My new house HVAC system is weird/cheap - what should I do to make it work the best?
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  1. #1

    My new house HVAC system is weird/cheap - what should I do to make it work the best?

    I have a 2-story house built in 2007 with forced heat and central air. The air handler in located on the second floor in a laundry room along with the hot water heater.

    There are no return ducts, just a big intake grate in the hallway upstairs. Also, there is just one central duct in the 2nd story floor so the upstairs vents are in the floor and main level vents are in the ceiling.

    3 bedrooms upstairs, each has a vent, 2 bathrooms upstairs, each has a vent. Above each bedroom door, there is a flow thru grate that lets air go directly from the rooms to the hallway.

    On the main floor there are only 3 vents and one little teeny-tiny one in the basement.

    I have been running with all the upstairs ones closed except for the main bedroom and all the main floor ones open. Is this bad? Should I leave them all open?

    I dont get why there are 5 vents upstairs and only 3 downstairs, especially when the heat rises. Maybe someone can tell me the theory of this design. I know it is for low cost but I would like to know the machanics of how it is SUPPOSED to work.

    I tried opening the little vent in the basement but then the basement would "pressurize" and cold air blows out under the basement door into the kitchen.

    What is the best thing I should do in this situation? Anything I can do to make the system better? Also, I want to finish the basement but I am sure the little vent down there isn't enough to heat it.

    Thanks!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Pacific NW
    Posts
    558
    I would like to know the machanics of how it is SUPPOSED to work.


    Probably working just like the hack designer intended - it put $$ in his pocket and away he ran.

    You dont want to hear this, but you need a better duct system. Is your outside unit on the roof, or even (yuck) in the attic ???

    Someone who knows airflow 'may' be able to install a booster fan somewhere for you, it wont be cheap to redo the ducts.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    North Fl
    Posts
    154
    You can't close to many vents it will cause problems with air flow. As for the rest you will have to call a A/C company. There is no way anybody can help you without seeing it.
    HOW MUCH DID YOU SAY???

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by junkhound View Post
    You dont want to hear this, but you need a better duct system. Is your outside unit on the roof, or even (yuck) in the attic ???
    The A/C unit is outside the house on the ground. The furnace is in a laundry closet in the 2nd story.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Warwick RI
    Posts
    35

    Cool

    well you are in a tuff spot. b/c the unit in the adick (ya i cant spell) is not going be able to do your house if you only have 2 small vents on the first floor and by closing thes vents off you will cause your a/c to freez and become a block of ice up there in the summer then when it melts you will have a flood it will not be a good thing

    ok well i would sugest is have a 2 unit put in in the basment that can take caere of the basment and first floor have the 2 floor unit re-sised for cooling and have proper a/c installed witch shood be smaller b/c of the new unint in the basment
    there is nothing eazy about what what you are about to go threw but it is what it is get a good compney in your house and have it dome right it will save you a lot in the years to come

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Bakersfield, Ca
    Posts
    1,716
    Did you mention the problem? I missed it. Is downstairs to cold? vaulted ceilings? Upstairs doors closed? You need a tech to come look at this.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati, Oh
    Posts
    4,884
    Quote Originally Posted by vtx531 View Post

    I dont get why there are 5 vents upstairs and only 3 downstairs, especially when the heat rises.
    Thanks!!
    Maybe it was done for cooling. So when the heat rises, it's not really hot up there.

    Sounds like your duct system sucks. You need to have someone come out and do a room by room manual J, figure out how much needs to go where, what size duct/pipe needs to be ran, and how it's going to be done. All of this unfortunetly needs to be done by a professional heating and cooling contractor. Sorry.
    "Better tell the sandman to stay away, because we're gonna be workin on this one all night."

    "Dude, you need more than 2 wires to a condenser to run a 2 stage heatpump."

    "Just get it done son."

    Dad adjusted

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by DavyB View Post
    Did you mention the problem? I missed it. Is downstairs to cold? vaulted ceilings? Upstairs doors closed? You need a tech to come look at this.
    No problem really, I just want to know if I should keep all the vents open, or if closing most of them upstairs is going to cause problems or somehow reduce efficiency and cost more $$$ than if I left them all open and had the upstairs hotter?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Down by the river
    Posts
    1,605
    and a 2 story house with 1 sysem will need to be zoned. You will never keep temps from 1 level to the next.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Warwick RI
    Posts
    35
    If it is a gas furnace in the adick I would tell you not to close any vents b/c it will over heat and crack heat exchanger and could cause co poising to you and the famly but if it is a hot water coil it is not as bad it will frees up your ac

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    13
    So have you ran the system with all the vents open? I have three vents on the main and six upstairs, they are all open. Can't tell the difference between the upstairs and downstairs.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Monroe County, PA
    Posts
    99
    HVACVegas has probably hit the nail on the head - the original designer probably had summer cooling in mind versus winter heating (your profile doesn't say where you are located).

    As many have suggested, it will need to be re-analyzed professionally, and the best solution will probably include some sort of zoning - although don't be surprised if your contractor winces a bit when you mention it to him. Equipment can get expensive and tuning can take a good bit of time.

    In the meantime, if your thermostat has a blower or circulation setting, see what happens if you set it to be on all the time (instead of only coming on automatically when the heat comes on). This will help move some of the heat from the upstairs back downstairs and should make the whole house more comfortable.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Bakersfield, Ca
    Posts
    1,716
    Quote Originally Posted by vtx531 View Post
    No problem really, I just want to know if I should keep all the vents open, or if closing most of them upstairs is going to cause problems or somehow reduce efficiency and cost more $$$ than if I left them all open and had the upstairs hotter?
    open the vents engineer.

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