I am simply amazed at what has happened to the temps on my first floor as a result of providing a very small cold air return to 'complete the air circulation'! I have an old stone house with a wood siding addition that was put on in 1917. There is only one door from the stone part to the newer part. This doorway joins a living room area with a wood burning insert (also the stairs to the second floor), with the formal dining room and kitchen. The formal dining room and kitchen have been by far the coolest place in the house since we began burning wood about 3 seasons ago. The degree difference was always about 8 to 10 degrees - ALL ON THE SAME FLOOR! I figured, after reading info on this forum that the culprit is simply no provision for air to circulate back into the living room area (contains the wood stove) from the kitchen/dining area. I'll add that even when 40 - 45 degrees outside, it was work to keep the dining/kitchen area at 70 degrees.
What I did:
I cut a hole in the bathroom floor (same side as kitchen, etc. but shares a wall with the living room with wood burning insert) underneath an old radiator (virtually unseen) at 1.5 inches in diameter and the same sized whole in the living room area beneath the baseboard unit. Note that these holes are along the same exterior wall and the only doorway connecting these two areas is on the opposite exterior wall (the house is a rectangle). I connected the holes with 1.5 pvc pipe with a 90 degree elbow at each end and a 30cfm blower attached inline. I didn't seal all the connections yet, but things are fairly tight.
What I'm experiencing:
After about two days, I am astounded at the temperature of the newer side of the house! It is consistently between 72 and 73 burning a small but hot fire! I now have only a 3 degree difference between the two sides of the house! How could a 30 cfm blower do that!!! I remember only last year that I had to be burning that fire so hot and filling the firebox so constantly that I had more coals in the ash than ash! I wasn't allowing the fire to subside enough to complete the reaction. Now, I am able to let the fire burn nearly everything, and I'm just putting in a couple small pieces every hour or two - not near the consumption as before, and getting better results! I was worried that the 30 cfm fan wasn't big enough... and I know I'm not moving 30 cubic feet because the outlet for the blower is only an inch, and I'm using a 1.5 inch pipe to traverse the air. Also, all the joints and so forth aren't sealed very well. But it's working!
I just want to thank everyone who has commented on these types of issues... I'm a believer.
On to another problem: radon. Anyone ever deal with or remedy a radon problem? Safe levels in my area of Pa is considered 4 units or less. Our recent test recorded a level of 8units. This is a problem, what's the best way to fix it?
Details: our basement slab was probably poured onto dirt. We live on soil that is primarily limestone and shale. Our basement in one corner - about a 4 X 4 foot section - is dirt, the rest is concrete. The basement is not all that tight... but that certainly is a relative comment. Only two windows - one is bricked shut and the other is shut with insulation on the inside (it's under the porch). The outside access door is not tight at all. I can see the outside.
Anything would be helpful.