Improve Flow of Air Conditioning
LESLIE: Kendra in Kansas, you’re on The Money Pit. How can we help?
KENDRA: We have a problem with our air conditioner. Our upstairs bedroom -we have like an attic bedroom that’s very cool but yet our kids’ bedrooms, which are downstairs on the main floor, are not getting cool. We just got it put in – central air – about two years ago.
TOM: And is the air handler upstairs in the attic?
KENDRA: No, it’s actually downstairs.
TOM: Really? That’s odd. That’s like completely opposite of what you would expect.
KENDRA: Yeah, exactly. (chuckling)
TOM: Well, I’m guessing where the kids’ bedroom is, Kendra, is that that’s probably like the farthest room from the air conditioner. Because generally, the farthest room away is the one that’s going to cool the worse. It also might be – is it on the south side of the house or the west side of the house or a side that takes …?
KENDRA: It’s on the south side of the house. There’s a pool on the other side which has got pure tree coverage.
TOM: Yeah, so what’s happening is you’re getting a lot of solar gain there. Basically it’s out of balance. You need to have the HVAC contractor come back in and tweak it. I will say that in some cases, especially when you retrofit an existing home, it’s not always possible to get sort of a letter perfect flow; the same kind of flow and balance that you could have if you were building this house from scratch. You know – and I have an older house, for example, and we put central air conditioning in and it was great. But there were a couple of areas of the house – and especially my office, which is on the west side, that – we just got so much sun it just never cooled properly. So we had to put, actually, a second system in there to kind of make up for that. So it sounds to me like there might be some additional balancing to be done. And that’s something that a pro should do for you.
LESLIE: You guys get the craziest mix of weather. It’s so funny. In the summer, Kansas can be so unearthly hot. And then in the winter, you guys get these crazy snow storms. It’s like this strange vortex of the universe.
KENDRA: And ice storms, too. It gets very cold. (laughing)
TOM: Well Kendra, if you’ve only had this system for two years, do you still communicate with the HVAC contractor that put it in?
KENDRA: Yes, I do.
TOM: Well, I think that you need to have him come back and let’s look at some – first choice would be can the existing system be tweaked to deliver more air – both supply and return air – to that room. And if it can’t, what other options do we have for improving the balance in the kids’ room so that everyone in the family’s just as comfortable.
LESLIE: You know, it might just be the location of the vent in the room. It might be the location of the vent – the duct – to the return. There’s so many things that they can fix, Kendra.
TOM: Yeah, I mean I can’t tell you how many times in the years I spent as a professional home inspector that I found disconnected ducts and silly things like that. So bring them back; let’s talk about it and get it straightened out.
Kendra, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.