Heating my house properly??

Heating my house properly??

This is a discussion on Heating my house properly?? within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; I have a 2 story house with one heating unit. My living room has highe (2 story) ceilings. In the winter it is always cold ...

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Thread: Heating my house properly??

  1. #1
    Member Array joepa150's Avatar
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    Nov 2009

    Heating my house properly??

    I have a 2 story house with one heating unit. My living room has highe (2 story) ceilings. In the winter it is always cold downstairs. It seems like all the hot air rises. I have tried switching the fan to rotate in the opposite directions but this doesn't seem to do anything.

    I noticed in my attic by the furnace there is a lever that says winter and summer. If I rotate that lever to winter, it looks like it closes off the hot air vents upstairs so the air only comes through the downstairs vents. If I set to the open/summer position, the air comes out all vents (upstairs and downstairs).

    Years ago I tried to close off the vents upstairs in the winter but it didn't seem to do much.

    Anyone try this in their homes? Does it work well in the winter to draw more heat downstairs and then the heat will eventually go upstairs?

  2. #2
    Array SIXTO's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
    Quote Originally Posted by joepa150 View Post
    It seems like all the hot air rises.
    Yup, hot air has been doing that since the beginning of time.

    I do close off most of my vents upstairs in the winter. It doesn't help much, but it does help. Reversing your fans, especially in the high ceiling areas will help a little too.

    Another thing to consider is the placement of your thermostat. Most newer homes have them in wrong place. They might be getting hit with sunlight, near a vent or otherwise someplace that does not give an accurate account of the average temp in the house. I'd try to find an interior hallway and relocate it there.

    Also, if your ducts go into your attic, chances are you are losing a ton of hot air through the vents. I've yet to see an attic were the ducts are insulated. Attic accesses are also almost always horribly sealed and insulated.
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  3. #3
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    Feb 2008
    A lot of times people will close off the vents in upstairs rooms they don't use.make sure your attic has enough insulation,the roof is one of the biggest sources for heat loss
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  4. #4
    VIP Member Array shooterX's Avatar
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    Apr 2009
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    Ugh...I feel your pain, my enitre system is being replaced this week, talk about a christmas present you didn't count on.

  5. #5
    Distinguished Member Array tiwee's Avatar
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    Apr 2009
    Definitely switch it to winter. If your air handler is in the attic and you have high ceilings, it has to push 150 degree air down twenty feet to get to the first floor level. It is pushing against the much cooler 70 degree air in your house. That may be why you are not warm on the first floor. Remove your filters. If that works, consider having an AC firm rework your filter arrangements.

    Take the temperature of the air exiting the registers on the first floor. Perhaps the duct work is not insulated. If it isn't, the air going downstairs will lose energy before arrival at the first floor.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Array jca1's Avatar
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    Apr 2009
    Is there a door that separates the up stairs from the down? If so, set the lever to winter and shut the upstairs door.
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  7. #7
    Distinguished Member Array GunGeezer's Avatar
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    Oct 2009
    There are many things that can cause or contribute to your problems. From minor adjustments to faulty seizing and installation. I would get the system checked by a reliable HVAC company or two and see what they suggest. At this time I have been in my attic for the better part of a week replacing all of my ductwork along with the furnace and A/C unit as it was undersized from the time the house was built. It never worked well when it was very hot or very cold. A good heating man can easily calculate duct sizes, furnace and A/C capacities and figure heat loss and heat gain. Most houses are under returned and will always have heating or cooling issues.

  8. #8
    VIP Member Array frankmako's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
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    close vents and door upstairs. force the hot air down stairs. it will help some.
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  9. #9
    Member Array jjwestbrook's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
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    look into a zone system where you have a thermostat for upstairs and one for down. they both are controlled by a zone board which opens and closes dampers depending on where the heat or cool is needed.

  10. #10
    Distinguished Member Array nutz4utwo's Avatar
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    Many cities have free "energy audits" where the power company or some environmental green company will send someone out to do minor energy efficiency things. They might be able to give you first hand advice.

    Call your gas company and ask...
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  11. #11
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    Array TX expat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIXTO View Post
    Yup, hot air has been doing that since the beginning of time.
    Funniest, most underrated comment of the day

  12. #12
    Member Array joepa150's Avatar
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    I spoke with a HVAC person and they said that really there is not much I can do because of my high ceilings. I can had a another thermostat and heating unit but I am looking at a couple of thousand dollars and that won't be perfect either :(

  13. #13
    Member Array Jim Macklin's Avatar
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    Aug 2009
    Wichita, KS
    You are heating air, which wants to rise and I'll bet your floors are cold.

    Unless you install a lower ceiling the other thing you could do would be to add in-floor heat so the floor would serve as a radiator and you'd use the forced air heat less.

    here are two links if you're interested.
    # Radiant Floor Heating | PEX Piping | Infloor Heat | BlueRidge Company
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  14. #14
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    Probably a dumb question....but here goes........

    If it is a Forced Air system, why not let the fan run constantly, which circulates the air through the system, helping the distribution.

    Dependent on the return locations and registers, would this not work?

    Would the cost of running the Forced Air fan be prohibitively expensive?
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  15. #15
    Distinguished Member Array stanislaskasava's Avatar
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    I have a similar problem, although my downstairs ceiling is only 9.5 feet. My thermostat is downstairs in the entry hallway. Whenever the front door is opened, winter air tells the thermostat to start cranking out some heat. There are about twice as many heater vents on the upstairs level, compared to the lower level (what genius came up with that plan?). This, combined with the natural tendency of hot air to rise, has made for a simply unbearable 10° difference between the upstairs and downstairs.

    I recently turned the thermostat's fan switch to "ON" (it runs constantly now), instead of "AUTO", and it helped a bit. I think that brought the temperature differential down to about 5°. I have since lowered the thermostat's settings to 68° day/occupied 64° night/away. With the heater vent closed in my upstairs bedroom, a thermometer currently reads 66°. Not bad; just perfect for sleeping.

    I don't know if my strategy will work with your tall ceilings, so I have an alternate suggestion: Start by choosing an upstairs temperature goal. Close all of the upstairs vents, and set that winter/summer thingy. Adjust your thermostat until the upstairs is just right. Then, get a cheap electric heater and use it to supplement the heat of your downstairs level, until it is as warm as the upstairs. A fan might help to circulate the downstairs air.

    Or you could just get some of those weird Snuggy blankets with sleeves, and wear them downstairs.

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