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Thread: No registers

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    No registers

    We are thinking of buying this 100 yera odl house. The 2nd floor has 4 bedrooms but none of them have a heat register. The furnace was replaced in 2002 with a hi eff F/A. Someone told us that there is enough heat coming up the stairs to keep the 2nd floor warm I don't think so but my husband does. Sorry there is 1 register on 2nd floor but it is the hallway and is about a foot square. Running ducts upstairs would be very pricey. Is the person correct It is a ig stairway with a hallway.
    Any thoughts? Who is right??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Laurel, MD
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    Most likely you'll be very uncomfortable. Bite the bullet and factor the ductwork into the offer you make on the house.

    Ask your husband if he really wants you to wear flannel pajamas with the feet in them.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    It is possible that you will be comfortable when heating. My 2 story used to be set up that way, and had fairly even temps.
    But if you're trying to cool the home, there will most likely be a 10 to 12 degree difference, if not more.
    Is the home set-up for cooling?
    If not, you may want to consider a system in the attic to heat/cool the second floor.
    "Hey Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort." And he says, "there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice. - Carl Spackler

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Wake Forest, NC
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    Factor new duct work into the bid. You may come out livable if you do nothing, but I doubt it will be "comfortable".
    It's not rocket-science...

    It's electromechanical thermodynamic engineering

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Saint Joseph, MI
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    If the windows are original and typically somewhat leaky, along iwht normal convection currents... there is some truth to the argument if you have a large open staircase. Actually, many homes built at that time had gravity furnaces that just sent hot air oftn out of a single vent in the floor downstairs into the house. The heat slowly worked its way upstairs with any forced air. The tempes were uneven in the home, but it was heated. Usually with a coal fire furnace. It was obviously cheaper than a radiator system... but more convenient, a little more effective and more efficient than just using open hearth fireplaces.

    You won't need a lot of heat. But you will still need some. I'd hate to see you resort to space heaters and burn the place down. While they can be used safely, it seems like far too many fires in winter are caused by space heaters.

    If you don't have good quality storm window over the original windows, you'll probably have quite a bit of air movement to the upstairs. What type of home construciton is it? Wood frame victorians are known to be major air leakers, while a home that's brick or stone or has stucco might not be quite as bad.

    Where are you located?

    Running ducts upstairs may not bee too terribly expansive. You might be able to run a single trunk up to the attic, then run a single supply to each room. For just heating, you won't need a ton of airflow. Running a seperate return duct to the hallway area at the top of the stairs would bea good idea. Otherwise you'll further pressurize the upstairs area and could make a drafty hosue even more drafty by pushing air out upstairs which will draw in more cold air downstairs.

    What size is the furnace and how large is the house? It might give us a rough idea of what size duct you'll need to the upstairs.

    Ideally, the whole think should be evaluated as a complete system and have load calculations done and calculation done for the heat ducts. Odds are however, that hte furnace is probably oversized a little anyway, even factoring in the upstairs. it probably has marginal airflow to the downstairs as it is.

    Sometimes you can simply run a duct in a closet or against an existing wall from the basement to the upstairs. After that it's just drywall work to encase it where needed. Drywall work is relatively cheap. It will be a lot cheaper to run more ducts than install a 2nd furnace. And running space heaters will probably cost more over 5-6 years than doing the ductwork and you'll be safer and more comfortable.

    I agree on making the ductwork a condition of the sale. Lots of way to apprach the negotiations. If you agrreed on lets say $100k for the house and hte repairs are estimated at $2k. You could increase the offer to $101k then have $2k placed in aan escrow account. I'm a fan of doing the repairs yourself so you have control over the quality of the work and what contractor is used. This assumes the home will appriase out at $101k in this scenerio.

    Best of luck. Old homes are the best! Tons of character, a clear unified architectural style (as opposed to modern ecclectic homes which are usually at least 2 or 3 different styles tossed together) and typically lots of craftsmenship and good quality of construction and materials. Just picture the labor and materials required to install nearly 1" thick plaster walls, hand layed tile, hardwood floors with subfloors made of wood planks instead of plywood.

    Also, I agree, the AC will be a mess. If you want AC upstairs, plan on installing a 2nd air handler, minisplit or high velocity system. It WILL get pricey to install large enouhg ductwork to cool the upstairs. You may need 2X the size of ductwork for cooling as for heating.

    Best of luck!

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