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    krismillerl's Avatar
    krismillerl Posts: 2, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Apr 12, 2006, 10:49 AM
    Fake zoning in two story house.
    So I have the relatively common problem of non-uniform heating/cooling in my house and I'd like some input on how to make the best of the situation. I've put up with it for a couple years, but now, I'm at my breaking point.

    I have a 1600 sq ft, 15 year old, two story house with a single unit forced air HVAC system. I have a large foyer that provides a convenient route for my downstairs heat to escape upstairs. The Thermostat is located near a vent downstairs.

    I'm mostly concerned with three areas.
    1. Livingroom Couch
    2. Upstairs Bedroom
    3. Thermostat

    After twiddling with baffles, thermostat, and closing vents, this is about as good as I could do to regulate temperature. If I set the thermostat to 71 degrees the couch in the livingroom (20 feet away) is about 67 degrees with a bad draft, while the upstairs bedroom is about 78. I had a programmable thermostat that allowed me to be comfortable upstairs at night. But to be comfortable on the couch during the day, I'd have to set my thermostat to 76 or so... you don't even want to know about my heating bills.

    Failed Solutions
    These are the things I had to do to get even THAT amount of control.

    1. Set the baffles at the furnace to full-on downstairs and as close to full-off upstairs as possible.

    2. Closed all the vents near the thermostat. Honestly, I got to the point where I closed all the downstairs vents except the two above the windows near my couch. All this bought me was a lot of whistling from the other vents while still having a relatively anemic airflow out of the two couch vents - the last vents in the system.


    1. Of greatest concern is the lack of airflow out of the latter vents in my living room. I really don't think it's the fact that its colder by my couch, but that there's a draft generated by the cold windows because there's not enough hot air from the vents moving over them. I have PLENTY of airflow from the early vents when they're opened, but that airflow doesn't seem to make it down to the last vents even if I close all the early vents. We're only talking 8 downstairs vents here. It's not like I have a huge house. Can you get blockage in the ductwork? Is it just some function of amount of air pressure and the amount of ductwork it has to travel? I'm thinking of mounting a fan on one of those last vents to create a lower pressure exit and hoping to get more flow that way. Is that a good idea?

    2. Another concern is the amount of heat that escapes to upstairs. During the day, I don't go upstairs, so I'd like to be able to "zone" the house manually, by controlling vents and baffles, to keep as much heat downstairs as possible. My foyer just opens up, no lip or anything, so I feel like all the downstairs heat just escapes upstairs. I was thinking maybe I could add a clear plastic "lip" around the foyer so there was at least a cushion of air along the downstairs ceiling that couldn't escape upstairs... maybe combine that with a ceiling fan to help circulate it. Would I see a noticeable improvement there? How deep should I make that lip? 2 inches? A foot?

    3. What about something a simple as buying a space heater for the couch area? That would let me keep the thermostat around 69/70 during the day and be comfortable on the couch. The upstairs would still probably be in the 75-76 range if I did all the normal vent closing and baffling to keep the heat downstairs. What kind of electricity costs does running a localized space heater involve?
    krismillerl's Avatar
    krismillerl Posts: 2, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Apr 12, 2006, 12:39 PM
    Quick note wrt installing a booster fan...

    I have ceiling vents so I can't find a "register booster" fan that will help. All the register booster fans I see are for wall and floor mount, and because they redirect the air perpendicully, they wouldn't really help the flow of warm air over my windows as I'd like.

    I also don't have access to my duct work without cutting into my ceiling, so a duct fan is a less than ideal solution. Still trying to find a "booster fan" that can be mounting on a ceiling vent that redirects air DOWN. You wouldn't think that'd be so hard to find...
    Shm1302's Avatar
    Shm1302 Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Jan 2, 2008, 05:12 PM
    Not the you are still looking for answers to this 1 year later but...

    First of all you are on the right track in terms of regulating your heat but there are a couple things that I still did not see in you efforts. First of all you will need figure out what that draft is you are mentioning as that will kill any attempts at evenly heating the house. Leaky windows and doors and the often forgotten about chimney are the usual suspects for that. Secondly you may want to consider moving the thermostat to a more appropriate location. Often a thermostat placed next to a window or a warm lamp will not acutely reflect the overall temperature of the home. Since two story houses are particular difficult to regulate you might want to look into separating the top and bottom levels with some sort of airflow barrier. The main issue here is all the heat floating upstairs and pulling down any cool air from above, which may be the draft you feel. Unfortunately, the separation of the levels usually results in an ugly door and walled off stair well but there are some great tests you can setup to see if this is really going to make a difference. For example, if you simply put up painters plastic for the separation and test the heating of the room you can get an idea if it is going to really help your situation and you can put something permanent in later if it is required.
    ceilingfanrepair's Avatar
    ceilingfanrepair Posts: 5,733, Reputation: 109
    Uber Member

    Jan 18, 2008, 09:21 PM
    A ceiling fan in any split level area would really help, to circulate between the levels, and prevent all the heat from escaping upstairs. A fan in the living room would probably help but not nearly as much. Contact me (or post in Electrical/Lighting) if you have any questions about ceiling fans.

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