My basement is 8 degrees cooler than my main floor.

sea_kozJune 20, 2012

Hi Folks,

We added an air conditioner to our 1956 one story home. The result is that if it's 68 degrees in the main floor, it's 60 degrees in our daylight basement.

Is this something an HVAC guy can fix? What would a fix look like?



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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

Cool air drops, turn the thermostat up some

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 4:23AM
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Maybe adjust the dampers (if you have them) to get more flow upstairs. Or adjust the register louvers (open fully upstairs, partially below.)

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 7:16AM
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If you divert AC away from the basement, the air will not get the same level of dehumidification that it is now getting, so you may then need to run a dehumidifier to balance that out. The dehumidifier will itself add heat to the basement and you will have to balance the damper again.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 7:16PM
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As well, seal the joints with mastic or metal duct tape.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 9:01AM
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So what Suger Daddy is paying your electric bill? 68 degrees on the main floor? is that where the meat cooler is?
It's a basement. If you turned the AC off what would the temperature difference be?
Sorry for the sarcasm. I am having trouble getting by the 68 degree part. Where do you set the thermostat in winter, 75?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 9:42PM
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I live in the pacific northwest, electricity is relatively cheap here (it's all hydroelectric) and the temps outside aren't very hot so it really doesn't take much work for my heat pump to chill the house. In the winter we keep the house at 70, again, it doesn't take much effort to keep the house warm either.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 11:32PM
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Yep. Hydro provides 44.1% in Oregon and 72% in Washington.

Residential electricity in Washington averages 8.38 cents a kilowatt hour vs. 12cents kwh nationally.

No Sugar Daddies needed.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 2:38AM
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The temperature difference is a result of the basic laws of physics and if you expect to overcome them you better get prepared to spend some serious money.

First off, for the ground floor and any floors above that the entire exterior wall is exposed to the outdoor ambient conditions. Add to that, the sun load and wind load, then you have to add in infiltration gain/loss, which in some circumstances is actually more than the ambient gain/loss.

Next. consider the ceiling load on the top floor. That ceiling is right below the attic space and the attic can be 40 or 50deg hotter or cooler than the outdoor temp.

Now look at the basement. Generally 60 to 70% of the basement wall is below grade so there is no wind & solar load. In summer at about 10-12" below grade the soil temp is at the natural geothermal temp of 55-60deg so in the basement 60 to 70% of the wall and the entire floor is at geothermal temp.

Now you could insolate the basement ceiling and install doors that would isolate the basement, then install an HVAC system that has a separate zone for the basement or you could accept the fact that it is a basic rule of nature that the basement is cooler in summer.

That is why wild animals live in burrows, because the temp is a constant 55-60deg year around. Thats also why when you leave your dog out in the yard in summer he/she will dig a hole to lay in. It's just nature

Now in regards to the cost of electric. My electric is 13.556cent per Kw/hr and I still keep my T-stat at 72 the year around....its my house, and if I want to be comfortable thats my business.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 11:04AM
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To each his own. Since we installed central air, we have found it to be surprisingly comfortable set at 78 due in part to the AC reducing indoor re. humidity to around 50. But if it needs to be set lower once in a while, that's ok, too.

(We're in the swamp called Washington, DC/N. VA).

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 12:06PM
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When we had homes with ng fireplaces in the basement, it often helped to turn them on low on hot summer days.


Speaking of ac, I built a home for clients who set the temp at 60 degrees F, or lower, in the summer. (Maybe related to Letterman.)

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 8:31PM
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70 in the winter and 68 in summer? That's like going out in public naked and going to bed fully clothed.
Try 62-65 in winter and 75 in summer, which to ME makes more sense. You should enjoy the savings no matter how it's generated.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 1:12PM
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Tasmania's new art museum, MONA, offers a nude guided tour. I wonder what temp setting they use.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 6:53PM
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Circus Peanut

LOL @ homebound!

To each their own; I don't think there's any "normal" comfort level. I lived in northern CA for a number of years and although it only went down to the 50's all winter, it was also in the 50's in the largely unheated houses: I shivered all the time. Now that I live in the far Northeast I'm much warmer inside when the temps are below zero. Go figure!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 8:49AM
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You have several options to help improve the temperature difference. Does the basement have returns, if not add them. Run the air handler fan constantly to distribute the air more evenly. They also sell thermostats that let you program the fan independent of the heating/cooling demand, so you can run the fan constantly during the hours you expect to be in there.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 7:34AM
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Thanks Chris!

I'm going to have returns added as part of my home remodel that's going on this summer. The fan is always running, in the meantime, i've sealed off the three vents in my basement and that's done wonders to keeping the temperature difference reasonable.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 1:12PM
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