Have wood burning fireplace....but...

patches123December 15, 2007

We have a 8 year old wood burning fireplace that has been used maybe 10 times. No doors and no insert of any kind. It has a gas line ran into it, that is currently capped off.

We have a two story house, and the first floor its on gets quite chilly, while the second story roasts.

We are in the midwest so it gets quite cold in the winter and the gas bill is very high. The first floor is approx. 1200 -1300 sqft, including the vaulted entryway and a office with doors we keep closed.

What options are there to covert or add to this to make it more useable? I hate the mess and work involved with burning the wood.

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Would a pellet stove be the answer?

Wood is messy, but I love the feel of the heat given off by a wood burning stove insert. It's just the best!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 12:48AM
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If the upstairs in your two story house is roasting while the ground floor is quite chilly, it sounds like our heating system hasn't been properly balanced. You don't mention what type of heat you have, but probably your best bet is to call in a good HVAC technician, familiar with your type of heating plant, and get the system properly balanced.

If it's a forced air system, this will involve closing off a portion of the ducting or ducts supplying heat to the upper floor and directing more air flow to the lower floor. If it's a hydronic or radiant system, it will involve lowering the water temperature going to the upper floor, and increasing the water temperature going to radiators or emitters on the lower floor.

This isn't rocket science. Any competent HVAC person should be able to get your system balanced so that the upper and lower floors are nearly equal in temperature.

Most fireplaces send more heat and conditioned air up the chimney than they supply to your living spaces. Forget about the fireplace and concentrate on getting your heating system properly calibrated.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 1:53AM
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Yep, our system is not sized properly for the house and the duct work isn't correct. Gotta love builder spec homes. We had a HVAC person come out and basically it would all need to be redone (its a Forced air system). We have shut off all the vents to the unused bedrooms upstairs (which didn't help much as two of those rooms never would get warm) and then shut a few in the MBR to keep it from roasting. Still the first floor is cold. The HVAC person said our problem is pretty typical of new construction in the city we live in. We reverse this in the summer, when the upstairs is roasting again and the downstairs is cold. We have to still add a window unit AC at times in July and August. Many of our neighbors do the same thing or sleep in their finished basements. Its crazy...and these weren't inexpensive homes.

When we have a wood fire it does heat up the living room and kitchen. I just hate the mess.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 12:34PM
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We recently installed a gas insert into our fireplace and love it. No mess, push a button and have heat. Ours also has a thermostat on the remote so we can program it much like our furnace thermostat. Since you have gas available this would heat your first floor and be my choice.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 4:16PM
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