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Home Care Library

Central Air Conditioning

QUESTION FROM Bekkie

We have a 1-1/2 story home and have lived there for 2 years now. The problem we are having is the bedroom and bathroom which is the only thing up there are very hot. We cant seem to get it cool or cooler up there while the basement family room is cold. I have everything close down and opened up the vents up, when I feel around the register which is in the ceiling there is a faint air flow so cooling isn't happening up there. we have placed an inline fan to help the air flow but it's not helping much anyother suggestions? Is there a way to use the basement family room cold air and send it upstairs to help the cooling?

ANSWER FROM HOME-WIZARD

Dear Bekkie:

If I understand your problem correctly, you are trying to get more cool air-conditioned air up to the top floor of your 1 1/2 story home. You mentioned that you have opened up the cool air supply register on the top floor (and added an inline fan), but you didn't mention anything about the air return register.

For air to circulate properly to the upper floor, in addition to having the air supply, there also needs to be an adequate air return, so that the warm air in this floor can be drawn down and cooled. But also, for the cool air to be able to flow into the upper floor, there needs to be a way for the existing air to come out (to make room for the new cool air).

So if you haven't already, you should check to see if you have a return air supply vent for the upper floor, and that it is wide open and unobstructed.

If this is already the case, then just let us know, and we'll try to figure out something else for you.

Hope this is helpful.
Home-Wizard.com

FOLLOW-UP FROM Bekkie

Thank you for getting back to me. Yes there is a cold air return in her room upstairs and isn't blocked by anything.

I'll be waiting for some more ideas. Thank goodness for a cooler summer.

ANSWER FROM HOME-WIZARD

Bekkie:

It's good that there is an air return duct in the room and that it is not obstructed.

The next thing to check is your air filter for your air conditioning unit. When was the last time that you changed it? Could it possibly be dirty and reducing your air flow capacity?

Also, does your outside condenser unit have dust, dirt, etc. built up on it? You should wash your condenser coil regularly, especially if your condenser is near a dryer vent, or if your neighborhood is full of cottonwood trees. These can coat your condenser coil and rob the efficiency of your air conditioning unit. To wash your condenser, turn off your air conditioner, get a garden hose, and spray the coil using an "up/down" pattern.

But it sounds like your problem is not that the temperature of the air coming out on the second floor is warm, but rather that you are not getting any air flow on the second floor, right?

Home-Wizard.com

QUESTION FROM Jim Nash

After the AC is on for one hour, the air coming out is reduced. I have to turn off the the AC and run the fan only for 15 min.. The then true on the AC for another hr. Why is the this freezing up.

Thanks

ANSWER FROM HOME-WIZARD

Dear Jim:

There are a number of possible reasons why your air conditioner is freezing up:

1. Your air conditioner may be running low on refrigerant. Low refrigerant levels can cause the coil to become too cold. You will need to contact a professional to find and fix your refrigerant leak, and to re-charge your unit with refrigerant.

2. You may not have enough airflow to keep the coil from freezing. Air from your house passing past your coil keeps it above freezing because this air is above 32 degrees fahrenheit. If there is not enough airflow, the coil gets too cold and starts to freeze the condensed water before it can drain away. To prevent this, check for a dirty air filter. Depending on your system, you should be changing your air filters once a month during the cooling season. And also, make sure that your registers are all open and clear, so that air can flow freely.

3. Make sure your fan is actually moving air when your air conditioner is running. If your air conditioner is running and the fan is not always running (or not running fast enough), then this could be the cause of your freezing.

4. If you have a bad thermostat and it allows your air conditioner to run all night during a cool night, then this could cause your air conditioner to freeze up (although in your particular case, it sounds like your problem is occurring during the day).

Remember, if you let your air conditioner continue to run after the coil has frozen up, then you are not only wasting money, but you are also risking damage to the compressor, which is very expensive to replace.

Hope this is helpful.
Home-Wizard.com

Central Air Conditioning