Concerns RE: finishing basement with corn stove heat

chalifaxJanuary 11, 2007

Hi all. I'm new to the basement forum, but a longtime decorating member. From what I've seen, you all are quite knowledgable and very helpful. Here's my issue:

We heat our house primarily with a corn-burning stove in our currenly unfinished basement. Auxiliary heat is from our propane furnace. The corn stove we have simply blows heat into the basement space, and the heat rises to the main level of our house up the basement stairs, up a few cold air returns in the floor, and also simply up through the floor itself.

We are in the planning stages of the finish the basement project, and I would like to know if anyone has experience with the effects of accoustical ceiling tile on the transmission of heat from basements the main level. From what I could quickly gather, the panels only have an R-value of about 2, so that might not block too much heat, but I have concerns that we will end up with a hot basement and a cold house.

Anyone have experience with this? Anyone heat their main level with a stove and just let it rise to a second story? How well does that work? Does my heat mainly travel through the air returns and up the stairs?

Thanks in advance,

Carol

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andrelaplume2

I wonder if your aux heat is blown air...or if you have central AC. In either case I would think there is a setting (fan?) that simply circulates air thru the house. Would this not move the warm air from downstairs, into the system and throught the home?

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 5:17PM
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chalifax

Thanks for your response andrelaplume2. Yes, our aux heat is forced air. Because our corn stove is slightly under-sized, the furnace kicks on periodically - circulating the warm basement air nicely. We try to minimize the amount the furnace runs because of the propane use.

We have an old-style dial thermostat without a fan setting, so simply circulating the air with the furnace hadn't really occured to me. We will have to investigate getting a new thermostat. (Does anyone know if all furnaces are capable of running on a "fan" setting? Ours came with the house, so I know little about it.) You've also helped me see a potential problem with our plan to enclose our furnace in a closet. Currently the return air isn't ducted. We will now be sure that the return air is at least ducted to a grille in the closet wall, allowing the furnace to capture and circulate the warm basement air more readily. Thanks for bringing that to my attention.

Other ideas we had for allowing more heat to just rise through the house have been:
* not running the dropped ceiling all the way to the wall (we'd probably use the ceilinglink direct mount system). The thought was that leaving 8 inches or so around the perimeter would allow heat to rise more easily there.

* running the ceiling all the way to the perimeter walls, but including a few of those grid panels that are used for fluorescent lights instead of ceiling tiles to allow heat to rise.

Any other thoughts or suggestions?

    Bookmark   January 16, 2007 at 10:24AM
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