Help with HVAC problem

Hi,
My central AC unit is on the 3rd floor and we get no relief on the first floor. The only intake is in the ceiling of the second floor and the HVAC specialist tells me that that's the problem. His proposed solution is a second AC system for the first floor.
I'm thinking: why not take one of the outlet ducts and convert them to an intake? Crazy enough to work?
Thanks,
Sam
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Far too little info to even guess. It depends on the layout of the house, the location and number of all the returns and outlets, if the existing system is of sufficient capacity for the house, etc. If the existing system is large enough and it's possible to add significant return to the first floor, that will help. If the system is undersize or marginal, then a seperate system for the first floor sounds logical.
I can tell you that turning one outlet duct into a return is unlikely to make a material difference. You have no returns on the first floor. Just taking one outlet and making it into a return is not going to have enough duct capacity to do much. And you will obviously loose that outlet, which isn't what you want to do either.
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Without knowing more it's difficult to provide advice for this one. Where are you located? Is this an older house or a new house? Does the system provide heat as well as cool? Was the system originally sized to service the whole house? Did it ever cool the bottom floor? Does it have zone controls or is it just one thermostat?
Generally if the house has a fairly open floor plan having one return on the 2nd floor is not automatically a bad thing. There should be dampers on the unit that would allow you to cut back the air going to the upper floors forcing more air to the bottom. If the system provides heat and cooling you will need to adjust the dampers at the beginning of each summer and winter.
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On Sun, 10 Jul 2011 19:24:31 -0400, Sam Takoy wrote:

That would only allow enough air flow in as this small duct would allow, assuming you could find this duct and reroute it properly. The inlet needs to be larger than the outputs. Three floors is a lot to cover with one AC unit and one return air. It doesn't sound like it was installed correctly. All 3 floors need return air and an oversized inlet and fan to cover that area.

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I had a similar problem with the downstairs being too cold if I made the upstairs cool enough. I have found if I leave the fan on at all times, that tends to even things out.
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Is the third fllor an attic unit or usable living space? Where are the present outlets and returns? If it is working well, the cold air from the second floor should settle down to the first floor. Is this a new problem or has it always been this way??? Too many questions, too little information provided.
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