Published on October 10th, 2013 | by Henri


Heat lost in complex network of ducts

Q.  We purchased our home 16 months ago and realized last winter that the heat in the master bedroom is insufficient. The room was added to the dwelling by the previous owner three years ago and was heated/cooled via a flexy ductwork tube, which began in the basement, snaked up the side of the house then branched into four separate flexy ducts in the attic, entering our room through four vents in the ceiling (whew!).

I have been told by my HVAC technician that this is too far for the air to travel efficiently (by the time the air came through the vents, it was cold). We have since disconnected this contraption and have boosted circulation to other rooms in our home (air was being leeched-off the main duct for the master bedroom). But we are now left with a very chilly bedroom.

My question: Do we abandon all of the ductwork above the ceiling and install baseboard heat? Or do we look into a heat-pump system, which I understand is a bit expensive? The room stays comfortable in the summer, so we have gotten by without a window unit. Heat appears to be the biggest obstacle.

A.  You are right! Whew! Who ever thought this system up? The air running through a duct or ducts from the basement to the bedroom on the outside is bound to become cold by the time it reaches its destination.

Ask your HVAC contractor for his or her advice on the most practical way to increase the heat in the bedroom. A separate through-the-wall unit or even electric baseboard  may turn out to be the best solution if the present system cannot be satisfactorily extended within the conditioned envelope of the house.

If you have gas, you may want to consider having your HVAC people install a through-the-wall Rinnai heater. These heaters are very efficient and can easily be sized to fit the need of your master bedroom.

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