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Old 06-13-2008, 07:19 AM   #21
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I solved the warm upper story problem many years ago with my low tech solution.

IF you have a laundry chute, leave it open and set up a turbofan in the basement to force the cooler air up.

Even on the hottest nights it keeps the bedrooms cool and fresh.

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Old 06-13-2008, 10:54 AM   #22
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Lots of good points, I will detail my experience and situation:

Live in SoCal, basically a near desert, low humidity, warm summer area. Temperatures are always fine (not too cold etc.) from October to June. But July-September can get uncomfortably hot. One summer I installed an attic fan - electric, high volume, and I could not tell any difference ( I could hear it running when it's thermostat detected it getting warm enough through!). The spring after that a company called "Quiet Cool" dropped off a flier and had a deal to install two whole house fans in my upstairs ceiling for something like $800. We took the plunge. These fans are very inconspicuous and very quiet because they only install the vents in the ceiling, run large insulated tubes away from it and install the fan itself against the vent in the attic roof. imagine a bendy straw leading up from my ceiling, through the attic and attached to a fan installed into the roof. As soon as six o'clock rolls around, we crack a few windows, turn it on for two hours, and the house is cool as a cucumber - you can even feel the breeze rushing in from the window, yet it's quieter than the air conditioner. Then we shutter up the house and it stays cool until about 1 pm the next day when the sun has managed to radiate it's heat throughout the house. I'm sure it's raised our electric bill somewhat, but not noticeably. I love my whole house fan system.

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Old 06-13-2008, 08:48 PM   #23
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We've had a whole house fan for several years now. Makes a tremendous difference in how comfortable the house is. Even on Cape Cod there are warm days in the summer and a few sultry nights. Just having the air move from the cool outside to the inside of the home does great things for our comfort level. Any home I purchase from this point on will have a whole house fan installed.

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Old 06-13-2008, 09:35 PM   #24
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When i did the research on attic fans, I came to the same conclusion as CFB: Unbiased researchers (folks not trying to sell you an attic fan) concluded that attic fans use more energy than they save, especially in homes with typical degrees of air-sealing.

Probably the best way to improve the comfort in the top levels of your home is to move the air from below to above per CFB's suggestions. If you are the tinkering type, you could look for a clever way to route a special purpose duct from top to bottom that is independent of your HVAC system (maybe a wall-stack run through the stud bays or a duct through some little-used closet floor) and install a small fan to push the air through it. I've also heard of people building these and also including a small dehumidifier in the same setup so that the basement stays dry.

Basement wetness is one possible pitfall of any air movement scheme you employ--if you move warm, moist air from upstairs into a cool basement, there's an increased chance that you'll get condensation on the basement walls.

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