Need some help...

Need some help...

PostBy: davemich On: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:32 am

...I have a Hitzer insert on the first floor of my cape cod home. It heats the first and second floor fairly well. I am thinking of putting a stoker in the basement. The stairwell runs up to the north side of my home, opposite from my kitchen. If I install a stoker with the optional vent on top to direct the heat into the cold air return, will I see an appreciable gain from just the stoker or would it require me to continue firing up the insert? The stove I am looking at is a 90,000 btu stoke with a 265 cfm blower and I was thinking that the radiant heat from the stove will make its way up the stairs via convection while the blower will push the heat through the house via the cold air return. Is this overkill?? Will the stoker alone suffice? House is 1800 SF. Thanks...Dave
davemich
 

Stoker

PostBy: LsFarm On: Mon Jan 02, 2006 1:27 pm

Hi Dave, Happy New Year.

Unless you are planning on selling the insert, I'd keep it and use it durnig those occasional -0* nights we get . The stoker will bie a lot more of a fill it and forget it type of heat.

I think you can do as you described : hook up the heat outlet from the stoker to the cold air return to your exsisting furnace. But if you are going to try to use only coal, you will have to have a separate fan only switch for your furnace, otherwise the other fuel soruce will burn as well to make up any shortage of heat demanded by your thermostat. The only problem I see with this is you may be corculating cooler than normal 'hot' air and this may not be as comfortable as the hot rush of heated air from a normal hot air furnace system.

I had to do a similar modification to my Propane boiler to keep it from burning propane when I'm using the room/zone thermostats to run the water circulating pumps. I put a separate thermostat on the propane valve itself, and us it as a low temp limit on the house, I run the circulating pumps all the time, so the heat baseboard units are warm and extract all the heat I can from the hot water, it is not as hot as the propane could get it, so continously at 120* is about the same as on/off at 180* [water temp] I'm still keeping the house at 65* plus, much warmer than the 58-60* with propane alone.

If the wood heated water can't keep up with heat demand, then the low limit thermostat tells the propane burner to make heat. So far it works pretty well.


Anyway back to your system. You state that the kitchen is on the other side of the house from where your stairway for convection is located, are you concerned that the kitchen may not keep warm enough?? Can you circulate hot air under the floor of the Kitchen??

If you spend a lot of time in the Kitchen and can get under the kitchen floor, you could install a water coil in the stoker and install under floor radiant pipes and heat the kitchen floor. Of course the coil could/should be used to heat domestic hot water too. Domestic hot water is supposedly about 25% of our yearly heat use bill. But probably only 5-10% during the winter months.

Just some ideas for your proposed system that came to mind

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

PostBy: davemich On: Mon Jan 02, 2006 2:01 pm

Thanks Greg...yes, the kitchen would be on the opposite side of the house from where the stoker would be. You are right...the furnace fan would shoot cool air thru the house as opposed to hot air but what if I just use the blower from the coal stove? Probably not enuff force right? Anyway, heating the floors w/out coils alone will probably give me enuff incremental heat but would still need the insert. Also, I would not get rid of the insert...600 lbs of steel would be hard to move anyway!! It was tough getting that puppy in the house! I am real happy with the insert but I want to accomplish is perimeter heating which I really might not be able to do with a basement stoker.
davemich
 


PostBy: lime4x4 On: Mon Jan 02, 2006 3:28 pm

when i had my handfired coal stove in the basment going the heat from the basement was coming up the stair case into the kitchen but it wasn't enough.We had sliding doors intalled in the kitchen even thou the insulated and that you'd be surprise how much heat u still lose thru those glass doors.Was never able to keep the kitchen warm enough.I was talking a 20 degree temp difference between the living room and kitchen/dining room.I've concluded that the anly way i'll be able to keep that area of the house warm is to install another coal stoker..Looking at the keystoker direct vent model.I figure running 2 stokers won't be that bad the keystoker will probably last a week on on fill up.When it gets really cold out i run a kerosine heater in that part of the house on low is more then enough heat.kerosine ain't cheap anymore..So i'd rather install another stoker.Currently have the harman magnum stoker which seems to be getting better just had alot of setup issues
lime4x4
 

PostBy: davemich On: Mon Jan 02, 2006 3:38 pm

Lime...been reading your horror story from the get go and I am happy it all semingly has worked out. I have spoke with several Keystoker customers and they are really happy with them. I want to use the direct vent 90000 btu model but I'm not to keen on the pipe coming out at ground level from the back of my house. I am using the dual chimney in my house...1 for my gas water heater vent and the other for my insert. I just wonder if I do go with the direct vent, whether or not the exhaust from the stoker would damage the siding on my house. Anyway, keep me posted on how things go with your Harmon and if you buy a Keystoker next heating season. By the way...45 degrees and a thunder shower in Michigan as I type! What weather we are having!!
davemich
 

PostBy: lime4x4 On: Mon Jan 02, 2006 4:09 pm

my parents have the keystoker direct vent model in there house. It's about 10 years old now.They have it in the basment with no floor vents installed the house always stays around 70 degrees.There exhaust vent is about 2 feet from the siding and it hasn't destroyed it or stained it yet.there house is about 2000 square feet bi level open floor design.Burns about 4 tons a year.Yeah this weather sucks.40 here and rainning..Waiting for it to get really cold to c how this harman is gonna perform..
Last edited by lime4x4 on Mon Jan 02, 2006 7:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
lime4x4
 

Using cold air returns

PostBy: LsFarm On: Mon Jan 02, 2006 7:18 pm

Hi Dave, I had not thought about using the fan from the stoker to circulate the heated air. I think it would probably work fine and if you needed more fan for circulation there are in-duct fans to push the air around. Hot air outlets are usually at the base of windows, and cold air returns often in hallways, make sure your heat if flowing out from the old air retuns is going to be where you want it. Otherwise it may be best to tap into the hot air plenum instead of the cold air return.

