Stupid air conditioning question.

posted 3 years ago in Home
Post # 3
Member
458 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@MrsPanda99:  In every floor vent in the house there is a defuser that controls air pressure.  If you reach into the vents you’ll find a flap that you can push up or down, make sure that for the upstairs they are completely open and allows for maximum air flow.  On the lower levels close the defusers slightly, this will force more cold air upstairs and help keep the temperature in the house more regular.  It’s a common problem in multi-level homes because the duct runs for upstairs are longer and the farther the air has to travel the more it warms up and the lower the pressure is, especially if all the defusers on the lower levels are wide open. 

 

Post # 4
Member
2562 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

No, it’s typical, espcially if there isn’t good airflow in the house (which is really common).

I grew up in a center-stair colonial house, which was great for airflow – it was 3 floors, and the central stair acted like an air shaft to bring all the air to the attic.. which then became hot, humid, and stuffy (we had to install an attic fan). The house was never AC cool, but it did help a bit. We still used air conditioners though, because we had single-pane windows throughout (they don’t insulate at all, so there’s no thermal barrier).
Oh, that house was also 100 years old.

Also, ground temp plays a big factor – does the lower floor touch the ground at all? If so, that acts as an insulator (which is why basements are so cool all year round)

Cross-ventilation with stratigically opened windows will help the air to flow when the AC isn’t on, if you can manage to do that.

Post # 6
Member
666 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

If it’s central air, you might try setting the furnace fan to “on” instead of “auto”.  What I find is that the thermostat floor is comfortable and the upper floor gets hot and the A/C only responds to the thermostat and goes on less or not at all.  But if you use the fan to circulate the air you get more cool air upstairs and warm air down so that things are more equalized.

 

Post # 7
Member
10986 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

I spent seven years living in a three-level townhouse. It’s very typical. Even with my opening all vents upstairs and closing many on the lower levels, my upstairs was about eight degrees hotter than my mid level, which I had to keep quite cold so that my upstairs wasn’t even hotter than it was.

I don’t think there is a way (unless you have zoned AC with multiple units responsible for each level) to adjust this.

Post # 8
Member
1340 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

We live in a two floor townhouse and always keep the vents downstairs closed. Helps somewhat, but it’s still and issue!

Post # 9
Member
820 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

DH works in HVAC and I just asked him. He says it’s totally normal, especially for older homes. Duct design was likely done by a plumber and it’s designed for heat, not necessarily AC, meaning its return air isn’t super efficient. It would take thousands of dollars to improve the duct work. :/

Post # 10
Member
7281 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast

Another vote for “it’s normal”. In my old townhouse the main level was comfy but upstaris was always too warm. We used window AC units in the upstairs bedrooms to supplement the central AC and make the rooms comfortable. Our current home has 2 units, one for the main level and one for upstairs, so it’s always perfect. It’s more expensive to have to replace 2 units, but it’s worth it for the comfort and efficiency.

Post # 11
Member
11300 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

Pretty typical. My ex had a two story newer house and it was always like this. Cool air is more dense and there’s not much you can do to change that. Our one-story apartment is on the third floor and, while it’s great in the winter because we get everyone else’s warm air, it’s hell in the summer and our sad little condenser can’t cut it. We had a solid week of 100F weather last year and our poor unit ran 24/7 that week to keep our apartment at 78F. Our bill was so high that FI refuses to turn on the AC now. :

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