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HELP !!Feet freeze while rest of room feels comfortable.

Avery Member Posts: 2
I live in a 100+ year old house heated by steam. Sitting for any extended period causes our ankles and feet to freeze requiring us to wrap in blankets. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,912
    Two very real possibilities: first, if this is on the ground floor over an unheated basement, that basement may be kind of chilly -- and the floor will be, too. Second, excessive infiltration or cold (poorly insulated) walls or windows can do this quite easily -- cold air filters in, drops (it's heavier than hot), flows across the floor (freezing your feet) until it gets to a radiator, and so on.

    The old timers got around the second problem with respect to cold walls and windows by putting the radiators under them. Worked a treat.

    I'd go looking for infiltration -- particularly in the basement -- and getting rid of to the extent possible.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Avery
    Avery Member Posts: 2
    Thank you for your input. Single family home uninsulated basement. Wooden floors.(we rent). I've recorked all the windows and hung heat shrink plastic over all the windows.Landlord refuses to insulate.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,692
    What temperature do you keep it at? How long are you sitting when this happens? Sitting for extended periods can cause this to happen no matter what. I work in an office and sit for a large chunk of the day. I make a point to get up and walk around at least once per hour to keep up circulation to the extremities. I am assuming you are paying for the heat and not the landlord?
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,443
    My feet end up freezing cold when sitting at my computer on cold windy nights so I throw a blanket on the floor.

    My house has some serious draft issues.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,471
    Pay attention to the area between the floor and baseboards, old houses often have a gap there that you might not see because of shoe molding. A little time with a smoke stick will show the air leaks.

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • jbmoff
    jbmoff Member Posts: 76
    I had the same problems with my 1903 Victorian...
    The first floor floors were always cold - especially when the temps dipped substantially. Often, the edges of the room were the worst part due to what @JamieHall mentioned above. Walls without insulation tend to have this problem. If you sat on the sofa, the room started feeling a bit too cold UNTIL you stood up and actually were able to feel the heat. Tends to happen when the first floor also has 10 foot ceilings!
    My 1929 Colonial is a bit better...and the first floor is only 9 feet.

  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,443
    Sounds like a possible cheap solution would be ceiling fans running on low to circulate the air.

    I've done this but have found it's best to keep the fan blowing down, not reversed like many recommend in the winter as blowing down goes with the natural flow of the radiator in the room.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment