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  1. #27
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Long Beach, CA
    Posts
    3,384
    Quote Originally Posted by shophound View Post
    It's not a solution, it's a band-aid. Your neighbor may need a band-aid for slapping his forehead should he someday face a bill for compressor replacement.
    If a band-aid heals a wound it is no longer a band-aid, it is a cure. Many here have spoken of the benefits of a dual, switchable return system and this is another actual example. Blocking a return is only a risk if it results in the unit having a restricted intake, which is possible but has not been determined.

    Quote Originally Posted by micdundee View Post
    Blocking a return is not the answer,
    But if the unit intake is not starved or restricted, it could be the answer.

    Brian

  2. #28
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Long Beach, CA
    Posts
    3,384
    Taking the return blocking approach further you could:

    Temporarily block the downstairs return to see if there is an improvement. This would not hurt the unit if done for a short term.

    If there is an improvement, determine if the upstairs return is adequately sized to supply the unit by itself.

    If it is too small, increase the size and leave the downstairs return blocked. Increasing the size would add to the improvement. The rework would probably be very localized.

    Then think about doing the inverse to improve the performance of the heater. But, there still may be leakage and insulation issues that should be dealt with to improve the overall performance of both systems.

    Brian

  3. #29
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Mount Holly, NC
    Posts
    3,185
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian GC View Post
    If a band-aid heals a wound it is no longer a band-aid, it is a cure. Many here have spoken of the benefits of a dual, switchable return system and this is another actual example. Blocking a return is only a risk if it results in the unit having a restricted intake, which is possible but has not been determined.



    But if the unit intake is not starved or restricted, it could be the answer.

    Brian
    a band aid may aid in healing the wound, but the SCAR will be much worse than proper stitches would be...

    UNLESS THE UPSTAIRS RETURN IS SIZED TO HANDLE ALL THE AIRFLOW REQUIREMENTS OF THE SYSTEM, (WHICH IS NEVER THE CASE) DO NOT BLOCK OFF THE DOWNSTAIRS RETURN.
    I do see where having the fan on all the time can help by forcing the airflow to circulate more evenly than gravity would like.
    The TRUE highest cost system is the system not installed properly...
    The three big summer hearththrobs...
    Mel Gibson
    Dwane Johnson
    The A/C repairman

  4. #30
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,338
    Quote Originally Posted by ampulman View Post
    Thanks, Shophound, but need a few points clarified:



    TT

    What hazard are you adding by putting foam board in place? Is the board itself, flammable?
    My guess would be it is required to reduce flame spread and smoke. It's true, if there's a fire, it will all burn at some point. It may be a matter of how intensely the fire burns, and how quickly it spreads, based on available fuels, and the ignition point of various construction materials. If the manufacturer of the material says it should be covered, I'm not one to argue with their reasoning.


    Since the above would negate the reflective effect of the foil-coated board, is it absolutely necessary? How would the foil interact with the kraft paper lining against the interior wall board? Are we looking at a 'sandwich' from attic inward:

    OSB (outer-most) > foil covered board > existing fiberglass insulation ....and the board is installed flush with the studs, not between them.

    Thanks.
    OSB > foam board (laid over stud faces and seams taped between panels) > kraft faced fiberglass batts > interior drywall.

    Foam board can be purchased without a foil side. The foil side is best served when behind brick veneer with an air gap between the brick and the foil, as this cavity can get very warm when bricks are warmed by the sun.

    I think the better method is the sheathed foam board vs. radiant barrier stapled to the attic side of the wall, personally. You could even use the OSB with the foil on the exterior side facing the attic if you wanted, with the foam board underneath. As long as there's an air gap over the foil, radiant barriers are effective.
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  5. #31
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,338
    Quote Originally Posted by vstech View Post
    a band aid may aid in healing the wound, but the SCAR will be much worse than proper stitches would be...

    UNLESS THE UPSTAIRS RETURN IS SIZED TO HANDLE ALL THE AIRFLOW REQUIREMENTS OF THE SYSTEM, (WHICH IS NEVER THE CASE) DO NOT BLOCK OFF THE DOWNSTAIRS RETURN.
    I do see where having the fan on all the time can help by forcing the airflow to circulate more evenly than gravity would like.
    Agreed. Advice must default to average design diligence, which is typically "get 'er dun" in terms of duct design.

    All a band-aid ever does for me is stop the bleeding so I can go about my business. It's a stop-gap measure...I've lived through plenty of cuts without ever using one, and healed up just fine.

