Is The Thermostat In The Basement Why It's So Cold Upstairs?

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

This is a flip, and a total "remodel," of a 120 year old house.  I always expect to find things that aren't right.

AND WE WERE IN FOR SOME FUN!

After turning appliances on to get them running, I always start in the basement.  The first thing I see is the new heat pump, but it is hooked up to the old, metal duct work.  Now I am not an HVAC specialist, but you just can't do that.  The old system was oil and blew much less air than a heat pump demands.  Retrofitting heat pumps and using the old duct system is a fat NO, NO.

But right beside the unit is the thermostat.  The basement simply isn't the best place to put a thermostat.  And right beside the system and under the only register in the basement!  So it's temperature registration will not accurately reflect what is going on in the rest of the house.  I had noticed the main level was a little cooler than the basement, so my client and I had a talk about stratification and regulating temperatures level to level.

FYI, there were no duct dampers (of course, they were using the old duct work) to help that and only on return vent.  That sole return was in the floor of the hallway and 12x12".  Heat pumps require huge amounts of air.  They HAVE TO return at least as much air as they blow.  If not, you will never have a comfortable home and the unit will be killed off in a couple of years.

THE BIGGEST KEY TO EFFECTIVE HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING IS THE RETURN AIR DUCTS AND THEIR LOCATIONS. 

We went upstairs and it was about 40 degrees Fahrenheit!  Outdoors was about 30 degrees so something was up!  And I got the question:  "Is the thermostat in the basement why it's so cold upstairs?"

My immediate response was that probably not, there had to be something else going on.  The upstairs had three bedrooms, a hallway, a hall bath and a "master bath" in the rear bedroom.  Looking around, only the center bedroom had a heating register!  Neither bathroom had one, neither of the front bedrooms and not the hallway.

"Is that why it's so cold?"

The same question again.  

"Let's look in the attic."

Up I went to see this.

You are looking over the two front bedrooms.  Of course you don't see any HVAC registers.  We know there weren't any.

Do you notice anything else missing?

I don't see insulation.

Do you see insulation?

I don't see insulation.

I see wiring for the new lights, so the electricians were up there.

There was a new duct for that one room, so the HVAC guys were up there.

SOMEBODY KNEW THERE WAS NO INSULATION UP THERE!  AND NO DUCTS SERVICING THE OTHER ROOMS.

My recommendation:   A flip by a contractor does not mean the contractor knows what he is doing.  That heat pump has no chance of being effective.  This particular contractor's check list did not include installing HVAC registers or insulation. 

Do you think those were the only things he missed?  Can you see the twinkle in my eye as I ask that?

 

 

Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


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Re-Bloggged 6 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Susan Jacobs 01/17/2011 09:31 AM
  2. Craig Frazer 01/17/2011 12:05 PM
  3. Richard Iarossi 01/17/2011 12:59 PM
  4. Brad Rachielles 01/17/2011 12:59 PM
  5. Maureen McCabe 01/21/2011 06:53 AM
  6. Chris Smith 02/01/2011 08:45 AM
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Topic:
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Comments 123 New Comment

Rainmaker
555,348
Chris Smith
South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta
Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage

Jay, Incorrect HVAC causes so much unnecessary discomfort in homes today, and regarding the insulation, in this day and age, this is unforgivable.  Just because a house looks updated, doesn't mean it is.  Great Post.

February 01, 2011 08:42 AM
Ambassador
1,657,307
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi
Palm Harbor Florida Residential Real Estate
Charles Rutenberg Realty

Jay - I would not want to be washing in any of those bathrooms if they aren't getting any heat! Too bad people don't always take pride in their work!

February 02, 2011 08:31 AM
Rainmaker
1,171,118
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Chris - exactly right.  And I don't have much confidence in these guys, or remodeling in general.

Barbara-Jo - it would be a trip to be wet in either of those bathrooms!  Makes for a quick bath!

February 02, 2011 03:07 PM
Rainmaker
260,368
Wayne B. Pruner
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI
Oregon First

Flippers cut corners and cover things up. An inspection is always necessary.

February 03, 2011 06:48 PM
Rainmaker
1,171,118
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

For sure Wayne.  The bottom line is getting the house sold.  Silk purses seal the deal!

But they aren't always silk!

February 03, 2011 07:01 PM
Rainmaker
1,171,118

Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
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