Wood burning stove

kimcocoJanuary 17, 2010

Our basement is "finished" with paneling, not at all insulated, maybe 600-800 square feet, just a rough guess.

We're thinking of installing a wood burning stove to supply heat to the basement, not necessarily to the rest of the house (research indicates heating the other floors is not feasible in this situation without overheating the basement).

I've read there will be tremendous heat loss with a non insulated basement, though my husband argues it's not necessary to insulate if we aren't trying to heat the other floors (1920's house). Agree? Disagree? Why? It just seems like a lot of work to tear down all that paneling, install insulation, reinstall the walls and drop ceiling. Ugh.

We have a functional wood fireplace on our first floor that we intend to continue to use, though more for aesthetics than actual heating purposes. Our furnace, before it was replaced, exhausted into our chimney, whereas the new furnace exhausts directly outside. There are two doors at the base of the chimney in the basement, I don't know what you call them, but these doors provide access to the base of the chimney where you clean out the ash. Since there are two compartments, I'm assuming this is because the one side is a functional fireplace, and the other is a separate compartment where the furnace previously exhausted. ?????? I'm trying to determine if a wood burning stove can exhaust into the fireplace in a separate compartment that bypasses the flue on the first floor? I'm assuming this is why we were able to exhaust the old furnace into the chimney.

Please explain whether I'm understanding this functionality correctly.


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If you have two cleanout doors, you almost certainly have two flues in the chimney. The fireplace uses one, the old furnace used the other. A wood stove could certainly be added in the basement, but ask yourself if it's worth it. How easy is access for bringing in wood? How willing are you to tend a stove in an inconvenient location?
The lack of (any?)insulation will mean that a woodstove will probably take a good long time to heat the basement to a comfortable temperature. The effort to add insulation is pretty daunting.

If you do decide to add a woodstove, be sure to have the chimney cleaned and inspected - there's a chance if your old furnace was gas that the flue is not suitable for solid fuels. Also, definitely install a smoke and CO alarm in the basement. You should also check on local fire codes, permits, etc.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 6:00AM
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