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Old 10-14-2011, 12:29 PM   #16
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Master Bedroom very warm


What about the attic space, does the room border any attic space? Your attic could gain a significant amount of heat during the day, enough to still stay hot at night and warm the room even at night. My attic is pretty well ventilated, and I have a venitilation fan that kicks on/off at 90 degrees. It's not unusual for it to still run at night after a sunny day, especially in the summer. Especially if the attic is unvented or if the attic vents are blocked (for example, if insulation is blocking the air flow up and out).

The temperature difference you're describing is pretty amazing.For a 400 sq ft. room, an internal heat source would have to be putting out quite a bit of BTU's to get it that high. Also, do you know if the two thermometers are calibrated together? Obviously the temperature difference is significant if you can feel it, but if the thermometers are 2-4 degrees away from each other, then the temperature difference may be more like 6-8 degrees rather than 10 degrees.

Sorry if I missed it...is your daughter's room (the one at 63 degrees upstairs or downstairs?

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Old 10-14-2011, 03:29 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by kmachn View Post
What about the attic space, does the room border any attic space? Your attic could gain a significant amount of heat during the day, enough to still stay hot at night and warm the room even at night. My attic is pretty well ventilated, and I have a venitilation fan that kicks on/off at 90 degrees. It's not unusual for it to still run at night after a sunny day, especially in the summer. Especially if the attic is unvented or if the attic vents are blocked (for example, if insulation is blocking the air flow up and out).

The temperature difference you're describing is pretty amazing.For a 400 sq ft. room, an internal heat source would have to be putting out quite a bit of BTU's to get it that high. Also, do you know if the two thermometers are calibrated together? Obviously the temperature difference is significant if you can feel it, but if the thermometers are 2-4 degrees away from each other, then the temperature difference may be more like 6-8 degrees rather than 10 degrees.

Sorry if I missed it...is your daughter's room (the one at 63 degrees upstairs or downstairs?
There's attic space above both rooms. I think there is attic above the entire master and I'm not sure how much of my daughter's room has attic above it. They are both on the upper floor. I do think the thermostat and thermometer are pretty similar. I have at times used the same thermometer to measure the temperature difference between the rooms and the results don't change. It isn't always a 10-11 degree difference. Those are the most extreme cases. Often it will be 6-7 degrees and in rare scenarios only 5.

I'm having my HVAC company come to Winterize my system next week and I'm trying to go over all of this with the owner to see if he has any ideas. The girl in the office led me to believe that it isn't an HVAC or duct issue since the results are this way even when the system is fully off. She did say though the owner may have some ideas for us to try. Worst case, she believes my upstairs units is capable of being zoned so I guess I could have the master bed and bath as one zone and the rest of the upstairs (halls and bedrooms) as a second zone. I have no idea what the cost of that would be. Hopefully it won't come to that.

Thanks for all of the help and if people can think of specific things I should say to the HVAC owner (other than just describing the problem as I have been), please let me know.
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Old 10-14-2011, 05:33 PM   #18
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the zones are damper controlled within the duct to the rooms with zone stats.what calls the actual unit system either heat or cooling. do all the rooms have 8'ft ceilings
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Old 10-14-2011, 05:52 PM   #19
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Try running your fan in manual 24/7 and see if the temperature equalizes throughout the home.

Next you should get a high priest to get rid of the ghosts in your daughters room

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Old 10-14-2011, 06:22 PM   #20
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just going to say this to get it out there...how about warm return rising up into the bedroom....block off the return see if thats keeps it down...how about hi hat or lights bathroom... lights over vanity.so if its hot and the the temps are higher compared to the other rooms what goes on in the middle of the summer heat are the rooms balanced in system off temps.if they are balanced tempwise then something is collecting in that bedroom in the off cycles ..the fan 24/7 is a test lets hear back...again where is the actual sensor for the system to run donw say a zone can call the mech in?
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Old 10-24-2011, 11:41 PM   #21
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I recently had my HVAC company out to winterize the system. We adjusted the dampers to send more heat to my daughters room and less to the master. When the system runs it seems to do an adequate job but while the temperatures are in the high 50s-low 60s the master is staying too warm to kick on the system. I think once it gets colder out the system will run more regularly but I still want to look into what I can do.

The owner did say that I can zone out my furnace and have separate thermostats for the different sides of the house upstairs. This seems like the simplest way of addressing the problem although he did say it would mean going into the attic and doing work with the ducts. He is going to get back to me on a quote so at this point I have no idea what the cost would be. I asked him about doing a thermal scan and he told me that is certainly something that I can look into. He knew it was doing infra-red scans to find areas where heat is coming in/leaving the rooms but said that his company didn't do thermal scans and he had no idea the cost.

