Got a Ll Pocono Stoker - Still Cold

Got a Ll Pocono Stoker - Still Cold

PostBy: alexw On: Tue. Feb. 06, 2007 7:00 am

Hey everyone longtime no chat. Well here it is the coldest days of the year and I am still trying to get this stoker to warm my house. I am beginning to
think I was wrong to believe that I could get away with heating my house with such an inexpensive fuel.

I have a LL Pocono in my baement, my house is appx. 22*24 and 70-80 yrs old with an unfinished basement. I have tried firing the stoker at full crank with the basement door open = hot basement not much benefit upstairs.
I tried cutting registers in two rooms and placed a box fan in the cellar steps = not much improvement. Finally I built a manifold out of 6" stove pipe and ran duct work to the 2 registers allowing the stokers dual blowers to move the air. = this results in a cold basement and almost no appreciable heat to the first floor.

There are a few things I can try to do. I can tighten up the duct work a little to try and squeeze more flow or pressure out of the pipes (6" home depot ducts) I could install an inline fan between the stoker and registers (probably a waste of time) or I could just let the $%^^&*er run full crank all the time with no ducts and try placeing some fans below the registers to help the air up = at least the basement and first floor might then realize some appreciable heat. I read some BS about creating neg. pressure gradients when using fans in the cellar to force air upstairs. Should I be concerned or does this require aLOT of pressure to be negative.

Sorry so long - any suggestions would be appreciated,


Re: Got a Ll Pocono Stoker - Still Cold

PostBy: coalkirk On: Tue. Feb. 06, 2007 1:50 pm

I'm not familair with your stove but there are obvious challenges when trying to heat a whole house with a stove, especially when its this dang cold! The largest obstacle is heat distribution, which you've already realized. What type of primary heating system does your home have? It's a big plus to try and tie into the central system for heat distribution. What is the heat output rating of your stove and what size home are you trying to heat with it? How well is your home insulated and what are your windows like? I've heated my home for 4 years with coal and for many years before that with wood. it is very possible to accomplish but you've got to have the right equipment for the task. Look forward to your responses.
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1981 EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: anthracite/rice coal

Re: Got a Ll Pocono Stoker - Still Cold

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Tue. Feb. 06, 2007 1:57 pm

A few more details would help.
You say the stove will get the basment hot, so the stove must be making heat. If I'm not mistaken, I would think that unit is around 90,000 BTUs which should be more than enough to get some heat to the first floor.
How big is the house? Two floors + basement? Insulation? Do you have a return duct to the basment? You can't move the hot air up if the cold air can't get down. Are there any channels that run from the basement to the attic?
A house will act as it's own chimney if there is a way for the heat to get out. One trick is to tape a strip of 6" X 2" toilet paper in the door jambs and hallways to see what air movment you have. Follow the air to see where the heat is going even if you need a piece on a stick.
Some photos of the unit, stack chimney etc. would help too. Get us the info and you'll have plenty of good advice.
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

Re: Got a Ll Pocono Stoker - Still Cold

PostBy: LsFarm On: Tue. Feb. 06, 2007 2:07 pm

Hi Alex, I re-read your first post about hooking up your Pocono stoker. There were several suggestions made there.

Leisure Line Pocono to heat whole house - tips, advice

In the above post [this page] you mention that you have arranged fans so that you cooled down the basement [moved the trapped heat upstairs] but have little apprecialbe heat on the main level.

I'm begining to think that with the really cold weather, you just don't have enough BTU's from your stoker to keep up with the heat loss of your house. If you have the stove really cranking, the burner bed is full of burning coal, and burning coals are near to dropping off the end of the burner bed, the heat is going upstairs, and the basement is cool [no heat trapped downstairs] Then the stove is doing all it can.

With a wind, a few spots of infiltrating really cold air, a 90K stove is not going to keep up with the heat demand. In a really tight house, of ~2000sqft, 90K will chase you out of the place. But not with leaks and poor insulation. I know all about leaks and poor insulation in my wreck of a farmhouse!!

