Using Central Air to Circulate?

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CO Inhaler
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Stove/Furnace Make: Harman Magnum Stoker
Location: Lancaster County, PA

Post Tue. Mar. 27, 2007 7:29 am

Hi all.

I have a bi-level house, with a Harman Stoker downstairs. I have troubles getting heat up to top level, other end of house where bedrooms are. There is a ceiling fan at the top of the center stairs that I have on reverse to draw air up, which helps quite a bit, but the bedrooms are still cold where I'm forced to run the base boards.

I've considered putting our central air house fan on to try and pull circulate things better, but question that idea. I will lose heat to the AC duct which is routed in the attic, although the duct work is insulated. There is also the electricity consumption of running the fan basically 24/7.

Any thoughts or similar situations.

Great forum BTW.

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CO Inhaler
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Post Tue. Mar. 27, 2007 7:31 am

Let me do a follow up...if I had it my way I would run piping returns/feeds through walls to get the heat where it needs to be.

But my program director, A.K.A wife would kick my residential status permanantly in the shed. :twisted:

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CoalBin
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Post Tue. Mar. 27, 2007 9:11 am

What keeps you from just turning it on & trying it ?

My return is at the top of the basement stairs - stove is at the bottom. Early this season, I tried running on recirculate - just screwed up my airflow & made my basement hot. My air handler draws 10 amps ~1200W @ 20c/KW/h :cry: !!!! so it would cost me ~ $6 a day to run it alone - not worth it even if it would have worked.

of course your mileage may vary


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coaledsweat
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Post Tue. Mar. 27, 2007 11:31 am

Wow, 20 cents a kilowatt, that's pricey.
I would try the AC blower, you'll find out fast enough if it works.
As a rule you can figure about $2.50 per HP to run an electric motor for 24 hours. So a 1/2 HP fan motor should cost about $1.25 and so on. A timer could be used to cycle it and reduce the consumption.

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CoalBin
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Post Tue. Mar. 27, 2007 12:14 pm

coaledsweat wrote:Wow, 20 cents a kilowatt, that's pricey.
Ayup - it is what it is - just got my bill. That with property taxes of 12k - Coal is just a drop in the bucket.

The family is suffering coal withdrawl at this point, I ran through my 3 tons - I'm afraid to call for a price, paid 250 in Aug, heard it went up a bit as well. :evil:

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CO Inhaler
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Post Tue. Mar. 27, 2007 1:45 pm

What keeps you from just turning it on & trying it ?

Good point. I'll try it next year, just curious if others have a similar house set up.

Right now on the 27th of March in SE PA we have 75 degree temps. Needless to say, the stove has been cleaned and put to rest.


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gambler
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Post Tue. Mar. 27, 2007 5:02 pm

Right now on the 27th of March in SE PA we have 75 degree temps. Needless to say, the stove has been cleaned and put to rest.
I think you may have jumped the gun a little :P
The temps are supposed to go down into the twenties for lows in the coming weeks here in north western Pa.

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CO Inhaler
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Post Tue. Mar. 27, 2007 9:12 pm

Perhaps.

Its a judgment call for all of us. I stopped things 'early', as just a guess.

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LsFarm
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Post Tue. Mar. 27, 2007 9:40 pm

For southeast Michigan, forecast lows to be low thirties through next ten days. In the 50's during the days.

I'm keeping the coal boiler going, with the stoker burning only about a coffee can of coal during the day, and a bucket during the night. it is cheaper than propane.

I'm not looking foreward to heating my domestic hot water with propane again, maybe I'll augment the heat with some solar heating. Another project...

Greg L
Burning Pea/Buckwheat through an antique stoker [semi retired SSboiler],
Running an Axeman-Anderson 260M boiler burning Pea, About 150-250#per day
Farming, Fixing, Fabricating and Flying: 'spare time' what's that?

stockingfull
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Post Wed. Mar. 28, 2007 10:06 am

I had a convection wood stove in my old house in a family room on the basement level. Stairs up were right there, and the house thermostat not far from the top of the stairs. Needless to say (to this crowd, at least), we had the same problem: peripheral areas of the house got cold while the center stayed toasty.

Fortunately for me, that place had a gas warm air central heating system. So I just wired a bypass switch to the circulating fan to "stir" the air when I wanted to let the wood stove carry the load. It worked pretty well as a "homogenizer"; the only odd part was getting used to the constant flow of "cool" air from the heating ducts.

Never figured out what it cost me. Electricity here in "downstate" NY is plenty pricey.

The two big differences for you are (a) that your ductwork runs through unheated space, so you're going to take a heat loss there, and (b) that you're trying to drive heat down through those high-mount A/C outlets, so it inherently will be less efficient, especially down at floor level.

But it sure doesn't cost much to try it.

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