I have a 10-year old house and the furnace / AC unit for the 2nd story was set in the attic. There is no special housing or room built around the furnace and the heat lost in the process of heating the upstairs invariably causes ice dams every year. I'm considering either moving the furnace to a basement area or building a small room around the furnace to help contain the heat that naturally gets lost in the process. Can you give me some pros and cons to either approach? Will building a room around the furnace be any better at containing heat loss and preventing ice dams? Also, a concerning issue is that the dryer vents through the attic to the outside. That duct came loose once and and I've noticed a lot of lint in the attic, which clearly concerns me too. An open furnace around lint just isn't a good idea. Your thoughts on relocating versus enclosing the furnace? Thanks a ton!
An attic area needs to be VENTILATED properly in order to dispel any heat build up within it. So the problem could be there is NOT enough soffit or ridge venting. For every 300 sqft of attic floor area there should be a minimum of 1 sq ft of venting ,divided equally (50/50) between the soffit and ridge vents. The more vent area the better.(you can never over ventilate an attic as long as there is proper insulation in the right places)
As long as any ductwork is adequately insulated and also the attic's FLOOR area is well insulated along with proper soffit/ridge venting, there should never be any ice build-up or jams on the roof.
For all it's worth (imo) installing heating or coolingductwork,etc in an attic space is certainly NOT the best choice, but if it does become absolutely necessary then as long as the PROPER INSULATION and VENTING are in place then it may be somewhat ok.
Imo, the basement is still the most logical area for hvaC equipment.
Yes, you can build a room around the furnace, just make sure it is insulated and has a combustion air vent comming into it. Needless to say all supply and return air ducts must be well insulated too.
The lint in the attic concerns me too; it constitutes a danger of flash fire.
The best place for any furnace is within the envelope of the house.
Any leaks will still keep the heat and A/C in the building envelope.
It is also less work for the unit and less maintenance.
Try to heat yourself outside with a blow-dryer....