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Install & Replace

Duck work or not?

I have a older house, built in 1967. We have been living in the house for 2 years, it was purchased as a forclosure. We currently have no duck work going to the upstairs of our house, were the bedrooms are, and the only form of climate control we have are electrice radiatiors in each bedroom. Needless to say, our upstairs is cold in the winter and sweltering in the summer. The windows upstairs are crank, so we cann't put a window AC unit in, and our furnace downstairs we are told is the cheapest furnace the previous owners could have purchased and pushes the air downward. We would like to replace our furnace and add duct work to our upstairs.


My questions, (1) is it even possible to add duct work to our upstairs, and/or (2) are there other options to efficiently heat and cool our upstairs?

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Posted 2013-02-25T21:36:15+0000  by joec joec

Hi JoeC.,


HVAC retrofits have come a long way in the last few years. HVAC contractors now have available 4 and 6 inch flexible duct work which can be concealed in the walls to connect the first and second floor.


Depending upon your location your contractor can install a forced air system with a/c or a heat pump system, in which one unit does both the heating and cooling.


Split systems are also available, in a split system an air handler with a fan is installed in each room upstairs with no duct work. The refrigerant is carried from a heat pump to the air handler via lines located outside the building. 


This is a more expensive system, but requires less construction inside the building.


Check with your local building department for the code requirements in your area and consult with an HVAC contractor to determine which system is best for your home.



Posted 2013-02-25T23:48:31+0000  by Mike_HD_OC



I would give serious consideration to a split system as mentioned in the post above. Besides the advantage of very little construction disturbance inside the home, you will end up with the ability to have a zoned system with the bedrooms controllable separate from the downstairs. A modern AC/Heat pump runs quite economically, certainly far more so than electric resistance heating. I am asuming that you will leave the existing furnace for the lower level. Being able to control the AC separate from the downstairs will let you have comfortable temperatures for sleeping without having to alter the temps of the whole house.


Split systems are relatively new to the U.S., but have been used extensively in the rest of the world for years. In concept, they are somewhat similar to the individual units that are used in many hotel rooms with consoles mounted through the wall. They are much quieter than a simple through the wall mounted AC unit as the compressor is mounted remotely.


One further concern: You state that it is much hotter in summer and cooler in winter upstairs. To a certain extent this is normal, However, a 1960's house could well be seriously under insulated. Whether you alter your heating/AC system or not, I would reccommend that you have the insulation and ventilation in your attic inspected to see that it is up to present standards. Insulation is relatively inexpensive and could bring dramatic improvement even without upgrading the heating system.


My own son had similar complaints about the upper level of his 1980's house. After putting in additional air vents and extra insulation in his attic, his upper level became dramatically more temperate, both summer and winter, without having touched the furnace.


Just some thoughts for your consideration.

Posted 2013-02-27T03:16:09+0000  by ordjen
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