Lower Level Heating: Installing New Ducts & Vents
We have a bi-level home and we are finishing the downstairs (half is already finished) into a family room. The house was built last year, and the builders did not put any vents or ducts into the unfinished part of the lower level for that area. My question is how do we put the ducts and vents (intake as well as out going air) into the room? Can we cut into the already existing air ducts without causing "noise" to the other rooms? Or do we need to run other air ducts? Or can we cut into the main heat duct itself, and put the intake on the other side? I hope this is understandable if not, I'll have to get my husband to repost..
As long as your heating system (it sounds like forced hot air, probably gas) is capable of heating the entire square footage of your house, including the space to be finished, you can probably just extend the main duct and/or add individual room ducts. The air return should be located in a central area, like a hallway, directly underneath the existing return if possible. This will allow you to tie directly into it.
Another option is to add electric baseboard heat to the newly finished space.
Actually, it is electric heat/ac..it is capable of covering the square footage, already checked that. So, I shouldn't cut directly into the main ducts for that room (they run across the ceiling) I should extend them right?
If I understand correctly, you can either extend the main duct into the new family room and install a room duct with a register, or, if the main duct already reaches the new room, you can just install the room duct with the register. If it's going to be a large room, you might consider two registers.
Bathroom Vent for Fan
I have a 1.5 story house and bathroom on the upper level. We removed the window recently and will need to install a vent. However, I am confused as to the best method of venting. To put it through the attic and out an eave vent (there are no eaves) would not work. Is it possible (or practical) to run it straight through to the roof? I am having the roof replaced this fall. I might be able to get the roofer to either do it or let me go up and cut the opening and stick the vent in.
Don't vent straight to the attic, so going straight through the roof is the next best choice if the eaves doesn't work. They sell roof vents that should keep the weather out and let your vent exhaust.
Venting Natural Gas Garage Heater
I'm installing a natural gas power-vented heater in my garage. The manual states that if it is vented horizontally it must clear the exterior wall by 11 inches. If it is vented vertically how far must it clear the roof? Also, I want to install it on the "blind side" of the roof so that the vent isn't seen from the street. Do I need to be concerned about the vent terminating below the peak?
I remember years ago when I burnt wood, and installed a metal asbestos chimney straight up, the manufacturers suggestion was to get it so far above the peak. I don't remember the exact"footage" but wherever you put the chimney, I would say it should be at least a foot above the peak. If you don't, you won't get the proper draft, which could cause a downdraft, which in turn could gas you out, or at the least put the pilot out.
We have a gas wall heater at work in our lunchroom. Our local heater guy suggested one of those flush type vents that mount on the outside of the wall. It worked fine until we got some high, swirling sort of winds in the winter and it would backdraft and put the pilot out, so I built a large shield, sort of like a U on it's side, over it and since then it has worked fine. It created a tunnel so the wind can only come up from the bottom and go by the vent, taking the exhaust with it.
Installing Air Returns in Basement
What is the ideal placement for air returns in the basement level and how do you get them near the floor level on the outside walls or load bearing walls? (Assuming they should be near the floor when the heat is vented from the ceiling)
Cold air returns should be near the floor in any room.. that way the air returning to the furnace is the cooler air.. allowing the warmer air to move down to replace it.. if you know what I mean. The basement would be no different.
Of course.. how you do it is a little trickier. You can run a duct down to floor level inside an interior wall of the basement. Cold air returns are usually in the center of the house, so finding just one or two spots where you can tap into the duct and run one of the rectangular shaped ducts normally for supply to the floor should work. And I would stick with a central location rather than an outside wall, just as in the upstairs parts of your house. Heat should be supplied near the walls and windows, where a room will be coolest.
Are there load-bearing walls in your basement? If a wall is enclosing a main beam's support column, only the column is load bearing, not the wall itself. (Your particular design could have a load-bearing wall, though) Don't cut into any of the main support beams to run the duct.
I'm guessing due to the placement of the basement stairs, and first level windows, there is one spot where the original contractor went under the stairs and back up through a notched out small section of the support beam... Then over to the outside wall and up to the first level. Are you saying this is a very bad thing? And if I'm going to get a heat run above one of the basement windows, my only access is to due exactly what they did... Right next to it... Now I'm a bit concerned...
Well.... I sure can't tell from here.. but I wouldn't recommend cutting into the main beam. You are weakening the main support for the house. Since there is some margin built in, typically, though not always, it is not necessarily house threatening.... but unwise to be sure. I should say, too, that as with any beam or support the worst place to cut it is along the top or bottom, the best would be right in the middle. Don't do it if there is any way to avoid it.
The house is 23 years old, and has a thermostat for heating and air-conditioning, in the living room.
(a) How is this unit able to detect what the temperature is in the rest of the house?
(b) We keep the vents in two unused bedrooms as well as the doors to those rooms closed. Is this hurting the heating system?
(a) Is doesn't unless you have an HVAC unit with zones.
(b) It shouldn't.
Return Air Vents: Which is Heat, Which is AC?
In a home with forced hot air heat and air conditioning, the return air ducts have an opening near the ceiling and one near the floor. Which one is open in the winter and which is open in the summer? The openings are on a common duct.
Open the one near the ceiling for air conditioning and the one near the floor for heat.
Ducts Making Loud Banging Sound
I bought a house last year that was built in the 50's that has the heating/air ducts located in the foundation slab. This winter when I started using the heating system the ducts would make a loud bang sound when the heat was on for a minute or two. It sounds like someone hitting a metal garbage can. The sound occurs again when the heat has been off for a minute. I know it's probably the ductwork contracting and expanding, but I just wanted to know if there's anything I can do about it
Are they buried securely into the concrete? The reason I ask is, if you could get at them any way to pack insulation around them. Would it help, you ask. I don't know. My daughter and son-in-law bought a 50's home a year ago this month with radiators. Again, now that cold weather is here,the radiators are banging.
Yes, they are buried completely in the slab. I would like to know if there is another solution short of destroying the concrete. Maybe some sort of device that could hold the walls of the duct out so that they wouldn't flex when they expand and contract.
I love problems. The ductwork you suspect is making all the noise, is it one straight shot where you can see from one end to the other, with smaller ductwork(to floor vents) that shoot off from it? What if you were able to line that duct with something? Something like sheet insulation formed into box shapes? Feasible or no? Of course, you would have to make cutouts for the off-shoots.
Noisy Furnace Duct
I have a brand new house with a gas furnace. The furnace duct (flue) which runs along side my bedroom makes a banging noise when the furnace turns on or off. The builder says this is normal. Is there any way to fix a noisy vent (flue)? Can the materials and/or installation be the cause of this problem?
Someone had a heck of an idea on here a short time ago. If you can get at it, set some weights on it(barbell weights, bricks, etc). It will keep the sheet metal from flexing.
Furnace "Shuts Down" Noisily
When my furnace is done cycling and blowing hot air, and it is "shutting down", it comes to a noisy, rattling, shuddering halt. It sounds like the vents are vibrating, too. The heat is fine, but what is up with all the noise?
Not knowing the age of the furnace, from the sounds of it You should pay the service call and have it checked out by a good heating technician.
Clanging Pipes After Furnace Stops Circulating
I have read all the messages and see I am not the only person who is haunted by these noises. Our pipes clang after the oil-hot water furnace has been running and then stops circulating. My husband has tried bleeding the lines to remove any air but it doesn't seem to help. Could he be doing this procedure wrong? Any other suggestions to help alleviate this irritating problem?
If the pipes clang AFTER the unit stops circulating, it is NOT air. It is just the contraction of the pipes as they cool. When there is air in the lines, they sound like water gushing and running along.
The clanking is the pipes moving through walls and over the pipe supports. I never tried this, but if you can find the spots that are clanging. Then you can try spraying some nonflammable lubricant .. like silicone.. on the pipes where they are moving.
Furnace Brands: Carrier vs. Bryant
I'm replacing a furnace and trying to decide between Carrier and Bryant. My service man says that Bryant is made by Carrier and there is no difference in quality, the only difference is price. Is this right?
I believe they are different companies but one owns the other. I use Armstrong. They are a simpler design, less expensive, as efficient, will last as long or longer and are owned by Lennox. They have been the most reliable brand I've seen. Carrier/Bryant/Lennox/Trane spend a lot of money on advertising which you ultimately pay for. I've worked on them, wouldn't own one. Just my opinion.
