Fix for Uneven Heating in Two-Story House

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  • Shivering young woman being cold wearing earmuffs, sweater and scarf. Copy space.
  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Jesse in Nevada is on the line with an uneven heating issue. What’s going on at your money pit?

    JESSE: I have a two-story house and my furnace is upstairs. So when I turn the heater on and I set my temperature to 68 degrees, all the three bedrooms are too hot. And so I kind of set the temperature to 65. And downstairs is just too cold. And it seems like it’s not circulating – the heat is not circulating downstairs. And I called the heater company and a guy that came told me that there’s nothing that he can do about uneven heating and that’s why I called.

    TOM: So, what kind of heat do you? Is it forced air or hot water?

    JESSE: It’s forced air.

    TOM: And have you checked the airflow at all of the registers to make sure you’re getting a good flow of air at all those spaces, Jesse?

    JESSE: No, sir, I did not.

    TOM: First of all, it’s always warmer upstairs, right? And it’s going to be warmer in the winter and also warmer in the summer.

    JESSE: Yes.

    TOM: So, what you need to do is a couple of things. First of all, you want to make sure you have good airflow at all of the rooms. So you check the registers. An easy way to do this is to take a paper towel and hold it in front of the register when the heat’s on to make sure it’s blowing pretty good.

    Equally important is you need return ducts. You need that air from the registers to get to the return ducts. So, you want to check the return ducts. You can do it the same way: hold the paper towel against it. It should suck flat against that return duct, just hold itself right there in midair.

    If you don’t have a good airflow, in some cases you can adjust the airflow on uneven heating systems. Some duct systems have dampers built into them where they can be adjusted. If it’s not a matter of adjusting and you still have good airflow, then there’s some imbalance in the design. And that’s when it comes to figuring out how to deal with that.

    Can you add additional duct lines to provide additional heat or maybe should you consider supplemental heat? Should you consider, perhaps, an electric-resistant strip heater in a room or a wall – a through-the-wall heat pump in the room or something of that nature? So, you really need to kind of break it down and making sure the heating system is doing what it’s designed to do. And then, beyond that, try to figure out how to accommodate the areas that are still uncomfortable.

    JESSE: OK. I’m going to try that.

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