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adding another source of heat

hi my name is paul i have a 3bed raised ranch in fall river mass,my upstairs heating consists of baseboard heat . what i would like to do is add a pellet stove or coal burning stove downstairs.if i cut some holes in the floors upstairs bedrooms,parlor etc add some registers in the floors then connect some duct work to them from downstairs add some registers in the ceiling when basement is finished. would i be getting enough heat from downstairs to these registers in the ceiling to heat up my upstairs to cut down on using my baseboard.also do i need some type of fan or blower in between flors to take the cold out from upstairs to get efficient heat to go upstairs .any advice .thank you

Re: adding another source of heat

Hi Paul,

Could you provide more info as to what your greatest concern is: cost of heating, getting more heat to the bedrooms, etc.---could you also provide the total sq.footage of the heated space & your annual usage of gallons of oil or cu ft. or therms of nat. gas/propane--amt of insulation in walls/attic,condition of windows.

The golden rule on home heating is to always try to work with the heating system you have now--I think this applies even more if you have hot water heat, since it is considered the best out there in efficiency & flexibility by most.

I'm not sure if your main concern is to save on gas or oil expenses, or supply more heat to the bedrooms, or both.

A lot of people are putting in supplemental heat units like pellet stoves, wood-burning stoves, etc.,and if you have a house where the square footage exceeds 3000 sq.ft. it may make some sense for some spot heating.

But I always encourage people to look at taking a close look at the current heating system---segments of which are often grossly inefficient & can often be easily remedied.

A very basic first step is to multiply the total heated space by 40 to get an approximate load of the heat required on a cold day.

Thus, 3000 sq.ft. X 40 = 120,000 btu/hour to heat the house (this assumes some insulation in exterior walls/attic, good windows, efficient boiler.

Next check the boiler to see if it is over 20 years old, & the metal tag which gives its output---it should roughly match the sq.footage calculation.

Is there adequate insulation in the exterior walls & attic; are the windows tight with storms or double panes; if the ceilings exceed 8' can they be dropped with sheetrock; can you zone off the bedrooms & other areas of the house to control the temp in different parts of the house; can you increase the baseboard output in the bedrooms if you are not getting enough heat there.

The site below has a segment #5: "Working and Improving the system you have now"---also Google "improving my hot water heating system".

It's important to have the boiler cleaned & serviced annually---if oil, the flame must be adjusted with a combustion analyzer for maximum efficiency.

I feel all of these issues should be explored first, before incurring the expense of supplementary heat.

Remember, hot water heat can be easily modified at low expense (often as a diy project) to address nearly any heating problem.


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