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Community and Q&A

Cathedral ceiling living room gets too cool in the winter

kensny | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

Our cathedral ceiling living room gets too cool in the winter. Can a reversed ceiling fan be used to push heat down? Or what other method could be used?

We have a house with a cathedral living room. (NY State). The living room gets cool in the winter, evidently because the heat is rising. Can a ceiling fan (reversed) be used to push the hot air down as “they” say – does this really work? And what other method (if any) would help?

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    The glib answer would be, "If you feel cold, turn up the thermostat." But I'm pretty sure I know what you are talking about. You are talking about a room with a high ceiling that is cold during the winter, even when every other room in the house is comfortable.

    I don't recommend that you use the ceiling fan; moving air feels even colder than air that is still.

    The usual cause of this problems is air leakage. Warm, conditioned air is escaping from cracks in your ceiling, and the air is being replaced by cold outdoor air that enters your home through cracks near the floor.

    The solution to this problem is to seal the air leaks. The best way to do this work is with a blower door; the procedure is called blower-door-directed air sealing. If you can find a home performance contractor or weatherization contractor in your area who owns a blower door, you're all set.

    This problem may be exacerbated by a poorly designed heating system. It's hard to know if this is true in your house without a site visit.

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