24 posts / 0 new
Last post
Freezyn
House is freezing

Put new heat pump system (mistake), replaced all windows, gutted two rooms, replaced plaser with insulation and drywall, repared all subfloors and installed pergo in kitchen, dining and spare room. new ceramic tile on bathroom floor, wall to wall carpet in primary bedroom, wall to wall area rugs in other three rooms. Removed old wooden plank exterior, had home wrapped in Tyvek and sided with T1-11. $40,000 in upgrades and this House still does not get above 58 degrees in the winter. I am in MD. PLEASE help me figure what the problem is. 1250sf wooden frame house on a varied crawl space from 1 to 3 feet. I gonna be freezing again come Nov if I cant figure this out..:(

canuk
Re: House is freezing

Had you insulated the underside of the floors from the crawl spaces ?

bp21901
Re: House is freezing

Some things to consider off the top of my head....

Do you have insulation in the attic space?

Do you have insulation between floor joists in the crawlspace?

You mentioned gutting and insulating the walls in 2 rooms, what about the other rooms? Are the gutted rooms warmer?

Drafts present around windows and/or electrical outlets/switches?

Where does the ducting run for the heat pump? Is it insulated?

Does the heat pump keep up in the less cold temps and just underperform when it gets really cold?

Others will be along to ask more questions I'm sure...

ed21
Re: House is freezing

It sounds like you may have the insulation and new windows covered. The finish upgrades are superfluous to the discussion.
If your temperature won't go above 58, then your heat pump is way undersized, isn't operating properly or some combination of duct, thermostat or equipment problems. The first thing to do is call back the installer & have him check the system. You didn't mention if that was done. If you spent $40k then at least $5k was probably spent on the heat pump. Home improvements have at least a year warranty in Md. and the contractor owes you a functioning heating system.
While I'm not a big fan of heat pumps, they do work & should heat a house in Md. if sized, installed and functioning properly.

Freezyn
Re: House is freezing

Yes, the heat folks came back several times over the course of 15 months. They charged, recharged and readjusted the heatpump to no avail. I am thinking that maybe I should have one of those thermal test things done. Do you know anything about thos in MD?

Freezyn
Re: House is freezing
canuk wrote:

Had you insulated the underside of the floors from the crawl spaces ?

I plan to have that done as soon as I return home in October. I got a couple of quotes in Jan. Just worried about more and more money with no positive result.

Freezyn
Re: House is freezing
bp21901 wrote:

Some things to consider off the top of my head....

Do you have insulation in the attic space? Yes, I will add more in the rafters. The attic is partially finished. The ceiling insulation is an old type and I will replace it all and even lay batting on the floor.
Do you have insulation between floor joists in the crawlspace? Most of it..I have more to install. Sorta scared. something died under there last christmas.
You mentioned gutting and insulating the walls in 2 rooms, what about the other rooms? Are the gutted rooms warmer? Slightly, if the doors are closed, besides they have huge area rugs that go wall to wall. I did wall tear out and insulation on the rooms w/exterior walls.
Drafts present around windows and/or electrical outlets/switches?
This I'm not sure about, I'll check soon as I get home.

Where does the ducting run for the heat pump? along the outside of the house into the attic. Is it insulated? I guess its some sort of an insulated tube. Maybe more can be done for that too.

Does the heat pump keep up in the less cold temps and just underperform when it gets really cold? Since I hate heat pumps thoroughly now, I dont ever use AC so I dont know how it performs in the summer. but once it gets cold, it runs constantly and does virtually nothing.

Others will be along to ask more questions I'm sure...

Thanks so much, You are really helping me to make my lists to cover all bases..before it gets cold this time.

Freezyn
Re: House is freezing
ed21 wrote:

It sounds like you may have the insulation and new windows covered. The finish upgrades are superfluous to the discussion.
If your temperature won't go above 58, then your heat pump is way undersized, isn't operating properly or some combination of duct, thermostat or equipment problems. The first thing to do is call back the installer & have him check the system. You didn't mention if that was done. If you spent $40k then at least $5k was probably spent on the heat pump. Home improvements have at least a year warranty in Md. and the contractor owes you a functioning heating system.
While I'm not a big fan of heat pumps, they do work & should heat a house in Md. if sized, installed and functioning properly.

On the install I was told that I have the same system the contractor has and his home is supposedly 4000sf, mine is only 1240sf.

bp21901
Re: House is freezing

I wasn't too clear on the ducting question, I'll try again. The heat pump has an air handler blower unit that pushes the supposedly warm air through the ductwork and out the supply registers into the rooms. You will also have return ducts that take air from your rooms back to the air handler.

Where are these ducts, both supply and return? In the crawlspace or in the attic? Are they insulated?

Your heated air may be cooling too much on its way to the room registers and your return air may be too cold for the unit to heat back up. Where is the blower unit, a closet space or laundry room maybe? You may be able to see where the ducts are headed to, up or down, by looking at this unit.

The cold weather question would have been better posed as the following. Does your house stay reasonably warm (68*) when it is in the 50's outside and only have problems keeping up with the cold when it stays in the 30's outside? Or is the heat a problem even when the outside temp is in the 50's?

By the way, don't be afraid of that critter that died in the crawlspace. It's probably done outgassing by now!

ed21
Re: House is freezing

What size heat pump do you have?
Some contractors will tell you anything to get out of a problem. He still owes you a functioning system. 58 degrees in the winter doesn't cut it.
Where in Md. do you live that you don't need A/C. In the mountains or you just enjoy sweating?:)
If you are in the mountains, your heat pump will need an auxiliary heat source. What is it?
You may have to call in another heating contractor to get a second opinion. The original may have underbid the job and screwed you to recoup his loss & won't admit it.
Find out if the attic ducts are insulated. Find out if the ducts are connected & sealed properly? Is the return air working?
HVAC isn't rocket science. It shouldn't be that hard to heat a 1200 sf house.

Marjorie
Re: House is freezing

I have a heat pump (live in the St. Louis area) - the people who owned this house before me had it installed. It works well above 30 degrees, then not so well, and in the 20's, forget it.

They had an auxilliary heat source installed, also - a regular furnace (house is all electric), and put it in the attic. I don't recommend that. (They cut the trusses to do it and it cost quite a bit to have an engineer come out, inspect, design a fix, and have them fixed. )

I do recommend the secondary heat source, though. The heat pump saves me some money, but only above certain outside temps. Also, something I learned about them - you set the temp. and leave it... don't adjust it cooler when you leave for the day or at night - just set it and leave it. The temp stays more even in the house that way.

Who told you yours is the same as the contractor's system? Did they just say that to make the sale or is it the truth?

Pages

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.