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Old 06-09-2008, 10:48 AM   #1
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How to cool second floor of house??


What's up guys?

I bought a new house in July of last year. It's two stories with a two-story foyer and two-story family room. There's a slight temperature differential between the first and second floors. Does anyone have any suggestions on remedying this problem? I was thinking about installing an attic fan to get some of the hot air out of the attic. Does anyone have any experience with this?? Does it work?? Is it cost-effective?? Thanks,

Kevin

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Old 06-09-2008, 11:14 AM   #2
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How to cool second floor of house??


New house? New as in just built or new to you?

Where are you located? In many instances, attic fans will just draw up already conditioned air. Are the hvac units properly sized? Is the attic properly insulated?

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Old 06-09-2008, 12:19 PM   #3
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How to cool second floor of house??


It was built new in July of last year. I'm in South Jersey. Yes, the attic is insulated.

There's not a huge temperature difference between the upstairs and downstairs, but the problem is definitely the most pronounced in the master bedroom, which is also the room farthest away from the air conditioner in the basement.

I've read about the problems related to drawing air-conditioned air out of the house but I've also read some pretty convincing testimonials of people that swear by attic fans. My thought is that as long as there are an adequate number of passive vents in the attic, air drawn from the rest of the house should only be minimal.
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Old 06-09-2008, 02:17 PM   #4
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How to cool second floor of house??


Just to be sure, you're talking about a powered attic vent, right? Not a whole-house fan that draws air through the house (via open windows) and up into the attic? We tend to call whole-house fans attic fans, which could easily be misinterpreted.

A powered attic vent will help keep your attic cooler by ventilating it better, which will certainly help keep your 2nd floor cooler. Unless you have an unusually high amount of air loss through your 2nd floor ceiling, I don't think you'll have any trouble with it sucking the cool air out of the house.

A whole house fan is a great option, but will absolutely suck out all the conditioned air in minutes. Whole house fans are great for cooling the house when it is nice outside and you have the windows open, but to run it when the AC is on would simply equal throwing dollar bills out the window.
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Old 06-09-2008, 02:21 PM   #5
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How to cool second floor of house??


would a whole house fan be a good option to cool a house that isn't air conditioned?
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Old 06-09-2008, 03:09 PM   #6
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How to cool second floor of house??


Quote:
Originally Posted by pwhoolboom View Post
would a whole house fan be a good option to cool a house that isn't air conditioned?
Yes. It won't make it any cooler than the outside temperature, but the massive amount of air movement will make it feel cooler than it is. It still wouldn't make a house without AC safe for kids, pets, or the elderly on hot days.
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Old 06-09-2008, 04:05 PM   #7
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How to cool second floor of house??


Quote:
Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
Yes. It won't make it any cooler than the outside temperature, but the massive amount of air movement will make it feel cooler than it is. It still wouldn't make a house without AC safe for kids, pets, or the elderly on hot days.

I live in a pumice block house in Seattle so it never really gets that hot...But...I'm the type of guy that wears khaki shorts and flip flops in the rain so I like being cold...hahaha
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Old 08-08-2009, 11:08 PM   #8
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How to cool second floor of house??


Yeah not a whole house fan, but a solar attic fan

http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product...=1&topnav=&s=1

I am trying to get one option now that would work. So I am seeing radiant barrier, attic fan or room dehumidifier/AC....
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Old 08-09-2009, 06:32 AM   #9
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How to cool second floor of house??


I assume you are talking about temps when the A/C is on??? If yes, was the HVAC system balanced, I suspect not.
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Old 08-09-2009, 07:42 AM   #10
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How to cool second floor of house??


Two observations:

1) When I encounter bedrooms that are not properly cooling at home inspections here in Chicago - especially in older homes which have been retrofitted with central air and in rehabs - lack of sufficient return air flow from the bedroom (or no designed return path at all) is often a major contributing factor.

Finding an AC contractor who really understands how to straighten out this kind of problem can be extremely difficult, I'm aware of only two in Chicago (there certainly others here, but I've not run into them).

2) In older structures without adequate vapor retarders - and even in many newer newer structures, depending on how well the floor the attic is sealed - installing an attic ventilation fan can suck huge amounts of conditioned air out of the house into the attic. This effect is greatly amplified when insufficient makeup air is provided into the attic from the exterior, and this effect is made worse by the fact that many home supply stores did not the stock lower capacity fans appropriate for smaller and mid-size attics.

See for example this note from Dominion Power:

http://paragoninspects.com/pdf/vent/attic/dominion-no-pav.PDF


And this review of current research:

http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/publicati...CR-1496-05.pdf
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Last edited by Michael Thomas; 08-09-2009 at 07:52 AM.
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Old 08-09-2009, 11:59 AM   #11
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How to cool second floor of house??


At my place I had a similar problem.
The return air for the bedrooms was via the stairwell.

I found an open stud cavity in the wall between the bedrooms and the upper hallway.
I installed two heating registers at the top and bottom of the cavity on the bedroom side. And another one at the bottom of the cavity on the hall/stairway side.
In summer I open the top register on the b/r side where the hot air collects. The hot air is forced/drawn down thru the cavity and back down the stairs.
In winter the top register is closed and the bottom is opened.
Of course, the b/r doors must be kept closed, for this to work.
An additional benefit of this is that the b/r doors are always closed, so in case of fire and smoke, the bedrooms are safer!

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