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Oh so hot in here

This is my first winter in my condo. It is a three level condo: The main living space is on the top floor, the bedroom floor is underneath that and the main floor is a heated garage, front door and entry way. The main living space is well heated, the heat responds to the thermostat and the rooms maintain their temperature at all times. The bedroom floor under that is another story. The thermostat is set to 16 and yet the temperature is always between 24-25*C. I have had several plumbers and engineers from big name companies in to have a look at the situation and they all leave believing they have solved the problem. I had them remove the programmable thermostat and replace it with the most basic of thermostats they carry. I had them move the thermostat from the wall with the pipes in it to an adjacent wall. It is located in one of the bedrooms. They have checked the pipes, they have checked the zone valves. It is very difficult to sleep at night and it is affecting everyone's moods and productivity. Does anyone have any ideas for me?

Comments

  • Harvey Ramer
    Harvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,225
    Check the bedroom ceilings and see if there is insulation in the floor between the main area and the bedrooms. Also check and see how the tubing is installed.

    I assume the 2 floors have separate zones?

    Harvey
  • Polkadot
    Polkadot Member Posts: 5
    There are two zone valves side by side, one is with the tubes that head up to the top floor. The other one controls the tubes for the second (bedroom) floor and garage. Uncertain about the insulation between the top two floors. Plumbers said that it is installed correctly (condos are 19 years old) although they do not like the type of tubes used.
  • Harvey Ramer
    Harvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,225
    I am very interested to know the answer to my original question. It could explain a lot.

    Do you have one of those Laser Temp-guns? http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200467177_200467177?cm_mmc=Google-pla-_-Construction-_-Thermometers-_-19815&ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=19815&ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=19815&gclid=CjwKEAiAo8emBRCX_OqU4qek6y8SJACzgf8fxZwA0AZGAcvUEbgTFw28wZVV9OV4S0y8-XqebxbyUBoCrXbw_wcB

    Something like this.

    If you do, please measure the temperature of the ceiling in the bedrooms and also the floor.

    Here is what i'm getting at. If the tubing is just stapled to the subfloor and the joist cavities are uninsulated, you are probably getting more heat coming down through the ceiling into the bedrooms than you are getting up through the floor to the main area. Floor likely has 3/4" subfloor and then flooring on top of that. That's a higher r-value than 1/2" gypsum drywall. This would force heat down through.

    Also take some pictures of the boiler and piping and post them so we can see if all that looks ok.


    SnowmeltPolkadot
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    edited February 2015
    Harvey's correct.

    If you choke at the price of the Milwaukee thermometer, you can get far cheaper ones at Radio Shack that work just as well.

    They are far more useful than you will ever know.

    You can even check for heat in a swollen knee. Just don't leave the red dot on the skin for too long. It might burn. But that's like a minute or more.

    Are the "tubes" by any chance, orange rubber? Are you in Canada?
    Polkadot
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,500
    Set your system so that the bedroom floor is NOT calling for heat, but the living room floor is. Then go down to the boiler. The return from the living room floor should be warm, and the feed should be hot and the zone valve open. The return and feed to the bedroom floor should be cooler -- maybe not a lot -- but both the return and the feed should be about the same temperature. And the zone valve should be closed.

    if not... you have a control problem which is allowing water to flow in both zones when it should only be going to one at a time.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    icesailorPolkadot
  • Polkadot
    Polkadot Member Posts: 5
    When I read your repIies this morning it blew my mind. I would never have thought the heat could be coming from the upper floor. I am not sure how I can determine what insulation if any is between the two floors. Is there a non-invasive way to figure that out?
    I am in Calgary, Canada.
    On the way home from work I bought a laser temperature gun and it is so much fun! Thanks for the link so I knew what to look for. Here are the temperatures:
    Upstairs thermostat is set to 18*C. The floors are 22.5*C.
    Downstairs thermostat is set at 16*C and the ceiling is 25*C. The floor is 26.3*C.
    The boiler serves 9 units and is located down the street a little ways. I have no access to it.
    Here are some pictures inside the access panel: The first is the tubing for the downstairs. The second is the tubing for the upstairs. Second zone valve is not in picture.
  • Polkadot
    Polkadot Member Posts: 5
    And, could this maybe play a factor? The place was renovated just before I moved in. The wall to wall carpet was replaced with laminate flooring on the top floor.
  • Harvey Ramer
    Harvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,225
    I believe that is what's going on. Your bedroom area should not be running according to the thermostat setting, yet the ceiling is warmer than the floor in the main area above. Your heat is traveling downward into the bedrooms faster than it is traveling up into the main area.

    This is assuming that your contractors/plumbers/engineers, have the thermostats configured to their respective floors. I'm sure they do, it would take a total moron to screw that up.

    You can pull a ceiling light down in the bedroom area and peek up between the box and the drywall to check for insulation. I'm thinking you won't find any. If you don't, you need it and will have to have someone come in and tear down the ceiling, reinsulate and put the ceiling back up. The reason you can't have it blown in is because if the tubing is stapled to the subfloor, you have to have a 2" air space between the top of the insulation and the bottom of the subfloor.

