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Hoping this is the right forum to ask for this help. I have a 2 story house (rental property) with a single heat pump. The air handler is in the attic, and the system is about 15 yrs old. It blows hot & cold as it should. Last summer, the entire house was too hot. I discovered all the ductwork in the attic & the chase had disintegrated (it was the plastic stuff only used briefly during the late 80s I’m told). I had all the duct in the attic & chase replaced, plus about 10’ of horizontal duct between the first /second floors. That was where the bad ducting ended & the rest seemed fine. After installation, the house was comfortably cool again. Now that winter has come to Virginia, I have a wild temp swing for upstairs vs down. With the thermostat set at 72 on a cold day, the temp upstairs is 78, downstairs is 63 and this is with the upstairs vents closed & downstairs open. Air seems to be blowing through the downstairs vents, though not as much force with heat as with a/c. I have a home warranty company, and they sent out an HVAC company. The guy was there for 10 minutes with my tenant, and said I need dampers & left. This particular company has hundreds of horrible reviews online, so I’m not sure why the warranty company uses them, but some of the reviews make me think they are just collecting the fee & never plan to do any work, so it doesn’t matter what they report back. But that’s another story.

So here’s my question - It seems to me that dampers would do nothing, since by manually closing the upstairs vents with downstairs open, I’m doing the same thing dampers would do (feeding air where it’s needed while restricting it where it’s not). Does that make sense? My thought is that there must be additional blockage in the downstairs ducts. It wasn’t noticed in hot weather since the cold air from upstairs settles & helps what air was getting through the downstairs vents to keep it comfortable. But hot air doesn’t do that, so the back-pressure from the clogged vents is escaping from the “closed” vents upstairs, keeping that area warm while not allowing enough heated air downstairs to be comfortable.

Any advice or insights would be greatly appreciated!
 
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