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Old 07-20-2011, 05:40 PM   #1
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problems with keeping house at normal temp


I just got a new Trane system installed last year thinking it would help but it has made no difference. I have gone back and forth trying to figure out why my house will not stay at a comfortable temp in the extreme summer/winter months.

I have an old brick home with what I assume has no insulation. It's a flat roof house with a partially finished basement. the ceilings are fairly tall and in summer I can put my hands in the air and feel a major temp difference. For example, this past week it has been upwards of 90 with lows around 80 and the coolest my house has gotten is about 76 at night. When I get home around 6pm the t-stat reads 85 after running NON STOP. I realize it's crazy hot outside but this just doesn't seem right!

Another thing i've noticed is that the basement stays at a more comfortable temperature than the upper level of the house in summer AND winter. there is a 5-10 degree temp difference. i don't get it?

So my question is, a) what is most likely causing this to happen and b) what is the easiest or cheapest way to fix the issue?

I have considered several options such as painting my roof white, getting insulation above the ceiling, or having duct fans or a stronger blower installed? I am about to have the ducts cleaned to see if that makes any sort of difference. I've checked as much as i can for leaks in the ducts and sealed any i've found but it has made little to no difference.

If you have any ideas or suggestions please let me know! thanks!


Last edited by hollylzahn; 07-20-2011 at 05:43 PM.
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Old 07-20-2011, 06:22 PM   #2
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problems with keeping house at normal temp


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Originally Posted by hollylzahn View Post
I just got a new Trane system installed last year thinking it would help but it has made no difference. I have gone back and forth trying to figure out why my house will not stay at a comfortable temp in the extreme summer/winter months.

I have an old brick home with what I assume has no insulation. It's a flat roof house with a partially finished basement. the ceilings are fairly tall and in summer I can put my hands in the air and feel a major temp difference. For example, this past week it has been upwards of 90 with lows around 80 and the coolest my house has gotten is about 76 at night. When I get home around 6pm the t-stat reads 85 after running NON STOP. I realize it's crazy hot outside but this just doesn't seem right!

Another thing i've noticed is that the basement stays at a more comfortable temperature than the upper level of the house in summer AND winter. there is a 5-10 degree temp difference. i don't get it? Heat flows from hot to cold. basic law of thermodynamics. if your house is drafty you may have a negative pressure/downdraft which is moving air to the basement. need to seal the attic hatch.

So my question is, a) what is most likely causing this to happen and b) what is the easiest or cheapest way to fix the issue? poor insulation, get it added however it can physically be done, blown in or otherwise. you may want to get an IR infrared scan done of your house in the winter to see where most of the heat is leaking out/reversed in the summer. there are professional companies that do NRG audits of homes and have that camera. otherwise you really don't know where to start and you want to put the insulation in the places it will give you the most bang for your bucks $$. there may be grants from your utility co or levels of gov't for home improvements and insulation upgrades.

I have considered several options such as painting my roof white, getting insulation above the ceiling, or having duct fans or a stronger blower installed? I am about to have the ducts cleaned to see if that makes any sort of difference. I've checked as much as i can for leaks in the ducts and sealed any i've found but it has made little to no difference.

If you have any ideas or suggestions please let me know! thanks!
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Last edited by yuri; 07-20-2011 at 06:26 PM.
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Old 07-20-2011, 08:34 PM   #3
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problems with keeping house at normal temp


Duct cleaning will help lighten your bank account.

Seal your house better, to slow down/reduce the amount of fresh air coming in. Also, add insulation.
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Old 07-21-2011, 02:14 PM   #4
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problems with keeping house at normal temp


thanks for the input. I am probably going to try some other less expensive fixes first like a blower fan but i have a feeling insulating the roof will have to happen eventually. I have a flat roof house so i'm not sure if it's possible to insulate with blown in stuff. i found some foam insulation that goes on top of the roof that sounds great but i suspect it will cost quite a bit.
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Old 07-21-2011, 03:06 PM   #5
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problems with keeping house at normal temp


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Originally Posted by hollylzahn View Post
I am probably going to try some other less expensive fixes first like a blower fan but i have a feeling insulating the roof will have to happen eventually.
I acknowledge the fact that this is a bit off the subject, but a better solution might be to accept the fact that you are not going to achieve the optimum environment without proper insulation, so start saving for it now, rather than spending money on what is basically a Bandaid. In the mean time, you could contact an insulation expert in your area, and discuss with him or her the various actions that can be taken, as well as their respective costs. There may be able to provide you with some solutions that would fit within your current budget, after which you could make some realistic objectives for the future. Also, have you had any conversation with the company that installed your current system? It is not uncommon for a certain amount of "tweaking" to be required for any installation in any home. As an example, a friend of mine called a summer or so ago, asking if I could look at a similar problem that a lady friend of his had. Long story short, we were able to make considerable strides on her old house by relocating a dresser on the main floor, which was obstructing some flow where it was needed most, and completely closing the registers in the basement, where, similar to your case, there was no need for cool air. Ideal? Maybe not. Effective? Definitely; she recently told me that she is still very pleased with the solutions that we provided.
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Old 07-21-2011, 03:32 PM   #6
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problems with keeping house at normal temp


Duct fans are not a cheap option, and often will hurt the other rooms/areas, since they steal air from them instead.

Insulation in the ceiling will help a lot, and sealing around receps and walls switches, along with caulking around your windows will help a lot more. The cost of you sealing your house better is minimal. And is less then getting 2 duct fans, and won't cost you any money in electric use, like duct fans will.

Sealing any and all air leaks in your duct wok can help a lot also.

Good chance besides not enough supply duct, your return duct is also probably a major reason for your problems heating and cooling your home. You can add an additional return of 2 yourself, and save money on your heating and cooling bills, and be more comfortable at the same time.

It is however your money to spend, and you can spend it anyway you want. But duct fans are a waste, when insulating and sealing will save you money.

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