After my experience with a NEW Bryant furnace in a recently purchased home, I wouldn't recommend Bryant to anyone. I can't even get the Bryant installer to service it!
Heating/Insulating a Basement Floor
I am in the process of finishing a portion of my basement and am planning on cutting in a couple of heat vents into the existing ductwork, and will bring a cold air return close to the basement floor. I am still concerned that the floor itself will be cold, and am looking for potential ways to heat it, if required. Is building a subfloor with pressure treated 1x3s and plywood sufficient if I want to have padding and carpet as well? How much would insulation help? Or is it best to heat the floor by circulating hot water under another couple inches of concrete? I just don't want to go the subfloor route and still have a cold floor.
I guess it depends on how much you are willing to spend. Putting a carpet down with a pad under it with no insulation underneath, but heating the room makes the floor cool..but not cold. And this is the route most folks go. But, there is a heating system available that runs hot water heat through pipes in the concrete that will definitely warm the floor as well as heat the room. It will of course, not be cheap and with an already finished basement... take away head room or be a VERY large project taking out the floor and starting over.
Heating for a Shed
I have a storage shed that has products in it that I would like to keep from freezing. I would be happy to maintain 40 or 50 degrees. The shed is 12 x 20. What kind of heating system should I use? Both oil and electric is available. I was wondering if a couple of sealed baseboard radiators would do the trick. Then I would not have to worry about ventilation. I do realize that I will have to insulate. What do you suggest?
How are the electric prices in your area? Electric is easiest to install and maintain. Insulate well, and use electric.
Heating Addition: Electric vs. Oil
I'm trying to bring heat to a sunroom addition. The previous owners of our (ranch) house enclosed and finished-off a 20x20 feet carport. Lots of windows. Great room. However, they did not tie it into the main heating system. They used small electric space heaters. We want a permanent solution, so we can open some walls and really bring the room into the house. Our main heater is oil, baseboard. Although the system can handle the additional load, we'd have a tricky time bringing the pipes to the room, since it is built up 3 feet off the former carport concrete slab. Tough access, and not insulated below. Estimates run about $2000 for the job ... and now I am considering another option. MY QUESTION: I am considering wall mounted baseboard units ... that are electric, with sealed oil pipes. A neighbor has had them, says they are very efficient, no real impact on his electric bill. Anyone have experience installing these? How efficient are they compared to adding the new zone on my oil furnace?
Oil or electric? Neither. Electric, by far, is the cheapest to install, but you may not have the same fortune your neighbor did considering you are not insulated below have questionable insulation in walls and ceilings (only because you haven't mentioned them), and plan to open this room up more with the main house. If you opt to spend $2000, personally I would consider adding a coal or wood burner or a gas fireplace instead. Not only do you get superior heat performance at relatively cheap rates; you get the added bonus of an attractive asset to your room and home.
Installing New Electric Furnace for Heating & A/C
I am putting in a new 200-amp service and have never installed a new Heating and A/C system yet. Is there some where I can find info on the steps involved to finish this job?
I'm not sure if I'm reading you right. If you are running electrical service for a new heating and A/C unit then it is quite simple, provided you follow the electrical codes in your area. In the USA, most electricians follow the National Electrical Code. You can get diagrams and info at your public library or use your search engine to find web sites/pages.
I don't know if you can install your own heating and A/C unit in your area as a do-it-yourself project. Most of these projects need/should be installed by a qualified HVAC technician and approved by an inspector. Should you have a fire or problem you may not be covered by your insurance provider?
Air in Radiators
I have a gas furnace (very old system) with circulating hot water heat. I have to bleed the radiators very often (in one particular radiator, in the upper floor, there is air in it a few hours after bleeding it).
I don't see any water leaks in the system. Is there anything I can do to fix this problem?
Back down near the furnace on the main supply line out, you can install an airscoop with an auto bleeder valve on top. It will entail cutting into the system to install it, but for you that might be worth it. Of course, doing so will introduce alot of air into you system again.
Baseboard Radiator Cover Removal
I need to put new plasterboard on a wall that has a baseboard radiator. I also need to remove the old plasterboard. What do I do to remove the baseboard radiator cover in order to remove and replace the plasterboard?