Can you get to the underside of the kitchen floor? Is the floor ceramic, finished wood, linoleum, or ?? If it is accessable, I would try either ducting some hot air across the basement to heat the underside of the floor, or consider the hot water coil and piping to heat the floor. Radiant heated floors are really comfortable.

I see you have a gas hot water heater, you can save a lot on domestic water with a coil in the stoker. I'm assuming it is an available option for the stoker. I preheat the cold water that comes into my gas water heater, it usually is hotter going in than I usually have the water heater set for. I use a mixing valve or tempering valve on the output to prevent scalding. But it isn't absolutely necessary.

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

PostBy: davemich On: Mon Jan 02, 2006 9:15 pm

Greg, how long can that coil be? The kitchen floor would be about 20 feet away from the stoker at its longest point. Are they fairly elaborate or simple. Would I tap into the hot water heater for this source after heating the water from the stoker before it enters the hot water heater? Are there any pics of this configuration?? I know Keystoker has the coil as an option. Thanks...Dave
davemich
 

Hot water coil

PostBy: LsFarm On: Mon Jan 02, 2006 9:57 pm

Once the water is heated, if you insulate the pipes, you can run it a long way, easily 50'.

I think I would pipe the hottest water [fresh from the coil] to the floor then back to the coil in the stoker with a small circulating pump. A Taco cartridge pump costs about $70. Then run a tee off to the gas hot water heater inlet. Cold water into the system prior to the coil. This way the coil inside the stoker will keep the water circulating through the floor loops as hot as possible and whenever domestic hot water is called for some of this heated water will feed the gas water heater preheated water.

Search for Hydroniic heated floor on Google and you will see several ways to heat a floor from underneath.

A common way is a copper tube or Pex tube fastened to the bottom of the flooring, with foil faced insulation installed below with the foil facing up. This traps the heat in the joist space.

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

PostBy: davemich On: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:35 pm

Ok Greg...you're hired! Thanks for the info. I am going to look into this as a summer project. I truly believe like gasoline, NG prices will continue to inch up and with another hurricane disaster that I hope never happens again, prices could fluctuate widely in the future. How much heat do you think I will lose in the basement with cinder block walls? House was built in '38...Thanks...Dave
davemich
 

Basement heat loss

PostBy: LsFarm On: Mon Jan 02, 2006 11:26 pm

I'd insulate the walls of your basement and the joist ends this will eliminate as much heat loss to the outside as possible, any heat rising is good, it goes into the house.

Once you are below the frost level the average ground temp is 55*. so the walls won't be that cold at or below about 40" below the ground level. the greatest heat loss in your basement will be through the portion of the walls that are above ground level and at the joist ends and end plates of your floor.

I would guess that most of the heat in the basement will rise up through your open stairway. Some will heat the basement and walls, but once warm will not draw much heat to maintain.

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

PostBy: lime4x4 On: Mon Jan 02, 2006 11:31 pm

i can atest to that..My house was built in 1912 the basement is below grade except 1 foot.my basment never got lower then 50 degrees and that's with no heat in the basment.
lime4x4
 

PostBy: davemich On: Tue Jan 03, 2006 6:38 am

Greg, I have the joist ends insulated but not the acual walls. I agree, most of the heat should go upstairs and the warmer floors, we have wood floors, should make a marked difference as well. I think I will go with the stoker and the water coils. I'll have to bless it tho thru the wifey but I'm sure she'll be good with it. Any comments on other stokers out there other than Keystoker? Lime mentioned Leisure Line. I have one of their brochures. Alaska? Harmon?
davemich
 

PostBy: davemich On: Tue Jan 03, 2006 6:38 am

Greg, I have the joist ends insulated but not the acual walls. I agree, most of the heat should go upstairs and the warmer floors, we have wood floors, should make a marked difference as well. I think I will go with the stoker and the water coils. I'll have to bless it tho thru the wifey but I'm sure she'll be good with it. Any comments on other stokers out there other than Keystoker? Lime mentioned Leisure Line. I have one of their brochures. Alaska? Harmon?
davemich
 

Radiant floor site

PostBy: LsFarm On: Tue Jan 03, 2006 10:01 pm

Dave here is a site and forum about radiant floor heat. You might find some info here for your kitchen floor.


http://radnet.groupee.net/groupee/forums
This link is broken, either the page no longer exists or there is some other issue like a typo.


Greg L
Last edited by LsFarm on Tue Jan 03, 2006 10:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland