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Old 10-18-2009, 10:19 AM   #1
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With heat, warm upstairs, cold downstairs.


With the cold weather coming I'm trying to solve a winter problem my family has struggled with for a few years now. When we're running the heat, it's always cold downstairs, while the upstairs stays warm. During the summer when we run the A/C, we get pretty even cooling of the house.

I've tried closing many of the vents upstairs but that doesn't seem to help much. While the heat is running we get pretty decent airflow through the downstairs vents, it just doesn't seem to stick around!

I'm looking for any suggestions to remedy this. I don't want to spend another chilly winter in our main living area! Thanks!

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Old 10-18-2009, 10:25 AM   #2
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With heat, warm upstairs, cold downstairs.


How well is your house insulated? Do you have good triple pane Low E argon windows, are your doors properly weatherstripped. You may want to pay a few $$ and have a company come and do a home energy evaluation of your house to find out where the losses are. Some have infrared cameras and that shows up everything REAL well.

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Old 10-18-2009, 10:32 AM   #3
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With heat, warm upstairs, cold downstairs.


The house is only about 9 years old, so I'd assume it's insulated to pretty modern standards.
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Old 10-18-2009, 11:25 AM   #4
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With heat, warm upstairs, cold downstairs.


Hot air rises/cold air settles. Do you have a open concept/cathedral ceiling house? If so you may want to install a ceiling fan to push the warm air down (Casablanca type). Buy a GOOD one. The el cheapos are noisy, vibrate and there are more energy efficient ones available. HDepot/Hunter makes some good ones.
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Old 10-18-2009, 01:36 PM   #5
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With heat, warm upstairs, cold downstairs.


Does your heating system have return air ductwork?
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Old 10-18-2009, 04:28 PM   #6
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With heat, warm upstairs, cold downstairs.


Thje fact that both upstairs and are adequately cooled in the summer, as opposed to upstairs being hot and downstairs being cool, suggests you just need to adjust the main upstair supply line damplers a little more (not the registers - that just makes everything noisy). You may need to make thi adjustment evey spring and fall for even cooling and heating, you may not. Do you have a return downstairs? If not, your system may just be pulling all the warm air straight back upstairs (in addition to the normal convection).
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Old 10-18-2009, 04:31 PM   #7
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With heat, warm upstairs, cold downstairs.


I have a return both upstairs and downstairs. These dampeners you speak of, where do I find them and how are they adjusted?
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Old 10-18-2009, 05:32 PM   #8
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With heat, warm upstairs, cold downstairs.


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Thje fact that both upstairs and are adequately cooled in the summer, as opposed to upstairs being hot and downstairs being cool, suggests you just need to adjust the main upstair supply line damplers a little more (not the registers - that just makes everything noisy). You may need to make thi adjustment evey spring and fall for even cooling and heating, you may not. Do you have a return downstairs? If not, your system may just be pulling all the warm air straight back upstairs (in addition to the normal convection).
Also, just for kicks, make sure your air filter inside your return air ductork (If you have one) is not clogged. Have you checked to verify that your return air vents are sucking in at the same time your heat vents blow out? If for some reason they are not, and your blowers are getting air from your basement (which may not be very well sealed from outside), the cold air getting drawn from outside may be what the furnace is sucking in and the warm air from upstairs might getting forced out through upstairs seams because it has nowhere else to go but outside. In turn, your air will not circulate through the house. JUST A THOUGHT!!! (Happened to me. lol) Not sure how to do the adjustments sktn77a mentions. sorry
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Old 10-18-2009, 06:48 PM   #9
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With heat, warm upstairs, cold downstairs.


Well I peeked around and found the upstairs dampener tucked back in a dark corner over my furnace. It was set to fully open. I turned it back about half way to limit the flow upstairs. Hopefully that's the issue!

If so I'm gonna kick myself for spending the last 2 winters with a chilly downstairs when all I had to to is flip a tiny lever!
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Old 10-18-2009, 07:00 PM   #10
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Hold on there Boss! You now need to do a temp rise test thru the furnace to see if it is overheating from a lack of airflow thru it. Closing the damper can cause that problem. Run the furnace for 5 minutes and subtract the return air temp from the supply air temp. Use a cooking thermometer about 1 foot downstream from where the duct branches off the top of the furnace so it does not "see" the heat exchanger. There should be a temp rise info on the model# sticker inside the furnace ie:40-75 degF.
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Old 10-18-2009, 09:39 PM   #11
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Hold on there Boss!
Yes, don't close it off completely, but halfway should be OK. Make sure the downstairs dampers are fully open.
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Old 10-18-2009, 10:58 PM   #12
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I didn't close off the upstairs completely. Just reduced it about half way.

I didn't see any dampers for the ducts that supply the first floor, just the one that went to the 2nd floor. So I'd assume those are getting full airflow.

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