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Any idea to cool down the 3rd level of my home?

28486 Views 18 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  federer
I bought a small 3-level town home (basement, level 1 and level 2), with central AC. The basement is pretty cool these days even without AC. The top floor is kinda warm even with AC on. I heard that hot hair goes up and cold air goes down, and this has to be the cause. Just wonder if any of you guys out there has any good tip to cool down the top floor. Does it help to set up a powerful fan on the top floor to force the air circulate across all 3 levels? Please give me your tips, thanks.
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I bought a small 3-level town home (basement, level 1 and level 2), with central AC. The basement is pretty cool these days even without AC. The top floor is kinda warm even with AC on. I heard that hot hair goes up and cold air goes down, and this has to be the cause. Just wonder if any of you guys out there has any good tip to cool down the top floor. Does it help to set up a powerful fan on the top floor to force the air circulate across all 3 levels? Please give me your tips, thanks.
There are probably no perfect solutions to this problem - at least not without spending some serious bucks. But here's what I'd suggest trying.

1. Adjust your registers. Close the ones in the basement, restrict main floor registers, and open the upper level ones all the way.

2. Your furnace might have a multi-speed fan. If it does, increased speed will increase circulation.

3. Circulate air with fans.


Probably not much help, but it's the best I've got. :)
 

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Thermally, the best way to minimize temperature stratification is to insulate and air seal the house more, which may or may not be practical. You are correct in stating that warm air, being less dense than cold air, will rise (heat does NOT; heat goes to cold. Warmer AIR rises, just like warmer water, over most temperature ranges, rises). Were this my problem, I would try to pump the warmer air back down to the basement via ducts instead of pushing it through other air and mixing it. I am certain ducts would be far more efficient.... though maybe not easy to install.
 

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Thermally, the best way to minimize temperature stratification is to insulate and air seal the house more, which may or may not be practical. You are correct in stating that warm air, being less dense than cold air, will rise (heat does NOT; heat goes to cold. Warmer AIR rises, just like warmer water, over most temperature ranges, rises). Were this my problem, I would try to pump the warmer air back down to the basement via ducts instead of pushing it through other air and mixing it. I am certain ducts would be far more efficient.... though maybe not easy to install.
you are right ducts would be best, but how feasible is that? I imagine the house is already covered in drywall/plaster and requires major demo and rebuild if you are connecting ducts from from 3rd to basement level...
 

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You can switch your thermostat FAN setting from AUTO (cycles only with AC or Heat) to ON (runs continuously). Downside is re-evaporating moisture back into home in AC mode.

You might also consider a mini-split (non ducted) unit for the upstairs as a kind of retrofit zoning solution.
 

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If you own the townhouse, you would be better off with a unit to feed 1/2 the second and the whole third floor. There is no way that a unit in the basement will properly cool or heat a house on the top floor, regardless what you do, or make changes such as putting a in-line duct fan. All a in-line duct fan is going to do, is cause problems later on down the road, not solve the issue with having a unit improper sized for your home.
 

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I would suggest installing a whole house attic fan if you can. Only can be used with AC off and windows open, perfect for cool mornings and nights. Install in upstairs hallway, large fans sucks air from downstairs windows and will pull all up stairs hot air out through the attic. Won't do much when you want to use AC, but for $150 bucks or so, it does wonders. Dropped my house 10 degrees the first night I installed it, dosen't help my home ac unit and windows suck though.
 

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Have someone come in and check the system.
Check the attic insulation.
Install an attic fan to get the super heated air out.
Ron
 

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Ron is correct. I live in Virginia and humidity and pollen are big problems. You need AC, not whole house fan. Seal and super-insulate the attic, including the hatch. That will save money year-round. If that's not good enough, a small window unit AC is an inexpensive supplement.
 
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