Heater in attic but freezing downstairs

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Old 08-03-10, 08:59 AM
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Heater in attic but freezing downstairs

Two years ago we moved in to a house that had been converted from oil heat (standing radiators) to gas forced air. The only heating unit is located in the attic and the only thermostat is on the second floor. The second floor get nice and warm in the winter but the first floor (which includes the living room, dining room, powder room and kitchen), and also the basement, are absolutely freezing and the floors so cold that we have to spend all of our time upstairs, even eating our dinner. We put a gas log set up in the first floor fireplace as a first step but found that that is extremely expensive to run and doesn't warm the first floor beyond the immediate area. Then we tried adding electric baseboard heaters to the first floor but that was even more expensive. On really cold nights you have to wear a coat to sit in the living room to watch tv and I am so frustrated. It looks like the duct work they put in only goes from the attic to the ceiling of the first floor. Please help in PA! I have to do something before this winter as we cannot afford the $700 a month bills this winter. Thanks
 
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Old 08-03-10, 09:13 AM
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Hi arug and welcome to the forum.
My first thought may not be the one you want, but placing a forced hot air unit in the attic is backwards. Hot air rises and cold return air falls. The fan power to try to overcome that would be huge, and the ducts would have to be located at the floor level, not the ceiling. I have worked on many homes with more traditional heating systems and keeping the heat downstairs is a problem even with them.

Also, attics are usually very cold and need to be so. Any heat lost from the furnace is simply lost and your attic is probably too warm and causing ice dam problems.

Do you have a basement? And what size budget are you working with. There are a lot of things you can justify doing with bills like that.

Bud
 
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Old 08-04-10, 12:24 AM
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Heater in the attic

Hi Bud. Not sure if my previous reply went through so here goes again. Yes, we have a basement with plenty of room for a unit. The house is small but stone with very thick walls if that matters. We don't have a budget with my husband laid off for several months now, so we'll have to borrow for whatever solution you suggest. On the other hand, we cannot afford the huge bills to come if we don't borrow now to make a change. Is there a smart solution for $3,000 or less. Also, we have central air through this unit in the attic as well. Thanks again for your thoughts.
 
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Old 08-04-10, 04:24 AM
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The most affordable improvements start with the house. By making it more energy efficient, you make the heating system work better. There are a lot of esay fixes that need to be done at the start, before you cover them up with insulation, they involve air sealing. All homes exchange air very rapidly, but there is a lot of room for reduction. Here is a link that explains all of the air sealing issues. It opens slow, but is good.
http://www.efficiencyvermont.com/ste...ide_062507.pdf

Bud
 
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Old 08-04-10, 06:04 PM
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I am guessing you have no returns on the lower floor?

With lack of returns on the lower floor, it's not going to "grab" the cold air off of it.

Where are the supply vents?
 
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