even with a deep-dish holesaw
Saturday, February 10 2007
The fact that, in a pinch, I can heat all the upstairs parts of the house using only the woodstove has me thinking of additional hacks to the household infrastructure that would allow me to heat additional rooms in a pinch, particularly those in the basement. Whenever we have guests stay over in the winter, we heat the basement guest room with an electric space heater, which seems more cost-effective than heating the entire basement by burning fuel oil (the other alternative). But since the living room and its woodstove are directly above that guest room, it seems that it should be possible to duct air downward to heat it. Such a duct would have to be fan-driven, since (as we all know) hot air wants to go upward. At first I thought maybe I could rip out some drywall and run a duct between the studs inside an interior wall. But then I realized that I didn't actually need to install any ducts at all; the gap between the studs was duct enough. All I'd have to do would be drill a big hole through the floor plate, the subfloor, and the ceiling plates at the top of the wall in the floor beneath.
That was all theory. In practice, though, there were lots of challenges along the way, as I discovered today. I cut out a small rectangle of drywall at the base of the wall behind the living room's piano (which is an interior wall separating the living room from the entranceway coat closet). Then, using a hole saw, I cut through the wall's floor plate, a two by four. Happily, though the wall ran parallel to the floor joists, the floor plate was not resting on a floor joist (wait, is that actually good carpentry?). This meant that my hole could continue through the subfloor and enter a void between the floor joists. And at the bottom of that void was an interior wall between two basement rooms where my duct could continue. I'd done some measurements and knew that the wall I would be entering was actually in the bathroom attached to the guest room (which is the house's original master bedroom suite). Specifically, it was the wall of the shower stall. The output of the vent I'd be installing would have to be pointed directly at the toilet. (At some point I'd also have to be designing a return duct, though that could be through the pedestal upon which the woodstove itself sits.)
The other main complication was the presence of plumbing going into that basement wall. I wanted my duct to avoid the bay with the plumbing, particular since it was probably obstructed by carpentry installed for the attachment of the shower controls. It was looking like my best bet would be to route my duct out of the bathroom's ceiling and into a different intra-stud wall bay through a soffit intruding into the room. This would avoid an inch-thick cold water line running atop the wall's ceiling plate, as well as the plate itself (which, as with all standard wood frame construction, is two horizontal two by fours one on top of the other, a painful assignment even with a deep-dish holesaw).
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