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stoney

Heating cottage with basement throughout winter

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2 hours ago, Strong Farmer said:

You have an automatic generator just wondering? Stands by heat costs isn’t that much when a place is empty and no doors are being opened or closed. 
My uncle says his power goes out a day at a time up in parry sound. Place almost frooze a few times but he never kept it minimum temp like you. 
Now he has a fully automatic generator to keep heat on. I believe he bought a propane one. Every couple degrees F buys you an hour or two depending on outside temperature and winds. 
 

In that place we did not. Sunday nights, we would drain the water - shut the pump off and set the heat to 10 and leave it.

Come back friday night - crank it up - turn on the water - get the woodstove going and were in business.

Would get so warm from the woodstove - held heat really well.

Did that for 18 years with no issues.

Power outages would happen - but never for periods of time long enough to freeze anything and with the water drained out - no biggie.

 

In the new place, we have a generator, but it's more of a house than a cottage.

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1 hour ago, Spiderman said:

:) - definitely seems like a nice new toy

Beats cottage country traffic!

 

My wife’s grandparents used to fly to their place years ago. 

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2 hours ago, UsedtoSkidoo said:

my neigbour flicks a couple of switches for us now. So its not heated but within a few hours its 20 degreed in there.

 

BTW- that float plane by your parents is cool as hell but an eyesore to look at on a daily basis

Has your son gotten his float license yet?

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Our family cottage has a block crawl space with poured cement floor.

 

For 40 years we had electric baseboards on a low setting.   Electric baseboards and wood stove in the cottage.  Heat was kept around 50f all winter and turned up as required.   

 

Last year a new new forced air propane furnace was installed in crawl space.   And a new propane stove replaced the wood stove.  The propane bill for heat pretty much full time last winter was considerably lower then greatly reduced compared to electric for partial heat.   

 

If you have have half unfinished basement and can access most of house with not to much hassle I would think a new high efficiency propane furnace would pay off in a short time compared to electric.  Even when on low and turned up weekends it would heat house faster.

 

 

 

 

 

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On 9/7/2021 at 10:34 AM, stoney said:

A little more info on why I am asking this......we are looking at cottages and one of interest has come up that happens to have a basement that is partially finished and the other half is the utility room. The previous owner lived here year round.

Having a cottage with a basement is not on our checklist as our intentions for winter use is not to have have running water, etc....so I am wondering what people that have a basement / foundation do in the winter as it brings into the equation a concern for me or at least something that needs to be considered.

My initial thought is I would want to keep it heated somewhat when not there to avoid issues with the structure. It has baseboards now that can be left on but adding a furnace would likely be a good investment for this purpose and still heat when there with the wood stove.

Draining the water, etc....before we leave is not an issue to make those modifications to allow that, the water line right now to the cottage is a heated one as well.

 

Thanks for the feedback thus far! 

Boy - with a full and tight basement, I wouldn't expect any need for heat down there to keep from freezing - as long as your pipes aren't right up agginst the foundation.

 

The house here where my shop is has set empty over half of the last 8 years, and I have had one pipe near on the N wall near the west wall that has froze a time'r two while vacant. I never had issues with it when we lived here (25 yrs) but it has started to be an issue on the cold winters now.

 

What I have done is to keep a fan blowing in that direction to keep warmer air circulating in that corner now.

Not been an issue since.

 

With a full basement, as long as it is tight - you will have a "warm" floor, and if you keep snow shoveled around the walls, or maybe you have 2" styrofoam or whatnot?

The basement should be fine.

I would consider that to be a plus for sure!

 

 

.

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23 hours ago, Strong Farmer said:

I put furnace in with a heat exchanger to recapture as much waste heat as possible. They are reasonable today. 
i wouldn’t have temperature any lower then 65 F if you don’t have an automatic generator. My uncle has a propane fire place that is old school pilot lights. He leaves those on low when he leaves it. Then If hydro goes out the fire place will create enough heat to keep it from freezing. Good idea to get some remote controlled thermo stats and some kind of temperature alarm warning system too. 
I seen lots of damage when people only heat cottage or house to 50 F when on vacation then power goes out for a day and pipes freeze. If it would have been left at 65 F wouldn’t have happened. Once heated stand by heat isn’t that expensive from a propane furnace or pelleted one. Good luck. 

I have a few ventless LP wall hangers.

I love them!

 

Especially the new I/R units!

 

No hydro to worry aboot at all!

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20 hours ago, vooodooo said:

Everyone has given good advice.

My only caveat is the cinder block walls. 

Full disclosure, I am a big fan of poured concrete walls.

Block walls are fine, above grade, in a dry environment.

Many codes say how tall and where,  the block wall needs to be filled with concrete/cement. 

A few years ago I did a pour at one of these block walls. Code said only after an 8 foot high wall, above grade.

That fills in the blocks, makes it a solid wall.

My previous house, buddy did a block wall for the garage. No filler in the blocks.

