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Heat pump register placement

I an going to have a ac / heat pump system installed in my older home. My contractor wants to place the registers in the floor. The main unit will be placed in the basement. The house is a 1.5 story expanded cape.He explained that the heat fan setting is lower since the heat rises, and cooling is set higher to blow the cold air up. Not to crazy about having the register in in the floor. Where is the usual placement for the registers in an older house?


  • Rock
    Rock Member Posts: 46
    So no one in this group installs heat pumps?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 21,506
    I think a number of people do. I don't, myself. What I have seen, however -- just observation -- is that floor registers can work well, provided there is also return ductwork. In some ways, the returns are actually more important than the supplies.

    What I have also observed is that retrofitting adequate ductwork into an older structure can be very difficult, depending on the structure, and often floor registers are the only way to get the duct sizes needed.

    Fan speed is determined by the necessity to get adequate flow across the heat exchanger coils at the desired inlet and outlet temperatures, not by whether they are heating or cooling.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 4,802
    My 1956 cape had them very low on the walls. My 1964 ranch had them in the floor. There's a very small sample for you :)
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • mikeapolis
    mikeapolis Member Posts: 46
    Are you running the ducts upstairs? What brand are they installing? Thanks
  • SuperJ
    SuperJ Member Posts: 606
    edited November 2020
    2nd, the returns being important. I like low and high returns to pull back the seasonal extremes.

    Here in Ontario Canada almost all the supply registers (first and second floor) are in the floor around the perimeter on any house built in the last 60 years. The topic of registers specs and placement can get geeky, you can make many positions work with the right "throw" and velocity.

    Putting ductwork in attics is not great, you end up losing capacity and depressurizing the house from attic ductwork leakage. Insist on keeping the ductwork within the conditioned envelope and not in outside walls.
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,778
    By registers I assume you mean supply air.
    Here, upper midwest, the preferred install is in the floor perimeter around the house.

    Returns cut into the floor are not desired as they turn into a dust pan collecting everything.
    We go for wall RA, most low baseboards, but a few high wall where possible. RA is often short changed and HP is very sensitive to adequate air flow.

    And if heat pump have an abundance of SA's to avoid noise and draft of lukewarm air.

    On remodel of old houses the SA might not end up in the outer perimeter. A compromise is made to just get some air flow to the 2nd floor, especially for AC.
  • Rock
    Rock Member Posts: 46
    I will have ducts upstairs. They are installing a Reem 3 ton unit in the basement.
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 6,019
    Now you have 2 choices. install the system in the attic and have all the openings in the ceiling. I have installed many that way. only once or twice have I had a problem with condensation forming in the ductwork in the winter on AC only system. Proper insulation of the ductwork will eliminate that.

    During the winter and summer extremes, the attic temperature may get very hot and somewhat cold. You have to account for that in your sizing. I have installed a 3-ton system in the basement where the competitions wanted to install 3.5-ton in the attic. The larger system was needed to account for ductwork loss in the hot attic. After the customer looked online about ductwork placement I Got the job.

    Your other option is to put the system in the basement and cut the register holes in the floor. More efficient system.

    There is one other option that will cost you dearly, Cutting out the floor openings at the wall intersection, and installing a projection register. It is easier to do before you install the sheetrock during construction. but if you wanted to pay the extra i would hire a finish carpenter to cut the floor openings and redo the baseboard trim after the ducts and registers are finished.

    here is an example

    Edward F Young. Retired HVAC ContractorSpecialized in Residential Oil Burner and Hydronics