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Old 01-14-2009, 08:31 PM   #1
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Cold Room


One room in my house is much colder than the rest of the house. It's on a concrete slab, it's a step down from the kitchen into this room. On the other side of the room is the garage.

I've replaced the window in the room with a triple-pane window. I've replaced the sliding glass door with an Anderson door. Doing these two things eliminated the drafts that were coming into the room. I've also replaced the weatherstrippping around the door that leads into the garage.

However... this room is still at least 3, sometimes 5 degrees colder than the rest of the house. I installed a Reiker Room Conditioner (a ceiling fan with a heater built into in). When the thermostat is set on 68, the heat is on and the fan is on I can get the room up to 68, sometimes 69 degrees. When the heat shuts off (the thermostat reaches 68) the room will drop to 65-66 degrees with the fan on, or 62-63 without the fan.

The room has a high ceiling (12 foot), and above is an attic. Two of the walls have baseboards that run the full length of the wall. The garage wall and the wall with the sliding door do not.

The furnace is in good shape, I had a problem with it recently and wound up replacing just about everything on it... the furnace burns nice and clean and the rest of the house heats up quickly.

The attic above the garage is not insulated, but the attic over this room is. There is a 5 foot wide by about 3 foot high space that leads from that garage attic to the attic over the room that's open. Would closing this space off make any sort of difference?

Any suggestions as to what I can do to either make this room warmer, or have it retain the heat for a longer period of time?

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Old 01-14-2009, 08:46 PM   #2
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Is the garage side wall insulated.

Might need another supply added to the room also.

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Old 01-14-2009, 08:49 PM   #3
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Is the garage side wall insulated.

Might need another supply added to the room also.
Yes, the garage wall is insulated. I cut a piece of sheetrock out (on the garage side, of course, so my wife wouldn't yell at me for poking holes in the wall) and checked to make sure there was insulation in there. There is, and it seems to be pretty thick.

What do you mean about adding another supply?
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Old 01-14-2009, 08:56 PM   #4
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You say baseboards I assume you have hot water heat. your pump probly cycles with the thermostat. Try to wire the pump to run all the time. It may help to balance and if it works you should add a aquastat to shut down at a lower temp so you dont run all summer. Something to try it may or may not work.
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:03 PM   #5
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You say baseboards I assume you have hot water heat. your pump probly cycles with the thermostat. Try to wire the pump to run all the time. It may help to balance and if it works you should add a aquastat to shut down at a lower temp so you dont run all summer. Something to try it may or may not work.
Yes, I do have hot water heat. When the furnace is hot but not running, I can still hear something running which I assume is the pump. It doesn't run all the time but will run for some time after the furnace has heated up and shut off.

I believe I already have an aquastat... I find this page that has information on aquastat settings and I'm pretty sure I have the Honeywell unit that's displayed there.

If it was running all the time, wouldn't that heat up other rooms on the same zone beyond what the thermostat is set to?
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:11 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by mikelbeck View Post
Yes, I do have hot water heat. When the furnace is hot but not running, I can still hear something running which I assume is the pump. It doesn't run all the time but will run for some time after the furnace has heated up and shut off.

I believe I already have an aquastat... I find this page that has information on aquastat settings and I'm pretty sure I have the Honeywell unit that's displayed there.

If it was running all the time, wouldn't that heat up other rooms on the same zone beyond what the thermostat is set to?
That aquastat would act as your limit controll. The thermostat will still stop the burner once temp is reached. Running the pump can be like running a celing fan. Heat up high cold down low but the fan can even it out. Hopfully the pump will balance out room to room. Again just try a tempory hook up to see if it helps and if not put back the way it was. The aquastat I am talking about would be a strap on pipe unit to open the curcuit to the pump when the boiler shuts down and the water drops below lets say around 100deg.
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Old 01-15-2009, 02:56 AM   #7
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If it was running all the time, wouldn't that heat up other rooms on the same zone beyond what the thermostat is set to?
Mike:
You mention "zone". Do you have more than one thermostat in this house? If so, each thermostat will control the temperature of one heating zone, and the solution to this problem will be completely different.

If I presume that there is only one heating zone (your whole house), then the thing I can reasonably assume you're unaware of is that every house that has multiple radiator loops will have BALANCING valves on each of those loops except the longest and/or most tortuous one. Without those balancing valves, all the water would flow through the shortest straightest loop, and there'd be insufficient heat in the rest of the house.

The balancing valves, which are normally gate valves, are used to pinch off the flow to the shorter loops, thereby forcing water to flow through the longer loops. Ideally, when the settings of the balancing valves are perfect, then the resistance to flow through each loop will be identical, and that would result in fairly uniform heating (and hence temperature) throughout the house.

But, if one room is appreciably different than the other (cuz of the concrete floor absorbing heat) then the heat distribution won't be uniform anymore.

NO QUALIFIED HVAC contractor would build a house with multiple radiator loops and NOT include a balancing valve on every but the longest loop. I'd expect your average homeowner would do that, but not someone who's supposed to be a qualified heating contractor. Even to someone completely unqualified, it would be obvious that the flow through each loop wouldn't be the same if they present different resistances to flow.