Water got in it, froze and blew the adhesion from block to block.

You literally could lean on the wood wall and the block below would move.

Ended up locking in the wall to the reinforced floor I poured.

Water is nasty, frozen water is super nasty.

 

 

The building where the original (90's) store was at in Searchmont had a cinder block basement.

Back a round 2002 (plus or minus) the wall fell in and the basement filled up (?) with sand.

 

I agree, not a fan of cinder block either, but if you are a long ways from a concrete facility, it makes it harder to go poured.

 

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12 minutes ago, Ox said:

The building where the original (90's) store was at in Searchmont had a cinder block basement.

Back a round 2002 (plus or minus) the wall fell in and the basement filled up (?) with sand.

 

I agree, not a fan of cinder block either, but if you are a long ways from a concrete facility, it makes it harder to go poured.

 

Yep, you can't always get a concrete truck to the job. 

You can however mix bags, add rebar vertically to make it better.

Yep, takes lots of bags, but its doable.

Being cheap causes the problems.

I'd do a block wall, if I had too. I'd just make it as strong as possible

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This is one of the newer I/R units in my shop office.

 

I have one like it in the house that is usually (preferably) vacant.

I can heat the west side of the house (where the water closet and kitchen is) to 50* all winter on 300 gal of LP (maybe less?) and this is out in the wind.

 

 

DSCN2746.JPG

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5 minutes ago, Ox said:

This is one of the newer I/R units in my shop office.

 

I have one like it in the house that is usually (preferably) vacant.

DSCN2746.JPG

Electric is what it is. A watt is a watt. You can direct the heat, but it's still just math.

I installed in wall 3kw fan forced heaters in both bathrooms, thermostats on the wall, not the ones on the heater.

Upstairs is heated mainly with a gas fireplace, in the master bedroom.

Keeps the master bedroom at any temperature, the rest of the upstairs pretty warm. 

Baseboards in every room too, with individual thermostats.

Guests want it 80F in their room, no problem.

The entire house has a triple split heat pump.

AC through the entire house, and the garage.

Bottom floor is a wood stove, or the heat pump, or baseboard electric.

Wood stove, when fired up just pumps heat, massive heat, gotta open the doors and windows so we don't cook sometimes.

I could probably heat the whole house with the wood stove...

 

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On 9/7/2021 at 10:34 AM, stoney said:

A little more info on why I am asking this......we are looking at cottages and one of interest has come up that happens to have a basement that is partially finished and the other half is the utility room. The previous owner lived here year round.

Having a cottage with a basement is not on our checklist as our intentions for winter use is not to have have running water, etc....so I am wondering what people that have a basement / foundation do in the winter as it brings into the equation a concern for me or at least something that needs to be considered.

My initial thought is I would want to keep it heated somewhat when not there to avoid issues with the structure. It has baseboards now that can be left on but adding a furnace would likely be a good investment for this purpose and still heat when there with the wood stove.

Draining the water, etc....before we leave is not an issue to make those modifications to allow that, the water line right now to the cottage is a heated one as well.

 

Thanks for the feedback thus far! 

Well, if you're not going to have running water - you're concern should be minimal if anything at all.

I can tell you from a claims standpoint - using Engineers etc. as to what we have done after fire losses and it's minimal if the superstructure is still standing, is closed, and is dry.

There are times we have put hay bales into the basements and/or a very low heat source - but that is in cases where there might be moisture present or the superstructure is either torn down/off - or open and not closed up.

 

Personally, I wouldn't worry too much about it - if you are - put a little heat in there and be done with it.

Most of it, by the sounds - is also above grade. Sounds almost exactly like what our old place was like.

 

Call an Engineer for some advice - but if the superstructure is sealed and insulated - you would not need much if anything.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Spiderman said:

Well, if you're not going to have running water - you're concern should be minimal if anything at all.

I can tell you from a claims standpoint - using Engineers etc. as to what we have done after fire losses and it's minimal if the superstructure is still standing, is closed, and is dry.

There are times we have put hay bales into the basements and/or a very low heat source - but that is in cases where there might be moisture present or the superstructure is either torn down/off - or open and not closed up.

 

Personally, I wouldn't worry too much about it - if you are - put a little heat in there and be done with it.

Most of it, by the sounds - is also above grade. Sounds almost exactly like what our old place was like.

 

Call an Engineer for some advice - but if the superstructure is sealed and insulated - you would not need much if anything.

 

 

 

Water concern is an easy thing to get past - drain before leaving & risk is gone or minimal.

Just the foundation is the concern knowing the old owner lived there full time so was always heated to date, which part of me says all will be good & not to worry, but of course if there is an issue, that is a hefty repair bill that rather not deal with - so having some heat on when not there removes that risk & adding a furnace possibly will lower the monthly expense for a few months of the year where it is of a concern.

