DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum > Appliances > HVAC > Request for solution to the hot second floor, cold basement challenge.




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Old 07-22-2012, 08:51 AM  
lloyd
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Open up return to basement, tack on a filter, flip thermostat fan switch to "on". You can partial block other returns to force the system to draw in basement air.



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Old 07-22-2012, 01:36 PM  
CallMeVilla
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Hey Lloyd, that is a creative and possible work-around to the crisis . . . but it will not solve his problem long term. If there are chronic leaks in his ducting, the hot upper floor problem will continue. He needs to find the CAUSE for the symptoms and deal with that directly.



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Old 07-23-2012, 02:49 AM  
EdB868
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Default Warm upper floor problem

Seal all the ducts (supplies and returns) with mastic.

If there is a 1st floor closet that lines up with an area behind the 2nd floor knee wall, install a 9" round duct through the closet.

After the duct reaches the 2nd floor, install a 9" x 6" tee, then attach (2) 6" ducts to the tee.

Install register boots and wall registers to distribute the air to the 2nd floor rooms.

Be sure to install a volume damper on the 9" run near the trunk duct in the basement to decrease air flow during the winter months.

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Old 07-23-2012, 06:15 AM  
Hondo123
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Default Good thinking, BUT....

Quote:
Originally Posted by EdB868 View Post
If you live in the northern band of the country,
chances are the duct system was designed for heating.

Cooling requires more air flow than heating -
I suspect there is not enough air going to the upper rooms.
I would agree that the air going to the upper rooms is not what it should be, and one room does in fact have two registers, but again, the problem is not a hot top floor - it's a hot top floor AND a cold basement. I think in terms of overall BTU, the total home is getting enough cold air - it's just not getting it in the right places, or, perhaps the basement in this home is naturally cool, and I would like to capitalize on that by moving it where it's needed. So the challenge is to figure a way to move the cold air.

Quote:
One possible solution (not that easy, but possible) is
to run a 9" duct through a 1st floor closet to an area
behind the 2nd floor knee wall, then install a 9" x 6"
tee and run 6" duct to each room.
I have been scoping potential areas where it might be possible to cut some holes and run some ductwork from an intake on the floor of the basement to a T on the top floor. It would require a fan and a themostat I figure. Do you know if there are any temperature controlled "fan" systems that would activate once a certain temperature would be reached.

I'm kinda surprised home HVAC systems have not been designed to circulate air "whole house", given the obvious tendency for cool air to settle to the lower floors. There must be millions of cool basements all across America that could be recirculating that cool air to other parts of the home. I'm surprised there's no ready solution out there.

Quote:
Also, make sure the ducts in the basement are sealed
with duct mastic.

If that is not practical, look into ductless split system.
That might be a bit pricey.

This is good information and helps me understand my options. I'm now dealing with a separate home problem concerning a carpenter who said he could install new interior doors in my home. These doors were not pre-hung. The doors were sent as a door, two side pieces for the frame, and a top piece. I needed seven door installed, and after he started on the third, I had him stop, wrote him a check, and wished him well. Not one of the frames was square, and I didn't see him using a level. And that was just for starters.

Lloyd, I think you're on the right track, but I need a "set and forget" kind of solution, so can't run around resetting registers all the time. However interesting idea. As for checking for leaks, I should probably consider having the ducts checked. Since the home was built in '67, I don't think they bothered wrapping ducts, at least mine aren't, as far as I can tell.

As an additional point of information, another consideration is that the home is a Cape Cod, and there is significant square footage of the "ceiling" of the upper rooms that has no crawl space, since it's part of the roof really. I have thought about tearing out wall board and then putting high R insulation in there to help insulate, but that may be overkill.

Anyway, keep the ideas coming. I'll figure something out.
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Old 07-23-2012, 11:18 AM  
nealtw
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If the basement stays naturally cool, why not take it out of the loop and close all registers and returns there and close the door to the basement?

You may have hit on somthing in the roof. Do you have soffet vent and roof vents on the or near the peak. In the area where the ceiling is the roof, is there a path for air flow between insulation and roof sheeting?

