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Even heat in a split level house?


Dozer

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Anybody have a good idea how to keep the upstairs and downstairs at fairly close temp house with an open staircase? Its always hot up stairs and cold downstairs in our house. I want to put a door at the bottom of the stairs but the wife doesnt like that option. I thought of leaving the furnace fan all the time but im scared to find out what that will cost in electricity.

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Best thing I've found is just closing vents. Shut off upstairs vents so heat is put strictly in basement in the winter. The heat rises so it will get upstairs. And then in the summer do the opposite. Cool upstairs and the cold air will get downstairs. I don't think there is a great answer. I used to live in 3 level townhouse and I bet there was 30+ degree difference from basement to upper floor.

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Best thing I've found is just closing vents. Shut off upstairs vents so heat is put strictly in basement in the winter. The heat rises so it will get upstairs. And then in the summer do the opposite. Cool upstairs and the cold air will get downstairs. I don't think there is a great answer. I used to live in 3 level townhouse and I bet there was 30+ degree difference from basement to upper floor.

That's what we do, open the downstairs vents, close the upstairs. Spring, open the upstairs, close the downstairs.

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Best thing I've found is just closing vents. Shut off upstairs vents so heat is put strictly in basement in the winter. The heat rises so it will get upstairs. And then in the summer do the opposite. Cool upstairs and the cold air will get downstairs. I don't think there is a great answer. I used to live in 3 level townhouse and I bet there was 30+ degree difference from basement to upper floor.

That is also what we are doing now but it gets pretty cool downstairs before the furnace kicks on.

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Leaving the fan on continuously is you 1st. option. Lots of people do.

Your house probably doesn't have enuff return air in the lower level. I would suggest

you add one.

That could open a can of worm for a home owner. Call a heating

contractor if you are not familiar with that kind of work.

If you do it your self, the return needs to be just off the floor so it pulls the cold

air off the floor. Not in the celling (very important).. The duct also need to be sized

correctly.

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The door is the best option and probably fairly cheap. Adding insulation on the block portions of the walls will be very helpful. Finally insulating the floor will also help. I put down 1 X 2 material and then foam and plywood over that and it helped in that room quite a bit.

I'm not so sure about the wisdom of closing off all the vents upstairs. You need air circulating and the gravity feed idea is pretty crude. The furnace I have now requires that the fan be on 24/7. It has a two speed motor and you don't even know it's on. That has evened things out a lot in the house - it doesn't seem like we get the dramatic ups and downs as often.

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Is it finished?

I would go with an alternate heat source for the basement. Either a gas stove or electric baseboards. You won't lose much heat because it will go up anyways.

Be careful with where you add insulation. Depending on the age of the home, you may be disrupting the system and may cause some mold or worse.

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Where is your furnace?

Do you have a crawl space, and is that where the duct work is?

In most split level homes the duct work is in the crawl space, if this is the case

adding a new return in the lower level is about a 2hr. job. With about a hundred dollars in materials Not difficult at all.

It's amazing how just adding a return air to a lower level will change the temp

7-10 degrees. As said in the previous post just get it close to the floor.

Unless you sit on the celling (grin)

You could add a foot of insolation to the hole house and you will still have the

same trouble. Or as roofer said, even more trouble.

Hot air go's up. Cold air falls. You need to pull that cold air back and condition it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I added a folding door to the bottom of my stairs, it cost like $40 and works great! It is now warmer down stairs then it is upstairs. If you have the room, you can install a door that slides into the wall, and it wont be visible at all when you dont want it to be. Then when you want the heat to stay down stairs close it. A door like this will cost a couple hundred.

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