 

Talking to an Engineer will likely just give me worst case scenario and likely plant more seeds of doubt - hearing from real life examples from people with same situation, personally means a lot more to me, which so far, there are quite a few listed here as well some good feedback based on the situation !

 

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1 hour ago, stoney said:

Water concern is an easy thing to get past - drain before leaving & risk is gone or minimal.

Just the foundation is the concern knowing the old owner lived there full time so was always heated to date, which part of me says all will be good & not to worry, but of course if there is an issue, that is a hefty repair bill that rather not deal with - so having some heat on when not there removes that risk & adding a furnace possibly will lower the monthly expense for a few months of the year where it is of a concern.

 

Talking to an Engineer will likely just give me worst case scenario and likely plant more seeds of doubt - hearing from real life examples from people with same situation, personally means a lot more to me, which so far, there are quite a few listed here as well some good feedback based on the situation !

 

I put all of my water piping to pex with an access for inside to blow them out with a compressor. Takes ten minutes and interior of pipes are dry

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6 hours ago, UsedtoSkidoo said:

I put all of my water piping to pex with an access for inside to blow them out with a compressor. Takes ten minutes and interior of pipes are dry

Redid my dads place with pex in the spring when a bunch of copper fittings blew apart when I went up to get water running for him. 
I asked him, “dad, you sure you drained the system last fall”…..he says as far as I know I did…. Lol. 

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I have a cinder block basement that was built in 94 when I put the addition on. Its on bedrock but uneven. Minimum space is 3 ft and the highest about 6 ft.  The blocks are not filled with cement. I built a mechanical room at one corner and it has all the water connections in there except for the pipes running to the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room. I heated the mechanical room with a baseboard heater (1500 watt) but the room is very well insulated. I have a submersible pump in the lake and run heated lines from the lake to the room and from the room to the septic system about 180 feet away. The main basement is not heated. I have had a thermometer in the basement since it was built as I was worried about the pipes freezing running along the floor. Most of the time we were only up on weekends but I can say that the temp never went below 26F that I saw and that was at a really long cold snap where is was continually cold at night of -20F or colder. Most times the temp is at 30F and above. I never had a pipe freeze. I always drained the water down to the heat room when I left at the end of the weekend as I never wanted to have to worry about something going wrong when I was not there but it only takes seconds to drain. Shut pump off and open all the taps in the cottage then open 2 taps in the basement and drain all the water out of the pipes. Put antifreeze in all the basin traps and shower trap. The basement itself is roughly 24 ft by 28 ft and the heat room is contained in that. Hope this helps.

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22 hours ago, stoney said:

Water concern is an easy thing to get past - drain before leaving & risk is gone or minimal.

Just the foundation is the concern knowing the old owner lived there full time so was always heated to date, which part of me says all will be good & not to worry, but of course if there is an issue, that is a hefty repair bill that rather not deal with - so having some heat on when not there removes that risk & adding a furnace possibly will lower the monthly expense for a few months of the year where it is of a concern.

 

Talking to an Engineer will likely just give me worst case scenario and likely plant more seeds of doubt - hearing from real life examples from people with same situation, personally means a lot more to me, which so far, there are quite a few listed here as well some good feedback based on the situation !

 

I would keep a little of the electric heat on then and move on. We did it for 18 years without a single issue ever.

I wouldn't bother with adding a furnace in your example, would be a waste of money.

 

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, stoney said:

Redid my dads place with pex in the spring when a bunch of copper fittings blew apart when I went up to get water running for him. 
I asked him, “dad, you sure you drained the system last fall”…..he says as far as I know I did…. Lol. 

lol. Air compressor takes all the guessing out of the equation.

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We always keep our heat on at around 48-50 F....never had a problem...however a neighbor after 20 years of keeping heat on decided to save so.e money....then next spring excavators digging around foundation to make repairs.

We also have an older type phone system to turn on furnace...good option if u don't have internet...call ahead 5 hours and turns heat on to 1 pre selected temp.

Propane forced air...

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1 hour ago, Spiderman said:

I would keep a little of the electric heat on then and move on. We did it for 18 years without a single issue ever.

I wouldn't bother with adding a furnace in your example, would be a waste of money.

 

 

 

 

Thanks - If we end up with this place, that is what we will try first before making any changes.

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1 hour ago, UsedtoSkidoo said:

lol. Air compressor takes all the guessing out of the equation.

Yep.....sometimes thing can bite you, or in this case, me as the repair guy......

 

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52 minutes ago, capster59 said:

We always keep our heat on at around 48-50 F....never had a problem...however a neighbor after 20 years of keeping heat on decided to save so.e money....then next spring excavators digging around foundation to make repairs.

We also have an older type phone system to turn on furnace...good option if u don't have internet...call ahead 5 hours and turns heat on to 1 pre selected temp.

Propane forced air...

That is my worry, you think all okay if not heated, until one year it is and requires an expense and time that could of been avoided by simply leaving a little heat on in the basement.

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