    If the tubing is installed with plates fastened to the subfloor, you can have the cavities blown full.

  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    @Harvey Ramer:
    Polkadot said:

    And, could this maybe play a factor? The place was renovated just before I moved in. The wall to wall carpet was replaced with laminate flooring on the top floor.

    Harvey, I did a few electric heat conversions by replacing the electric heat on the first floor and leaving the electric on the second floor. Figuring that the heat from the first floor would help heat the second, and if it was cold, they could "top it off" with the electric. If you replace electric baseboards with say #30 Slant Fin, the Slant Fin has a higher BTU output than the electric, for the same length. Especially if the voltage drops in cold weather. I explained all this to the owners. I never had a complaint, not ever. O removed the electric heaters and ran the baseboard between so no one (me) had to trim the mop/baseboards.

    In the case of the OP, he had wall to wall carpet on the third floor, but it was replaced with laminate flooring. More heat flows through laminate flooring than through wall to wall with a pad. No matter what, heat rises. The second floor, no matter what, is adding heat energy to the top floor. If its radiant floor, who knows what insulation is between the second and third floors. But the third floor is gaining heat from the second floor. The insulating value changed.

    Turn the third floor thermostat down/off and shoot the floor. If the floor stays hot, there is heat gain from the floor below.

    Some of these Condo's have really "open" floor plans with the first floor open to the roof on one side to give it a more open look. Then, all below heat the above.

    IMO.

    I also wished the OP had posted in Fahrenheit rather than Celsius. Fahrenheit is so much more accurate than Celsius when looking at human temperature comfort. I find that most humans can easily differentiate a 3'F temperature swing. 3"C is too wide a swing and isn't easy to convert in the head.

  • Polkadot
    Polkadot Member Posts: 5
    Thanks for your help, I am still investigating all the ideas you have suggested. With the third floor heat off, it is cooler on the second floor but the floor on the second floor is still very warm even with the thermostat at the lowest setting. I don't think the second floor is listening to the thermostat.

    I will continue my quest to solve the problem. It is a very well built high end complex and although the top floor is an open plan, it is only open to the second floor through the staircase.

    I posted in metric because that is the the only measurement I know when it comes to temperature. I can appreciate that Fahrenheit is more precise and more of a standard on a forum such as this.

    And on a side note, I am teaching the science unit on Hot and Cold Temperatures to my Grade Two class right now and we have been having so much fun with the laser temperature gun. It will get lots of good use even after my home temperature problem is solved.

    Karen
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    edited February 2015
    Don't let the second graders look at the red dot!!!

    If you REALLY want to have fun, tell them about how water reaches its maximum density at 39 degrees F which is the number for "Lake Effect" Ice, That when the whole lake freezes over, the bottom of the lake is 39 degrees. And the colder water is lighter and rises to the surface. That the surface water of the lake UNDER the ice is 32F/0C, but the top of the ice is the Outside Air Temperature. That's why all the fish hang out at the bottom of the lake. Its warmer at the bottom than at the top. Critters like eels burrow into the mud to keep warm and survive. The ice on the top actually acts as an insulator to keep the water below it warmer. Been like that for BILLIIONS of years.

    You would be amazed at how much heat will rise up through a stairway. A stairway is much bigger than a front door. Leave the front door open and see how fast a building cools down.
    Polkadot
  • Harvey Ramer
    Harvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,225
    Sounds like those plumbers/engineers missed some very basic stuff. Disconnect the thermostat on the second floor. Just open the thermostat and disconnect the wires. Label them first though, so you know how to reconnect them. Once disconnected, observe the supply pipe going to the second floor. If it starts cooling off, then the problem is at the thermostat. If it doesn't start cooling off, disconnect the thermostat wires where they run into the zone valve or other control. If the supply pipe starts cooling off at that point, you have a short in the thermostat wire. If it doesn't, your problem lies deeper. You may want to hire an electrician to do this troubleshooting for you. Or a hydronic professional who understands electricity and controls.
    Polkadot
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    @Harvey Ramer:

    Common Sense is NOT a monetary valve.

    Like the guy who ripped up wall to wall carpet, replaced it with laminate flooring, installed with a air nail flooring gun, with radiant coils below. Then water came through the ceiling. His response was that he wasn't responsible because no one told him that the coils were below the floor.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    I can see that you haven't spent a lot of time being abused by the Suits in their personal office with the guy in the black robe deciding how much everyone gets paid.

    I've always been suspicious of any group of people that refer to each other as "Brother". It never bodes well. Its MY personal observation that the real function of the black robed guy is to divide everything in half, and Piss Off everyone. All the "Brothers get a piece of the action, and the person who was in the right, gets screwed more by getting even less.

    Spend some quality time doing your civic duty: Jury Duty.

    If it is going South, get out. When you find yourself digging a hole, and you are in it, stop digging.
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    I understand that you don't have access to the boiler but can you post pictures of the manifold and zone valves?