I guess my question now is if people think I should look into doing a thermal scan of the upstairs area or if I should figure instead to treat it by zoning out the upstairs unit. If I was considering doing this thermal scan, who should I contact and do you have any idea what the cost is? If the company locates the problem areas what are generally the ways to address the common problems? At this point just trying to gather some information about the process. Thanks.
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Old 10-24-2011, 11:48 PM   #22
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I have not read this entire thread so forgive me if I've missed something already stated, but if your stat is in your master bedroom it needs to be moved to a cooler part of the house, preferably and for best results in the hallway near your main return. I'd supect your main return is there? Then you adjust the dampers some more, more than likely closing off the feed to the master a bit more.
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Old 10-25-2011, 12:00 AM   #23
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My vote would be to have someone come out who does the thermal reports. We had a full-blown energy audit (BPI-Certified auditor) done on our home, which included an infrared report. He took a ton of pictures and even explained some things to me during the process to show me what was going on. Our audit was the whole-house and more than just the IR camera (it also included a blower-door test, etc.) and I can not begin to describe how helpful it was. I would definitely recommend it. Like you, we also had some comfort issues and unbalanced temps through the home (although ours was more COLD rooms (in the winter) and a little less exaggerated than yours). However, ours was not fixed with the heat pump/AC running so we knew it was part of the building envelope.

In your case, I would guess it is also part of the building envelope because you are having the symptoms even when the system is not running. I think your HVAC guy's plan to multi-zone it is not a bad one, but doing that without first finding the source of the problem is kind of like hanging a picture over a whole in the wall...it doesn't fix the problem, just covers it up. If you can find and fix the problem, then you can assess whether changing the zones would be beneficial. I'm sure it will save you costs on energy (heating/cooling) in the long run, and probably keep your rooms more balanced.
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Old 10-25-2011, 12:02 AM   #24
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I have not read this entire thread so forgive me if I've missed something already stated, but if your stat is in your master bedroom it needs to be moved to a cooler part of the house, preferably and for best results in the hallway near your main return. I'd supect your main return is there? Then you adjust the dampers some more, more than likely closing off the feed to the master a bit more.
Thanks for your response. I did ask about moving the thermostat to the other side of our wall (hallway) and I was told that they usually don't like to do that since hallways can often be influenced by the heat levels of the main floor since heat rises. My home does use a different furnace/stat for the ground level. There is a large return in the master. I think locating the stat to another room would be fine for the winter (and closing the dampers or vents for the master) but I'll have the opposite problem in the summer where I need more AC into the master.

I think at this point I either need to figure out why there is such discrepancy in the room temperatures or else zone them out so I can adjust the rooms independently of each other. I'm just a little concerned about my daughter's room losing heat and thus if I had a stat in there the heat would run continually and I'd be hit with an incredibly large heating bill (my bill is already quite large). That's why I'm starting to wonder if a thermal scan is the right first step in this process.
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Old 10-25-2011, 12:04 AM   #25
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My vote would be to have someone come out who does the thermal reports. We had a full-blown energy audit (BPI-Certified auditor) done on our home, which included an infrared report. He took a ton of pictures and even explained some things to me during the process to show me what was going on. Our audit was the whole-house and more than just the IR camera (it also included a blower-door test, etc.) and I can not begin to describe how helpful it was. I would definitely recommend it. Like you, we also had some comfort issues and unbalanced temps through the home (although ours was more COLD rooms (in the winter) and a little less exaggerated than yours). However, ours was not fixed with the heat pump/AC running so we knew it was part of the building envelope.

In your case, I would guess it is also part of the building envelope because you are having the symptoms even when the system is not running. I think your HVAC guy's plan to multi-zone it is not a bad one, but doing that without first finding the source of the problem is kind of like hanging a picture over a whole in the wall...it doesn't fix the problem, just covers it up. If you can find and fix the problem, then you can assess whether changing the zones would be beneficial. I'm sure it will save you costs on energy (heating/cooling) in the long run, and probably keep your rooms more balanced.
How much approx. did it cost you to get the scan and how did you find someone to use? A quick Google search makes it look like the service is performed by many home inspectors. Should I take that approach?
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Old 10-25-2011, 12:07 AM   #26
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very sound advice. one thing though, stat and return air placement is everything to a stabilized home. zoned or not.

A stat needs to be very close to the main return to read the "stabilized" circulating air. If a stat is in a master and there is no return air in there (and near the stat) than all it is reading is what is supplied to it so when heating is on and no return is present than the house stabilizes at a false temperature, hence a master much warmer than the rest.

