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Rmwoiak 01-04-2012 09:51 PM

Heat Retention Issues
Hi Guys,

I am having a problem with the heating system in my house. To give you a little background, my house is an end of group townhouse located in Baltimore MD. The house is brick and was constructed in 1952. I have a Weatherking 80pj07ebr01 gas furnace.
I am having an issue with keeping heat in my house. For example, I have my furnace set to 68F tonight and the outside temp is 30F. My furnace will run to maintain the heat and shut off. The furnace will kick back on within 10 minutes, so my furnace runs a lot of the time just to maintain heat. It is also much colder in the bedrooms on the upper level.
I was patching some holes in the bedroom upstairs and noticed the walls are 1/2 inch plaster and there is only about a 1/2 inch between the plaster and the brick wall, I did not notice any insulation. Also, before I moved in, some return duct work was relocated in the basement. I am not sure if this is an issue with the furnace, the duct work, or the insulation.
Are there any tests I can run or readings I can take to help narrow this problem down? It is very cold and uncomfortable, plus I know it is costing a lot to constantly run the furnace. Thanks guys!

isola96 01-05-2012 07:51 AM

The weatherking is a fairly new unit that was put in correct?...
The furnace back in the 50s were made to heat the home with all windows open that's why they had a much higher btu range then the ones of today.
The fact that if you do have only 1/2" between your wall is not good either is the wall cold?
Get a meat thermometer stick it at the registers see if your getting same temp that the thermostat is set at.

paul52446m 01-05-2012 08:42 PM

The furnace should keep the temp. within a degree to 1-1/2 degrees. The amount of time it runs and the time off depends on heat loss of house. All rooms should be the same temp if the home is insulated the same and the heating system is laid out right.
It sounds like you have heating engineering problems, that you will have to find a co. that can come in and do a good heat loss and check out furnace sizing and ducting.
But first you need to check the house and start fixing that problem. Paul

nealtw 01-05-2012 09:16 PM

Have you checked what you have for insulation on the ceiling?

Rmwoiak 01-06-2012 08:09 AM

Thanks guys,

Isola: I will grab a thermometer this weekend and check the air vents to see the temps. But yes, the walls do feel cold upstairs. The most noticable of the areas is the upstairs of the house where the bedrooms are.

Paul: Do you recomend I start with a heat loss survey before I modify any of the HVAC system?

Neal: I know there is no insulation in the cieling of the basement or the cieling of the first floor. One the second floor about 2/3 of the house is covered in a flat roof and the other 1/3 above the master bedroom has a cockloft/attic that does not have an access panel cut into it, so I have never been up there to check.

Sorry if this double posts:

Isola: Yes, the walls are cold to the touch. The problem is most noticeable on the top floor of my house, where all the bedrooms are. In fact, I have to use a little heater in my room at night to keep it from being cold. I will get a good thermometer this weekend and take some measurements.

Paul: Would you recommend I start with a heat loss/home energy survey before starting any modifications?

Neal: I know there is no insulation in the ceiling between the basement and the first floor and between the first floor and the second floor. 2/3s of the second floor is covered by my flat roof, so I imagine that any insulation is minimal. The other 1/3 of the roof is above the master bedroom and has a small cockloft/attic that does not have an access panel. I imagine that whatever insulation is in the house would only be located in the attic space if at all.

Jdmrenovations 01-06-2012 09:12 PM

Definitely check the insulation everywhere you can, every house I have worked on in this area that were built in that era were badly under insulated. Usually the attics have virtually nothing left...blown in insulation that has compressed over time, making it in-effective. It would be the first place I checked.

The wall construction you are seeing is pretty typical, too. Furring strips on brick, plaster and nothing else.

Rmwoiak 01-09-2012 05:41 PM

Looks like I am going to have to cut a hole in the ceiling to check the insulation. I know there were a couple sheets of asbestos sheeting in the basement that I had abated. Is there any possibility that asbestos was used in the attic insulation as well? If so, is there an easy was to check for this? Thanks.

Jdmrenovations 01-11-2012 02:51 PM

It's possible...if they used it in one place...

If you don't have any access to the space, try taking a ceiling light fixture down, sometimes the electrical boxes weren't finished up tight, or you can cut a little out within the footprint of the fixture, and still have it covered.

isola96 01-11-2012 03:27 PM

Is there any vent screens top side of the home? Maybe if so to look in there 1st.

joecaption 01-13-2012 04:19 PM

Before you do any repairs get that energy survey done first.
There should be no insulation between the floors from one floor to the other unless you want to deaden the sound tranmission from one floor to another.
The only way to add insulation in the walls is going to be to remove the inside walls.
How old are the windows?
If they have been replaced with replacement windows did anyone remove the casings and fill the void around the jambs with insulation?

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