We live in Atlanta and have a 1965 built brick ranch home on a full
finished basement. Each floor is about 1850 sq. ft. The central gas
heat is an Amana, 80%, 73,000 btu unit and the AC compressor unit is a
3.5 ton 1989 Ruud SEER 9. The AC condensor unit is wrapped so I can't
see what it is but it seems the AC was replaced long ago and the heater
not so long ago. We bought this home last year. The previous owner
finished the basement and in the process cut into the duct work and
added three conditioned registars for the basement area but no
additional return registars. The problem is that the AC wouldn't cycle
if the temp was set below about 82 degrees on a mid 90 degree day. I
installed a radiant barrier on the underside of the roof rafters and
tinted all the storm windows with a heat reducing window film. Now the
system will cycle at about 78 degrees on a mid 90 degree day. The
thermostat is in the typical hallway location. The basement is open to
the upstairs just like a traditional 2-story home - no way to close
them off from one another. During the winter the basement is not
adaquately heated. I'm want to contact some contractors for opinions
and quotes on correcting the system's inability to heat/cool the home
adaquately. Would someone give my guidance on what a good contractor
should be doing to diagnose and correct the system? Can anyone
recommend a good contractor in the Atlanta area to contact? Should I
be considering a second system, maybe an attic installiation for the
main floor and turn the current system into one for the basement?
Okay. I'm in Atlanta also. There will be a bit of opening your post up and
Probably heat the upstairs well, but not the downstairs. It was designed to
heat the upstairs only. 73K isn't a lot, especially for both floors.
Kinda common to replace the furnace and not the outside. Scary, but common.
I have no clue what you mean by 'wrapped,' but that may not be good.
See my first paragraph.
So, what do you think gave you the best savings, tinting the windows or the
There is a door to the basement in my house.
It never will be with that system.
You need a complete heat load done (Manual J) on the house.
I'm listed, but you need to go through www.kudzu.com. Find a contractor
that will actually do the heat loads.
I'd at the least consider a zoning system, but a second system would
probably work better, depending on the layout of the existing system. You
could use the zoning system for the basement and the main floor.
In my house, the heat for the basement comes from ductwork for the upstairs.
It doesn't do much good during the real cold days. I'm planning on
installing HW baseboard for the basement and that will provide a heat
'barrier' against the cold air infiltration. Yes, that means a boiler soon,
Thanks for the Manual J and zoning suggestions, those are the kinds of
ideas I was seeking. I think the radiant barrier offered the more than
the tinting in the way of reducing heat intrusion as I only have a few
of my windows that get sun and then only for a part of the day. I have
a lot of trees surrounding my home which block the sun from the windows
but not the roof. My attic temp has dropped about 15 degrees so
far...I just finished doing that project and we haven't had a really
hot weekend day for me to really tell how much difference it has made
on a 90 degree plus day. My condenser is wrapped in an insulated foil
material that I'm hesitant to remove and replace just to find an ID
tag. Given that the ductwork is exposed or accessable in the basement
ceiling it would be easy to re-direct it to serve the basement and my
attic has adaquate space to install a horizantal HVAC unit and to run
ductwork for ceiling registars and returns. I can also get new gas and
electric service there without any problems as well as run a
condensation drain to an eve so a second system would be pretty easy to
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