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Joined: 30 Jul 2013
Age: 34
Gender: Male
Posts: 10,229
Location: Adelaide, Australia

09 Jul 2022, 5:22 pm

I woke up this morning and the thermometer said 2° Celsius. It's been like this a lot lately. By noon it will be a bit warmer but still cold. We have a toddler so of course we're concerned about maintaining a healthy environment.

We have four split reverse-cycle split systems but they just don't seem to take the bite out of the cold, particularly the one for the main downstairs public area of the house (living room, kitchen and dining).

The split systems in the bedrooms do an ok job so long as you set the fan speed to 100% and one in the upstairs public area (upstairs living room, study and hallway) seems to be almost overqualified for the job. Unfortunately, being upstairs all the heat tends to stay up there.

I don't have too much trouble in summer because the cold air from the split system in the study can easily descend the stairs and the downstairs split system seems to do a better job of cooling than it does of heating.

My partner, Jane has suggested that the problem stems from our house being weatherboard/poorly insulated. Like most houses in the neighbourhood we have foam in the ceiling but that might not be enough. I think Australia has a trend of building poorly insulated houses. Australia can be a hot country but it seems like Australian architects forget that we have an actual winter.

So what's causing the problem? Is it

  1. An unavoidable consequence of living in a weatherboard house?
  2. Caused by not having double glazing on the windows?
  3. Caused by the modern trend of open plan living/kitchen/dining areas solved by putting the living room, dining room and kitchen each in a separate room?
  4. Caused by open stairwell, enabling all the heat to go upstairs?
  5. The downstairs split system is underpowered/too old and needs to be replaced?
  6. We wasted money installing split systems in the bedrooms and we should have gotten ducted to heat the whole house?
  7. Caused by split systems always being near the ceiling and we should build a house with underfloor heating? (impossible for ground floor of current house because the floor tiles are right on the foundation (no basement)

I think some of these problems would be unsolvable in our current house and require the construction of a new house in a different location. It makes me feel a little depressed that the problem may be unsolvable without moving and that we may have already sunk cost into solutions that didn't work.

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Joined: 2 Sep 2013
Gender: Male
Posts: 3,295
Location: Mid-Atlantic US

05 Aug 2022, 5:50 am

Electric space heaters.

My WP story


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Joined: 7 Jan 2021
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,524
Location: England

05 Aug 2022, 6:01 am

I'm English and I think your problem is most likely poor insulation. We have well insulated houses here which is great in winter but awful in summer. And also you don't have double glazing.

I don't know about the different types of heating because we have central heating and we just turn that on when we're cold (nearly always). Underfloor heating is a really good idea though if you can build a house with that. How many months is it really cold there i.e. is it worth getting a new heating system for only a few weeks a year?

When I was little we lived in a very old house and it had a gas fire in each room, we'd just heat the room we were in and leave the others off. Not ideal with a toddler of course.

I don't want to insult your intelligence but you do dress in layers don't you. Including your child?

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Joined: 4 May 2010
Age: 39
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Location: was Louisiana but now Vermont in the police state called USA

07 Sep 2022, 9:27 am

MaxE wrote:
Electric space heaters.
I was gonna suggest that. I also suggest that you tackle the issues that seem like easier fixes RetroGamer. It's probably a combination of things & doing various things would help some.

Our current apartment is very spacious but it was made very cheaply. The heating is only along the outer wall which includes the living-room & both bedrooms. The living-room opens up into the kitchen, hall, & bathroom so the living-room heater has an extremely large area to heat up compared to the two bedrooms. Heat is included in the rent but we cant set the temp above 72(IDK what that is in celsius) & since the windows are very drafty, the living-room tends to stay cold when the temp is very cold outside even thou we're on the top floor of a 3 story building. The workaround I came up with is to put a freezer/cold pack under the thermostat so it reads colder & the heater runs more :mrgreen: My bedroom gets hot very fast since it's a much smaller room & we keep the door closed so our cat won't come in, so we usually have the window open some when we are running the heater. This is a low income place so I understand about em needing to build it cheaper but since heat is included they woulda saved money in the long run by making the windows less drafty & having more insulation in the walls, so little insulation we can hear people talking outside in the parking lot when our windows are closed :hmph:

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jimmy m

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Joined: 30 Jun 2018
Age: 74
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Posts: 7,380
Location: Indiana

08 Sep 2022, 10:05 am

I read your post and thought I would try and give you some advice. But it is a little hard because I suffered a massive stroke and my brain is half fried. But I will try anyways.

You are right, part of your problem is where the rooms in your house are located. They are in the exact opposite side of the house (upstairs/downstairs) from what you want for the winter.

First off, I live in a cold climate. My temperatures in winter will many times get down to -18 degrees C (0 degrees F). I even remember one winter when the temperatures dropped down to -34 degrees C (-30 degrees F). That was one cold morning.

So in my case I have a large one story house and during the coldest parts of the winter, I close off part of my house. My house is very well insulated and as a result it takes very little energy to keep the place livable. I keep the sleeping areas of the house around 6 degrees C (10 degrees F) colder than the living areas of the house. That works very well.

What is the solution in your case. It is a little hard for me to picture things at the moment. But if you provide the outer walls and ceiling of the house with better insulation, it will allow you to keep the heat within your house.
In general, the outside windows and doors in a house represent the largest areas of heat loss in the winter.
You might try and pull warm air from upstairs down into the lower levels with some interior installed fans to better distribute the warm air through the house during the winter time.

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