Hot Basement / Cold Second Floor


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Old 05-08-06, 05:46 AM
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Question Hot Basement / Cold Second Floor

Hi! This is my first post and I apologize if it gets too long! (And Moderators please feel free to move this is I posted in the wrong category.)

I know that warm air rises and the upper level of a house should be warmer than the lower levels. In our house, in the winter, the basement is very hot even though we keep the registers closed, the main floor is cooler, and the second floor is downright cold. You can actually feel the temperature getting colder as you ascend the stairs to the second floor. You can even feel a cold draft coming down the stairs from the second floor.

Here are some facts about the house:
House built in 2003
Main Floor: 900 sq ft
Second Floor: 1,053 sq ft
(includes 12’ x 20’ finished room over garage)
Basement: 731 sq ft (631 sq ft finished)
Garage: 420 sq ft (insulated)

Gas Heat / Trane Furnace (I don’t have model # with me) located in utility room in basement

Cold Air Returns: Main Floor (back entry foyer), Second Floor (hallway ceiling), Master Bedroom, and Bonus Room over garage.

Thermostat: Located on Main Floor (there is a register located very close to it)

I’ve had the heating/cooling contractor out several times and they say:
1) Leave the fan running at all times to circulate the air.
2) They admit having a register so close to the thermostat could be a problem.
3) Leave the basement registers closed (which we do) and adjust the registers on the Main Floor to push more air upstairs (which we do)
4) They’ve adjusted the airflow to push more air upstairs but it hasn’t made a difference

Does anyone have any insight into what we can do to help warm the upstairs?? Could it be because of the large room over the garage? That room gets unbearably cold at times.

Thank you!
Debbie
 

Last edited by Debbie1234; 05-08-06 at 06:00 AM.
  #2  
Old 05-08-06, 10:58 AM
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You're not going to like this but it sounds as if you have either (or both) a poorly designed or poorly installed system.

Has the heating/cooling contractor made airflow measurements? They need to use instruments to do this.

The thermostat placement near a heat outlet is wrong but that alone doesn't jibe with the rest of the problems.
 
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Old 05-09-06, 03:05 PM
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Our house is still under warranty and I am hoping to get this issue resolved before it runs out (~ 6 months).

I certainly am no expert on HVAC but I think something needs to be adjusted to the airflow/pressure/force that runs through the ductwork. Can that be done?

We have 2 registers in the (finished) basement ceiling and man does the air push out of them even when they are closed.

The floor registers on the main level have pretty good flow but not like in the basement.

Now when you get to the second floor (the registers are in the ceiling) you can barely notice the airflow. I cranked the heat up to 80 degrees to get the furnace running and you can feel warmth when you put your hand up by the registers but you can just barely feel air movement; the warm air is not being forced out of the vent into the room. The force of air from the closed basement vents is stronger!

Since I've already asked the contractor that installed the system and had no resolution I'm having 3 different independent HVAC contactors come to do an analysis/diagnostic to see what they say. Then I am going back to the builder.

And, dumb question, are there engineering firms that do HVAC diagnostics.

Thanks,
Debbie
 
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Old 05-14-06, 07:48 AM
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You should be fine with the contractors. An hvac engineers report may hold more water in getting the builder to do the repairs but it will cost you.
 
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Old 05-14-06, 08:05 AM
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Well, I had two different HVAC contractors look at my system on two different days last week and they both came up with alot of the same conclusions.

1-It would be very beneficial to have a return installed in the basement (there are 2 supply registers).
2-They noted no fresh air/combustion air source to the mechanical room in the basement.
3-They noted no dampers.
4-The noted that the returns on the main and second floor were not located in the best places.
5-The airflow to the second floors was weak but adequate except for one bedroom.
6-There was a -5 degree temperature variation between the main floor and 2nd floor. And, there was a -4 to -7 degree temperature variation reading between bedroom walls (on the west side of the house) and the center room temperatures.

One of the HVAC contractors actually went up in the attic to look at the ducts (which he said looked OK) and he said he thinks I have an insulation problem. The other HVAC contractor came up with that conclusion also based on the infrared temperature readings he took.

Now I'll contact the builder .....

Debbie
 
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Old 05-14-06, 09:03 AM
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Good luck. keep us posted.
 
 

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