Roberta in Wisconsin has the perfect question for this time of year – regulating heat, because you don’t want to be overheating and spending energy dollars. How can we help you?
ROBERTA: Hi. I own a home that’s at least 100-years-old and it has the old radiator heating in it which is fine with me except that upstairs, it gets so hot by the end of the day…
LESLIE: Oh, yeah.
ROBERTA: … that, you know, it’s almost like you’re sleeping in the summertime. But downstairs it’s much cooler so I just wondered, do most radiators have a way to regulate it that you don’t have to have it quite so hot upstairs and is it able to do it safely?
TOM: Roberta, do you know if this is a hot water or a steam radiator system?
ROBERTA: No, it’s a hot water.
TOM: Hot water system?
TOM: Yes. Probably in the best possible scenario – and this would involve a home improvement project – you would zone your house so that you had two separate loops. Now, it would be worth having a conversation with your heating contractor about whether or not you could zone the second floor radiators because what that would do is that would put them on a second thermostat and you could regulate the heat perfectly then on both floors.
Now, if you can’t zone them, there are flow valves on the radiators and you could start partially turning them off.
ROBERTA: I see.
TOM: So there’s two ways to control that.
ROBERTA: And that could be done safely?
TOM: Oh, absolutely.
LESLIE: Oh, yeah. And you can also, if you have ceiling fans in the room, you know there’s a switch on the fan that controls which direction the blades run?
LESLIE: So in the winter months, you would want them to run so that they’re pushing the heat down. Is that correct, Tom?
TOM: Yes. Yeah, because the heat rises so you reverse the fan blade direction so it pushes heat down.
LESLIE: This way you can keep the temperature a little bit cooler, you know, so it’s not so hot upstairs but still warm enough downstairs and it’ll just help keep circulating the heat around for you.
ROBERTA: I see. Well, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.