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Old 01-18-2009, 10:51 PM   #1
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Uneven Heat


Jumping over from the Networking boards to ask a couple of heating questions.

First off, I have a small duplex, with basement and 2 stories. Single zone, 20 year old furnace. The northerly side of the house is ridiculously cold in comparison to the southerly side, even the 2nd floor. The master bedroom upstairs is routinely 8 degrees colder than my son's room and the guest bedroom. The living room is much the same, but we don't have a thermometer in there to know the exact difference.

Is this a ducting issue or just some nasty draft? The house overall seems leaky but not to the point where one entire side of the house would be that much colder than the other.

Would moving the thermostat from the 'warm' side of the house to the 'cold' side of the house help or fix this problem? I've attached a picture of the internals. I've currently got a programmable Ritetemp digital, 4 wire.

If I move it, can I just pull the wires back through the wall (it's in the basement landing area) and wire-nut an extension onto the existing wiring, or do I have to run another wire to the furnace?

Other than recaulking my windows and putting Great Stuff foam in every crack I can find, is there anything else I should be doing?

Thanks.
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Old 01-18-2009, 10:58 PM   #2
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if you move the stat you may heat the cold side and over heat the warm side.
try closing dampers on the warm side only close them about 1/2 way you do not want to starve the furnace for air.

In my opinion this is an insulation issue.

When was the house built?

The south side is warm is that only in the day time or is that night time also?

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Old 01-18-2009, 11:05 PM   #3
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Night and day, regardless. It's maddening.

The house was built in 1987 or 88, depending on which documentation you're looking at.

A friend suggested blocking the returns on the 1st floor to try and force the warm air upstairs through the returns up there. I'm hesitant to try that, though.

There are 3 dampers on the south side 1st floor and 3 on the 2nd floor, north has 2 on the 1st and 3 on the 2nd, one return in the 3 bedrooms upstairs (1 north 2 south) and 1 return on each side 1st floor. Don't know if that helps.
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Old 01-18-2009, 11:21 PM   #4
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I would not block the returns it will likely starve the furnace. leave the fan on 24/7 as an experiment it may even out the heat. How did the air conditioning work?

be sure none of the runs have closed dampers in the basement look hard at times we put them in wrong and the lever will be over a beam at the top of the duct blocked by a light or other obstruction.
Good luck
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Old 01-18-2009, 11:25 PM   #5
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AC worked just as lousy upstairs, almost no cooling, had to buy fans to make it bearable to sleep. Pretty much the same in the front room. Sout hside of the house was relatively OK. I think the compressor's undersized and/or old. Only new HVAC equipment is the hot water heater, which leaked in July and got replaced under AHS' warranty (thank GOD).

I'll turn the fan on when I get up tomorrow and see how it goes. Thanks!
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Old 01-19-2009, 09:24 AM   #6
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Do close or cover the heating vents (not the return ducts) in the warmer rooms just partially. This is part of the process of balancing the heat within a given zone.

If the colder rooms do not have return air ducts, leave their doors open at least a little.

You are not going to starve the furnace, but you will put a greater load on the blower. But you need the force of the blower to get air to the further reaches of the house.
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Old 01-19-2009, 09:45 AM   #7
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Do like Dr. Heat said and close some of the the southerly dampers by 1/8th or 1/4.


My extra 2cents: I would see what size blower I have and may bump up to next size (1/6, 1/4,1/3 ect).

You might need a tech for that but it sure helps if you are not moving enough air. Trade off is the ducts are bit noisier.


I have a 2200 sq ft home and my furnace had only a 1/3 hp. Switched to a 1/2 hp and the heating and cooling are measurably better.
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Old 01-19-2009, 11:00 AM   #8
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We had the same issues with our house. Ironically it too was built in 88 or 89.

Very little heat or AC would make it upstairs. We had the heating/cooling vents partially closed in the comfortable areas and wide open where we really needed it. It helped, but it wasn't getting the job done.

So when I upgraded to a HIgh Eff furnace 1.5 years ago, I also had them install a zoning system. I now have four zones. 1 for upstairs, 2 for the main floor and 1 for the basement.

It works great, but it doubled the cost of my new furnace install.
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Old 01-19-2009, 01:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvaclover View Post
Do like Dr. Heat said and close some of the the southerly dampers by 1/8th or 1/4.


