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Old 2010-07-05, 12:30 PM
robmack robmack is offline
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Default AC not cooling upstairs properly, basement is a fridge

With this recent heat wave, it was the first time to really test out our AC unit and the overall HVAC system in our new house (new construction, took posession 3 weeks ago), ac was put in after possesion by a third party, i've called him and waiting for him to call me back, in the meantime i figured i'd get other peoples opinions on here

Our main floor cools properly, our second floor is hot and refuses to cool down, it is cooled down more than no AC at all, but its not very comfortable no matter how low i put the thermostat.

The air flow doesn't seem to be the greatest upstairs (second floor), some ducts are ok, some are faint, i found 1 with nothing coming out of it, will definitely put this on my 30 day, but what can they really do if the problems are in the walls somewhere, i will also try taping up the basement whatevers exposed and easily accessable.

my questions are 1) when i put the upstairs second floor air flow on my 30 day report, what can i expect from the builder, if they do whatever they can in the basement and its still faint, do i have any recourse? the builder has been easy to work with, but i dont' see them offering to tear down walls to fix it, what can i do?

and 2) i went into my basement and theres many ducts there open and POURING ac into the baseement where it is totally wasted, they're also the cheap vents covering the ducts in the ceiling,theres no sliding vent to block them, is there a reason for this? do i really need 4 or 5 vents pouring valuable cold air into the basement? sorry if this is a stupid question, i would assume i can block them and leave like 1 open, but maybe theres a reason you can't even block them, either that or the builder just cheaped out down there

Last edited by robmack; 2010-07-05 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 2010-07-05, 12:53 PM
onearmed onearmed is offline
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Block all of them or buy vents that close. In the summer you should always close all basement ducts.
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  #3  
Old 2010-07-05, 12:56 PM
robmack robmack is offline
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is the best way to block them those vents that slide closed, or is there a better way that blocks it better
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Old 2010-07-05, 01:01 PM
lex_rx lex_rx is offline
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Here's an excerpt from an analysis done by an HVAC expert on my HVAC system. So check that all the flaps on your ducts are open and that returns are not blocked by anything including furniture, etc.

You can also ask the builder to tape your duct joints or you can do that yourself now.

Also, if you use one of those 3M filters, try using the cheaper kind. According to a number of HVAC folks I've spoken to said those 3M filters have been a great stimulus program to the HVAC service and repair industry. :-)

==============

As we had discussed, your existing return duct work is too small for the furnace, and for the air conditioner.
I would recommend to have the builder return to remedy the problems, as it was their responsibility to size and install it correctly in the first place.
The areas requiring rework are:
- joist lining from furnace area to center of basement jumper needs to be 2 joists wide, instead on 1 wide.
- need more return off 8x24 duct at furnace, such as enlarging the return for the family room to 2 spaces wide.
These changes will allow for adequate airflow for the 3.5 ton A/C, and to prevent the furnace from "running on high-limit" (overheating) in winter.
Also, no air conditioner is going to cool the 2nd floor adequately with only 2 returns functioning.
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Last edited by lex_rx; 2010-07-05 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 2010-07-05, 01:49 PM
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mc_ottawa mc_ottawa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robmack View Post
With this recent heat wave, it was the first time to really test out our AC unit and the overall HVAC system in our new house (new construction, took posession 3 weeks ago), ac was put in after possesion by a third party, i've called him and waiting for him to call me back, in the meantime i figured i'd get other peoples opinions on here

Our main floor cools properly, our second floor is hot and refuses to cool down, it is cooled down more than no AC at all, but its not very comfortable no matter how low i put the thermostat.

The air flow doesn't seem to be the greatest upstairs (second floor), some ducts are ok, some are faint, i found 1 with nothing coming out of it, will definitely put this on my 30 day, but what can they really do if the problems are in the walls somewhere, i will also try taping up the basement whatevers exposed and easily accessable.

my questions are 1) when i put the upstairs second floor air flow on my 30 day report, what can i expect from the builder, if they do whatever they can in the basement and its still faint, do i have any recourse? the builder has been easy to work with, but i dont' see them offering to tear down walls to fix it, what can i do?

and 2) i went into my basement and theres many ducts there open and POURING ac into the baseement where it is totally wasted, they're also the cheap vents covering the ducts in the ceiling,theres no sliding vent to block them, is there a reason for this? do i really need 4 or 5 vents pouring valuable cold air into the basement? sorry if this is a stupid question, i would assume i can block them and leave like 1 open, but maybe theres a reason you can't even block them, either that or the builder just cheaped out down there
For the basement vents without covers, trying checking on the outside of the pipe, or reaching your arm in a bit.

There should be a trap door that you can open/close.

I closed all the trap doors in my basement vents where it wasn't directly venting a finished area (2 vents in total).

I also closed all the other vents in the basement except for one in the summer.

My house cools a lot easier now than it did before.
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Old 2010-07-05, 02:09 PM
twist twist is offline
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Check with the builder to ensure the ducts have been blown out (or you can look for those taped up holes in the basement ductwork). Remember all those sandwich wrappers and Tim Horton's cups in your yard? Not all of it made it outside. In a previous new home build, I found a very disgusting moldy discarded sandwich in my bedroom duct.
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Old 2010-07-05, 04:18 PM
robmack robmack is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twist View Post
Check with the builder to ensure the ducts have been blown out (or you can look for those taped up holes in the basement ductwork). Remember all those sandwich wrappers and Tim Horton's cups in your yard? Not all of it made it outside. In a previous new home build, I found a very disgusting moldy discarded sandwich in my bedroom duct.
ha ya, the builder said they cleaned the ducts and i saw the truck when they were doing it so technically they did do a duct cleaning, but i also had it done after from someone i trust and there was alot of stuff that came out..
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Old 2010-07-05, 05:50 PM
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BrianT BrianT is offline
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Post some temperatures up.

For me, main floor is 23 degrees, second floor is 26 degrees, basement is 21 degrees and all vents are closed down there.
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  #9  
Old 2010-07-06, 01:05 PM
robmack robmack is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mc_ottawa View Post
For the basement vents without covers, trying checking on the outside of the pipe, or reaching your arm in a bit.

There should be a trap door that you can open/close.

I closed all the trap doors in my basement vents where it wasn't directly venting a finished area (2 vents in total).

I also closed all the other vents in the basement except for one in the summer.

My house cools a lot easier now than it did before.
found em..thank you, hopefully this helps a bit
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  #10  
Old 2010-07-06, 01:37 PM
TKG26 TKG26 is offline
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My house:
THERMOSTAT SET FOR 22C

Basement 17C
Ground level 22C(stat location)
Top Floor 3 bedrooms:
23.5
21.5 (interestingly enough this room was the coldest room this winter)(mattamy since re-insulated the outside walls this spring)
23.4

Measured furniture temperature in each room(couch,beds ect) using infrared Thermometer.

Some dampers are closed in the basement. Some are partially closed on the main floor. We have return air runs to every room in the house including the hallways.

My advise to get a more level temp in the home:
-set it and forget it. Pick a temp you like and leave it there(dont try to set at 26 when your at work and then 20C for when u get home... you just wont get there. the house will be 6 degrees hotter and saturated with moisture.. it will take hours and hours to get it down)
- I program my stat as follows: 10pm 21C 5am 22C 8am 23C 5PM 22C and so on... I set cooler at night because if i leave it at 23C and it cools off outdoors the main floor will cool off and stop the unit from cycling on much over night, allowing the top floor to get warmer. The less your a/C cycles the more you get the stacking effect you get, and for us getting a good nights sleep is priority) In ottawa we get such huge outdoor temp swings that it can make it really tricky to get your indoor temp where u want it. And in some cases you just have to set the temp a bit lower... Opening windows is an option but if its humid outside or you forget to shut them the next day before another heat wave you fall behind again..
-run your fan all the time when its hot out.. Keeps the cool air moving around.
-close the blinds
-seal up your ducts in the basement with tin tape(get all the seams)
-use a cheap air filters and change it monthly(3m and other "tight" filters reduce air flow)
-if you own 5 desktop computers try turning off 4 of them! They pump out loads of heat!
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