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Old 01-17-2015, 07:37 AM   #1
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Grrr! Can't balance heat! Pls help.


Hi all,

We have a L shaped semi detached split level built in the 1960's. Minimial insulation. We have always had trouble with balancing the heat. We have about a 25 year old oil furnace and 3 yr heat pump/electric. The heat pump is supplemented with 4+8=12KW electric heat in the plenum for defrost, etc. We only use oil when the exterior temperature hits -12C (Hydro Quebec DT rate). In the fall we have insulating the basement with foam board insulation and crawl space under ground floor with spray foam on the floor (vapour barrier) and exterior walls. We have also added a vent from the furnace in the crawl space. In the garage there is the duct heading to the master which we also insulated with that 2 sided bubble wrapping. Aluminum on both sides.

The ground floor has a 1 car garage, and small office and a den. The garage has a electric ceiling heater on it's own thermostat. The heater hangs from ceiling and has coil and fan.
The main floor has kitchen, living, etc.
Top floors are bedrooms. The master bedroom above the garage and both have 3 exterior walls.

The outside temperature swings from 0C to -20C with wind chill of -30C. Brutal!

Today it's -20C with the wind chill of -30C. We are running oil. The furnace can cycle for about 10 minutes on and 10 off. Anecdotal measurement.

The basement is rock steady at 22C-23C all the time. The vents are open only just a crack.
The ground floor office/den is 18C today.
The main floor is also about 21-22C.
The bedrooms are about 20C. Master the coldest.

The colder it gets outside, the higher the difference between the ground floor and any where else. When it's -5C outside, the diff is maybe 1-2C.

I checked the temp at the furnace just above the chamber...was 54C. The vent in the basement 48C. The vent in the den and office about 40C. The air flow is decent.

Just got the Hydro bill. Electricity consumption is up 13% from last year for Nov/Dec. And we're 1 less teenager in the house. And all that new insulation.

Don't know what to do...?

Cheers!
Terry

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Old 01-17-2015, 07:41 AM   #2
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Grrr! Can't balance heat! Pls help.


The crawl space is under the den/office. Using my trusty Canadian Tire Matercraft laser temperature measurement device, the floor temperature in the office is about 15C.

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Old 01-17-2015, 09:21 AM   #3
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Grrr! Can't balance heat! Pls help.


Split levels are always hard to balance due to all the bends in the ductwork/piping and length of the piping etc.

How airtight is the house?

Adding insulation to R40 is the norm where I am and a good idea everywhere. Improving the door gaskets and preventing air leaks makes a big difference. Removing the covers on all the exterior wall plugs and switches and adding those foam inserts made by 3M in the weatherstripping dept of HDepot cuts down on a lot of drafts. Vapor barrier and building construction in the 60's was pretty loosey goosey. They just slapped in the insualtion and vapor barrior was not tight and glued and sealed properly like nowadays so those houses are drafty. I grew up in one from 1966.
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Old 01-17-2015, 10:46 AM   #4
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Grrr! Can't balance heat! Pls help.


I live in an older house where I have similar issues. The kitchen is an addition with unheated crawl space underneath while the rest of the house is sitting on a heated basement. My second floor is a loft design so there is no attic to speak of so it goes through some temperature variances as well.

The (old) thermostat was located in the living room (and of course sensing the heat just in that local area) where most of the day to day activity is taking place so it was warm to begin with.

You can only adjust your vents and louvers so far to try and balance the temperature output, but what I found is that you also have to balance the temperature SENSING.

The problem with mounting your thermostat in say... your living room under these circumstances is that it's only sensing the living room and hasn't a clue about the temperature in room on the other side of the house. Running your fan in circulation mode (fan manually on at all times) helps to a certain extent because it keeps the air moving through the house. But what I have found REALLY helps is a thermostat with remote sensors (They have wired or wireless). You place the remote sensors in different parts of the house and the thermostat averages the temperature of all the sensors for a more even heat level throughout the house. Be aware though that this will increase the size of the heating bill. That room that was sitting at 18 degrees or what ever is now being seen by the thermostat and your furnace will run longer in an attempt to average out the temperature.

Last edited by Bob Sanders; 01-17-2015 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 01-17-2015, 10:49 AM   #5
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Grrr! Can't balance heat! Pls help.


How warm is the crawlspace.
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Old 01-17-2015, 02:50 PM   #6
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Grrr! Can't balance heat! Pls help.


the crawl spaces varies from 16 - 19C.

It's 30 feet x 13 feet
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Old 01-17-2015, 03:25 PM   #7
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Grrr! Can't balance heat! Pls help.


That is a small crawl space and it is warm enough IMO to not make a difference. Some people live with 18C as their house temp so your crawl is not a big problem IMO.

10C = 50 F and even that would be warm IMO.

We have crawl spaces where I am that are 40F now that is cold.
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Old 01-17-2015, 06:42 PM   #8
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Grrr! Can't balance heat! Pls help.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tls1 View Post
the crawl spaces varies from 16 - 19C.

It's 30 feet x 13 feet

Kind of hard for the floor of the office to be 15C when the space below it is 16, to 19C.
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Old 01-17-2015, 09:36 PM   #9
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Grrr! Can't balance heat! Pls help.


Try running the furnace fan on continuously for a day or two...the constant circulation should help to balance your temps .. if not then duct sizing is suspect..if it does then you can run fan on continuous low speed (providing you have a multi speed fan) to save electricity...

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