    Screwing around with the returns is the last place I'd look to reduce temperature gradient in multi-story homes. I wouldn't blow it off altogether, but my focus would be more comprehensive than that.
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  6. #32
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Centeral Il.
    Posts
    29
    What about just adding more return air, if you can't get the air into the unit you can't get it out?

  7. #33
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Perry Village, Ohio
    Posts
    164
    Quote Originally Posted by jeepsterman View Post
    What about just adding more return air, if you can't get the air into the unit you can't get it out?
    That's the problem I have noticed with my two story house. If I let the unit run as it is designed, I can hardly feel any air coming from my vents, and the heat just builds in the house. If I temporarily remove the blower door on the furnace, I can see that the unit is starved for air as 1) when the blower is running, the door wants to suck back into place. 2) you can feel a significant improvement in the house cooling, 3) you can finally feel airflow into the rooms.

    So, without tearing all the ducts out of my house and starting over again, how do I solve the lack of return air to my system, and is the fact that my system is air starved, is that causing damage to the compressor or anything else in the system?

  8. #34
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,338
    Quote Originally Posted by perrybucsdad View Post
    That's the problem I have noticed with my two story house. If I let the unit run as it is designed, I can hardly feel any air coming from my vents, and the heat just builds in the house. If I temporarily remove the blower door on the furnace, I can see that the unit is starved for air as 1) when the blower is running, the door wants to suck back into place. 2) you can feel a significant improvement in the house cooling, 3) you can finally feel airflow into the rooms.

    So, without tearing all the ducts out of my house and starting over again, how do I solve the lack of return air to my system, and is the fact that my system is air starved, is that causing damage to the compressor or anything else in the system?
    Post some pics of your return air ducting on here and you'll likely get some choice commentary/advice.
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  9. #35
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Delaware
    Posts
    3,824
    Guess I missed it, But what type of house do you have, Cape, Full 2nd story? Do you have knee walls? How many square ft is the house? How large is the a/c unit. First I would make sure everything you have is working properly. Then I would use bubble wrap on the roof of the attic and any knee walls if you have them, You will drop the temp 30-40 degrees, works wonderful. I'm still am curious of the house configuration and equipment size, 34 posts and I don't see that question asked.
    Always here

  10. #36
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Perry Village, Ohio
    Posts
    164
    Bubble warp on the room of the attic? Sorry to sound stupid, but what is this doing? What size bubbles are you looking at too?

    Also, wouldn't that trap moisture between the wrap and the sheathing?

  11. #37
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    12
    Quote Originally Posted by energy star View Post
    Guess I missed it, But what type of house do you have, Cape, Full 2nd story? Do you have knee walls? How many square ft is the house? How large is the a/c unit. First I would make sure everything you have is working properly. Then I would use bubble wrap on the roof of the attic and any knee walls if you have them, You will drop the temp 30-40 degrees, works wonderful. I'm still am curious of the house configuration and equipment size, 34 posts and I don't see that question asked.
    The house is a two story with approximately 1500 square feet on the second level. It was built 5 years ago and has a lot of blown in insulation. The total footage is 2400 feet upstairs and down(no basement). The AC unit I have is a Bryant 533GN030-A. I hope it is the right size for my home.

  12. #38
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    12
    Ok. Now I am really screwed. I called the HVAC company that installed the system in the first place. They are telling me that a second zone to be added would cost at least $3000. I am in no position to afford that at this time. I need a lower cost way of making my home habitable. All help is great. I know I should be paying all of you. My return on the main floor is half the size of the one on the second floor. I am getting tempted to try my neighbors trick. How would I know if the system is "air starved" when the block is in place?

  13. #39
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Perry Village, Ohio
    Posts
    164
    I'm no pro, so maybe tehre is a better way to figure out if it is air starved, but I did this with mine.

    I turned of the power to the furnace and then removed the blower door. I then taped down the cut off switch that turns the blower off if you remove the blower door. I then put the door back up against the frame of the blower unit, and then had someone turn the power back onto furnace. I then had the same person go to the T-Stat and make the AC come on. When the blower was up to speed, I pulled away the blower door and I could feel the unit trying to pull it back into place. To me (and again, I am no pro so maybe I am wrong with my assumption), this indicates that not enough air is entering the system.

    Maybe a pro can comment and let us know if this is a reliable test or not, or if there is a better way.

    BTW, when you are done, make sure you take the tape off the blower kill switch so it operates as it should.

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