cold living room

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  #1  
Old 09-23-03, 01:18 PM
bic
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cold living room

My front living room, which has a front door, 6 foot picture window with two double hungs, fire place (just a metal chimney with faux wood box around it to the ceiling) and an open stairs leading down to a basement, gets cold during winter. By cold, it's about 2-3 degrees lower than the rest of the house. It's unbearable, because I have the rest of the set pretty low around 68 F.

I have sealed around the windows, double checked the front door seal, and the fire place such that the room still seems cool. The insulation above that room is more than any other. Could the stairs to the basement (which is also cold 55*F) be sucking all the cold air from the rest of the house into it?

The room is in the middle of the hot water baseboard loop. However, my bedroom (14x14) is at the end of the loop, doesn't have this problem. It has two 2.5' wide double hung windows.
 
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  #2  
Old 09-23-03, 03:38 PM
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Heat loss

You are on the right track as far as ascertaining the cause for the discomfort. Basically you have more heat loss in this room than you do in the others. The way to correct this is by trail and error. Since adding more baseboard heat to this area will cost you to do so, a better alternative would be to control the heat in the other rooms to get more heat into the living room. Which will not cost you anything to do, nor will it add more to your energy bill.

To better understand what I am about to say is to understand how much heat a baseboard gives off. Each foot of baseboard heat is designed to give off a certain amount of BTU's of heat per hour. The longer the baseboard the more BTU's of heat will be given off per hour.

You can also control the amount of heat that each baseboard gives off by either opening or closing the cover located on the top of the baseboard. By closing you reduce the amount of heat and by opening you increase the amount of heat given off. To balance the temperatures in each room, you close some of the baseboards in the warmer rooms and open all the baseboards in the living room. You open or close the baseboard covers in the other rooms until the desired temperature is reached in all the rooms.

Another way of saying this is in order for you now to heat the living room, you are overheating the other rooms. Or when you reached your desired temperature in the other rooms the heating system goes off. But because of the heat loss in the living room, insufficient heating was brought to the living room. By adjusting the baseboard covers, you are balancing your system.
 
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Old 09-23-03, 04:36 PM
bic
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Re: Heat loss

ok, but my baseboards don't have any sort of cover that can be adjusted.

Also, I'd like to note that my curtains in the living room actually cover the baseboard, is it better to generally leave them open (the sun does come in the afternoon) or leave them closed?

I've considered having the curtains cut shorter or cutting them myself. They look like "floods" since they don't touch the floor, but fully cover the windows (previous owners had them installed).
 
  #4  
Old 09-23-03, 07:50 PM
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The curtain maybe the cause for the discomfort. I am assuming the type of baseboards you have are painted sheet metal with a copper pipe with aluminum fins. These are known as convective baseboard heating elements. When attached to a wall there should be an opening or slot at the bottom and top of the baseboards. In the top opening or slot there should be a piece of sheet metal that rotates to open or close the top portion of the baseboard. If your baseboards are made of cast iron you will not have this feature, but similar openings at the top and bottom should be there.

The way convective heating elements work is hot water is pumped through the copper pipe which heats up the fins. The fins heat the air surrounding them. This air as it gets warmer, it rises out through the top opening. This air movement causes air to be drawn into the bottom opening or slot of the baseboard. If either the top or bottom openings or slots are obstructed, it prohibits this so called convective loop. Another way of illustrating this action is dipping a straw into water, puting your finger on the end of the straw and lifting the straw out of the water. All the water remains in the straw, which represents obstructing the openings or slots of the baseboards. By removing your finger from the end of the straw, the water leaves the straw. This represents not obstructing the openings or slots of the baseboards.

The curtains as you described clearly obstruct the baseboards and their openings or slots. This would result in very little heat being delivered to this room. Cutting or adjusting the length of the curtains is probably your solution to your problem.
 
  #5  
Old 09-23-03, 08:17 PM
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stairs to the basement (which is also cold 55*F
This would be a clear candidate for a door. Part of your heat is being conducted to the basement.

Hope this helps.
 
  #6  
Old 10-08-03, 01:36 PM
bic
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Originally posted by resercon
The curtain maybe the cause for the discomfort. I am assuming the type of baseboards you have are painted sheet metal with a copper pipe with aluminum fins. These are known as convective baseboard heating elements. When attached to a wall there should be an opening or slot at the bottom and top of the baseboards. In the top opening or slot there should be a piece of sheet metal that rotates to open or close the top portion of the baseboard. If your baseboards are made of cast iron you will not have this feature, but similar openings at the top and bottom should be there.
hmm, these are either really cheap or old baseboards as I don't have any sort of sheet metal that I can rotate.

And for the door to the basement, I would have to build a box at room level around the stairs, as they are completely open. There's a finished wall on both sides of the stairs though. Also, there's a banister to prevent people from falling down. There is / was a door at the base of the stairs (go figure). I don't recall if the basement door closed or open made any difference.

I got a digital thermometer. I've managed to get the temp difference down to 1 degree between the kitchen and that room. The kitchen is the previous room in the heating system loop. Amazingly, I do feel a little bit of difference still, without even consulting the thermometer.
 
  #7  
Old 10-09-03, 12:27 PM
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Base board

If you got the curtains cut off and away from the baseboard. I have found lots of time its just that old thing DIRT. With that fin type baseboard you have pop off the front cover and take a shop vac .Vac the bottom side of all the fins I think you will find lots of just woolies there . They will stop the air from getting to the heat and heatting the room. Have had no heat calls boiler running like mad no heat in the home . Very very clean home BUT just lint on the underside of the baseboard and no air could get out the heat from them. ED
 
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