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Thread: I'm cold

  1. #1
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    Default I'm cold

    I have an old house, circa 1870s, with forced hot air headed by gas. I have my thermostat set to 70 which seems to be accurate at the point where the thermostat is. However, my kitchen is freezing. I bought a thermometer to double check this and indeed at the point of the thermostat, it is 70 degrees. But, my kitchen is usually 55 in the winter and I can't take it. My house is not that big to warrant such a huge temperature change. The kitchen is insulated. I had the basement ceiling below insulated but that hasn't helped at all. Whenever I ask about what to do to warm up the rest of the house, I get a lot of strange answers. One was to move the thermostat into the kitchen which will make the kitchen warmer but then the living room will be way too warm and the furnace will work too hard. Does anybody have any idea why this is this way and what to do about it? I'm so tired of being cold.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: I'm cold

    That is quite a difference in temperature alright which would make things uncomfortable.

    You're correct .... relocating the thermostat to the kitchen is not the answer as this will upset the temperature balance within the rest of the home.

    In my opinion insulating the space between the the basement ceiling and the kitchen floor will do very little if anything as you've discovered .... unless there are gaping holes allowing cold outside air to blow in.

    When you say the kitchen is insulated one has to ask .... how well?
    If there is only an attic space above the kitchen ceiling how well is that insulated?

    The walls of the kitchen may be facing the prevailing winter winds and if they are not well insulated and air sealed will be colder than other areas.

    Another consideration is the location and size of the hot air supply register ..... there should be at least one in the kitchen .
    You should check to see if any warm air is coming out of this vent. The ducting may have become disconnected or undersized or there may be a damper that is closed in that duct.

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

  3. #3
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    Default Re: I'm cold

    Thank you for your response Canuk.

    About 12 years ago I had the kitchen remodeled and we ripped out everything down to the studs. The contractors put in insulation at that time. I believe that the insulation in the kitchen is actually better than the rest of the house which has blown in insulation only recently.

    I have a small vent at the doorway into the kitchen and a small vent in the half bath off the kitchen (which is also cold). I'd say the air that comes out of these are somewhat warm though not as warm as I would expect. WHen the kitchen was remodeled they were supposed to put another vent in the kitchen but never did. (they also never finished the job and still have my housekeys after all this time, among many other shabby things they did). I wish I could remember if the kitchen was colder than the rest of the house before the remodel. THat would help narrow down some things.

    THe kitchen is on the north side of the house.

    How do I check on dampers being open or closed?

    It really feels like not enough warm air is getting to the kitchen.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: I'm cold

    It may be in your best interest to have a heating contractor come out to evaluate the the ducting as well measure the air flow to the kitchen areas.

    As for dampers .... there may not be any .... depends.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  5. #5
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    Default Re: I'm cold

    Besides larger ducts to the kitchen and balancing the duct work with the dampeners, it may be necessary to install a cold air return in the kitchen to get better air flow. As Canuk suggested your best bet is to have the system evaluated by a heating contractor.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  6. #6
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    Default Re: I'm cold

    THanks. I don't have the cold air return in the kitchen. How does that make things warmer? I don't understand how these things work. I have had heating professionals here and they have given me all kinds of weird advice, though mostly they just try to convince me to get a larger furnace. Only one nonprofessional suggested the cold air returns. I'll try to find another hvac person to take a look at it.

    thanks.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: I'm cold

    Quote Originally Posted by esskay77 View Post
    THanks. I don't have the cold air return in the kitchen. How does that make things warmer? I don't understand how these things work. I have had heating professionals here and they have given me all kinds of weird advice, though mostly they just try to convince me to get a larger furnace. Only one nonprofessional suggested the cold air returns. I'll try to find another hvac person to take a look at it.

    thanks.
    If you think of it this way. The kitchen is a box, the hot air fan is blowing air into the box against the resistance of the air that is already in the box. Add a cold air return and now you have twice the air flow because as you blow into the box you have another fan sucking air out of the box. In reality it's the same fan but the principle is the same.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  8. #8
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    Default Re: I'm cold

    I agree with all the other advise given here. I sounds like you are not getting the proper air flow into the kitchen & half bath whether the ducts are undersized or restricted by dampers or bad connections or not enough return air in the kitchen to help keep the air moving.
    I would stay away from the people saying you need a larger furnace. Since your house seems to be heated properly, you're obviously having an airlow or balance problem in the kitchen. A larger furnace isn't likely to solve any problem other than helping the contractor buy a new truck.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: I'm cold

    I'd check to see if your register vents are actually connected to your old ducts or a trunk. mabe they left a void and its not really connected and that's why the air is less than hot coming out and not at the force you'd like (like using a joist bay). You might try using a camera in the duct on movie mode with a flashlight? or if you can see the ducts from below. maybe the duct connections weren't taped or sealed and you're getting leakage or mabe they put the ends together reversed and you're getting drag in the air flow. mabe they extended a trunk arm and left it all boxy and didn't put sheet metal formed to arc inside and all your air from furnace is going in a whirlwind and not going down the duct arm to your kitchen?

    if that checks out you might experiment with one of those register booster fans you can sit them on or against the register and plug them in they even have thermostats that you calibrate they cost about $30-35 at walmart.

    otherwise i'd check with a metal former or duct worker he can refit your trunk connections. they even have booster fans they can put in-line in the ductwork.

    p.s. i wouldn't expect a cold air return in a kitchen unless it was closed off with doors, and certainly not in a small bathroom or half-bath. i woldn't expect any betterment by making the duct branches biger if the air coming out is less than hot.

    thinking on this more i'd suspect that the area where the duct runs is the one place where your fabulous contractor didn't insulate well like at the sill plate to the rim joist under the floor joists on either side of the duct or the wall cavity by the door for example. i'd check the insulation at the house envelope near where this ductwork runs (and seal the ductwork) first! the other thing you said about they were supposed to put in a second register in the kitchen, maybe they did cut into a trunk and left it open and it is blowing most of your hot air into a void somewhere like in the floor area below or under your cabinets up a common wall to the attic, or behind the fridge or something. some investigation from the outside of what you can see of the ducts and from the inside with a camera might reveal something. youu could even use a cheap web cam on a long cable to fish it through.
    Last edited by Blue RidgeParkway; 10-09-2008 at 05:49 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: I'm cold

    ***--thanks for the replies and advice. Now I have something to work with. I really appreciate it.

    S

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