Only CA return is at the base of the air handler, and it's in the kitchen area.
The house is on a slab, no lower level access.
Would it work to add a few passive CA vents in the bedrooms, about 30 feet away,
and route it through the attic, or just cut some vents, back to back in the wall
partitions, to aid the circulation?
At my home in Florida, we had back to back passive vents above the doorways, but
that didn't seem to work well.
Is ther an external forced air system that might help? Like a powered vent in a
None of those is very good for various reasons...
Internal passive vents have no significant pressure differential to
cause any movement and don't help recirculation much at all unless there
are areas that are essentially blocked (like bedrooms w/ doors closed,
Exhausting cooled air to the attic may aid circulation but it will be an
energy-costing hog to simply dump cool air outside--might as well open
the windows and run the A/C at the same time.
The powered vent is even more of the same.
Only real solution likely would be to run a return plenum in the attic
for the missing returns.
Actually, one thing that might help comfort would be a few ceiling fans
strategically placed to at least do somewhat better at circulating the
air -- it won't really help the return problem, but might improve
comfort level by simply having some air moving.
So your suggestion is to do nothing?
Been doing the ceiling fan thing, and while it helps the room, I know the coil
is getting the airflow it should.
Got a hot water heater and 2 walls blocking the access to the CA in the base,
but I think I will try and run a plenum into the attic and to at least a couple
of bedrooms. The living room is very near the AC and we seldom cook in the
kitchen, but you can feel the lack of circulation and even a slight odor due to
I'm only saying "no" completely to the venting cooled air to the outside
-- the passive vents could help some depending on the arrangement of the
house and if there are the ceiling fans to help w/ some circulation. I
still doubt they would be unlikely to be a major panacea except in very
unusual arrangements. It wouldn't take a lot of expense to find out if
wanted to experiment, however.
Is there a "not" missing there?
So you cook where? (Sorry, couldn't resist... :) )
It would be the sure answer to getting some return, certainly. It is,
of course, a more significant project and does have some potential
drawbacks as well.
A couple of things to consider are whether one or two returns only will
then disrupt distribution excessively from the other areas of the house
w/o specific returns and, of course, the return duct in an attic space
will want to be well insulated and tight.
Unfortunately, it's impossible to give a definitive solution w/o
actually having layout, etc. A competent HVAC guy might be useful
before jumping in too extensively.
About 5 years ago, I had a new central air system installed in a ranch-syle
home which had supply vents in the attic, and all they did was have one main
return air intake in the centrally-located living room and that intake went
directly back into the HVAC unit. I was expecting return ducts for each
bedroom, etc., especially since the home has a 4-foot high crawl space that
could have been used for return ducts. When I asked a number of other
contractors and did other research, I found that many installations are done
that way these days.
Since your return intake is at the unit itself, and the unit is in a kitchen
area, I guess when you are cooking in the summer the hot kitchen air goes
directly into the intake. I don't know if that matters.
Is the kitchen area in a somewhat centrally located part of the house? If
so, maybe that's why they didn't create intakes elsewhere.
For an CAC system, the return is just as important as the supply
vents. Remember an A/C works by removing heat and humidity, not merely
just dumping cold air in a room. So ideally the return should be
centrally located, but also be as high as possible so it can suck in
all the hot air as it rises. If the return is too low, not only it
won't get all the hot air, but it will also suck in all the cold A/C
air since cold air sinks. I would try to run a return line in the
attic and put a grill in the ceiling.
I have a split level home where I have a combo furnace/CAC system that
uses the same ductwork for both and I have a return grill on the wall
on every floor. In the summer I only keep the upper return open and
close the lower ones and it makes a difference. I also close all the
supply registers downstairs and keep the upper ones open.
In the winter its the opposite, I close the upper supply and return
vents and open the lower ones.
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