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Old 10-14-12, 12:54 PM   #1
ecomodded
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Default Heat the upstairs or the downstairs ?

My house is a split level with baseboard heaters in ever room, upstairs & downstairs, I have always just heated the upstairs and have the downstairs thermostats just barely turned on. I have not had any mildew or mold growth so heating it was of little concern to me, until just now.
I was thinking (again) that if i heated the downstairs it would rise and heat the upstairs, eventually the 2nd floor floors would get and stay warm, i imagine..

Which brings me to my point which is could it would it or should it be cheaper to heat from the bottom floor of the house up or the 2nd floor only ?

I am going to test it out this year once it starts to get below zero, opinions on this tactic would be appreciated as this is a theory i want to try.

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Old 10-14-12, 02:57 PM   #2
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As long as there is a substantial area for the heated air to flow up to the second floor (an open staircase or atrium, for example), I think heating the downstairs would be better.
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Old 10-14-12, 03:29 PM   #3
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My daughter's house doesn't need open central air system vents upstairs during the winter months.
Heat flows up an unrestricted staircase and many times, over-heats both upstairs bedrooms.

Sadly, during the summer the upstairs bedrooms are over-heated (solar gain)
and the cold air from poorly installed central air can hardly be detected upstairs.
I think the lesson here is, not all HVAC installers do a good job.



Electric (and oil) baseboard heater zones are sometime turned up when that area is being used..
If you are sleeping upstairs and no one is going to be downstairs for many hours,
I would just turn up the baseboards in the bedroom (19C ??).

Leaving the downstairs heat turned on for heating upstairs is a bit wasteful,
because you are heating rooms downstairs, while they're unoccupied..

IMHO, the idea behind zones, is to heat the area you are currently using..
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Old 10-14-12, 03:37 PM   #4
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I mostly heat with a woodstove in the basement. It does gradually warm upstairs but it takes a long time and the outer bedrooms usualyl stay pretty cold. To heat those rooms I either have to make the basement cooking hot or I use the Central air blower set to circulate to move the air around. That does a far better job so It's my preference.
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Old 10-14-12, 06:52 PM   #5
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I'd agree with Xringer, heat where you're going to be. If you don't really use the downstairs there isn't much reason to heat it. If you're freezing down there, heat it up.

Also, the more area you heat up, the more area there is for heat to escape. While the downstairs heat will travel upwards, you will loose more heat because there is more surface area at a higher temperature in contact with the colder outside.
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Old 10-14-12, 07:10 PM   #6
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I put a floor heated system in a basement that previously had no heat. The upstairs baseboards are now on only 20% of the time
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Old 10-14-12, 09:44 PM   #7
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Thanks for the input I have drawn a conclusion in favor of not heating the downstairs. I recognized that i would indeed have more losses from the larger surface area, sapping the heat. that can't be better.
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Old 10-25-12, 06:59 AM   #8
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So I assume you will not be using the basement as living space in the future.... or does it maintain a somewhat livable temp anyway?
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Old 10-25-12, 11:17 AM   #9
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You are right Mikesolar i do not use it as a living area.
Part is a one car garage then a large laundry room and a storage room then a exercise room with a universal gym and assorted weights, none of which require heating.

Last edited by ecomodded; 10-25-12 at 11:41 AM..
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Old 10-25-12, 11:33 AM   #10
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It stays cool all summer and fall, in winter it can get cold down there , i keep the heaters just on, to prevent freezing in case it does get that cold, I have never froze anything, i suspect the cement foundation/ floors and half walls are keeping the basement warmer then the outside temp.
I will keep my eye on the thermometer this year, and see just how warm/cold it stays down there.

Sept. 25 2012
edit:
I have just checked @ 6:00pm
55.4 ~ 4 ft off the ground
55.2 ~ in a dark corner directly on the painted cement using the outside temp sensor

12 hrs later
@ 6:00 am
55.2 ~ 4ft off the ground
55.2 ~ in dark corner directly on painted cement


I was surprised by the continuity.

Feb. 1st 2013 6:00pm concrete floor corner was 48.2
4ft off the floor 49 degrees


Last edited by ecomodded; 02-01-13 at 11:40 PM.. Reason: update info..
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