+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 34
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    73

    Default Air Circulation In Summer Without A/C?

    Hi,

    Probably been asked/answered a zillion times but... here's a zillion + 1.

    I live in a typical ranch house in South Seattle suburb. It's long and narrow and runs north/south. So the front door is on the west side. The kitchen/patio is opposite on the east.

    Because we're near the airport, all the houses in this area have -amazingly- thick/dense sound-proofing insulation in walls and ceiling and 3 or even 4 ply windows. And it's sealed pretty tight.

    In the summer the house stays cool most of the time during the day BUT as the day wears on, the heat just builds and by 6PM the inside temp will be 85 in the central hallway.

    The furnace does have a 'fan mode' but that doesn't seem to do much... probably because the blower is in the garage (which is even hotter) so it's simply circulating hotter and hotter air around.

    Now the maddening part is this: the kitchen, which has a patio door to the east patio, will remain nice and cool. But the moment you walk out of the kitchen into the central hallway or the adjoining living room or bedrooms, it's HOT.

    So the question is... how to get the air to move from the kitchen/patio (east) to the west? Opening the front door does no good. Strategically placed small fans don't seem to help either. The cool air just pools in the kitchen.

    I can't really afford air conditioning. I'm wondering if there are some low-dollar/low-tech solutions for either pulling the hot air out or pushing the cool kitchen air throughout the house.

    TIA.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7,078

    Default Re: Air Circulation In Summer Without A/C?

    Fans are your friend. Air movement, even hot air, makes a room feel cooler, as does shutting blinds and curtains to reduce the light in the room (shade = cooler ).

    1 - The circulation fan on the furnace will work to circulate the house air. Your house is a sealed system, so the air circulated by the furnace, for the most part, is house air, it is not drawing in anything from the hotter garage. The only slight heat gain will come from the temperature of the small amount of ducting exposed in the garage.

    2 - Box fans, you've seen them, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They are portable, so you can locate them anywhere in the house to move the air you want to move. They even help to exchange the air if you so choose, by placing in front of windows/doors to draw in or exhaust the air in the house. Box fans are a cheap solution for air movement.

    3 - Ceiling fans. A bit more expensive to purchase and then you also will have installation costs. The added benefit is that you can circulate the air in any room of the house, summer or winter, for a more even distribution of the desired temperature.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    73

    Default Re: Air Circulation In Summer Without A/C?

    Thanks. Those are good ideas.

    We have shades on most of the windows. I guess I neglected to mention that the fancy slider windows we have cannot easily accommodate box fans (or any other kind for that matter). I guess the price you pay for the great sound insulation.

    Ceiling fans sound like a good try.

    I'm no physicist, but I would imagine there is some science to the -placement- and type of fans to move the cool air most effectively to where it's needed. In our case, the best possible case would be if we could move the cool kitchen/patio air on the east side down the central corridor or across to the west side (living room).

    For example, I build computers and there is a real 'art' to placing/sizing fans inside the box to make sure the components run cool. On some machines one uses exhaust fans. On others, 'blowers'.

    I'm wondering if there are similar books/web sites which explain this for -houses- in plain language?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7,078

    Default Re: Air Circulation In Summer Without A/C?

    Getting into the science of moving air is well beyond my pay grade, all I can offer is what works for me.

    I like to place fans so that they have no choice but to blow (or draw ) the air from one place to a more desirable place. For instance, I'd set a fan in your kitchen and point it down your hallway.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,598

    Default Re: Air Circulation In Summer Without A/C?

    " In the summer the house stays cool most of the time during the day BUT as the day wears on, the heat just builds and by 6PM the inside temp will be 85 in the central hallway. "

    If your main goal is to get the hallway air moving and hopefully out of the house, place the fans accordingly.

    Another solution is to place a ceiling vent to suck up the air from the hallway and out the building through the roof - a little expensive, but sure effective (it's similar to a bathroom vent, just bigger).

    And lastly, you can get an attic fan to drive hot attic air out. You know that your 6 pm effect is the result of oppressively hot air in the attic, and an attic fan will help in that regards.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    73

    Default Re: Air Circulation In Summer Without A/C?

    Re. Your last point (hot attic air).