In your original post, you mentioned another heat source on the main floor, is this hooked to a chimney?? Id the room air blocked from going up this chimney?? an open damper will exhaust a huge amount of heat from a house to the outdoors!!

Greg L

Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

Re: Got a Ll Pocono Stoker - Still Cold

PostBy: Matthaus On: Tue. Feb. 06, 2007 2:15 pm

Hey Alex, sorry to hear of your frustration.

I only started using coal this year so I am no expert. In my opinion the use of a stove in the basement with no means except air transfer to the upper floors will not result in a toasty house in extreme cold. Especially if the house has numerous air leaks (which most houses the age of yours do).

I am heating a 90 year old 2,200 sq ft 2 story house with a stove on the first floor and the floor plan has the upstairs hall open wth stairs on one end and a loft on the other (with a high ceiling from the first floor connected). This has allowed good convection and circulation. My whole house stays 75* in subzero temps with no other souce of heat.

If you can't move the stove to the first floor maybe you need to look at a sheet metal jacket attached to the outside of your stove as others on this forum have constructed. This would essentially make a plenum for heat to coolect for distibution through duct work to the upper floor(s). Another option is to install a hot water coil and put baseboard heat in select areas to set up some kind of convection from the basement and heat the coldest area. Of course this is a lot of work and only stop gap.

Hope this provides some small amount of help and hope. Best plan is don't give up and keep trying until you acheive the desired result. There are a lot of guys on this forum a lot smarter and more experienced than me that probably have some tips. How about it guys, how about helping this guy out? :)
Stoker Coal Boiler: Leisure Line WL110 Dual Fuel, natural gas
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Leisure Line Lil' Heater (rental house)
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Buckwheat Anthracite

Re: Got a Ll Pocono Stoker - Still Cold

PostBy: LsFarm On: Tue. Feb. 06, 2007 2:36 pm

Hi Again Alex, If you can get the heat upstairs, then the fans in or on the ducts or vents are working. I think the problem is your return air is coming down the stairs, traveling across the basement and getting very cool before being picked up again by the stoves fans to get heated and sent back upstairs.

What you need is sort of like the 'recirculate' instead of 'fresh air' position on your car's heating system.

If it is possible, put a cold air return duct from a remote place upstairs, and have the duct come directly to the back of the Poccono stove, right next to the blower fan inlets. This way the stove will be reheating air that is still slightly warm from upstairs instead of cold basement air. The shorter, hotter loop of airflow should result in hotter air upstairs and a more comfortable temperature.

How tight is the house?? Are the windows newer and sealed? can you feel drafts around windows and doors?

Greg L

Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

Re: Got a Ll Pocono Stoker - Still Cold

PostBy: REDMAN On: Tue. Feb. 06, 2007 3:11 pm

Hi Alex, I am sort of in the same boat as you. 90k keystoker, old house, no insulation, lots of drafts. Did alot of the same stuff you have and when the temp is 20* and above the stove does a good job of keeping up. But when temps drop into the teens and below, it doesn't. Out of all the suggestions so far, I like Greg's about recirculating the home's warm air. I have felt this was something I might have to do, but never really got cold enough to find out....untill now. Good Luck,

