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(Homeowner) Need advice on where start with hot/cold rooms

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I moved into a townhome about a year and a half ago, and have noticed that the the two guest rooms upstairs are routinely hot in the summer, cold in the winter. I understand every situation is different and no one will be able to diagnose the issue on the internet, but I am just looking on the best way to approach solving the problem.

Here is some background info:

We have central air with a natural gas furnace and a traditional split system AC (condenser outside, coils in the air handler). We have one air handler in the attic, with two thermostats and dampers that control the airflow between the two floors.

Upstairs there is a landing – off one side of the landing is a master bedroom, off the other side are two guest rooms. The two guest rooms are above the garage. There is one large return vent for the upstairs, located in the landing, but closer to the master bedroom.

The master bedroom gets a TON of air/heat. The supply vent is larger than the other rooms (as it maybe should be, it is a larger room). The other rooms do get airflow, but not nearly as much. I believe most of the return air is being pulled from the master bedroom, as when the fan is on, I can feel a strong air current under the master bedroom door.

A few things that I’ve come up with that may be the culprit: – Bad duct sizes, too much airflow going to master, not enough going to guest rooms – Lack of return air being pulled from guest rooms (I had an HVAC guy mention he could add returns to those rooms fairly reasonably) – Not enough insulation between the garage and guest rooms

My question is, what is the best way to start with solving this kind of issue? I don’t want to spend thousands on new insulation when the problem could have been solved with something much cheaper.

Who is the best kind of person to call for something like this? A “normal” HVAC service? Or someone who specializes in energy efficiency?

Thanks for any and all help!

submitted by /u/sneakyturtle57
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Going to be cutting drywall in my house

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Just wondering what I can do to limit the dust going into the return vents I know that all this extra dust won’t be good for the furnace I have a clean filter in, anything else I should I do?

submitted by /u/Jtjones3692
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Measuring individual vent actual airflow CFM on a budget?

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If say I want to spend $50 tops on setup to measure what each vent in my house is outputting, what would you recommend? I looked at some anemometers, but doesn't seem like I can get CFM measurement out of them.

submitted by /u/apsinkus
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Had biannual HVAC inspection/tune up on a recently purchased home and ended up with an expensive list

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We recently purchased a 22yr old home that has a reasonably functioning HVAC system; the furnaces may be original but the exterior AC units are only a few years old. The technician recommended about $3K in work including replacing a drain pan, some flex connectors, a capacitor, "over flow protection", and a few other cleanings. He also told us the duct work looked pretty old and recommended discussing replacement options with one of their estimators. I was a little bummed to be looking at $3K for a functioning system, but we had the second guy come out anyway.

And we got what felt like was a complete sales pitch–he said at a minimum we should replace all the duct work and furnace upstairs ($10K) but recommended a variable-speed unit that would require replacing the relatively new exterior AC unit as well as the ducts for $22K.

I'm completely ignorant of HVAC systems and feel like spending >$10-20K to replace something that functions now is a little ridiculous. Any advice on how to know when to replace a system would be greatly appreciated!

submitted by /u/j_alfred_boofrock
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Permanent options to better heat/cool one room?

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We have a new construction home, 2-story, about 2000sqft (plus finished basement), with 4 bedrooms on the second story. The home is overall evenly heated and cooled for the most part (the basement is always cooler of course), but one of the bedrooms is MUCH colder in the winter and MUCH hotter in the summer than the rest of the house. It is the only room over the garage – the garage is fully insulated but not climate controlled. We have central air and forced air heating from a gas furnace. The room in question has two vents and one air return, all are clear from obstruction and the vents are fully open and blowing air as you’d expect. We asked our builder about it and they brushed it off saying make sure we adjust our vents for the weather and that because of the room’s location it’s just going to have a bigger temperature difference.

So my question is, long term, what are our options to better regulate the temperature in this room? Right now it’s a kids’ playroom but it will ultimately need to be a regular bedroom. Right now it’s just way too cold to be in there without extra layers compared to the rest of the house. Can we add another zone or something, or modify the existing hvac setup to increase airflow? Add heating and cooling to the garage? We had an independent inspector check all the insulation and window seals and it all looks good. I’m prepared to eat a little cost in order to make the room comfortable. Any suggestions would be helpful, thanks!

submitted by /u/femalien
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Combustion air intake for 80% gas furnace

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I just replaced a 30 year old 80% natural gas furnace with a new Rheem 80% two stage furnace. I opted for 80% over 90+ because my land is worth several times what the house is – next owner will likely tear it down, although I have no plans to move as of now. I've never had high gas bills, so I doubt the efficiency gains would ever pay back.

I don't like unsealed combustion indoors or the depressurization caused by power vent appliances. That was almost enough to drive me to a 90% unit, but I just couldn't justify the cost or the need to change the vent for the remaining gas water heater that's 3 months old. Furnace is in a basement utility room with no exterior doors or windows that's roughly 500 square feet. No combustion air ducts to outside. House is from 1960, but is fairly tight for its age based on a blower door test and extensive attic air sealing.

My new furnace pulls all combustion air through a 3" round vent on the top of the furnace next to the exhaust. From looking at the manual, it appears that the furnace permits a 3" PVC connection from outside for the source of combustion air. I'd prefer to run a PVC line to outside and use outdoor air if that is an option. My furnace is in the basement, but I have a clear shot out an exterior wall above grade with about 15' of horizontal run. The manual talks about using 3" PVC for combustion air but then only gives a diagram for venting it out the attic and wants at most 10' of rise and 2 90 degree bends for attic intake. I could rig up an attic intake (it has a relatively clear path to the attic too), but since it's in the basement, it would be around 20' of rise. The installation instructions aren't that clear, so I'd like to know if a direct combustion air connection is possible and how I'd figure out what code is for it.

Furnace is in Fairfax County, VA.

submitted by /u/bolt_in_blue
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Central heat and air stopped working

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My Central heat and air has stopped working. What would cause the heat and the air to stop working at same time? I know i need to check fuses. What else should be checked before calling a technician?

submitted by /u/lacarsha
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