Heating a Two-Story Home with a Wood Stove
Modern wood stoves are remarkably efficient and can heat a two-story home, if they meet specifications of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Stoves of the past that don’t meet environmental standards release between 15 and 30 grams of smoke every hour. EPA-certified wood stoves produce 4.5 grams of smoke or less every 60 minutes. The reduced amount of smoke is an indication of how efficient the appliances are. The size of a stove also determines the amount of heat that can potentially be produced. It’s important to purchase a stove of the correct size, and the following are more things to consider when heating a two-story home with a wood stove.
Building and Fire Codes
Although wood stoves are versatile and can be installed near combustible materials, with the zero-clearance feature, certain safety requirements must be met at the time of installation. Local building and fire codes should be consulted and followed when installing a wood stove. Such standards involve such things as required wall clearance, pipe diameters, admissible levels of emissions, type of stove, and pipe extensions above the roof line.
In a two-story home, wood stoves should be installed on the lower level, since heat rises. An air duct somewhere near the wood stove could be cut through the ceiling and the second-story floor, to allow air to pass directly upstairs. A fan and grate on the floor can be installed, to improve the flow of heated air. A nice benefit of adding this feature is that the upstairs floors get toasty warm in winter.
Hearth and Shield
A protective barrier should be installed on the floor beneath the wood stove and the wall behind. It usually looks best when the hearth and shield match. Thick masonry products such as stone or brick provide nice aesthetics as well as protection.
The chimney pipe for a wood stove in a two-story house usually runs horizontally through an exterior wall about 1-to-2 feet above the stove. The pipe then runs vertically along the home exterior and extends above the roof line. Single-wall interior chimney pipes radiate heat and help to warm a room. Close-clearance pipes are safe for installation within a few inches from combustible materials, and they do not radiate heat. The pipes on the exterior are double- or triple-wall pipes.
The type of wood you burn has a lot to do with the efficiency of your wood stove. The wood must be seasoned, which means that it should have low moisture content. Hardwoods burn longer and provide significantly more heat than a cord of softwoods. There are times when burning softwoods is the best choice, such as when you want a fire that gets hot quickly and also goes cold much more quickly, leaving no smoldering wood behind.
Operating a Wood Stove
To get a fire started in your wood stove: Light some tinder, such as newspaper or dryer lint; next, add kindling that is no more than 2” thick; wait for a the kindling to burn down to make a bed of coals; and add two medium pieces of split wood. Adjust air valves so that they are closed halfway. Add more wood, as desired, to keep the fire going. Please note: A wood stove should not be left unattended.
Buy a Modern Wood Stove
If you’re ready to lower your heating costs by investing in a wood stove for your two-story house, visit the fully-stocked showroom at Inglenook Energy Center in Conifer, CO. There are always numerous hearth appliances in operation, making it easier to envision a new fireplace or wood stove in your home. Our experts will help you determine the best size and type of wood stove for your needs. Visit us today or call us at (303) 838-3612.