Draft/cold air return problem bi-level home

Draft/cold air return problem bi-level home

PostBy: Derdman On: Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:21 pm

Hello all! Dose anyone own a bi-level home who could help me out? We have a bi-level home our alaska Channing 1 is in the basement an I am getting no heat upstairs. Recently I placed to floor registers in own near where the stove is down stairs and one in the opposite end of the house, which had rendered negative assistance for the heat to move correctly.

In the basement the half with the stove is around 80 degrees te other half is 68 and we have the basement door open. We have our heat pump set at 64 degrees and it constantly is turning on because agin not heat is coming up. Any suggestions or insight would be greatly appreciated!!!!!

Thanks,



Dan
Derdman
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing I

Re: Draft/cold air return problem bi-level home

PostBy: Keepaeyeonit On: Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:50 pm

Hi Derdmen,Take a look at this,that is how I do it in my bi-level.Keepaeyeonit :)
Results of Moving Warmer Air to Basement Using Furnace Motor
Keepaeyeonit
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 983 insert
Coal Size/Type: Mammoth nut
Other Heating: oil furnace,and a crappy heat pump

Re: Draft/cold air return problem bi-level home

PostBy: Ed.A On: Fri Dec 13, 2013 10:55 pm

Derd, how large is your home? Where exactly is your located in the basement and are your floors (basement joists) insulated?

I like Keepas idea but that assumes you have a air handler (which I don't because mine is an all Electric home). Now if you do have a forced air home then take Keepas idea and run with it.

Lot's O members here built Shrouds with Ducting and use the blower to move the air ( some use inline fans as well to move the air) to cut in grates to achieve balanced heat.

Just for comparison:
I've an Alaska Channing III (75K) heating a R-Ranch apprx. 1600sq ft. The stove is smack dab in the center of my basement (finished basement), my Foyer is basically my cold air return, but I do use outside cold air induction. Because the unit is in my Laundry room, I do use 2 wall fans to pull the heat out into my playroom on the right side and another into my bedroom on the leftside of the basement...but I only use them periodically ( like reallllyyy cold out and need to pump the crap out of the stove ) otherwise the radiational heat travels pretty damn even throughout the house.
Ed.A
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska Channing III/ '94 Stoker II
Coal Size/Type: Rice


Re: Draft/cold air return problem bi-level home

PostBy: Keepaeyeonit On: Fri Dec 13, 2013 11:05 pm

I forgot to say that the temps are within 4*, but the family room(where the stove is) is warmer but not much and i'm heating 2300sqft with a open staircase to the second floor.
Keepaeyeonit
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 983 insert
Coal Size/Type: Mammoth nut
Other Heating: oil furnace,and a crappy heat pump

Re: Draft/cold air return problem bi-level home

PostBy: Ed.A On: Fri Dec 13, 2013 11:26 pm

Keepaeyeonit wrote:I forgot to say that the temps are within 4*, but the family room(where the stove is) is warmer but not much and i'm heating 2300sqft with a open staircase to the second floor.


Within 4* anyone should be happy especially heating that big of a home..that is sweet! The open Staircase (like my mine as well) is a great way to get the cold air to drop out...gotta love it.
Ed.A
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska Channing III/ '94 Stoker II
Coal Size/Type: Rice

Re: Draft/cold air return problem bi-level home

PostBy: Derdman On: Sat Dec 14, 2013 4:06 pm

Our stove is located (if walking down the stairs in the middle of the house that is) on the left wall back corner of the house. I'll take some pictures and add them in a few mins. I have nothing other then just the stove itself no duct work. Our house is 1,500 sq ft so the basement would be the same. The ceiling on the side with the stove has no insulation no drywall or drop ceiling. Should I put more registers in? I have no heat, zero heat from the stove coming upstairs as our heat pump is set at 64 and it consistently running because it's colder then that as per the thermostat.
Derdman
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing I

Re: Draft/cold air return problem bi-level home

PostBy: JeepGuy04 On: Sat Dec 14, 2013 11:29 pm

I have a cape cod home with a coal stove in the basement. I also have a heat pump too. Our floor plans are different so I don't know if it would work for you but maybe something to try. What I do is walk around to every room and close the supply vents while keeping the returns open. I then open the supply in the basement and turn on the heat pump in fan only mode. It seems to suck the cold air out of the upstairs rooms and shoot cool air into the basement. It creates a pretty good draft to move the hot air up through the staircase into the first floor and second floor. We have our doors removed at the stop of the stairways too. My basement is probably around 80 degrees first floor is usually 70 to 74 degrees and the two bedrooms upstairs are around 62-68 degrees. I wish the top floor was a little warmer and we sometimes use an electric heater for my son at nights. But for the most part it's ok. I like to have the fan on it keeps the basement temps under control, I've had it push 90 degrees before without the fan so the cool air coming down keeps it comfortable. I am not using any "heat" from the heat pump at all fan/blower only. Late November/Early December I shut off the "heat mode" of the heat pump when I light up the coal stove and use that for primary heat. I have about 1500 square ft. Heating with a Gibralter CFS. (basement is also finished drywall insulation etc. too)
JeepGuy04
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Gibralter CFS
Coal Size/Type: Nut
Stove/Furnace Make: Gibralter
Stove/Furnace Model: CFS

Re: Draft/cold air return problem bi-level home

PostBy: imcloud1 On: Sun Dec 15, 2013 9:12 am

When I install "radiant" stoves in basements or in large homes, I always warn the customer that uniform temps won't happen on their own, sure there are some homes that have open floor plans and existing dw that aid in convection...