Stove/Furnace Make: Keysoker
Stove/Furnace Model: 90 Direct Vent

Re: Got a Ll Pocono Stoker - Still Cold

PostBy: bugize On: Tue. Feb. 06, 2007 4:47 pm

:shock: hey Alex,i had a similar problem,tho not to the extent of yours.
when I got my stove I cut a hole in the floor in the hallway,about the center of the house to let heat up stairs,i also cut big holes in my cellar and let heat up..basement was always very warm..upstairs was ok....this was in 30 degree weather. I knew this stove would roast me out(or should) in this type of weather.i have a 24x40 ranch with a Harman mark3 in the basement. Well one day I got to crawling around on the floor with a lit cigarette to watch where the smoke would travel to see my air was going down the bottom register I cut in my cellar door...thus stopping the convection travel of heat up the stairs....the vent in the I put a thin layer of plastic up on the backside of the bottom register in the door...i then built a little shelf on the backside top and mounted a 9" fan to blow heat up...and now the hallway register acts as a cold air is 72-75 degrees when its down to about zero...with no wind...we have been having alot of high winds with the wind chill well below zero and the house is still 70...warm enuff for me but not the girlfriend.....i am designing a duct system for it next year,then I will us the cellar door opening for my cold air return as my stove sits kitty cornered..of to the side of my this should help with heat and air transfer...sorry so was just a process and alot of head scratching to figure it out...with the info from the poeple here who have many different setups...i know you will figure out how to move your air around....hope this helps...good luck! :shock:
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Mark3

Re: Got a Ll Pocono Stoker - Still Cold

PostBy: coal_kid On: Tue. Feb. 06, 2007 9:49 pm

Alex how hot is the air blowing out of the registers?

Also, how many CFM are you pushing?

Do you have a picture of your setup?

I have a hand fired stove tied into my main ductwork. My setup isn’t the best, but it works. Right now I’m blowing 125 degree air about 3-4 feet from my fans. Its 70 inside in my main room and most living space, in about 1500-1600 sq ft (built in 1950, new windows), about 10 degrees outside. I’m just pushing the air with 2 - 8inch in-line duct fans off the stove (420 cfm x 2, 840 total cfm). I have a long run in one room in my 2nd floor, I have one 6 inch duct fan on a 110 inline thermostat (aka baseboard heater thermostat).

When my gas furnace runs its about 130 degree air, but much more cfm, maybe 1000 or 1500.. it’s a 74,000 output 92 efficient model.

I haven't burnt any natural gas during this cold spell… infact my gas furnace doesn’t run and my bills are just like my summer bills around $30/mo. I was down to 66 degrees for a short time when it was -1 degrees out with 20 mph winds (Monday morning), but it was back up to 68 and 70 after some hard burning (with 130-140 degree air) and fresh coal.

Its very doable, don’t let anyone tell you its not.

Here is a pic of my setup. **Broken Link(s) Removed** I've adjusted a little since then with a smaller take off on my hot water heater to get a more direct flow into the plenum, but same idea.

Re: Got a Ll Pocono Stoker - Still Cold

PostBy: alexw On: Wed. Feb. 07, 2007 8:29 am

Thinking that the passive route was a wash I decided to try out a duct installation. Being reluctant to permanently modify my stove for the possibility of future resale - I designed a manifold that resides just outside the hot air exhaust vent of the stoker. I will try to post pics after work.

For those unfamiliar with the Lesure Line Pocono its a 90k? top vented dual 265cfm blowers basement model. It is available special order with a 12" duct top - Im assuming they close off the rectangular vent in the front and cut a 12" hole in the top of the air jacket - this would probably have been a much better layout for me - live and learn.

I fed this manifold into a 6" duct that travels 15-20' to a (T) that feeds the TWO floor registers I cut one in the Living one in the dinning. The air comes out warm, but very slow certainly not 125 @ 3'. This set up seemed to raise the stoves temp (above door) to 450+ too hot in my opinion so I took the manifold out and am back to using the unit as a passive basement heater until I have more time to play. I will be installing a 6" inline duct fan to see if that is enough push to get the hot air up.

