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Wood stove and central heating

Posts: 18
Location: Silver City, NM ~6500'
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We have a home with central heat and are wanting to get a wood stove.  We were hoping to get rid of the central heat and only have the wood stove.  I was thinking it would be great if I could use some of the heat from the pipe to push through the existing duct work in to the rooms farthest from the stove.  I figure I'd have a short section of single wall in the attic.  The duct work would somehow attach to this and the heat would be pushed through the duct work in to the rooms.

Does anyone have any experience with this?  Would this even be possible?
author & gardener
Posts: 405
Location: Southeastern U.S.
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Hi Jess. Not specifically. A number of years ago we had a wood heater in the basement and added vents to the rooms above in hopes of getting some heat up there, but it didn't work. And we didn't try ductwork.

Some questions about your idea would be: How far do you want to push the heat? Will you do it with a fan?

Something my husband and I found really helpful is an Ecofan.

We have two, one for the woodstove in the front room, and one for the cookstove in the kitchen.

They are thermoelectric, i.e. work off the temperature differential between the blades and the base of the fan. They work very well.

Do you have ceiling fans? We found they helped push heat to other parts of the house as well.

Otherwise, experiment with your idea and let us know how it works out!

Posts: 3652
Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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Hi Jess;   Even if you successfully get wood heat in your home, I would simply turn off your central heat and leave it in place. Absolutely nothing is warmer than wood heat its the best! However if you want / have to leave home in the winter. It sure is nice to be able to do so without getting a house sitter.

As far as your idea. Moving warm air is harder than it seems. Air cools quickly moving thru uninsulated ducts. Even an insulated duct will steal heat to stay warm.
Tell us the design / shape of your home. How large is it? One story or several? How many rooms?  What kind of chimney if any is in it?
Were you thinking a standard box stove ? The creosote generating kind?
Or were you hoping to build  a super efficient  rocket mass heater?  Much better idea in my humble opinion...

You might be interested in one of Matt Walkers stove plans.  Matt builds super efficient riserless RMH stoves of many different sizes and shapes.
He then sells detailed plans of his designs that you or a builder can assemble on site.  His plans include complete consultation before /during and after a build!
Here is a link to his website http://walkerstoves.com/index.html

Posts: 338
Location: Western Kentucky
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If you like the central heat, is there something preventing you from getting a wood furnace instead?
master pollinator
Posts: 385
Location: Vermont, USA
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We heat with wood but use the central oil heating system rarely. Specifically, we use it for 10 minutes on cool days in the spring and fall, when lighting a fire would be a very bad idea but we feel cold. Sometimes we use it first thing in the morning when it has been particularly cold and the banked fire didn’t keep us warm enough overnight. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and put on more wood, so it’s still warm even in below-zero (F.) weather.

The best use, though, is what Thomas said - preventing the house from freezing when we go away for a weekend or longer!

Our house is super-insulated so it doesn’t take much to take off the chill. A stove that still has hot coals in the morning is ideal, especially for restarting the fire in the morning.
Posts: 2374
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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We use wood heat but still have our central heating, like the others have said. We have it set at a very low temp to come on. It didn't come on at all last winter but it's nice to know that if it reached the point where the water would freeze we have a heater that will kick on and prevent it.

We just leave doors open and have the fan on top of our wood stove. We do have to add additional heat in the form of electric oil heaters to our master bathroom and my sons room. Both of those have walls blocking them. Sons room is only heated at night. We have timers on them so they're not on all the time.
Getting married means "We're in love, so let's tell the police!" - and invite this tiny ad to the wedding:
Rocket Mass Heater Plans: Annex 6
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