High ceilings, how do you...

schoolhouse_gwFebruary 11, 2012

I'm having a bit of remorse now in regards to my kitchen remodel. I wished I would have raised the ceiling back up to where the original schoolhouse ceiling was/is, like I did in the library and bedroom. My kitchen and adjoining pantry are small but each still have an original schoolhouse windows, however my Uncle dropped the new ceilings so that only the bottom portions show. In other words, the top portions of the windows are above the ceilings. After seeing so many great kitchens here with the tall windows, I'm having regrets. My question though is, how hard would it be to keep the rooms warm with the high ceilings? How do those of you who have the high ceilings and open floor plans heat your home and does it really stay warm in winter?

My library and bedroom do stay cooler than the other parts of the house where the ceilings had been lowered, and I tend to keep their doors shut on really cold days (except the bedroom at night). My next remodel job will be the livingroom. Should I go with my heart and raise the ceiling and again have another tall window exposed? or keep them lowered and stay warm, and save on heating costs?

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My husband and I just had our annual winter discussion about whether or not to lower our cathedral ceilings. It gets so cold here in the winter, but the heat is on high. All the heat is up at the top of the ceiling. We talk about lowering them every year when we start getting the winter heating bills, but we haven't done anything about it yet.
I wear sweaters all winter to keep warm.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 6:06PM
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That's the thing, the heat rises and then everyone will talk me into installing a ceiling fan - which I don't like. They make all kinds of sense and may look good in other's homes, but I don't want them in my rooms. I wouldn't even had put a ceiling fixture in the bedroom except that the contractor reminded me that the next owner may want one and now is the time to put the wiring,ect. in. I like the fixture I chose, but....

Anyhow,thanks lauriedeee for your comments. Obviously my house is old with lots of draft already and I wear sweaters all winter too. I bet in the warmer months though your cathedral ceiling is a pleasure. Is it a big room? Does it make a difference if a room is big or small when it comes to high ceilings?

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 6:14PM
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You might want to consult with an HVAC person that may be able to add things to make life more comfortable. We've gone from almost an entire 1st floor having vaulted ceilings to 9 & 10 foot ceilings and it's noticably more comfortable. The master bedroom that has a seperate cold air return but is the farthest from the furnace it perhaps the most comfortable in the house.

I hate being cold, so I sympathize with your plight of form over function.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 6:38PM
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You can install a duct system that extracts the hot air from the peak of the ceiling and blows it out down low. It can even take it from the height of one tall room and redistribute it near the floor of several rooms. These are quite common here (New England) in homes with high ceilings.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 6:38PM
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We moved into a home with an open plan and 17 foot ceilings.
I can tell you that turning onmy industrial ceiling fans even on low does not heat the main floor,it makes a person feel cold while raising the temp by 1 or 2 degrees. The wind makes me feel colder while the thermometer showed a minimal warming.

We had geothermal installed. Which will cool and heat the house.
We might add another duct to a colder room,if it also a hotter room come summer. Another more expensive option is zoned heating.
I keep a sweater handy for when I go to the basement. The main floor and loft are now pleasantly within 3 degrees of each other.

I also leave the curtains open to capture all that warm sunlight during the day which can raise the temp 5-6 degrees in the high ceiling open room.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 7:39PM
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Schoolhouse, the area with the high ceilings is pretty big. Summers aren't any better because I've got large windows and the sun comes beating in them making the main living area really hot and stuffy. We have central air, but it doesn't help much in that area.
So, it's down to the family room I go and I stick my little window air conditioning unit in the window and blast it.. :)

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 8:04PM
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Schoolhouse, we have 12 foot ceilings throughout our house. Yes it does make it cooler in the winter, but we had a 1907 Glenwood parlor wood stove which has now been retired. In it's place is a pellet stove. Couldn't be toastier! Depending on your heat source(s), we love our 12 foot ceilings. And yes, our home is drafty too as we have all original 140 yr old windows!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 11:04PM
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Thanks for the good and honest comments. I've got some thinking to do.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 10:05AM
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Another thing you can do to help is upgrade the insulation in the high ceiling areas. We actually went with R60 (standard for our zone is about R49), and the price difference was extremely negligible.

I know you said you don't like them, but ceiling fans make a difference. There are some decent ones out there.

In the house where DH grew up, they had their fireplace installed with a blower that routed to vents. The ambience of the fireplace, and they only ran their furnace when no one was home. We thought about doing this in our current home, but the fireplace is on the same level as the thermostat - across the room actually, and we didn't want the other rooms to get overly cold as a result.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 5:20PM
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I have 10' ceilings,on like corner cupboards etc I have dried flower bouquets looks pretty,sit items up there,my house is old so crocks,jugs etc look pretty too.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 5:47PM
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