I do need to spend some time assesing air flow currents throughout the house, but I have been extremely busy with work, school, family, etc than this cold snap crept up on me :lol:
It was 30-50 forever and I didn't have "time" now I am scrammbling
Ill try and post pics later - thank for all your thoughts

Re: Got a Ll Pocono Stoker - Still Cold

PostBy: bull463 On: Wed. Feb. 07, 2007 9:20 am

You still havent saide anything about the insalation in the house. Drafts will take the heat right out of your house. I have a 90,000 BTU keystoker hearth modle it heats a 2000 sq ft house. But I also had to chase down some drafts when I first started. If the basement is cold due to drafts seal it or wrap the duck work to keep the heat in. Just my ideas.
Stoker Coal Boiler: keystone harth

Re: Got a Ll Pocono Stoker - Still Cold

PostBy: WNY On: Wed. Feb. 07, 2007 9:26 am

We have a Keystoker 90 and trying to heat an old victorian house (2500 sq. ft). Let's say the 2nd floor is a bit chilly.

I have the same problem with ours in the basement, I am loosing too much residual/Side heat to keep the upstairs warm. It is coming out around 120-140 Degrees thru an 8" duct into the living room, but only 1 265cfm fan, I did put an 8" aux. blower inline and it helps to a certain extent. Of course, the temp. outside has been -5 to 15 which doesn't help, but the stove is maintaining a set temp (kinda low and cool) and the furnance doesn't come one except once in a while when really cold. It is running full bore it seems and never satisfies the thermostat. When it gets above 20 or so it will maintain a certain temp. The basement has a few leaks I am slowly sealing up.

In the process of getting a bigger stove and see if that helps the situation... :)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90K, Leisure Line Hyfire I
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker, LL & CoalTrol
Stove/Furnace Model: 90K, Hyfire I, VF3000 Soon

Re: Got a Ll Pocono Stoker - Still Cold

PostBy: jpen1 On: Wed. Feb. 07, 2007 4:44 pm

I had a similar problem when I installed my new stoker. The first floor where the stove is was 78- 80* and the second floor was 64*. The bottom line is you need to find your homes natural air current and work with it. You may be trying to reverse your homes natural draft and that is like trying to paddle a canoe up stream. With my old stove a had a system that worked great. I have a big open stairwell straight in front of the stove and a cold air return behind the stove. With my old stove this worked great, but not so with the new one. I ended up taping ribbons on the wall and celing in the stairs and in the hallway upstairs and turning off all the fans. Once I did this I realized I was trying to force the air the opposite way in which it wanted to go. So I turned the fan around that was in the cold air duct and presto warm second story. I also compounded the circulation problem by putting in ultra tight new windows. By doing so I reversed the houses natural convection.
Last edited by jpen1 on Thu. Feb. 08, 2007 10:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
Stoker Coal Boiler: LL110
Coal Size/Type: Rice/ Buck
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: 110 Boiler

Re: Got a Ll Pocono Stoker - Still Cold

PostBy: alexw On: Wed. Feb. 07, 2007 5:42 pm

I haven't had time to play draft detective - I will be doing so possibly this weekend. Older house - probably pretty drafty - I put in some new replacement window on the first floor, but there is little insulation in the walls
the attic has some, but nothing like 12" - its a balloon construction house and all the balloons are sealed with fiberglass in the cellar. I removed most of the insulation from the cellar ceiling with the exception of the perimeter.

Re: Got a Ll Pocono Stoker - Still Cold

PostBy: Jerry & Karen On: Wed. Feb. 07, 2007 7:44 pm

Hi Alex,
When you place a stove in the basement it needs to work twice as hard or harder then a stove on the first floor. First your drawing the air from the coldest part of your home, the concrete floor, probably about 58*or colder. Then if your basement walls aren't insulated you will lose about 30% of the heat being sucked through the bare wall, and that's if your walls are in the ground. If your basement walls are exposed and not insulated your looking at a 50% heat loss. These numbers are averages, not written in stone, but that's why furnaces bring cold air from the first floor into the furnace. Usually it's 10 to 15* warmer. Now I'm no math whiz but I'm sure theres something about how many BTU's it takes to raise X amount of air 1 degree, then multiplying it times your total sq. feet of your home, including the basement. I realize this doesn't solve or even help your problem but it will give you a little better understanding on heating the air.
Jerry & Karen