Anyhow, map out your radiator loops and locate the balancing valve for each loop. See if that cold room has it's own radiator loop. If so, you need to open that balancing valve a bit to allow more flow through that loop, and therefore hotter radiator fins, and therefore more convection of heat into that room. Start by counting the number of complete rotations of the handle you need to fully open the valve. Then close it that same number of rotations, and then back off 1/8 of a turn or so. Make note of the number of turns of the handle each valve was initially open before changing each valve's setting.

Obviously, opening the balancing valve of any radiator loop will reduce the flow through all the longer loops.

Where I live, it gets way too cold in winter to endure a concrete floor. So, I'm wondering how the hot water heating pipes to this room get to the radiators. Me thinks that the fact that the radiators run the entire length of the wall is a dead giveaway that the piping goes horizontally through the walls at the ends of the radiators. If the hot water piping came up through, and went down through, the concrete floor, then you'd have a major problem if the heating system broke down in winter and the heating pipes froze and cracked.

PS: Concrete is strange. It conducts heat well, but slowly. It has a very low insulating "R" value, but it behaves like an insulator entirely because of the slow speed it conducts heat. The best analogy to the thermal behavior of concrete in the mechanical world I can think of is that of an ocean liner; it moves with very little friction, but it takes a long time and a lot of force to get it moving.

Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 01-15-2009 at 03:19 AM.
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Old 01-15-2009, 06:04 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Nestor_Kelebay View Post
Mike:
You mention "zone". Do you have more than one thermostat in this house? If so, each thermostat will control the temperature of one heating zone, and the solution to this problem will be completely different.
Yes, there are 2 zones. One for upstairs and one for downstairs. The room that I'm having an issue with is downstairs.
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Old 01-15-2009, 06:10 PM   #9
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Anyhow, map out your radiator loops and locate the balancing valve for each loop. See if that cold room has it's own radiator loop. If so, you need to open that balancing valve a bit to allow more flow through that loop, and therefore hotter radiator fins, and therefore more convection of heat into that room. Start by counting the number of complete rotations of the handle you need to fully open the valve. Then close it that same number of rotations, and then back off 1/8 of a turn or so. Make note of the number of turns of the handle each valve was initially open before changing each valve's setting.
Where would I find the balancing valve? Is that something that would be on the pipe leading in to the room (down in the basement, maybe) or on the pipe in the baseboard?

One thing I should mention... the room that's cold is the furthest away from the furnace on the 1st floor of the house. I'm sure that makes some sort of difference.
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Old 01-15-2009, 08:53 PM   #10
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You could insulate the floor. In my research for finishing parts of my basement, some are suggesting the use of high density, 1" rigid foamboard, covered with 5/8" plywood as a subfloor.
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:44 PM   #11
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Mikelbeck:

A balancing valve can be located anywhere in the radiator loop.

See if you can map out the radiator loops on the main floor. You may have just one big loop going around the perimeter of the main floor, or there may be several loops in that main floor.

You just have to take off radiator covers, snoop around between the joists in the basement (if you have one) and try to follow the piping of the main floor radiator loop as best you can.

If you can't find a balancing valve on that main floor, then you probably have just one large loop going around the perimeter of the main floor, in which case you can't do anything to put more heat into that one room other than adding another or larger radiators.
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Old 01-16-2009, 07:23 AM   #12
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Don't know why I was thinking hot air.

What temp is your boiler set for.

Also, may be, that the circ, is not moving enough water.
So that by the time it reaches that room, its not hot enough any more to provide enough heat.

Do any of the rooms on this zone over heat compared to what the thermostat is set for.
If so, you can close the damper some on the baseboars in those rooms, that will make the water hotter for the other rooms.

Last edited by beenthere; 01-16-2009 at 07:48 PM.
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Old 01-16-2009, 06:49 PM   #13
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I'll work on mapping out the pipes... the basement has a drop ceiling, I guess I'll have to poke around in there looking for the pipes. Should be fun. ;-)

What does the balancing valve look like?

I'm not sure what temp the burner is set to, I'll have to check it when I get home.

None of the rooms on the first floor overheat... but I'll try closing the dampers and see if that has any effect on the cold room. I'm assuming "vasecoar" is a badly mispelled "baseboard" or is that something else? Google doesn't have any idea what it is, it's referred me to some pages about nascar. LOL.
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Old 01-16-2009, 07:49 PM   #14
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LOL, yea, my fingers just go where ever they want sometimes.
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Old 01-16-2009, 09:21 PM   #15
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LOL, yea, my fingers just go where ever they want sometimes.
I hate when that happens. ;-)

I'm not sure how to check what the burner is set to, but I went down there and watched it through a few cycles (took a while). It shuts down when it gets to 220 degrees, kicks on when it get down to 180 degrees.

I went into the other rooms on the ground floor and closed off the vents on the baseboards. The thermostat is set to 68, the cold room is 68.9 degrees right now. Last night at this same time it was 63 in that room. It was about 10 degrees outside last night, tonight it's 7.

Big difference.

When the burner shuts down, the temp drops pretty quick... The thermostat shows that it's 69 degrees in the other room, and it's dropped to 68.4 in the cold room since I started typing this message (about 10 minutes).

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