07:01AM | 01/04/02
Member Since: 10/24/01
10 lifetime posts
I have a 1922 colonial in Maryland with a finished attic on the third floor. The house is heated by hot water radiators via a gas fired boiler in the basement. In the summer it is cooled with forced central air, which was installed along with the duct work by the previous owner. The air handler is in a closed off area in the finished attic.

I have two problems. First, there are no radiators in the attic. The heat does rise up stairs, but it still gets pretty cold, about 58-60 degrees when the downstairs thermostat is set at 68. I tried closing off all the downstairs air ducts and running the A/C fan, hoping to draw heat upstairs. This had minimal effect. Since I use the room frequently and am considering putting in a master bedroom suite, I am considering what my options are to supplement the heat.

Secondly, this past summer it was very hot in the attic, even with the A/C running all the time and all of the downstairs duct vents closed off to force the cold air upstairs. Part of the problem is that the insulation was placed against the roof sheathing, allowing no ventilation, and the radiant heat passes into the room. I plan on tearing down enough of the insulation to install passive soffit and roof venting behind the insulation. This should help, but maybe not eliminate the problem.

Any suggestions on what to do? My thoughts are:

1. Install supplemental heat of some kind, perhaps electric baseboard, heat lamp in proposed bathroom, etc., to be used when needed. Install window A/C for summer heat if necessary.

2. Since the A/C air handler is in the attic, retrofit it with a heat pump to supplement the upstairs. Still use the window A/C if necessary.

3. Install a separate window or wall unit A/C/heater combination of some kind for the attic. Don't know much about such a product.

There may be other better solutions also, which I am open to. My first goal is to minimize costs, which is why I'm leaning towards #1, but I'm not sure how long term power costs would compare between the various options. Please provide some feedback.

Thanks for your time.



10:28AM | 01/04/02
Member Since: 11/16/01
301 lifetime posts
Dear Ben,
As far as the heat question goes, if you're going to install a bathroom up there, run a new zone for your existing boiler down the same chase. The supply and return can go through the same chase. Instead of going down with your return, go up inside the baseboard and drop both at the same place.
Good Luck,


10:18AM | 01/05/02
Member Since: 11/16/01
301 lifetime posts
Dear Ben,
At the risk of starting another Q&A with Mr. K., I'll restate. If you already have a hydronic heating system, and you have thermoststs in various places, you have a zoned system. Connecting to another zone will not work. Adding another zone to your system seems the cheapest and most effective way to go. If you install another bathroom, you'll need to go to the lowest area in your home anyway. The contractor will snake 3/4" soft copper tube from the boiler to the attic through the same chase as the water and sewage lines travel. Note: Stay away from the "quest" type tubing!!! The rate of expansion on a hydronic system will cause leaks. The manufacturer says different, but I have torn walls out of a new renovation to replace these lines. Hope this helps.
P.S. Mr.K.,
Not being sarcastic. LOL

[This message has been edited by Iceman (edited January 05, 2002).]


11:33AM | 01/09/02
Member Since: 11/16/01
301 lifetime posts
Dear Weible,
Before you think of electric baseboard, there are two questions. One being, do you have enough free amperage space on your service to accomadate electric baseboard? The second being access to your boiler from the basement/slab/crawlspace. I enjoy the bantering with Mr.K. as it answers the questions completely. However, with electric baseboard, if you choose that route, opt for 220vac as it will be cheaper in the long run. 110vac uses almost twice the electricity and is very dry heat. I am a solid advocate of hydronic heating and have installed it in all the houses I've bought, renovated and sold. The buyers loved the system. BTW, installing another zone does not necessitate the purchase of a heat pump. There is already one on your boiler. It is a circulating pump and comes with the boiler.

[This message has been edited by Iceman (edited January 09, 2002).]

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