Anyway, make a drawing of what you are dealing with and maybe me and a few other members can give you some ideas.. I licensed sheet metal tech in your area would be the best bet, I am licensed master mechanical contractor {held mstr sheet metal, pipefitters, refrigerant, oil/gas cert, and commercial system design/engineering licences for over 10 years}, and will do my best to recommend a solution.

Most of the time you can use a small space in a closet, spend under $200 and do a great job moving the heat, using a small booster fan, when not using a fan, you need to have the almost perfect setup and when I do it, I normally use my Flir thermal imaging camera to see where the optimal position of ducts would be, and contrary to what some believe you really need large ducts if you are not using forced air...

here a simple system...
suncourt ds100 $25 you install this at the hot air inlet, normally picks up on the ceiling of the warmest room, you set the temp and it will cycle the fan on that temp...

next is a properly sized fan, you don't need a huge fan, a lot of time 4" will do fine, but if you can fit a larger unit you can always put a rheostat on the power line and slow it down for quieter operation. you can get around 100 cfm out of a 4" unit so if your room is 15x12 with 8 ft ceilings a 100cfm can change the air about every 14 minutes.

http://www.amazon.com/VenTech-DF6-Duct- ... ooster+fan $25

insulated flex duct http://www.amazon.com/Dundas-Jafine-BPC ... +flex+duct $60 {can find locally for less in most cases...}

then you need the boxes registers and cables for your application, normally for under $200 you can build the entire system with great results... You just need to figure out your best layout, the flex duct can be hidden in closets, you can pan unisulated inside wall or floor joist bays and use them there are many possibilities, but of course all houses are different.. I have done houses that had no near closets to use and no other ways to run the duct, and we still got it done, we have done jobs where I ran PVC instead of flex duct and built soffits around them, the end result is uniform comfort... its worth it..
imcloud1
 

Re: Draft/cold air return problem bi-level home

PostBy: Hambden Bob On: Sun Dec 15, 2013 9:57 am

Derd,I'm figurin' your getting pointed in the right direction. A large Bi-Level can be tough if you don't have an existing forced-air fan only option. Fortunately,you can work with the ambient basics,hot air rises,and cold air falls. Doing some forced movement is going to get circulation going around obstructions due to house design. Personally,I'm liking the closet run mods to get that hot air up. Stay with it,Derd,it's gonna work !
Hambden Bob
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman 1998 Magnum Stoker
Coal Size/Type: Rice-A-Roni !

Re: Draft/cold air return problem bi-level home

PostBy: Greyhound On: Tue Dec 17, 2013 4:59 pm

JeepGuy04 wrote:I have a cape cod home with a coal stove in the basement. I also have a heat pump too. Our floor plans are different so I don't know if it would work for you but maybe something to try. What I do is walk around to every room and close the supply vents while keeping the returns open. I then open the supply in the basement and turn on the heat pump in fan only mode. It seems to suck the cold air out of the upstairs rooms and shoot cool air into the basement. It creates a pretty good draft to move the hot air up through the staircase into the first floor and second floor. We have our doors removed at the stop of the stairways too. My basement is probably around 80 degrees first floor is usually 70 to 74 degrees and the two bedrooms upstairs are around 62-68 degrees. I wish the top floor was a little warmer and we sometimes use an electric heater for my son at nights. But for the most part it's ok. I like to have the fan on it keeps the basement temps under control, I've had it push 90 degrees before without the fan so the cool air coming down keeps it comfortable. I am not using any "heat" from the heat pump at all fan/blower only. Late November/Early December I shut off the "heat mode" of the heat pump when I light up the coal stove and use that for primary heat. I have about 1500 square ft. Heating with a Gibralter CFS. (basement is also finished drywall insulation etc. too)


I tried this in my Cape Cod a couple of years ago (also have a heat pump) with the fan, but had not considered closing the hot side vents in the rooms. I found with the fan blowing all the time it "felt" cooler than what it actually was. YMMV. I do use a fan to move heat out of the kitchen towards the living room at the front of the house, which sits over an integral garage and is usually cooler. I have been considering duct fans to try to get more heat to the upstairs as well. Chopped up floor plans do make it more difficult, but the puzzle is part of the "fun". It is more fun once you start to get it solved. The bottom line is you can only "fit" so much air in a room, you must move the cold air out to allow the warmer air to take it's place.

