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Keeping heat downstairs in a rented house?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
The downstairs is freezing : and our upstairs is a sauna.

We rent the house so there is only so much we can do to the house itself. Does anyone have any tips on how I can help the temperature stay more even? I feel like if I turn the dial over 55 the upstairs is unbearable. You would not think it could possible be true, I mean, 55 is usually very cold by most people's standards. And it is downstairs, yet we are sweating upstairs.

Any suggestions? :
post #2 of 9
We have that exact same problem. We put an electic fireplace in the livingroom downstairs and found it to be the perfect solution. You can get them at Walmart for $100-$200 some even look like a real fireplace (like ours does). They have a glass front and blow out hot air. They are cool to the touch so perfectly safe for little ones and they just plug in. The heating bill is actually impressively low too.

We also have heavy curtains that we close every night before going to bed and sometimes keep closed on cold days. We dress moderately warm, pants, sweaters, socks, etc.
post #3 of 9
: we also live in a house which also has a cold basement! i think a lot has to do with the tile floors.. its like walking on ice! my tricks.. wear socks and slippers!! my kids MUST wear their footwear in the house when its cold. i just like to!

when its really cold (its been -35 here of late) we all sleep in one room.. we can close the door and stay warm with the heat on low, and thick curtains (my kids are 6 and 3 and are scared to sleep alone in their rooms with the doors shut) its not the best, but better than freezing!

in general i find that if we keep the heat on very low and the bedroom doors shut, just the hallway is chilly but the rooms are comfy.

i also think that doing window plastic (extra insulation) is a great idea. i keep meaning to but i haven't yet.

and dressing a bit warmer helps too.
post #4 of 9
Not so sure about the upstairs/downstairs issue (we have a ranch style house although we do have a basement) but there are a few things that I've noticed about uneven heat distribution in our place. One, depending on the type of heat you have (we have forced-air, gas furnace) it seems to be partly a matter of resistance--like if there are three vents, the one or two closer to the furnace/more directly in a line will have more air (either hot or cold depending on whether it's furnace or ac) coming out and the room will get hotter/colder. When I've blocked that off it seems to force air to come out before. One way I've done this is to physically take the vent cover off and cover it with something like aluminum foil and put it back on, to block the heat from coming out in that room. It then tends to force it back and more warm air will come out the open vent for the other room that you're trying to warm up.

You might also see if there is some other reason that the downstairs is too cold, like maybe there are air leaks with doors or windows and you could add some inexpensive weather stripping or plastic or even put a draft blocker at the base of the door.
post #5 of 9
My thought is if you have water in your basement, that can make the downstairs seriously cold. And while the furnace is trying to keep up with heating the downstairs to the temperature specified by your thermostat, all that heat is going upstairs.
post #6 of 9
Is the heat hot water or forced air?

For either, weatherstripping might help. As might putting a blanket in the stairway to keep warmth from escaping upstairs. Make sure nothing (eg furniture) is blocking the heat downstairs.

If it's forced air, shut off some of the upstairs vents. At least the vents my father has have switches on each vent itself to open/close each one.

If it's hot water, dust/vaccuum the radiators. Bleed the radiators downstairs. Even if they feel fairly hot, there might be some air trapped inside preventing them from being as hot as they should be.
post #7 of 9
do you have forced air or radators? for forced air, you can buy magnetic covers for the vents - put them on the upstairs vents which will then force the air to go out the downstairs vents. you'll still have heat rising once it gets out of the vents, but it should help to keep the temp more even in the house. When you leave the rental, you just pull the magnetic covers off and take them with you
post #8 of 9
The house is acting like a chimney - warm air goes upstairs and exits at the attic level, while cold air (replacement!) comes into the basement or first floor. Caulk is your friend. Caulking any gaps around the ceiling (upstairs) and windows (everywhere) will decrease the loss of heat from the house. Weatherstripping is also low cost.

As others have mentioned, shut off heat registers upstairs, leaving the returns open. There may be some "balance" control in the basement, one could have been closed inadvertently. There might be a disconnected return duct in the basement. http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/...nup/ducts.html

Make sure you have a working CO detector in the hose, as making it "tighter" could make any furnace problems worse.
post #9 of 9
I want to second checking that the vent are open. Those tiny levers or slidy things are so very facinating to little ones.
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