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How do I prevent overheating in a 2nd floor (cost effectively)?

I am trying to help someone problem solve and over heated 2nd story here in Portland, OR. This person has central A/C, but doesn't like using it and it doesn't effectively cool the 2nd floor as well. The house has vaulted ceilings, which makes adding a 2nd floor return in the ceiling cost prohibitive.

The client is open to a wall mounted fan. Given that we live in a heating climate, does anyone know of an insulated wall mounted fan that would work for this application (2x6 walls).

Any other bright ideas?

Asked by Tyler Dotten
Posted Dec 4, 2012 2:19 PM ET
Edited Dec 4, 2012 2:29 PM ET


2 Answers

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There are two possible approaches: using an air conditioner, or using a fan.

It's unclear from your question whether the client doesn't use the air conditioner because it is ineffective, or because the client doesn't like air conditioning. The first case is a problem that can be solved; the second case is not a problem.

If the client prefers a fan, the obvious choice is a ceiling (paddle) fan. Needless to say, a fan won't lower the indoor temperature. To lower the indoor temperature, you need an air conditioner. If the current equipment isn't working, diagnose the problem and fix it.

Answered by Martin Holladay
Posted Dec 4, 2012 2:27 PM ET


Ducts designed for heating don't always work as well when doing double-duty as air-conditioning ducts, especially in lightly insulated 2 & 3 story homes.

Rather than a wall-mounted fan, a 3/4 ton ductless mini-split heat pump with a wall mounted cassette would do it , but it's a pricier option. At low blower speed they're quieter than a refrigerator, unlike most ducted AC systems, and a better one would be 2x or even 3x as efficient as central AC. A full heat pump version is a few hundred more than an AC only version, but would cost less than heating with natural gas during the shoulder seasons.

Answered by Dana Dorsett
Posted Dec 4, 2012 6:03 PM ET

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