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Install a Floor Vent to Heat Upstairs

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Andy in Michigan is looking to beat a chilly winter. How can we help you with your heating question?

    ANDY : Well, I just bought a pellet stove and it’s running great; except for my ranch is – the basement is super hot and the upstairs is super cold. So I was – my idea was what about reversing the furnace? Because you know, the cold air returns are always on the floor and the heat vents are always toward the ceiling.

    TOM: (chuckles) OK. So you would like to …

    ANDY: (overlapping voices) Is that possible?

    TOM: (groans) Now, tell me how the house – the entire house is normally heated by the furnace?

    ANDY: Yes.

    TOM: And where did you add this pellet stove?

    ANDY: In the basement kind of opposite the furnace.

    TOM: Alright. So obviously that’s why the basement is so warm.

    ANDY: Right.

    TOM: I would not recommend doing anything different to the furnace because it’s potentially dangerous.

    ANDY: OK.

    TOM: Furnaces are designed to run – is this a gas furnace?

    ANDY: Yeah.

    TOM: Yeah, you start messing with that you could do something dumb and cause a reversal of the draft …

    LESLIE: Ooh, that could be very bad.

    TOM: … and that would suck carbon monoxide into the house and that would be a really bad thing.

    ANDY: OK.

    TOM: So I wouldn’t do that. But in order to get some of that heat upstairs, what you might want to do is think about putting in some floor registers in the upstairs that maybe you can close off. If you put some registers in the floor that basically connect the ceiling of the basement to the floor above, then heat will come up that way; in fact, in the old days, that’s how they heated upstairs. They used to have big floor registers so that the heat from the fireplace or from the wood stove would waft up into the bedrooms.


    TOM: No, with no duct work; just basically …

    LESLIE: Well, they’re essentially a duct themselves; the floor vent.

    TOM: Yeah, exactly. It’s a hole right through the floor that has a grate on top.

    ANYD: OK.

    TOM: Alright, Andy. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. And it sounds like Andy’s pellet stove maybe is a little bit too big for that space.

    LESLIE: Exactly. I’m like and my basement’s always super warm, so I’m like why would you want to put it there.

    TOM: But people always do come up with really creative solutions like reversing the flow of the furnace. Not such a good idea. (chuckles)

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