You can take the front and louver off easy enough, right? Well, to get the back/top off you will need to pry them away from the wall and pull out the nails that were used to hold them to the studs.
This isn't too easy, you have to be careful so you don't mangle the back or crush too many fins, (by the way, watch out for the fins, they are sharp) . I recently removed some to raise them up when installing a tile floor.. They did come off ok.. you just need some patience and your claw hammer and a nail puller and a long screw driver.. and more patience.
Radiators Cold--Not Heating
I have radiators in my home and the radiator in my son's room is not heating. I've bled the radiator and water comes out but the water is cold. Any suggestions?
Is this a new problem? I ask because sometimes a system may have never worked well do to a poor piping arrangement. Or it may have worked fine and now it is not pointing to a zone valve that is not working anymore?
I have to agree that either the zone valve or circulator serving that radiator or improper piping to that radiator is culprit. If zone valve is a Taco, move lever to manual open position and feel pipes to insure flow is taking place. If it is zoned. I've seen piping problems that have been the most probable cause.
Huge Disparity in Floor Temperatures
I just bought a house and I have noticed that when the basement is 60 degrees the middle floor will be 70 and the upstairs will be 80. The attic has a exhaust fan in it that is set to begin operation at around 85 degree and it functions. We were thinking about closing off the vents on the side of the house in the attic and installing another fan. I have never lived in a house where the temperature was so extreme on the different floors. What is causing this to occur and how can I get the upstairs to be more cool and not so stuffy and hot?
Have you lived in a house with a basement before? Because they are below ground, they are often cooler as you noticed. (And that is good, but can create a humidity problem down there, so a dehumidifier is warranted). The upstairs will be the hottest area due to the hot air rising and the heat of the attic radiating and conduction downward. Which of course leaves the middle floor the most comfy. This is really quite normal. DON'T suck your cool air from the lower floors up to the upstairs with the attic fan(s). All this will do is bring warm/hot humid air from outside into the house. Ventilating the attic is a good idea since it will help keep the top floor cooler. But use outside air to cool it. It should be well ventilated and using attic fans mounted in the gable vents will help do that, as will soffit vents and ridge vents.
Furnace Blowers: Not Enought Output
The output of air coming through the registers is less than 50% of what it should be. Any solutions?
Have you checked the filter? Is furnace part of central air system? Possibilities include but are not limited to dirt on blower wheel(slide assy. out and clean), dirty evap coil (cleaning procedure depends on system design), duct liner or insulation pulled loose from system and blocking airflow to blower (re-glue), low refrigerant causing unit to freeze-up and restrict airflow across evaporator coil, improper wiring, defective motor (After running for awhile, does the fan motor overheat and cut off? Quite often can result from a bad run capacitor)
Is you filter new? Is your motor putting out properly? How about the cold air returns? Might there be critters living in your duct work ahead of your motor? It's been sitting all summer. You never know who could have taken up residence.
Furnace Not Venting Properly
I have a natural gas hot water boiler. It is 90,ooo Btu. This summer I installed a chimmey liner alumiumum 5" which they said was good for 130,000 Btu .Plus my hot water heater is tee'd into this also. My carbon monoxide detector went off in my furnace room when I went down to see what was going on. It appeared that I was getting draft back into my furnace room through a draft hood, so I opened a window. Then it seemed to start to pull a draft through the hood and it has some sort of a deal that will hold hot air back until it warms up. Then it opens . Do I need this hood and other things where it discharges off the furnace?
My vent-sizing chart shows that a 5" liner for 130,000 Btu's is only large enough if your chimney is 25' high or more measuring from the top of the boiler. The device on the boiler vent pipe sounds like a thermally activated vent damper. It is an add-on energy saving device that is not necessary for the boiler to operate. It normally takes up to a full minute to open after the boiler fires causing spillage of flue gases into your home. It should be removed.
If you want a vent damper, have a qualified service technician install a motorized unit. It will increase the efficiency of your heating system by up to 5% (more or less), but also adds a part to your boiler that may eventually fail causing a no-heat situation.
As with any furnace, you must have adequate combustion air from outside coming into the furnace room or it will not vent and will likely produce carbon monoxide.
