Furnace is in attic, I want to move it because of efficiency issues...
I have a vacation home in Wisconsin. It is a ranch style home with one level, vaulted ceilings in the living room, dining, and kitchen area. The house is approx. 1800 square feet and it sits on a cinder block foundation with a 26-inch high crawlspace. There is a problem with the crawlspace, it is not insulated so I'm planning on doing the spray on foam insulation this spring underneath the entire house. This will act as a vapor barrier and as a layer of insulation, hopefully eliminating cold floors.
Now the issue: there is a propane furnace in the attic. It is centrally located and there are R-8 flexible ducts going from the furnace to each room. On days with a lot of snow I can see that the snow melts on the roof right above where the ducts are located. I went up in the attic and felt the ducts and they don't feel warm but it seems enough to melt snow on the roof. It is actually leading to ice dams on the edge of the roof. Also the furnace is a noise issue. The air intake for the furnace is located in the ceiling in the central hallway. When the furnace turns on it is a loud combination of the air movement and the furnace blower.
So I'm trying to figure out what to do about this situation. The furnace is a horizontal unit and it is a pain to work on it up in the attic. It doesn't make sense to me to have an attic up there because it's about the same temperature in the attic as it is outside and the furnace feels warm to the touch so I can tell it's severely impacting the efficiency of the unit.
What would be the most practical way to move or replace the furnace in this situation?
I was thinking about installing an upright furnace in the laundry room, which is located about 2/3 of the way through the house. The problem is with the ducting. Where would I install the ducts? If I install the ducts in the crawlspace then those ducts are still exposed to the same cold temperatures and I would have to worry about some rodents possibly getting into the ducts. Also the humidity of the crawlspace could cause problems too. If I install the furnace in the laundry room and run a duct up into the attic and have it connect to the current ducts then I still have the same problem with ducts being exposed to cold temperatures.
I guess there is also the possibility of using some sort of radiant heating, is that a good option?
So what are your ideas?
If you do away with the flex ducting in the attic and use proper rectangular duct and have it insulated with foil backed insulation it may have a better R Value and you could pile loose blown in fibreglass above/on top of it to increase the R value. May need short sections of flex to the ceiling vents but if done carefully you may be able to blow/pile loose fill fibreglass on top/above them w/o collapsing them.
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