My house was built in '72 (3 br, 2 1/2 bath). The original owner
added a 2 story addition (top part was addition to the master
bedroom). Unfortunately, he didn't put in a new furnace to take care
of the extra sq. footage. When we bought the house in '04, we put in
a new furnace (1 zone) to take care of the 3100 sq. ft. My problem is
that the master bedroom is on the top floor at the end of the house
and furtherest away from the furnace (bottom floor, opposite end). It
is always the hottest or the coldest room in the house. I've got 2
ceiling fans to help with air flow, but it's darn cold in there in the
winter. Oh, and the guy put in 4 skylights in the addition where the
bed is. We've replaced 2 of them due to the fact that he didn't put
the flashing in correctly and the old ones leaked during Gaston in
04. That's when the repair people found the on-going leaking.
My question is: Considering this guy was a DIYer who had wonderful
ideas but his implementation sucked BIG time, what can I do before I
call in the pros and spend big bucks? I have a feeling he didn't wire
things right or that maybe the duct work isn't right.
Instead of "re-designing" the whole shoot'n match, why not consider a
ductless? They're realatively easy to have installed, take up little space,
solve difficult to heat / cool problems, and are extremely efficient.
You could have one condenser [outside unit] that can have two wall mounted
air handler's, one larger size for the master bedroom, and one smaller unit
for the walk in closet / bathroom area.
Consider you could just heat / cool off the maters bedroom and let the rest
of the house be on it's own. Ask you neighborhood HVAC/R professional for a
Well, the house I'm in now is a dual/split system. Separate heating/
cooling for upstairs versus down stairs. Works great. There is enough
heat "leakage" due to rising hot air to preclude actually having to
use the heat much in the winter upstairs. Summer, I need the cooling.
I'd go for the dual system myself. I had a somewhat similar problem
in a previous house where the master BR was over the garage. Not
enough heat in winter --- furnace was at the other end of the house.
Just added an electric heater to the BR. Closing the doors and use of
fans seemed to be Ok for cooling, however. By the time we were done,
3 of the 4 bedrooms had ceiling fans. In the new house, I got the pre-
wiring done for the fans by the builder, and put them in myself later.
My suggestion is to call in the pro. Honestly a good pro will save you
money. Not having one is what got you into this problem to begin with. You
need someone who will do the "Manual" Calculations to measure the heating
and cooling loads as well as the needed distribution system. It is not
something that can accurately be done by guessing and certainly not by
someone without direct access to the location. If you ask about a "manual"
calculation and they say "What?" move on.
After doing the calculations and looking at the equipment you have they
can suggest what you might need to get everything working properly.
We upped the SEER shortly after we bought the place. The original
owner nearly doubled the square footage in all of his additions, but
never redid the furnace/ac, so during the home inspection, the
inspector brought out that we seriously might want to consult an HVAC
pro. We did (3 of them) and all came up with the same answer - the
furnace was seriously inadaquate for the square footage of the house.
My problem is not only is our bedroom seriously under heated/cooled,
my daughter's room, which is right above the furnace, gets way too
much heat/ac. It's like it all goes to her room and then there's
nothing left by the time it gets to ours. The other 2 bedrooms (on
the front side of the house) are fine, but ours (on the back side and
out at a right angle, gets very little, if any. I also suspect our
duct work that's up in the attic needs to be rewrapped or
reinsulated. The wrapping that's on it looks like it's the original
and it's coming off.
That is only part of the problem. Once you have adequate sized furnace
and AC there is the problem of getting that heated or cooled air to where it
is needed. That appears to be your problem. It may need some serious and
expensive duct work or it may be a simple balance issue. There may be other
options as well. There are several Manual computations. One of them is for
the distribution system. That is the one that you need done. Don't go
guessing about the duct system. Have the measurements made and have it
This problem is not unusual. All too frequently you see systems
installed that provide inadequate air flow to the far ends. They use
ducts that are too small, too long for there to be airflow. This
isn't rocket science and you'd think it would be done right.
Fixing the problem in the daughters room is likely a lot easier.
Just closing off some of the vents to that room will mean less air is
going there and more is available to go upstairs. However, you don't
want to cut off too much air flow. And it may not make much
difference in the upstairs bedroom.
The mistake here was going with a new system without specifically
addressing the core problem. Getttin a higher SEER unit only means
it uses less electricity compared to a lower SEER unit, not that it's
going to somehow fix a far end problem. The correct solution, as
someone already pointed out, may have been to go with 2 systems. If
your new system is adequate in capacity, then the solution is to get
more airflow into the upstairs bedroom. How hard or easy that is
depends on the logistics and why you need a pro.
Your post is a bit confusing. You looked at the home and had an
inspection that revealed serious capacity problems. You had 3
companies look at it and your decision was to buy the home and replace
the furnace with a bigger one to handle the total home?
What did you do with the duct system? You do know the old saying that
you can put 10 lbs of shit in a 5 lb bag, right?
Quite honestly, its sounds like you will be living with a problem or
getting rid of some serious cash. Get a pro, have it evaluated and
make a decision.
We upped the SEER to take care of the square footage of the house.
The original owner had nearly doubled the size of the house BUT had
never replaced the original furnace. So, as the inspector told us,
the original furnace was adequate for the original house, but
inadequate and inefficent for the house now. We put in a newer,
Energy Star furnace to handle the house. Granted, most likely the
better idea would have been to put in a 2 zone system, but at the
time, we didn't have the $. We have closed 1 of the 2 vents in
daughter's room and partly closed the 2nd in order to deal with the
excess heat. We also have a ceiling fan in there as well because the
room is 17 x 18. Our main problem is the adequate lack of heat/ac in
our bedroom. Considering this guy did a lot of the stuff himself (and
we've just found out that lo and behold, the guy was a home inspector
himself), and we've unfortunately found that he cut a lot of corners
(we've had the house nearly 4 years now) that we didn't know about,
we're not sure what we're facing, but from what you all are telling
me, we're definitely going to get the HVAC people out to give us
options. I just wanted to ask questions beforehand so I don't look
like a total dufus.
Doesnt have diddly to do with it so Im afraid you Did indeed make
yourself look like a "dufus". :-)
The SEER wont do anything for your square footage. BTU's is what takes
care of that.
Higher SEER only allows the equipment to work more efficiently than
something older and lower in efficiency.
What a mess! I never buy a second hand house. Always had my house built
from scratch wherever I lived to avoid such problem. Ideally you should
have 2 zone system and it'll cost $$$ to do it right the first time.
Is the addition properly built? I mean building permit was taken out for
the work and official building inspection done properly? Is it of sound
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