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  1. #1
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    Jul 2008
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    Default heating and cooling of a cape cod home

    Please advise. My husband and I inherited a Cape Cod home built approximately in 1950's. It is located on the lakefront in pa. We get some cold winters. The house had a old oil furnace on it. Since we did not have access to gas lines, we replaced the old oil furnace with a propane furnace last year. The roof was not ventilated. We vented the roof and installed "baffles?" along the inside of the roof rafters for air flow, followed by insulation and then drywalled the ceiling. We then rented the house out. The problem is our tenant complained that the upstairs which contains a bedroom, small open area and a bathroom is too cooled in the winter and very hot in the summer. This was echoed by my painter today who was working in the upstairs. He said it is like a oven upstairs. The thermostat for the furnace is located on the first level in the living room. My tenant also complained that she was going through propane like crazy this last winter. She recently moved out due to these problems. We have asked the furnace installer to check this problem out but so far we have not have a response. Do we need a two zone system? Do they have anything like that in a propane system? Is a space heater a possible answer for the upstairs? What is the best way to cool it down in the summer?
    Last edited by Debra; 07-11-2008 at 06:29 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    443

    Default Re: heating and cooling of a cape cod home

    Debra:

    Could you provide more info as to exactly what type of heating system you have---you say you have a propane-fired "furnace", but this could mean either a forced hot air system or a forced hot water system (or a steam system, for that matter).

    If you have forced hot air, then by all means follow ASC2078's excellent post on duct modifications to obtain better heating & cooling.

    It sounds from your description that there are still serious problems with insulation issues in the exterior walls, attic & rafters---most times these can be solved by consulting with an insulation contractor who may recommend styrofoam or blown-in insulation in the exterior walls & rafters to get especially the attic living space liveable.

    The color of the roof (white is best) has some bearing on how much heat is absorbed, but doesn't warrent shingle removal in these cases.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default Re: heating and cooling of a cape cod home

    Ditto on JacktheShack's post regarding clarification on the heating system being forced hot air or not and the configuration of the equipment. As well his comment regarding insulation.

    Also there can be benifits from some of what asc2078 has posted.

    However ....


    Quote Originally Posted by Debra View Post
    The house had a old oil furnace on it. Since we did not have access to gas lines, we replaced the old oil furnace with a propane furnace last year.
    as mentioned previously could you clarify as to what type and configuration the HVAC equipment is.


    The roof was not ventilated. We vented the roof and installed "baffles?" along the inside of the roof rafters for air flow, followed by insulation and then drywalled the ceiling.

    We then rented the house out. The problem is our tenant complained that the upstairs which contains a bedroom, small open area and a bathroom is too cooled in the winter and very hot in the summer. This was echoed by my painter today who was working in the upstairs. He said it is like a oven upstairs.
    This can be a complicated issue.
    Unfortunately there isn't enough detail as to what size rafters , type of insulation and how this was done.
    Simply saying installing vents and insulation won't determine if this was properly done.

    For example .... if the roof rafters are only 2x4's .... the most you will have would be around R13 in the ceiling. This isn't a very high value to prevent heat gain during the summer .... since the roof is just on the other side of the drywall. In the winter there isn't much R value to prevent heat loss .... also cold transmission from the roof just on the other side of the drywall.

    Was there an air/vapour barrier properly installed?
    If not this will contribute to poor insulation performance from drafts leaking cold air into the space but also allowing heat to escape.
    There is also the consideration of also creating condensation issues allowing warm moist air escaping into the cold space behind the knee wall and the underside of the roof.

    If fiberglass batts were used the insulating performance will be greatly reduced if it becomes moist . Also , the performance of fiberglass insulation will be reduced if exposed to moving air .... 20 - 40% reduction in R value. So if we say there is a reduction of 30% and you started with R13 then you would have a net R value of around R 9.

    As for venting was this done correctly?
    Not only for ventilating the attic spaces .... but .... if improperly configured can contribute to air leaks in the living space.

    If these componets weren't properly done can lead to poor performance of a less than optimum condition to begin with. In some cases poor insulating techniques can cause waste of money for the performance you're getting as well creating issues like condensation.





    The thermostat for the furnace is located on the first level in the living room. My tenant also complained that she was going through propane like crazy this last winter. She recently moved out due to these problems.
    You mentioned having insulated the upstairs though if the lower level hadn't been upgraded this would have some impact trying to maintain the temperature. There may not be very much insulation in the lower level walls as well air leaking in and out from electrical and windows.

    Having the thermostat on the main level makes it difficult to balance the heating/cooling when there are 2 levels without some other considerations.



    We have asked the furnace installer to check this problem out but so far we have not have a response. Do we need a two zone system? Do they have anything like that in a propane system? Is a space heater a possible answer for the upstairs? What is the best way to cool it down in the summer?
    As mentioned previously clarification is needed to determine if this is a forced hot air system.
    So going on the guess that it is ..... regardless what fuel is used for combustion the air delivery system is pretty much the same.
    One method that is effective to control the temperature for 2 levels of living space is by zoning.
    Basically .... with a single furnace there would be zone dampers installed for the duct work going to the lower level and dampers for ducting to the second level.
    With an addition of a second thermostat on the upper level combined with motorized dampers can improve the temperature control independant of the other level.



    Just some thoughts.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

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