Second Furnace in Attic?

I recently bought a house which was built in 1924 and has been added onto and remodelled at various times since. It is in Northern California where air conditioning is unnecessary but heat sure comes in handy sometimes.
The house is about 3400 square feet, two story with an attic and a partial basement and crawlspace under the rest. It has a relatively recently installed gas forced air furnace in the basement which is in good shape, and ducts which run from it through the basement and crawlspace to the ground floor rooms. There are NO ducts or registers on the second floor. This was apprently common practice around here when the house was originally built - some heat would find its way upstairs, and that was considered enough back in the day. I expect its going to get pretty frosty by modern standards upstairs.
Question is what can I do about it and how much will it cost me. Obvious solution is to put a second furnace in the attic. There is good headroom and access up there so this should be feasable. Ducts fom the furnace to the area above each upstairs room should be pretty straightforward, but it gets complicated after that. Running ducts from the ceiling to the basebords will not be easy. It would be easy to put registers in the ceiling, but, as some have previously pointed out, heat rises, so ceiling registers will presumably give us toasty ears and frozen toes, and when in bed we will not get much heat at all. And even if I just put registers in the ceiling, I would need to put returns lower and put ducts in for them.
Do I have to suck it up and just open up walls for ducts? Each bedroom has pretty good sized closet, maybe I could just run ducts inside those? Even though this would not result in ideal register placement, it would probably be better than ceiling registers and wouldn't require much tear up.
Anyone have experience with the 2 inch flexible ducts designed to be used with high pressure fan systems? Suppossedly you can fish them through wall cavities like romex.
Any other ideas? Advice on holding down costs?
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Down here in texas we use ceiling vents for A/C and heating, we do use heat less then A/C but what we also do is use the ceiling fans on the reverse setting, on low speed, it pushes the heat down to the floor of the room, does seem to work pretty good. One other option may be basebord heat, if you have room for a boiler and can fish the pex tubing up to the 2nd floor, lots of work, extra equiment, but will have heat down near the floor, and I agree, floor regestairs for heat makes sense, but its not done a lot due to the extra work, even in new construction it dont seem to be done a lot. Hope this gives you some ideas C

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alt.building.construction:

I don't know how they built houses back then, but you may be able to just open up the top plate and use a stud bay as a duct. Cut a hole in the top plate, cut a hole in the wall near the floor, hook a duct to the hole at the top, and Bob's your uncle.
If you have fire blocking in the middle, things get tougher. It's California, so local code could say anything. Only works for interior, non-load-bearing walls.
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Steve B.
New Life Home Improvement
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No No No. You can use a wall cavity space for return air but never for supply from a furnace. That is unless the house is too old and your fire insurance is paid up.
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PS. Not to mention that with lath and plaster, the connection of the stud to the wall would be a sieve and most of the air induced there would filter out the adjacent spaces and finally be lost because a 1924 house isn't that tight.

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alt.building.construction:

Sorry -- I never did actually SAY that this was for return air, did I. I gotta be more careful....
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Steve B.
New Life Home Improvement
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THis is an interrsting idea. Leave the registers i nteh ceiling, but put the returns down low using this method. At least this way you might get soem circualtion of air, and the heated air might actually pass through the room before being sucked back in the return. The master bedroom is an addition so has drywall. The others are original, and have lath and plaster. Even though the stud bays won't be as tight there, it still might work for the return becasue the inlet where the grill opening is will be the path of lest resisitance for it to suck air from.
Post about houses not being very tight back then is spot on. The whole house is one big "ventalator." Good thing it doesn't get too cold here.
Steve wrote:

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alt.building.construction:

My house is built this way, at least in the master bedroom, and we stay plenty warm. Of course, we're in Texas, so we don't have bad winters. Interestingly, the builder put the return registers for the rest of the house in the ceilings. Works great for AC, though. Ceiling fans do a good job of moving the warm air back toward the floor.
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Steve B.
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You have many options, but I would recommend you consider a self-contained (through-the-wall) or packaged terminal heat pump (could be roof-mounted). You have mild winters and they are perfect for such climate. Contact a local, brand name HVAC professional Trane, Rheem, Goodman & Rudd, etc.).

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I would wait and see how it goes this winter.
Many people have trouble with the upstairs getting too warm! Heat does rise, so I would bet you don't need a second furnace.
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