Gas Furnace: Air from Vents Not Very Warm
My hot air gas furnace seems to ignite OK, and the fan runs OK and the thermostat is OK. However, the air from the vents does not seem very warm. It takes a long time to heat the house. I have had the pilot light go out on a couple of occasions too. What other part would affect the air heating? How can I check it? Repair. Etc?
Olin is this natural gas or propane? Does the burner remain on through the cycle or does it kick on & off while the blower runs? Has this furnace ever worked well?
The furnace is natural gas. Near the end of last season the gas regulator valve and pilot was replace. The gas burner seems to go on and off at different times while the fan keeps running. The fan will stop after awhile, only to start again. The thermostat and fan were replaced a couple of years ago. It did not run well last season. It is an older furnace (not counting all the new parts).
Just a hunch but, if you pop the cover off the thermostat, you will find a small dial with a range of numbers (something like .02-1.2) and an adjustable pointer. This is called the heat anticipator. If the setting is to high, the furnace will run long cycles causing to great a temperature swing. If it is set to low, the burner will short-cycle (sounds like your problem). This should be set by the amount of current (amps) the gas control draws through the thermostat. You may see an amp rating on the gas control-if so, set the heat anticipator to match this number. If you can't find this rating, just move the pointer towards the larger number end of scale. When it's set correctly, you will have no problem maintaining temp. in home with about a 2 degree difference. Let me know what you find.
I took both yours and Randy's advice. I had a knowledgeable friend come in to clean and reset the furnace. The professional who installed the gas regulator valve closed off most of the airflow to reduce the flame. He did this because the furnace was blocked due to dirt. This low flame added to the blockage and after awhile the furnace became less and less efficient. The thermostat current was also set way to low. After the cleaning and resetting, it works great. Thanks for your advice. It seems that some professional service men can not be trusted to do a good job.
Flame Smaller Than Usual: Need Cleaning?
I seem to be having problems with my furnace. The furnace does not seem to work properly. The flame that keeps going is smaller than usual. I am not sure if that is the problem. Does the furnace require cleaning? (Mine is quite dusty). If so, how do you clean it?
Break down and spend the money for the repairperson...It may save you money (or your life) in the long run.
I take it you have a gas furnace? They should be cleaned/serviced periodically. This is not a typical do-it-yourself job. How is your furnace not working properly?
Eliminating Smell of Gas When Furnace Kicks On
My gas furnace works okay most of the time. However, sometimes when the furnace kicks on I think I can smell a little bit of gas. It's as if the pilot light did not light the gas fast enough, therefore permitting some to be blown into the ducts. Do I need to adjust the gas pressure valve?
Making adjustments to gas pressure is a very serious thing. It should never be done without using a good manometer or by an unqualified person. The results of improper manifold pressure in a gas furnace are potentially dangerous.
Make sure the heat exchanger is clean of soot. If it isn't, gasses can creep into the house and ductwork. Look at the flames in the firebox and make sure they are exhausting up.
Burners Never Kick In On Gas Furnace
My high efficiency natural gas furnace has a small blower that comes on right away when kicked by the thermostat. That comes on but the burners never kick in. Any suggestions?
Sounds like an igniter or igniter sensor. These units are a little complicated for the average homeowner.. Check your owners manual,Troubleshooting guide.
Carrier has a small red light that you can check the blinks and then go to guide. Sorry can't be more help. Could be in the circuit board also.
Gas Furnace Limit Switch Question
Over the past three years I have had to replace the limit switch (located near the burner and heat exchanger) on 4 separate occasions, usually on the coldest night of the year. When the limit switch (a sort of thermal fuse I assume) reaches its rated temperature, it fails and thus opens the circuit which then shuts off the gas and causes the blower fan to continually operate, (which now blows cold air into the house). I recently replaced the 180-degree limit switch with a 190-degree to see if this helps.
What causes the heat retention that makes these switches "open"? What should I do to remedy the problem? The unit is a Bryant and is about 7 years old.
This sounds more like a "roll-out" switch. It is a fusible link located just above the burner opening. The reason this type of control is used is that excessive heat in this location indicates a serious problem that requires professional attention. It is commonly caused by a restriction in the heat exchanger. Get a good service technician to look at this; your money will be well spent.
Another related question:
The heater runs, the heater shuts off. The heater never re-starts. If I turn the thermostat off for half-hour, sometimes it will start again if I turn the thermostat back on. Jumping red and white wire at Thermo does not turn it back on.