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Old 07-24-2012, 05:28 AM  
Hondo123
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Originally Posted by nealtw View Post
If the basement stays naturally cool, why not take it out of the loop and close all registers and returns there and close the door to the basement?
The registers are closed, and the door stays shut. That was the first (and most obvious) solution I tried.

Aside from mastic on the ductwork, is there anything to be gained by insulating the ductwork?

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You may have hit on somthing in the roof. Do you have soffet vent and roof vents on the or near the peak. In the area where the ceiling is the roof, is there a path for air flow between insulation and roof sheeting?
Yes, I do have roof vents and a thermostat controlled fan to move the heat at the peak. The fan unit should probably be replaced, as it makes a little bit of racket when it's running. I think the frame where it is attached to the house has gotten a little loose over time, and the unit itself is probably old and ready for replacement. I don't know if anyone has a suggestion for a good replacement unit. The vent itself is fairly sizable - possibly 18 inches square.

As for a path for air flow, I believe the answer to that question is, "No". In the winter when snow melts on the roof, you can sometimes make out where the studs are located under the roof. I will need to get the roof shingles done sometime in the near future and am wondering if there is something I can do to provide more insulation, or other options, such as an attic "heat thermal shield". We are also considering some of the new Dow solar roof tiles as well that can be applied almost like asphalt shingles, though these are black and might compound the warm third floor problem.

Appreciate Bob's ducting information, and that may well end up being put to good use. That still leaves a thermostat controlled fan unit to move the air. I suppose they must be out there somewhere.
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Old 07-24-2012, 07:21 AM  
nealtw
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I don't know alot about these fans but I would think that they would just pull air from the nearist available source. If it is not set up correctly it could do more harm than good.
What air would be going out the vents at the peak?
Air the soffet vents open or are they blocked with insulation on the inside?
Does the fan move alot of air or is the noise just the fan chopping the air because there isn't enough air to move?
You said something about dropping drywall and insulating, I would add 2x4s to the rafters so you get more insulation and still have 1 1/2 " for air flow.

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Old 07-26-2012, 05:30 AM  
Hondo123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamK16 View Post
Hey sounds like you've got quite an interesting challenge indeed.
Not as interesting as you may believe. Millions of houses have basements where cold air sinks, and that's where it stays. It seems the current solution is pretty Neanderthal - adjust vents or pump more cold air into the space. I'd like to use what I have more efficiently.

[quote]Full disclosure, I work with Owens Corning, but we just revamped a lot of our duct solutions and HVAC website information with tips, tricks and learning materials. Feel free to give it look and I hope it helps!


No thanks. I have no idea where your short URL will take me, so I'll pass. If you'd like to direct me to the correct pages once your information is posted on the Owens Corning website, I'll take a gander.
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Old 07-28-2012, 09:12 PM  
CallMeVilla
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So, Hondo, you have been given a remarkable amount of valuable advice. Have you actually DONE anything about this problem yet? Just askin'

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Old 07-30-2012, 05:23 AM  
Hondo123
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Originally Posted by CallMeVilla View Post
So, Hondo, you have been given a remarkable amount of valuable advice. Have you actually DONE anything about this problem yet? Just askin'
Not yet. If you expected me to "spring to action" and start cutting holes in my floor and ceiling, the answer is, "No".

The most pressing problem in front of me at this moment is getting seven solid wood interior doors installed on the main floor. These are custom doors, so I needed a good finish carpenter to hang the doors. What I got instead was a framing carpenter with an overly high opinion of his skills. (What carpenter would hang a door leaving bent nails in the frame and ding marks around the jamb? Not a good one is the answer.) I unfortunately didn't catch this mess until he had started on door #4. I stopped him, wrote him a check, and told him to leave. Now I must pay another carpenter to fix this mess, and install the remaining doors. Fortunately, I've found one that specializes only in doors. The renovation budget is obviously going to take a hit as a result.

Right now, the upstairs is not used except for guests, however we expect to move both kids into the bedrooms upstairs sometime soon, so this is a challenge I will need to deal with soon. At this point, I'm trying to determine "what's the solution" and "how much".


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