Upstairs very hot

We are having near 100 degree temperatures in Western Washington. We have a 3000 sq ft house with 4 split levels and central air conditioning. With the ac on, the bottom two levels are cool but the upper two levels are very warm and uncomfortable. I can feel some cool air coming out of the upstairs vents but it doesn't seem to make much difference. We had the shake roof replaced with composite shingles a month ago. Thanks for any suggestions/advice.
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Had somewhat same prob in our loft... installed window unit & it helps... would suggest you might try one in your top level Frank Georgia
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tenplay wrote:

Heat rises; therefore...
1. Live downstairs for a while 2. Add some ceiling fans to move air around/down 3. Add more insulation 4. Turn down the thermostat 5. Call your HVAC guy and bitch 6. Call your HVAC guy and tell him you want to add another zone. Or two.
Where's the return, BTW?
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dadiOH
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dadiOH wrote:

Almost all southern homes have ceiling fans in every room. They help a great deal. There are days when all you need is some air circulating to cool you down.
The other thing I did was to install twin attic fans and additional soffit vents. That brought the temperature of the attic down from over 140 degrees to about 90 to 110 degrees (depending upon the outdoor temperature). That seemed to stop a lot of heat from creeping down through the attic floor.
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Reduce the openings on a few first floor registers, your filter is of course clean. You likely dont have it sized for the heat or might need freon, call a pro.
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There is not a whole lot you can really do. You system was not designed for your current temperatures. When was the last time it was that hot?
One suggestion was to buy a small window unit and I would likely do just that. You will not need it often so you don't need to worry about it being very efficient.
I caution the idea of closing off or restricting the registers on the lower floor. You might just restrict it too much and not only will it not cool well, but could damage some equipment. Of course you would get the same effect by running with clogged filters and the person who did that recommendation did suggest making sure the filters were clean.
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Joseph Meehan

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Might want to keep the AC air handler on all the time. This helps equalize temperatures in my house (2 story). During the day we are downstairs with the thermastat, but at night we turn the fan from AUTO to ON, to keep the whole house comfortable.
hth,
tom @ www.Consolidated-Loans.info
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tenplay wrote:

Thanks for all your suggestions. I know the filter is clean. Don't know if it is worth it to install an a/c unit upstairs because this kind of heat (near 100) is infrequent in Western Washington. Hope the hot temperatures are not a long-term change due to global warming. The suggestion to switch the fan to "on" instead of "auto" is worth a try. If all fails, we can always head to the mall or movie theater.
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Not worth upgrading the AC for temps this rare, but you could put more insulation in the attic floor or whereever. The attic is hot and that is heating your ceiling and radiating into your uppper floors.
Also, make sure is ventilation in your attic. Make sure when you add insulation that you don't obstruct air flow from the soffits.
Stay downstairs.
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tenplay wrote:

Hose down the roof occasionally during the hottest part of the day with a garden hose to remove a lot of heat.
Partially close some of the downstairs vents that have the shortest run from the air handler. Make sure the upstairs vents are wide open.
Best regards, Bob
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Where are the returns? If the system was designed for heat only they are down at the lower levels. And if designed for heat the supplies are smaller on the upper floors. A proper retrofit for A/C adds a return from the top of the house. If this wasn't done there isn't anything you can do, until a proper return is put in.
In my 1891 house, which originally had hot air heat (non-forced), I couldn't run a return up, and the supply ducts are in the brick and can't be enlarged. So I put a packaged unit on the roof that covers the top two floors. This leaves only the bottom two floors for the A/C that was added to the heating system.
Don <www.donwiss.com> (e-mail link at home page bottom).
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Don Wiss wrote:

I see a return at the very top of the central stairwell that connects all the levels. Wouldn't this be the best location for good circulation of the cold air?
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If you have an attic, does it have any ventilation? Ventilating the attic space has a few advantages:
1. It will increase the longevity of your asphalt shingle roof.
2. It will keep the attic cooler, and therefore the living space under it will be cooler.
I have a similar problem in my 2 story house. In hot weather, the first floor is a lot cooler. I can combat this by opening windows upstairs and by occasionally using a big box fan, usually in a window, blowing in. Especially in the evening, this cools off a room by 5-10 degrees very quickly.
My bedroom is upstairs, and in all but the hottest weather, having a couple of screened windows open makes it comfortable to sleep. If it gets a bit cool, I lower a shade or two or even close a window and go back to sleep.
Dan
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I found this website www.quietcoolfan.com and went to the local hardware store and came up with my own version for about $140.
Its similar to the idea of the huge whole house fans, but its distributed. I started with one in our bedroom. When its slightly cooler outside then in the bedroom I kick on the Fan and it sucks air from the outside, into the bedroom, then the aid form the bedroom into the attic, then pushed the air in the attic out the attic venting. Kind of multi purpose.
To cool down the attic while its still hot outside (Attic is usually hotter then outside anyway, but the house is not usually as hot as it is outside) you could put in a Gable Fan and suck in air from the outside into the attic and blow the air form the attic to the outside.
In about 10 minutes I can cool down the bedroom several degrees!
I'm about ready to install one in the office and the Kids room!
Scott<-

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