Augmenting heat options?

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New User
Ok it's freaking cold AGAIN, I have a big old 2 story house with big rooms, 10' ceilings which is hard to heat. My wife would kill me if I dropped the ceilings and frankly I like em too.

I really need to supplement my gas pack with something else beside propane (Cha Ching, bend over, yada yada yada). My existing gas pack does good job but runs a little to much for my liking when it gets to be 16 degrees outside. It's like I can feel my money going up in smoke.

I'm looking for ideas and was thinking about adding a wood burning furnace down the in basement or a outdoor boiler "water stove" I think they call it, that way I could heat water too. It ain't like I have to worry much about firewood I generate tons of that all by myself.

Give me some thoughts... real life experiences ... I know there is no such thing as cheap heat you either pay the gas man or it's time and labor. Right now my labor is very cheap, it's the gas man I don't like paying...

I would really like to keep smoke and mess out of the house that's why I moved my wood burning stove out to the shop.



Something like these? I had a colleague when I worked in RTP that had an outside boiler like one of these for his nearly 4,000 sf home in Apex. He had it fairly close to his house and while they were away and a neighbor was tending it, it was over filled and they had significant smoke damage (minor structure fire). So placement is important. But it saved him lot of $$$.


Corporate Member
Try ceiling fans with the 10' ceilings.I also have a propane wall heater in the living room.Tony


New User
if you enjoy working fire wood a water stove is a good option. i'm not familiar with gas packs, but electricity is probably the cheapest option for heating in nc at this time, partially due to the low utility rates. i'm not sure who your gas supplier is but it's a good bit cheaper than last year. you may want to check the nc ag review there are sometimes used water stoves for sale, if you're skilled in the art of welding if suppose you could build one. hope this helps some.


New User
Ceiling fans will really help if you don't already have them. Set them to run counter clockwise and they force the heat back down from the ceiling. Another option would be to install a gas fired direct vent fireplace. Although not the best heat source, you would be surprised how much heat you actually get.


New User
Got ceiling fans and yep they do work :gar-Bi "A gas pack combines the convenient electric cooling of an air conditioner with the energy-efficient gas heat of a furnace, all in one space-saving outdoor unit" I don't really have any complaints with the gas pack - it does the job in the summer and winter.

But I would really like to get as far away from the electric / propane / oil man as I can. I know I'll still have to fill the propane tank, but don't want propane as my only source of heat.

Rob thanks for the link - I'm going to investigate a outdoor boiler and see what they are all about.

Thanks again


New User
Jeff, Mary and I have a house where the ceiling in the den is 20' or more. It's all open to the upstairs. We have a ventless gas fireplace in the den and the heat from it will heat most of the upstairs just by the old "heat rises" deal.

We do run a ceiling fan that helps push some of the heat back down to the den as well. So far, our furnace isn't running, and it was 10 here last night.

You might want to consider this as a temporary solution since winter is probably not that much longer. By next fall, you can have your permanent solution in place.

Good luck with whatever you decide.


Corporate Member
Got a humidifier? You can buy a whole-house humidifier for around $100, but the increase in humidity enables the air to hold more heat energy, meaning you feel more comfortable with less heat required. It helped us turn the thermostat down about 3-4 degrees, which makes a big difference in the monthly bill. Our 2500 sf uses more than 5 gallons a day just to get to 45% rh.

The other cheap solution is insulation, especially in the attic/roof. 10% heat energy leaves through the floor and each exterior wall elevation (N,S,E,W). But the remaining 50% goes through the roof!
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