# Looking for an independent heating solution....

• posted on November 21, 2003, 4:03 pm
We have an upper floor to the house that has no heat. Running ductwork from the furnace in the basement is not an option. Does anyone have any suggestions for a way to heat the rooms up there other than just plugging in a quartz heater? I'm looking for something fairly permanent -- I'll likely add a thermostat in the mix as well.
James
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• posted on November 21, 2003, 11:27 pm
Check with a local heating contractor. We need more information about your home than you are likely to be able to give us. BTW don't bet that ducts could not be used, but they may not be the best solution.
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Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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• posted on November 22, 2003, 3:37 am

Ducts could not be run within the walls -- it's plaster and lathe (wood AND metal mesh) construction with a bunch of interesting wood constructs in the frame. I *MIGHT* be able to come up with something using a form of flexible ducting I suppose, but I'd be leary breaks in the ducting during running it. Putting ductwork external to the walls means losing space in the downstairs room and the layout is not conducive to this -- it also means cutting floors/ceilings and after a recent project, I'm leary of cutting anything more in this house. Last time, I ended up doing a MAJOR tear-out.
James
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• posted on November 22, 2003, 11:54 am
I was suggesting that an experienced professional has tricks they have learned that get around problems we mortals see as impossible obstacles. They will also have the experience to choose the best option based on the situation, not just one that works.
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Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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• posted on November 23, 2003, 4:55 am

I'll tell ya Joe, if I had the bucks I'd hire a pro to take care of a number of things for me so I didn't have to hassle with 'em. Unfortunately, the bucks just ain't there so I have to do it myself. If it weren't for the age of the house and the fact that it was once a barn this would be no big deal -- I'd just cut into a wall and run the duct. BUT the house ain't being very cooperative. :-|
James
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• posted on November 23, 2003, 11:56 am
Sometimes the pro is cheaper in the long run. I think you may be up against one of those situations. We can't offer too much help, because you need on site inspection by someone who knows the options.
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Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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• posted on November 22, 2003, 12:48 am
It depends, but I just installed a Monitor for someone in that same situation...not cheap, but for oil, over a 90% AFUE cant be beat.

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• posted on November 22, 2003, 3:37 am

I've debated a direct vent system of some sort in the larger room then maybe a vent in the wall to encourage air flow between the two. Although I'd have a helluva time getting normal ductwork up there, I'm fairly confident I can get a pipe for gas through the walls possibly using the stairwell between the two floors, which has a fairly accessible wall space.
James
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• posted on November 22, 2003, 4:19 am
Why do you rule out running a duct from the basement? That is the only permanent solution. Don't you already have ducts to the first floor, and can't you tap those. You should be able to run a duct/ducts through closets to get to the second floor with little visual problems. Of course you could run hot water but that would be a lot more complicated. The last possibility is to use electric baseboard heaters, but your heating costs would be relatively high.
JNJ wrote:

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• posted on November 22, 2003, 7:55 am

Vents are on the floor, not in the walls. They run directly up from the basement through the floor. The only option to use these would be to extend them with a tap for the first floor. That also means cutting holes in the ceiling/floor to the 2nd floor and the associated visual problems.

No closets on the first floor. :)
James
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• posted on November 22, 2003, 11:44 pm
JNJ wrote:

Well, that's that. Tear down the house and start over.
Seriously, and depending on how much work you want to go to, you could enclose the ducts within the existing walls. But of course you have to have a hole all the way from the basement to the second floor. I think you could do it with a minimum of visual effect, it just requires tearing out a section of wall and then repairing it for each duct. If your walls are plasterboard (gypsum) it wouldn't be too hard. The hard part is determining which walls would be appropriate and cutting through the plate at the bottom and at the top. (Of course it would be much easier to just put a duct in the corner and build the wall around it and that way you wouldn't be cutting into a support structures. No matter what the wall is made of you could just box the two sides in with paneling or solid wood to make it look like a support pillar. And you would only lose a 15 inch square out of the room.) One other thought, you know they used to just cut holes through the ceiling and upper floor to move the air upstairs. Didn't use any ducts.
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• posted on November 23, 2003, 4:48 am

LOL -- Believe me, if I had the money.... :)

How I wish it were that easy. These walls are tough -- they're all plaster and lathe, both wood and metal-mesh type lathes at that. External walls have first the plaster and lathe combos followed by boards, THEN you get to the studs. Internal walls are all load bearing but of the same design as the exterior walls with the exception of the cross boards. The ceiling between the first and second floor is the same as the walls -- plaster/lathe (both types) followed by wood then the joists (beautiful thick cedar) then more boards, a subfloor and underlayment, tile. One thing is for certain -- there's a lot more than spit and prayer holding THIS old house together. :)

I've considered this but it's just plain ugly and also not easy -- the house sits on a stone foundation and, you guessed it, the edges are over it so I'd have a helluva time getting the duct over there. There is the one that services the living room I could extend but having 3 taps off a single duct might not be a very good working solution, especially with two upstairs. I dunno -- I'll have to spend a little time revisiting this option. I had just really hoped for some solution that would require less chop work. :(
James

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• posted on November 22, 2003, 11:44 am

I visited (in summer) an old New England farmhouse where there was a grate in the kitchen ceiling into the 2nd floor bathroom floor. I vaguely remember one or more fireplaces on the ground floor, but presume the main winter heat source was the kitchen stove. Must have been *mighty* chilly in winter. :-) Are there any simple ways to let the heat rise?
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• posted on November 23, 2003, 4:49 am
Is there anyway to run the heating ducts on the outside of the house in a well insulated box. If it was the side it might not be too visible.
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• posted on November 23, 2003, 4:57 am

I've heard of this but never really considered it an option as it tends to buck current conventional wisdom on heat conservation (one of the things they recommend these days is insulating the floor/ceiling between floors to prevent heat loss). At this rate, I might just have to go that route anyway. :P
James