Why Doesn’t the Air Conditioning Reach the 2nd Floor?

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Why Doesn’t the Air Conditioning Reach the 2nd Floor?

It’s that time of year again. We are all making the decision as to when to fire up the old air conditioning system. Most of us are fortunate enough to have central air but not everyone is so lucky as to have two or even three zones. While having multiple zones of air does come with additional costs of installation, it certainly provides for a much more comfortable home, partly because the cold air for the second floor is being pushed down from the attic as opposed to up from the basement.

I can’t tell you how many folks I have met with that tell me the cold air from the air handler in the basement just doesn’t make it up to the second or third floor. The fact is that it is getting up there but it simply has nowhere to go. I have put my hands in front of many vents on second and third floors and low and behold, there is cold air blowing out of them.

A home can only hold so much volume of air and if all of the warm air in the home has naturally risen to the top there is no space for the cold air to take up residence. This is where the critical component of return air comes into play. Return air is a process by which the warm air is cycled back to the air handler and reconditioned to the temperature at which the system is distributing air. Simply put, it takes the warm air out of the space and makes it cold before sending it back through the ducts.

HVAC systems are much more involved than many people realize. There are a number of complicated mathematical equations that must be done to design and install a system that will function properly in your specific home. Before just calling the big name HVAC contractor in an effort to get the cold air to the second floor, reach out to someone with the technical expertise to understand your system and the proper demeanor to take the time and explain it to you. Keep in mind, you may need more than a high end system to change the way the air moves in your home.

Christopher Lux has spent the last 15 years in the residential remodeling industry and is a Design Build Consultant with Harth Builders in Spring House, PA. Chris is available for in home consultations as well as speaking engagements by calling 215-654-0364.