Dollars to donuts, you would probably get the most bang for the
buck by increasing your insulation over that crawl space.
Also whenever you have a fire going, cold air is being sucked
into the house to replace the air going out the chimney, unless
that insert has an outside air intake.
Don't fool around with the chimney unless and until you know
what you're doing.
Any electric heater is just as efficient as any other, if
that's what you want.
One change I've noticed in a friend's house with increased insulation
is that not only is the temperature more stable, but the place is
quieter because the HVAC runs less.
Been there, done that. We used to live in an old place and it was
almost as if having a fire in the fireplace made the place colder!
We eventually learned that the fireplace, which was very shallow, was
actually designed to burn coal, so the fireplace really didn't (and
wasn't meant to) work well with wood.
If the OP wants a quick fix, an electric heater with a built-in fan
would be my recommendation.
If the OP wants a real fix that will save energy and (in the long run)
save money, and as a side benefits probably make the home quieter, the
temperature more stable yearround, and save wear on the HVAC, the OP
will need more insulation and anything else that an energy audit of
the OP's home will recommend.
I have hot water radiation - oil fired and when I moved in and got my
first big oil bill i almost croaked. I installed a "pacific energy"
wood stove insert in my old fireplace and it is excellent. stainless
steel liner in the exhisting stack. paid for itself in oil savings in
the first 1 and 1/2 years. I was thinking about a propane insert but
thats another monthly bill. if you have acess to wood i think it's the
way to go. If you have an exhisting chimmney the brick itself + a
single liner (stainless steel) it's pleanty safe pending the codes in
email@example.com (Don) wrote in message
You don't say one way or the other, and no one else has brought it up -
where are the ducts? Are they running under the floor, through the crawl
space? Are they insulated?
If you need a new chimney for a wood burning stove, you need a new chimney
for the fireplace insert - don't fool around with this, the last thing you
want is a house fire. In any case, a wood burner will heat a ROOM pretty
quickly, depending on the size of the room and the size of the stove, but
after living with one for 10 years in a 2000 square foot house, my
experience leads me to doubt it'll heat the HOUSE quickly. If you want to
use wood to heat the whole house (as opposed to just one room) unless you
get your wood for free it's almost certainly going to cost more than gas.
Not to mention that heating with wood is work - a lot of work - you have to
really want to do it.
You don't say what kind of windows you have. If they're not the real
efficient double or triple glazed type, nice and tight, you should have
either storm windows or failing that, cover the windows with clear plastic -
kits should be available at the local hardware or big box store.
Even if the heater is working right and the ducts are either in the heated
space or insulated, it sounds like the system could/should be balanced to
direct more of the heat to the main living area and reduce the heat
delivered to the bedrooms. At the very least, you could close the vents in
the bedrooms and keep the doors to those rooms closed.
Another possibility is that some of the ducts are partially blocked with
construction debris - maybe you should have the ducts cleaned.
Your local utility may have an energy audit program - they come out and
check out the house and make energy conserving suggestions. It may even be
done at no cost to you - give them a call and see.
Do your neighbors heat the same way? Have you compared notes with them?
How does your propane usage compare with theirs? How does your comfort
level compare with theirs?
My duct is insulated and in the crawl space. I am not sure if what I
have is an "insert" or not. I think it was designed for gas logs. My
chiney is not brick but wood and vyinle.
I have tried closing off the vents in other rooms but it does not
I have free wood to cut available to me.
Thanks for your help!
firstname.lastname@example.org (Don) wrote in message
Sounds like my place! That big living area is hotter in summer and
harder to air condition too.
We put in a gas log in our conventional fireplace in the living room,
but the gas log really provides mostly a decorative effect and very
little heat. If I were you, I wouldn't bother with a gas log.
Beats me. I'd ask a woodstove dealer. And would you be OK with keeping
up with something that is actually burning in your home and would
require you to have a steady supply of firewood?
I doubt it would be much heat.
IMHO, your cheapest and easiest solution is to get an electric space
heater. You can get an electric space heater with a thermostat that
will help you keep your place at a comfortable temperature. Make sure
to get an electric heater with a fan to spread the heat around the
room. In summer, store the heater.
We have an open concept house. One thing that hasn't been mentioned on
this thread is installing and using a ceiling fan. These are very
economical winter or summer and more so for open concept or large spaces.
I've always been a little suspicious of the idea that ceiling fans
were helpful in winter. It seems to me that the warm air from my
heating system would mix with the cooler air anyway and that a fan
wouldn't help much, if at all. I've always suspected the idea that a
ceiling fan is useful in winter is a ploy to sell more ceiling fans,
but I could be wrong.
However, ceiling fans in hot weather can be great! I used to live w/o
AC (couldn't afford it) and the ceiling fan over my bed was so
effective that on hot summer nights with the fan running, I'd
sometimes wake up after a few hours because I was so cold.
We use our ceiling fans year round.
We reverse the motor direction during the winter.
It then circulates the warm air (remember heat rises) from the
ceiling height back down. Good way to keep the windows defogged
and in some cases, defrosted. That's the theory anyways.
If you measure it, you'll find there is a considerable vertical
temperature differential in most winter heating situatons.
Corse there is also another effect too. If the air temp is kept on
the low side, like say 60F, the draft at that temp isnt very pleasant,
particularly if you are basking in front of radiant heat sources.
I basically bask in full sun on sunny winter
days and the air temp isnt all that high at all.
When its not sunny, I basically have a fan heater blowing hot
air on me. That works because I dont move around much.
A ceiling fan is the last thing I need in winter.
Dont need one in summer either because I use a massive
'swamp' cooler on the roof that blows a hell of a gale thru the
most important parts of the house, all the air movement I need.
Yes, you are. They do have their place, particularly if you attempt
to keep the entire room comfortably warm and dont have any fans
in the heating method used, say just have fanless oil filled heaters
or wood stoves without internal fans etc.
Yeah, I hardly ever leave the swamp cooler on when I go to bed,
because of that effect, I have to get up to turn it off because its
too cold. I do like it warmer than most tho, many wouldnt consider
the initial temp with it off cool enough for sleeping.
I think the effectiveness depends on the design of the area in which the
fan is in. In an open concept living area, the ceiling fan improves the
air circulation. This would be especially helpful when using a radient
heat source suce as baseboard heaters or a wood stove. In the winter,
you set the fan so that it blows the hot air from the ceiling to the floor
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