moving heat up not down, but this will work any direction. put a harman p38 in walkout family room and could not get the warm air in living kitchen area upstairs, tried fans, blowers etc without much sucess. Finally i removed the blower, opening about 3 1/2 by 3 , enlarged it to 4 x4 attached a 16" piece of 4x4 12ga steel tubing to the hole in the stove, to that i attached 5" round aluminum flex duct and connected it to a dayton 1tdr9 blower (463 cfm) the blower is mounted to the bottom of a small plenum made of steel tubing covered with sheet metal about 2 cubic feet volume, from the plenum i ran about 40 feet of 6' insulated flexible duct thru a utility room, up to the main floor exiting under a kitchen island and directed to the living area thru a new register. a 4" duct with damper valve directs some heat from the plenum to the entry area of the upstairs. The system works fairly well, convection heat from the stove heats the family room and keeps the 2 bedrooms semi warm supplimental heat is by electric space heaters when occupied. Now for the problems, I have the wrong type blower, this blower has the motor half inside and draws ambient air over it for motor cooling diluting the hot air from the stove, at high heat settings this dosn't matter and aids in tempering the hot air, at low heat the ducted air is too cold. at about 50 to 60 lbs pellet a day setting the air arriving in the living area is about 90 degrees. a blower with the motor external to the fan would allow you to put a y duct on the intake side and control the mix with a valve. Much work need to be done to balance the radient heat and forced air heat, ie variable speed blower etc. The blower used by me isn't speed adjustable and i put a snap action switch to turn it off if stove goes off. The pellet stove dosn't care which way the air flow goes thru it, it sounds quite normal when standing close. Hope this helps, my stove is next to the utility room wall so all the ducting is out of sight.


Last edited by waterspaniel; 11-20-2011 at 08:58 AM. Reason: more info
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