dslreports logo
    All Forums Hot Topics Gallery


Search Topic:
share rss forum feed


reply to alkizmo

Re: one story vs two story houses - pos vs neg?

said by alkizmo:

said by ctggzg:

Am I the only one who didn't know what a "cape" home is?

Don't feel bad, I only assumed what ranch style homes are.
Where I live, these are the terms we use:

Bungalow - Single story with basement
Split-level - Half is 2 story, other half is 1 story (Set in middle of the first half)
Cottage - Two story with basement

The end

Those terms are different all over the country.


Bungalow: SMALL single floor home, possibly with a basement or crawl space. Generally one, 1.5 for two baths. May have a basement with a dirt floor. Not a place for anything.

Cape: Does not exist, in general. MAY be a very small house, one level on as slab or crawl space.

Split Level: Same, or two stories on both sides of the entrance. May be three half levels or four. When three levels the single level is likely on a crawl space, not a slab.

Split Foyer: Generally two levels, but the entrance is in the middle, between the two floors. Basically a Ranch with the entry between the main floor and the basement.

Ranch: Single floor. It MAY have a basement, or be on a slab. I grew up in one of these.

Center Hall Colonial: A two story house with the stairs in the middle. Generally very large. In this area (DC) it is on a basement.

Side Hall Colonial: A two, or possibly three story house with the hall and steps to one side or the other. Generally a smaller town house. May be two, three or even four stories. In general, they are on a crawl space, but can be on a very unfinished basement, often with a dirt floor. They are mostly very old, like in Old Town(e) Alexandria, VA.

Cottage: A small single floor home with an unfinished basement, even with a dirt floor.

Shotgun: A home with a center hall, and everything off of it. MANY didn't originally have inside plumbing. No basement, but generally over a very badly build crawl space. Some didn't even have a center hall. You had to walk through the rooms to get from the front to the back. My great grandmother (I don't recall her husband) and my mother's parents died in this type of home. My Mother and her five siblings grew up in one. These are never built today.

Different parts of the country have other odd conventions. In the DC area, kitchen appliances convey with the house. Laundry appliances are negotiated as part of the sale. They GENERALLY stay, but maybe not.

In central and southern Virginia, you take everything with you. Even if your appliances don't fit your new house, too bad, you take them.


reply to djrobx
said by djrobx See Profile
dunno. I'm in an LA suburb. It gets hot but nothing like Arizona. We have a 4 ton on our 2083 square foot 2 story. It seems to be sized pretty appropriately, it just barely keeps us cool (thermostat gets up to 78 and it runs endlessly) when it's 105+ out. Granted, it's old, so it's not as efficient as it used to be, but it's certainly not crazy oversized. Our neighbors have a slightly larger house and just put in a 5 ton unit.

Our old 3.5 ton unit installed into our 1400 square foot two story home was a bit oversized. I wouldn't go less than 3 in that house though.

I think you need to check the freon charge in your unit.

Having your HVAC run continuously when the outside temp. is 105 is just fine. Even at 100 it is fine, and 95 is OK. You should not and can not expect more than a 30 degree drop. If it is there, the humidity will not be low enough on normal days, and you are both uncomfortable and paying far too much for electricity. You will be forced to set your thermostat FAR too low to be comfortable.

In much of Nevada, the temp. will go to even 115. MANY houses don't have AC. They use evaporative coolers. These are basically chimneys that have humidifier pads in the top, and they are kept wet. The evaporation of water cools it drastically, and that cooler air comes down the "chimney" and the air goes out either vents at the base of the walls, or out slightly open windows. Since the outside air is nearly totally dry, the "cooler" air with still dry humidity makes us comfortable. I am happy in Las Vegas at 115 when I am in the shade. It is DRY.

Dry beats cool or cold any day.

From both a comfort and energy cost standpoint you are MUCH better off with an undersized unit than an oversized unit.

Mr Matt

Eustis, FL
·Embarq Now Centu..
reply to inGearX
One thing I failed to mention in my initial post was the problem installing additional wiring in a two story house built on a slab. Adding wiring on the first floor is almost impossible without cutting holes in the ceiling to pull the wires.

The budgetary prices I quoted for an elevator or a wheelchair lift included the cost of constructing a shaft way. One can achieve a considerable saving if the shaft way is created when the house is constructed.

If I had a choice I would install a wheelchair lift. The lift system is different than an elevator and does not require regular inspections. The open top of the platform allows the wheelchair lift to be used to move furniture that would not fit in a residential elevator cab. The largest standard platform is 60 Inches by 45 Inches which is larger than most residential elevator cabs.

Here is a link to a planning guide for the installation of a wheelchair lift:

»www.garaventalift.com/dsgn/Genes ··· uide.pdf

The same company also manufactures residential elevators.


Austin, TX
reply to inGearX
Many years ago, when I departed the Air Force, we stayed with a friend of my wife's while job hunted and she finished her college degree. At that time we had a 1 year old who was extremely mobile.

We stayed in a couple of bedrooms upstairs, and, after that experience, I have zero, actually less than zero, desire to ever own or build a 2 story house. Among other problems was the gate across the stairs (top and bottom) to keep the child from trying to go up or come down in a very rapid manner.

North, VA
said by Austinloop:

I have zero, actually less than zero, desire to ever own or build a 2 story house.

In 1984 my wife and I built a 2 story colonial. Ten years later we had enough of going up and down the stairs to the bedroom. We sold it in 1995. Never again.


Austin, TX
It only took us about 3 monts to decide nada 2 stories. Ever since then one story houses.


Surprise, AZ
reply to inGearX
I've lived in both 1 and 2 story houses, and everyone else has pretty much covered everything. As I'm getting older, I'm starting to think more about getting up the stairs. But I think I have two options. One, I've seen those commercials for those lifts that you sit on and they take you up. Or if I really get in bad shape, I can convert what is now the downstairs gameroom to a bedroom.