Our house was built in 1938 and originally had a coal-fired boiler in it. It has since been retrofitted with a forced air furnace, but the ducts are only to the main floor. The basement and half story second floor have supplemental electric baseboard heaters.
My problem is this: How do I get our gas furnace working more to heat the upstairs (and basement, but that's less important)? We leave the door to the upstairs open hoping to catch some of that "heat rising" effect, but it's been pretty chilly up here, and it's only the middle of November (in MN)! We have one ceiling fan upstairs, but it's nowhere near the stairwell.
Our furnace is great, very efficient, we have excellent insulation (our house was improved by the airport commission for sound-proofing, which includes HVAC and noise insulation), but the electric bills for heating half the house are going to kill us this winter.
For the month of October, our electric bill was $120 (all CFL bulbs, and we turn everything off we can), and the gas bill was only $30 (with gas stove and water heater). Somehow we need to get the furnace heat distributed more effectively as electric heat is so much more expensive.
Any suggestions? Would a ceiling fan at the top of the stairs help? Cutting a hole in the floor?
Also, is it feasible to add a duct to help heat the basement family room?
For reference, the second story is a T shape with closets and a bathroom running along the sides of the tall part of the T, with very tall and steeply pitched ceilings. The stairwell is at the bottom of the T, and my bedroom and office are at the top of the T.