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Ducting a pellet stove furnace vs passive

maine_tyler | Posted in Mechanicals on

I’m trying to get a sense of whether adding duct-work to an existing pellet furnace, located in a basement, will ‘pay-off’. (not being financially rigid in using that term)

I know it’s a question that likely needs a hard analysis, but I’m hoping to get a ‘sense’ from those who understand HVAC better than I, using the following info:

—House is 1-1/2 cape, approx 1400 sq ft. It’s an office, and not many doors stay closed (fairly open layout)
—The basement is insulated with SPF from rim joist to floor (I think at least 2″)
—The pellet stove runs off a first floor thermostat and currently has a front end blower, but can accept ducting.
—The current opportunities for air to exchange with the upper floors are via the stair well (door removed) and one floor register a good distance away from the stove. Perhaps minimally through the floor itself.
—There is hydronic baseboard oil as backup, but the hope is to install heat pumps for the top level and rely (at least mostly) on the pellet stove for first floor. 

One idea for a simple option is to open a few more holes in the floor for passive registers. Or maybe a set of fans? (one blowing up, another down?) Would either of these options be effective? Certainly a lot cheaper and easier than ducting. 

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  1. maine_tyler | | #1

    Here's my thought process dilemma:

    Duct work will obviously bring the heat to where it's needed and thereby reduce lag time of the system. The basement is significantly warmer than the upstairs where people need the heat. But ultimately, other than heat loss through the basement (which is decently insulated) that heat WILL make its way up. No?

    On the other hand, every time I go into the basement and feel how warm it is, I can't help but feel that that heat should be upstairs where its needed.
    Perhaps even one piece of short and straight duct shooting the heat out from a central location on the first floor, with a single return?

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