I have a very large, very old home that is difficult to heat.
The heat tends to rise straight up to the ceiling.
If I climb up on a ladder, the temperature is nice and warm. Down near the floor, the room feels chilly. Turning up the thermostat puts more wear and tear on the furnace and costs me a fortune in energy bills. It doesn’t make much improvement in comfort. There’s definitely insufficient insulation in the walls, because I feel drafts of outdoor air coming in. I’m suspicious that all of the windows in the house should be replaced. They are old, single-pane and most likely leaking air. I’d like to tear my house down to the bare studs and start over. I’d make sure to install Energy Star rated windows, add lots of insulation and get rid of the duct system. Those ancient ducts take up a ton of space, collect contaminants, degrade air quality and are probably allowing my heated air to escape. I’d also throw out the forced air furnace. I’m tired of changing filters, paying for maintenance and dealing with temperature stratification, dust and noisy operation. I would love to install a boiler in the basement and radiant heating throughout the whole house. The boiler would supply hot water, pumping it through a series of pipes hidden beneath the floor. These pipes would then spread heat evenly from wall to wall. Because of the heat originating at floor level, the highest temperature would be found within lower half of the room. I could lower the thermostat setting, save money and enjoy more even comfort. A hydronic heating system requires very little upkeep, makes no noise and doesn’t blow pollutants into the air. Unfortunately, I can’t afford to tear up the floors or replace a working furnace.