My extra 2cents: I would see what size blower I have and may bump up to next size (1/6, 1/4,1/3 ect).

You might need a tech for that but it sure helps if you are not moving enough air. Trade off is the ducts are bit noisier.


I have a 2200 sq ft home and my furnace had only a 1/3 hp. Switched to a 1/2 hp and the heating and cooling are measurably better.
Looking at my furnace, it seems I have a 1987 Rheem with a 1/4 hp motor. Can I just swap out the motor to a 1/3 or 1/2?
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Old 01-19-2009, 01:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rasputin View Post
Looking at my furnace, it seems I have a 1987 Rheem with a 1/4 hp motor. Can I just swap out the motor to a 1/3 or 1/2?

How many square feet do you have? You said small but how small?

Also you can go one size up on the blower wheel too.

Understand though, there will be a trade off in possible higher noise levels.

My furnace is right under my family room so I hear when the air starts moving. Not loud enough to be a problem though.
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Old 01-19-2009, 01:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvaclover View Post
How many square feet do you have? You said small but how small?

Also you can go one size up on the blower wheel too.

Understand though, there will be a trade off in possible higher noise levels.

My furnace is right under my family room so I hear when the air starts moving. Not loud enough to be a problem though.
About 1200 sq ft. Noise levels I'm not too concerned about; it's below my kitchen.

Also, unrelated to the above quote, could a lack of blowing power to the 'far side' of the house be because the previous owner "finished" the basement himself and put 2 DIY vents in it? They don't even really work much.
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Old 01-19-2009, 02:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rasputin View Post
About 1200 sq ft. Noise levels I'm not too concerned about; it's below my kitchen.

Also, unrelated to the above quote, could a lack of blowing power to the 'far side' of the house be because the previous owner "finished" the basement himself and put 2 DIY vents in it? They don't even really work much.
Yeah, no more than a 1/3 hp with four speed taps. After you get it installed
you should have four wires (check motor label ,Some are different) low, med low, med high, and high.

Usually the wire coloring goe fro lowest (red) to highest (black).

Try the med low speed first. Hold a piece of toilet paper about one foot over the register. a good flow will move the paper about 3 to 5 inches. If not go to med hi.

this ain't exactly a perfect measuring technique but it gets you in the ball park.

It's an old school method used because air measuring tools were too expensive and too delicate for service work back in the day.

For your usage it's adequate unless you wish to spend a bundle on tools for a one time usage.
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Old 01-19-2009, 04:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvaclover View Post
Yeah, no more than a 1/3 hp with four speed taps. After you get it installed
you should have four wires (check motor label ,Some are different) low, med low, med high, and high.

Usually the wire coloring goe fro lowest (red) to highest (black).

Try the med low speed first. Hold a piece of toilet paper about one foot over the register. a good flow will move the paper about 3 to 5 inches. If not go to med hi.

this ain't exactly a perfect measuring technique but it gets you in the ball park.

It's an old school method used because air measuring tools were too expensive and too delicate for service work back in the day.

For your usage it's adequate unless you wish to spend a bundle on tools for a one time usage.
I don't think I could bring myself to do the toilet paper tecknique if front of a customer. I think I will stick with my flo meter But hey in an emergency s*** happens
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Old 01-19-2009, 05:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH1 View Post
I don't think I could bring myself to do the toilet paper tecknique if front of a customer. I think I will stick with my flo meter But hey in an emergency s*** happens
OK smart ass you know I wa just giving the HO a step by step if he want to do it him self.

My self, I use the tried and try Bacarach volometer along with Delta T measurments.
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Old 01-19-2009, 06:31 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rasputin View Post
Also, unrelated to the above quote, could a lack of blowing power to the 'far side' of the house be because the previous owner "finished" the basement himself and put 2 DIY vents in it? They don't even really work much.
Our basement was also finished by a DIY, and all the vents started falling out of the walls. I've noticed the same difference in my two-story house - cold upstairs in the winter, and I need a fan to sleep in the summer. We blocked off two of the vents in the basement because there were two vents in each room, and all the air was going into the basement. Hope we're not causing any problems by doing that - it just seemed excessive to have two vents per room. What was he thinking???

Helped the first floor but only the second floor by a little. If I end up having to get a new furnace, perhaps I'll get more HP as suggested.

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