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sbattisti 05-20-2010 08:22 PM

Question / Forced Air
Hi folks,

I am a complete and utter newbie when it comes to things related to heating and cooling, but I have a question!

I own a 3-story townhouse. The HVAC system is forced air. It's an older system, probably right around 15 years old. There is only one thermostat in the house, on the 1st floor. The system actually works pretty well, and I maintain it regularly and change the filter.

There is a loft on the 3rd floor, in which my son sleeps, and the problem is that his room gets ridiculously hot. For example, today it was 80 out, and I have the thermostat set to 70. The basement, 1st, and 2nd floors are all fine. But the loft is probably 85 degrees. There is a vent in his room, and if I force the air conditioning on by setting the thermostat lower, I can feel air flowing, but it's not very strong, and obviously not enough to cancel out the heat. Of course, if I lower the thermostat on a regular basis, the rest of the house gets freezing.

I realize that hot air rises and all of that, and that his room will always likely be slightly warmer, but is there anything I can do to keep his room to at least a bearable temperature without icing over the rest of the house?

I'd love to find some resolution to this before the summer months arrive.

Of note, possibly: I've been living here for 2 years, and I've never had the ducts cleaned or anything like that.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Also, if you're going to give me any feedback, please bear in mind that I know pretty much zero about HVACs and home maintenance, so speak slowly and use small words. :)

Thanks all!

beenthere 05-20-2010 09:02 PM

Try running the fan 24/7 for a couple days. If that helps. Then you may want to consider a thermostat that has fan circ ability. What that is. Is if the thermostat hasn't called for either heating or cooling in X minutes. It will run the fan, for X minutes.

Saves on your electric bill.

yuri 05-20-2010 09:03 PM

Probably not much you can do as the room is the furthest away from the furnace and has the most feet of piping with elbows etc that restrict the airflow. You can try reduce some of the airflow to the main and 2nd floor but need to be careful that does not overload the furnace and ice up the unit. Ceiling fans help push the air down the stairwells and are a cheap and useful way to help. Otherwise you need some professional help to look at your ductwork and see what can possibly be done. A GOOD tech with an airflow velometer can measure the amount of airflow and start balancing the ductwork to force more air upstairs and check the freon level etc to make sure it does not freezeup etc. A window air conditioner (shaker) is another alternative if he can sleep with the noise, most are reasonably quiet. There are also portable airconditioners (look like a dehumidifier) which are very quiet but need venting to the outdoors.

jerzeedivr 05-26-2010 01:29 PM

adjust vents
I have same problem, you need to partially close 1 floor vents and 2 floor vents to get system to reach 3 floor. you will also need to close bed room doors to keeep cooler air from dropping down stairs. In the summer i also block bed room return vents at base board because it will drop cool air. You will have to readjust for winter/summer. heat rises cool air drops so in summer send more cool air up because it will drop and winter the opposite. I hope this helps.

sbattisti 06-09-2010 12:56 PM

Thanks everyone, I'll see what I can do. My options are somewhat limited, as it's a loft with no door, and the only window is in the ceiling, so it would be pretty challenging to mount a window A/C.

Thanks again!

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