Drafty old house

Questions, answers and advice for people who own or work on houses built during the 20th century.

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Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2016 12:39 pm

Drafty old house

Post by Bigd1634 »

My wife and I just bought an old home from around 1900 in Northern New Jersey. The house was a flip and looks like they did a good job. The flipper told us that it was redone from the studs including all new electric, plumbing and roof. The issue that we are having now that we moved in is that the forced air/heat system that they installed is keeping the upstairs nice and toasty but the main floor is quite cold. The vents are located in the ceilings and you can feel the heat coming out of them but if you turn it up the upstairs gets too hot. The foundation is stone and morter and the basement is not finished. I expect it to be chilly down there so that is no surprise. What bothers me is that there is a draft coming from the baseboards around the main floor. The flooring is laminate and is cool to the touch. The windows are vinyl but probably 10 years old or more. I do not feel any drafts coming from the windows.

My first idea is to seal the baseboards with some caulk and ¼ round moldings to help to eliminate the draft.

The next idea is to turn the single zone system to a multi-zone so we can get some extra heat sent to the main floor without overheating the upstairs.

Please tell me if I am in the right direction and if there is anything else that I can do to help the heat. We have 2 small girls running around and we don’t want them to be continually sick.

Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2017 7:55 am

Re: Drafty old house

Post by JohnnyQuest »

This is my first post here after reading the heck out of this site lol

I have a 1929 craftsman/Art Deco and I have a similar situation.

Heating ducts should never be in the ceiling. Hot air rises. I have one in the middle of the wall (?!) and after I removed all the wallpaper, found the original heat duct in the wall at the end of the room!

Go into the basement and see what you can find as far as original location of the heat runs and put them back. The ducts may still be run but disconnected (my case) or may have been removed in your case. Either way, the only way to fix that is to put heat runs into the room on the floor

As far as drafts - I have that as well. Caulking is a good way to stop the drafts. If they renovated from the studs, you should have insulation in the walls, with a vapour barrier. I'd take a look at what they told you vs what is really there.

Then you can make a plan.

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