Worth replacing flex duct? Adding returns?

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  #1  
Old 10-26-03, 08:04 PM
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Worth replacing flex duct? Adding returns?

First, the forum questions hopefully answered:
1. Boston Area / 20's in the winter, 80's in the summer
2. 1998 Colonial, 2x4 with 1" foam and cedar clapboards. 1500sqft first floor, 1200sqft second.
3. Flex Ducts
4 Oil
5. 160, no idea
6. 2 Zone Hydro-Air, 1 air handler in basement, 1 in attic.
7. Honeywell programmable.

More details: I have a single trunk line running the length of the house, with all 6" flex ducts running into rooms. Two capped-joist returns (maybe 4' long) are all I have for return-air. Probably 11 or 12 vents in total on the first floor.

Why I'm writing now: We're finishing the basement, so my mechanicals are soon to be rendered inaccessible.

Problem: We haven't been able to get the heat to balance - our family room (near the air handler and with three vents) is 16x20 but, with three exterior walls never seems to heat as well as other rooms.

Should I (before plastering this half of the basement) relace all of the insulated flex-duct with rigid duct? Will it improve air delivery / efficiency? Replacing the air handler to increase its capacity will be a chore later as it's stuck in what is soon to be a closet in the middle of the finished space.

Also, any opinions on either stealing ducts off of this unit to provide some heat/cool for downstairs vs. just pulling a heat-only steam loop off of the boiler vs. an electric solution? Basement is all underground.

Thanks!!

Dan
 
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  #2  
Old 10-27-03, 08:20 AM
Ed Imeduc's Avatar
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Duct work

I like drop down ceilings in the basement. So I can get back in if need be.
I would put metal pipe in and take out the flex down there in the basement. Do the runs for down there go to the outside wall, they should. What kind of registers are down there?Dont you have any return air from the basement now? You sure should. Would help a lot for heat. Is there AC on this blower coil unit also?
ED
 
  #3  
Old 10-27-03, 09:26 AM
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No basement runs now.

The flex duct are all floor ducts servicing the 1st floor running between the joists. There is AC servicing the first floor as well through the same ducts. My registers are all floor-set 4x10" or so louvered grates with a wheel to adjust the opening.

We prefer the aesthetics of a plaster ceiling and haven't liked the dropped ceilings we've seen so far.

-Dan
 
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Old 10-27-03, 10:01 AM
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Question LOST HERE

OK the way you said it I thought you had heat down. The family room.Do you know what the heat loss is for it. Is that 2 -16' walls and a 20' or 2-20'and 1 -16'walls. lots of glass?? Any cold air return from it. Have you tried to close down some of the other registers for more heat in the family room. When its cold out does the down stairs unit run a lot? does it run a lot on AC? How big is the cold air grill there on the first floor? ED
 
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Old 10-27-03, 10:13 AM
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Family room

1 20' Wall, 2 16' walls, other 20' wall faces the garage for 16 or so ' of its length (insulated wall and the garage is insulated as well). 4 double-hung windows and a 6' slider. 3 heat vents, 1 cold-air return just outside of the room.

I've tried closing other vents but still can't seem to get a great volume of air out of the vents in this room. It does seem to run a fair amount when it's cold or hot outside and I find that I need to 'overheat' the floor by 2' or so to get this room comfortable.

Conversely, I have a 1/2 bath that gets positively toasty (or chilly in the summer) even with its vent mostly closed.
 
  #6  
Old 10-27-03, 10:47 AM
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Duct work

If I look at that family room right all the walls but 4 ' or out in the cold or outside insulated walls .The garage doesnt have heat in it? I think you need more outlets there in the family room.Also you say the unit runs a lot. Why not run some base board off of the boiler. Can kick up the psi on the oil pump or kick up the nozzle a little. Dont think the duct is right to cut more runs into it ED
 
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