Rick
Greyhound
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 105
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Other Heating: Lenox Oil HA, Heat Pump

Re: Draft/cold air return problem bi-level home

PostBy: JeepGuy04 On: Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:39 pm

Greyhound wrote:I tried this in my Cape Cod a couple of years ago (also have a heat pump) with the fan, but had not considered closing the hot side vents in the rooms. I found with the fan blowing all the time it "felt" cooler than what it actually was. YMMV. I do use a fan to move heat out of the kitchen towards the living room at the front of the house, which sits over an integral garage and is usually cooler. I have been considering duct fans to try to get more heat to the upstairs as well. Chopped up floor plans do make it more difficult, but the puzzle is part of the "fun". It is more fun once you start to get it solved. The bottom line is you can only "fit" so much air in a room, you must move the cold air out to allow the warmer air to take it's place.

Rick


At first, I tried it with all the vents opened up too. It did feel cooler and drafty to me too, so I closed up all the "hot" vents and even close the lower returns so it pulls air from the top of the room. I know hot air rises but we don't really feel air moving in the rooms that way. I think it helps with the convection at least for my floor plan + stove.
JeepGuy04
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Gibralter CFS
Coal Size/Type: Nut
Stove/Furnace Make: Gibralter
Stove/Furnace Model: CFS

Re: Draft/cold air return problem bi-level home

PostBy: imcloud1 On: Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:42 pm

All houses are different, I notice the best results with pushing the hot air from the ceiling of the stove location to the area that needs more heat and just make sure the low air from that room has a way to return to the stove area, you can do it with another duct or whole, you can do it by cutting the doors off the floor a little more, you can leave doors open, ect, as long as you don't expect to get the any areas in positive or negative pressure the system you design will work... I prefer to pump the hot air up since it seems to work fast and give the customer a tangible results, they can feel warm air circulating when we are leaving... Plus I think its easier to control, just throw the d-stat up there and it will kick the fan in and out depending on the temp you set... controlling a cold air return can be tougher, you can do it the same way but again, its not fast..
I am sitting in my bedroom rite now that is 68 degrees, and its is 2 floors above the stove {10ft ceilings on the first floor and 9+ in the basement} plus its about 30 feet horizontally away from the stove, I have a flex duct ran from the stoves basement location to my master closet through a register in the wall, a 10" fan is in the basement with a d-stat controlling it, the temp at the duct inlet is around 82* {basement thermometer is reading 71) the air coming out in my bedroom is 76 degrees {using the non contact that averages in a round area}. The fan is 650cfm, but I am not getting that, I am getting around 360 cfm, my master bedroom is around 4000 cf, so its changing the air in my room every 12 or so minutes. That single stove is the only heat source running, the air is returning through another duct in my upstairs hallway as well as through the stairways and doorways {I leave the basement door open to the utility room... I heat my 4000+ sq ft house for less than a bag and a half a day {plus the basement}....
imcloud1
 

Re: Draft/cold air return problem bi-level home

PostBy: Greyhound On: Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:48 pm

^^That's impressive! Would you mind filling out your profile so we could see what type of stove you are using and where you are located?

Thanks!
Rick
Greyhound
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 105
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Other Heating: Lenox Oil HA, Heat Pump

Re: Draft/cold air return problem bi-level home

PostBy: imcloud1 On: Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:45 am

Located in NE CT, stove is a reading susquahanna {running 1 burner presently, uses a lot more coal when I run two}, outdoor combustion air, custom side panels, bottom draft, power vented, using a custom draft control relay and sensor that I designed, a customer made stainless double W heat exchanger {runs 2 hydro coils} and return from the air exchangers go through custom made plate exchanger mounted in the power venters smoke pipe...

Im still working on a few more ideas I have, but presently I am happy with how the side panels and draft control are working, one side panel {the side with the draft pipe} preheats the return air before it goes into the blower, this raised my output on the convection side substantially, the side panel on the other side feed my circulation fans, so the only radiant losses I have in the basement comes off the front of the unit. I made my own draft system, it has a water to air H/E in the draft way, that is controlled by a variable speed power venter, my control watches the stack temp and the draft and speeds up or slows down the blower speed, this keeps the stacks temps low and even though my original plans were to use the flue way H/E to heat water for central heating, once the control worked the stack temps were too low to accomplish much, so I run the return water through it before it enters the stoves ss coils, the coils are just there to scavenge any radiant they can, and I see an average temp through the air exchangers of 125 degrees, it circulates constantly and the fans on the hydro airs run on a basic fan control instead of on a call for heat {I started off running them constantly but it was wasting electricity and blowing cold air}....

My house is very well insulated and the coal trols fr is normally around 60...
I have used 60 bags of coal since I turned the unit on over 2 months ago and that includes me playing with it and getting parts of the house up to 75 a few times, and the basement up to 90+... Its a work in progress...
imcloud1
 

Re: Draft/cold air return problem bi-level home

PostBy: traderfjp On: Wed Dec 25, 2013 10:33 am

Move the stove to the first floor. Why would you want to make life harder by lugging coal and ash up and down the stairs. Also, you're using much more coal heating the basement. I have a Channing 3 and it fits nicely in a corner of my dining room.
traderfjp
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing 3