    Yes, during the AM the attic is cool and by 6pm it's a pizza oven... the super-insulation makes it literally hot enough to cook things. I suppose if the air in the attic was circulating that would help.

    I imagine that's similar to a bathroom fan in that you're trying to exhaust attic air out the roof? Is it a DIY deal or does one need an HVAC person? Are there standard products for this?

    TIA.

    Quote Originally Posted by dj1 View Post
    " In the summer the house stays cool most of the time during the day BUT as the day wears on, the heat just builds and by 6PM the inside temp will be 85 in the central hallway. "

    If your main goal is to get the hallway air moving and hopefully out of the house, place the fans accordingly.

    Another solution is to place a ceiling vent to suck up the air from the hallway and out the building through the roof - a little expensive, but sure effective (it's similar to a bathroom vent, just bigger).

    And lastly, you can get an attic fan to drive hot attic air out. You know that your 6 pm effect is the result of oppressively hot air in the attic, and an attic fan will help in that regards.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago
    Posts
    1,794

    Default Re: Air Circulation In Summer Without A/C?

    What DJ is describing is a "whole house" fan. They are typically mounted in the ceiling and draw air through the house windows and out through the attic. Of course, they work best when the outside air is cooler than the inside air. They are most effective in areas of the country that experience significant cooldown in the evening, such as Seattle and Portland, where I live.

    If you are fairly handy, it is not a really difficult installation. Operating costs are a lot cheaper than running a central air system. A poor man's version would be to rig a box fan horizontally in the access panel to your attic.

    I personally have central air, but often do not turn it on until mid-afternoon. I then shut it off when I go to bed, as it is quite cool by morning in Portland.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,598

    Default Re: Air Circulation In Summer Without A/C?

    Suntower,

    You don't need an a/c guy for an attic fan. An experienced handyman with good skills in wiring can tackle this.

    Pay attention, because it involves cutting the roof for the vent - which means the roof must be finished properly to avoid future leaks.

    This brings me to another suggestion: attic fan and improve attic ventilation.

    You see, there are options.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago
    Posts
    1,794

    Default Re: Air Circulation In Summer Without A/C?

    What DJ is describing is a "whole house" ceiling fan. These pull in air through the home's windows and pushes it out through the attic. This has a duel benefit, pulling in the cooler outside air and forcing it out through the attic, keeping the attic cooler. They are especially useful in areas that cool down significantly in the evening, such as Seattle and Portland, my hometown.

    If you are handy, they can be installed farely easily. They are not terribly expensive, beginning at a couple hundred dollars. They are also much cheaper to run than A/C. A poor man's version is a simple box fan laid horizontally in the attic access panel, pushing air into the attic.

    A powered attic fan can also help keep the temp down inside the house by keeping the attic cooler.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    1,744

    Default Re: Air Circulation In Summer Without A/C?

    I would ask some questions about your roof construction first.

    Do you have soffit vents? These are the little vents located under the eves of your house. Sometimes they are a perforated board like peg board.

    Do you have ridge vents? This is along the ridgeline of the roof.

    Do you have gable vents and how big are they?

    You don't normally have both a ridge vent and gable vents, but you should have one of them along with the soffit vents. If you don't have enough ventilation for the attic, then this is the first place to start.

    Whole house fans have some advantages, but they do punch a big hole in your attic insulation and that needs to be addressed. The fan can be installed horizontally in the ceiling, but I do not like that idea very much because to get a decent sized fan up there, you cut through some joists and you have more difficulty with the insulation.

    You can mount a whole house fan in a gable vent and put a grill or louvers in the ceiling, but the fan will be drawing air from other sources as well as the house.

    The best way is to build a box in the ceiling and put the fan in that. Put the louvers below the box. In the winter, you can seal the louvers and put the insulation back in place.

    You can put the whole house fan or its louvers in the corner of the house that is furthest from the kitchen. Then open a window in the kitchen so that when the fan runs, air will be drawn from the kitchen, through the house and then exhausted.

    In the days before AC, people also put awnings over their east, west and south facing windows. Much of you heat gain is probably through the windows, even if they are low E or tinted. Awnings may not fit in your neighborhood, but they really do work. Solar screens can help also but they reduce the view.
    Last edited by keith3267; 08-06-2014 at 06:48 PM.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •