Cooling Rooms With Cathedral Ceilings
LESLIE: Ed in Iowa is on the line with a heating-and-cooling question. What can we help you with today?
ED: I’ve got a home that’s a – it’s a ranch style on the basement, about 3,000 square feet. And probably half of the upstairs, the living room and the kitchen and dining room is cathedral ceiling. That part of the house seems to stay about 10-15 degrees warmer than the rest of the house. I’ve had the A/C checked and they say the size is adequate, so I was wondering if there – is it insulation problem and is there a way to correct that?
TOM: Well, it’s basically heat loss and yes, whenever you have a cathedral ceiling, you can’t get as much insulation in that ceiling structure. And because heat rises and you’ve got that ceiling up there, you’re going to have a warmer second floor.
So how do you combat that? Well, there’s a couple of things. One of which is – do you have ceiling fans up there?
TOM: Alright. And the ceiling fans are not helping? Are they pushing that warm air down so that it can be cooled in the summer?
ED: It helps a small amount.
TOM: One of the things you want to do is considering supplementing with a split-ductless system or a mini split-ductless. It’s usually easier to do that than to overrun the main air conditioner to get the second floor cooler. In the long run, you’ll use less energy that way. Sometimes in a – depending on the home design, you’re going to get a warm area of the house that just can’t get enough air delivered to it because of its design.
In my home, I’ve got an office on the west side of the house and it just happens to be pretty far from where the air handler is and so it always stays a bit warmer. And I put a split-ductless system in there just to kind of supplement the central air. We still have central air in the same space but the split-ductless supplements it quite nicely and does a really good job of keeping it very cool and comfortable in those warm summer days. So, I would suggest you consider that as an option here.
ED: OK. Now, would it help to put like a power vent in the roof?
TOM: No, because you don’t have an attic. You have a cathedral, so there’s no attic space there. Plus, those exhaust – those attic exhaust fans typically take as much air-conditioned air out of the house as they do hot air, because they depressurize the attic so much that they tend to draw it down into the house and steal some air-conditioned air at the same time.
ED: OK. Alright. That makes sense.