Once got it to work by checking cover doors on plenum (microswitch on doors shuts off fan if door is off or loose).
I suspect some kind of limit switch is kicking off and keeping it off. Suggestions? Gas heater, 6 years old, installed in attic. Decal of an eagle on the side, but not clear what brand.
If only six years old, the furnace has electronic ignition and a power exhaust fan. When it is acting up, does the exhaust fan run? If it does, then I would guess you have an ignition problem. I'm guessing it does not come on. The most likely culprit would then be as you said--an open limit switch. The main limit is mounted in the front of the cabinet. Many brands use one connected to a 2"x3" piece of Bakelite or plastic. All you will see is this piece with two wires running to it. These commonly fail intermittently. Make sure you get an exact replacement. Horizontal furnaces also have a small snap disc limit mounted on or near the blower and one sometimes on the exhaust fan housing.
Gas-fired Forced Air Wall Furnace - How to Turn it on???
The previous owner of our home had the furnace installed. I do not know how to turn it on. I can not even find were the pilot is. I found the knob with the words "ON, OFF, and PILOT". I turned it on Pilot but nothing happens. I made sure the temp. setter was activated. I even had the knob with High and Low on turned on HIGH. I tried to light it but I don't know where??!! Any suggestions?
You really need to contact your local gas provider or a certified plumbing/heating professional in your area to service and explain the operation of this unit to you.
However, a typical gas appliance works by first turning the dial to PILOT. You then will depress a red button next to the dial, OR depress the dial itself allowing gas to enter the pilot.
The pilot will either be lit manually with a match OR with a PIEZO type sparking igniter. Once the pilot has lit, you will generally wait about 1 minute then remove your hand from depressing either the button or dial.
When you do the pilot should stay on or you will need to start the process over. Once the pilot remains on, you turn the dial to ON...and the thermocoupler in the gas appliance takes over automatically...
Leaving Furnace On When Out of House for Extended Period
I live in a winter climate and must suddenly leave the house empty for a couple of months. Should I leave the furnace on or off. What do I do with the radiators needing water??
Be sure to at least set temperature around 50 degrees so nothing freezes. If your rads need water filled constantly you better get a good house sitter set up. IF something happens while you are gone your house insurance will not cover any damage if you did not properly prep the house for you being gone.
Installing Spill Switch on Boiler
I'm just putting in a new boiler for my house. The draft vent has a spill switch, but the instructions don't tell me whether I should screw to the inside or the outside of the vent. If you could help, that would be great.
Typically installed on outside of vent.
Platform for Furnace to Sit on
We own a modular home on a full foundation. We would like to move the 8-yr. old furnace to the basement. The furnace is bottom fed. We plan to install new ductwork, along with a cold air return. Can some type of platform be built for the furnace to sit on, so the ductwork, etc. can still be fed from the same place as it is now? We are in the process of finishing the basement with a family room, a bathroom and two bedrooms.
I am sure you can build a platform for it. The furnace presently sits right on the floor in the home, right. Certainly, a platform could be built out of similar materials...
Cleaning Furnace: What Do They Do?
Every year I pay someone to clean my furnace. Is this something I could be doing??????
Watch the service tech next time and ask him questions.. you don't need to tell him you are taking over next year... But maybe after you see what is involved you won't want to, anyway.. that will depend on your confidence and skill. Cleaning is only one part.. that involves removing the access panels and vacuuming it out. But they usually will replace the burner tip. That is a little more effort.. ask and write down what size you need. Electrode setting is also checked.. watch and write down that setting as well.
Furnace Drain Condensation Freezing
My furnace condensate drainpipe and A/C drainpipe are hooked together. Have had a problem with the drain freezing where it exits the foundation. This protrudes about 3". Anyone have a logical solution or a remedy?
I do this for a living. Possibility ..reroute the drain to indoor floor drain or buy a condensate pump and pump to deep sink etc, as area codes allow..... more questions firstname.lastname@example.org
Tell your friends about this page!
Click here for our Energy Saving Tips Article
Click here for our Heating Tips Article
Click here for our Insulation Facts Article
Click here for our R-Values Article
Click here for our Vapor Barrier Basics Article