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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a pretty standard colonial 2500sqft home.The a/c works great on the main level,not so great on the second level,and the basement is super cold with only 2 small vents that i have closed off.There are air returns in all 4 bedrooms that are free of obstruction.There are no air returns in the basement.
Would it be advisable to put a vent grate in the air return duct in the basement to use some of the cold air to recirculate to the upstairs maybe making the cooling system not have to work as hard?I dont think the ductwork to the upstairs bedrooms was designed very well as it is also hard to warm the bedrooms in the wintertime but can not dismantle the whole house to redo it.Supplemental heat in the bedrooms in use has been manageable but dont want to stick a window unit in each bedroom to cool it.
 

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You already answered your own questions.
But to be blunt, no, that wont make a noticeable difference at all. You have a bad duct design that is fighting simple physics. Hot air rises, cold air sinks, subterrain(basements) are impacted significantly less by heat infiltration as ground is always cooler. If you have all your returns and plenty of them upstairs, than only thing you could try is some balancing of supply runs if possible. Damper lower levels down some. Id suggest slowing the blower speed down too, but i doubt itd help unless you can balance/damper down some supplies. My $.02
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You already answered your own questions.
But to be blunt, no, that wont make a noticeable difference at all. You have a bad duct design that is fighting simple physics. Hot air rises, cold air sinks, subterrain(basements) are impacted significantly less by heat infiltration as ground is always cooler. If you have all your returns and plenty of them upstairs, than only thing you could try is some balancing of supply runs if possible. Damper lower levels down some. Id suggest slowing the blower speed down too, but i doubt itd help unless you can balance/damper down some supplies. My $.02
Thank you for your time.Would i see a diff if i blocked the returns on the main level so it only sucked air from the bedrooms ?My uneducated guess is the supply ducting is not sufficient going up the middle of the house to the second level but might be able to compensate this way.supplies already dont blow much upstairs compared to downstairs.Other friend suggested leaving fan continuously on at night time but it may shorten blower life.
 

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You could try that, but be mindful of your total cfms going back. Its ok if theres enough n they pulling alil harder up stairs, but you have to verify you have enough return cfms to satisfy the unit
 

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Remember, the unit doesn't make air, it just conditions it. It must pull back what it puts out or the evap coil will freeze up.
 

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Thank you for your time.Would i see a diff if i blocked the returns on the main level so it only sucked air from the bedrooms ?My uneducated guess is the supply ducting is not sufficient going up the middle of the house to the second level but might be able to compensate this way.supplies already dont blow much upstairs compared to downstairs.Other friend suggested leaving fan continuously on at night time but it may shorten blower life.
When you start with Inadequate ductwork and start closing supplies and returns your asking more from the blower while also effecting air flow across the coil/strips/exchanger/whatever.
lt really sounds like a job a wouldn't want to take at work. Not sure if an easy cheap fix will work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks guys i will consider all of your points and try some minor experiments this weekend.Im sure the house is a victim of cost cutting shortcuts when built that i have to live with until i buy the next piece of shit house.
 

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Depending on the actual ductwork. You could possibly try an zoned setup. It's not cheap and the ductwork would need to have been split up correctly. Could be possible though. Goodluck!
 

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You already have supplemental heat for the wintertime, why not supplemental a/c?

That's what I did, our master bedroom faces the west so it gets the late afternoon hot sun pretty much all day so that one particular room gets pretty stuffy but the rest of the house is nice and cool, I work nights and sleep during the daytime so something had to be done.

I went with a stand alone unit for the simple fact I can't stand to see a window unit hanging out of a window, with a stand alone, it's just a small exhaust vent that's barely even noticeable, and let me tell you, these things fucking WORK!, I can get my bedroom to 61 degrees if I wanted too, no condensate drain to worry about either.

Depending on the size you need, they range from $300-$600 bucks, money well spent IMO.


 

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I have similar house 2200 sq 2 stories a couple of things you could do put a ceiling fan in the stair well pulling up the air or turn your fan on the furnace to the on position pushing the air upstairs at all times .before I pu a new unit in I would put a fan in the stair well blowing up the stairs this help a little but the furnace fan worked the best
 

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First off, heat does not rise!
Heated air does!
Got that from a teacher decades ago.

The top story is always going to be warmer because of the warmer air rising but the absorption of heat through the roof from the sun is probably the problem.

If you have an attic, make sure it's well vented and insulated. Perhaps add an attic fan. The heat is generated during the day while the sun is out. Once the temperature drops, you still have an attic that's an oven from the radiant heat unless you cool it down. Use a temp gun to check ceiling temps inside the house.

If you have cathedral ceilings, not much you can do. Unless you run a sprinkler on your roof!

The split systems are pretty sweet for an easy fix though. No more installing and removing window units. They are also quieter and don't take up a window.
 

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Ceiling fans push the hot air down no matter what way they are spinning, only use them in the winter. They also consume a lot of wasted power. Not worth having unless the ceilings are real high. If you have a large enough furnace you need to Zone it. Never saw a 2 story or cape cod that didn't need it to work right. Your bill will go down quite a bit too. No more blocking anything The upstairs will have is own thermostat and there will be dampers in the ducts to direct the heat or ac where its needed. A single furnace and ac has to be big enough to handle the entire house to work right. If you don't, you have to add another small furnace to the upstairs. Basement; If you don't want to run a thermostat down there which most don't unless its finished, shut the ducts off in the summer and open them wide open in the winter.
 

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I have the same problem with my old restorations, system was never designed to cool them. Most of the time the attics are huge in those houses. I install a second system for the upstairs in the attic.
A mini split might be your best solution.
 
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