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We are purchasing a pellet stove insert for our single floor 1200 sq. ft. home. We are doing this to reduce our dependency on oil (hot water boiler), which we use to heat the house with baseboard hot water rads. The home has a basement with a fireplace and a fireplace upstairs in the living room. Both fireplaces are at the one end of the house and the bedrooms at the opposite end. My concern is that if we put the insert upstairs we might get to hot in the living room and the bedroom/bathroom will be very cool.

My wife's concern is if we put the insert into the basement that we would not get the heat upstairs even if we put vents in the floor for the heat to escape into the living room.

If we put the insert upstairs I would like to put insulated duct work in the attic and move the heat from the living room to the back bedrooms/bathroom. Is this an effective option for moving warm air from one end of the house to the other?

What are the best options here? Any HVAC engineers out there that can answer this?

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2 Answers

Have you considered putting in a wood furnace instead of a stove? You can get models that incorporate a boiler, so with some clever plumbing you could use wood to heat the water going to the baseboard radiators.

And if you're not opposed to running some duct work, you could run the heat from the furnace to both floors.

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We have. The wood boiler options start at around $12,000. A little too pricey. –  Rick Oct 12 '11 at 11:06
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Heat rises, it never sinks, so putting the stove in the basement will allow the heat to reach more of the house, as it will make its way upstairs as long as a path for the air flow exists.

Ideally, when adding floor vents, they should allow for a circulation of air to occur - meaning that for every cu ft of air coming into the upstairs, you should allow the same amount of air to go downstairs.

The best way to achieve this is to put a larger vent in the floor over the stove for the hot air to enter, and a couple of smaller vents around the perimeter of the house to allow cold air to sink, which will allow for natural convection to occur, which will draw the warm air entering the living room into the other rooms of the house like the bedroom.

All of these vents should be closeable, so that in the summer your AC configuration is not compromised.

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