This is what I'm assuming the basic poblem is and it is not rocket science nor is it uncommon.

again, very sound advice above. I'd do that as well.
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Old 10-25-2011, 12:09 AM   #27
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Thanks for your response. I did ask about moving the thermostat to the other side of our wall (hallway) and I was told that they usually don't like to do that since hallways can often be influenced by the heat levels of the main floor since heat rises. My home does use a different furnace/stat for the ground level. There is a large return in the master. I think locating the stat to another room would be fine for the winter (and closing the dampers or vents for the master) but I'll have the opposite problem in the summer where I need more AC into the master.

Got it.
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Old 10-25-2011, 12:17 AM   #28
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Ours was $500.00, which sounded like a whole lot at first. After having it done though, and thinking about how much it will save us in the long run after following the recommendations (and more importantly, we should not be nearly as uncomfortable in the winter time) it will save us at least that much. Of course, each home is different and I can't guarantee it would be as beneficial for your home. Then again, if your daughter's room is uncomfortably cold, would it be worth finding the cause of that to keep her more comfortable? Same with your wife being too hot in the master bedroom (and you of course, although if you're like me that's a distant second to her comfort).

I found our auditor by looking at a rebate program in Missouri. In order to qualify for the rebate program, you had to have an energy auditor perform an audit and he/she had to have two certifications...or one certification and also be registered with the state, something like that. Anyway, I only found one who was very close (I live in a fairly rural area ~45 miles south of St. Louis). Since he had a BPI certification, I figured he knew his stuff.

If you only want the IR assessment done, then a building inspector may give you a lower price with a simpler audit. But unless they focus on "green building" and "building science" principles, they are probably more trained on home safety, which means they may be able to find the problem but may not be real helpful on how to fix it. That has been my experience in my area, but your area may be different. I do know there are also some companies who will give a "free" or "$99" audit, who then will try to sell you anything and everything they can. You may be able to get a good price (hard to beat free) if they give you a free IR audit, but just be aware that they may lead you down the wrong path to make some money.
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Old 10-25-2011, 12:25 AM   #29
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Do you mind sending me a PM (assuming you don't want to post it) with the name of the company you used? I'm near Chicago so I obviously can't use yours but would be curious to check out their website to see what type of stuff they talk about which will help me find one around here. Also, you say that it will save you at leas as much as the cost was. Can you talk a little about what the check showed and what recommendations he made on how to address them.

I really appreciate all of your help. And BTW, my comfort definitely doesn't come second...it comes fourth right now until my wife decides she wants another kid or even a dog, but until then it is number four for me.
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Old 10-25-2011, 12:05 PM   #30
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I don't mind posting his website, I'm sure he would like the free marketing. One thing about this particular auditor is that he works independently, and is self-employed. I liked this because since I am a DIYer, he was not trying to sell me any additional services. He gave me his recommendations, explained what the problems were and how to fix them, and I got started on the interventions. Since he is independent, his website is not a big, fancy exciting one. But, I felt like it was informative and gave good general information and had some good links.

http://www.mohomeenergyaudits.com/

Well, the IR report showed several things. Specifically, a few places where the insulation was not installed properly. This was particularly obvious on the walls that were opposite attic space (this is more or less what I was describing in one of my first posts on this thread). The fiberglass batts were not encapsulated on all 6 sides, and therefore allowed air to pass though them. That pretty much eliminates their effectiveness. I don't think I have the pics with me, but if I can find them I'll post them. It's amazing when someone walks through your house and says "Look, they didn't install the insulation right in that area on that wall" or "they didn't even insulate that." It's like having Superman walking through your house.

Another thing was attic sealing. We are losing a lot of heat through the "holes" in our ceiling (from electric wires penetrating into walls, can lights, electric boxes for ceiling fans, smoke detectors, etc.). Also, virtually all of our top plates (where the walls connect to the ceiling) were allowing cold air to move through the cellulose insulation and into the tops of the walls. This is happening because the lumber was so green when the house was built, that it has now dried (and shrunk) and created a gap. Since these gaps were not sealed, that cold air is moving through the insulation and into the walls. Again, you can't see it unless you have IR pics that are showing them. It was really pretty profound to me, and the kicker is that it was only about 47 degrees outside when they did the audit. It would be MUCH more problematic on a day when it is 20, 10 or down to 0 outside.

The last big area was cold air coming in through the rim joist in the basement. They used fiberglass batts (again) to insulate it (which again, was not doing anything since it didn't block the air flow) and allowing a lot of cold air to enter the basement. As that cold air warmed up, it traveled upstairs and through the "holes" in our ceiling, into the attic space, being replaced with cold air from the attic. So, we basically have a big convection cycle (in the winter time) moving from our basement through our main floor into our attic. There were a few other things that were smaller, but those are the major things.

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