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Question DetailsAsked on 5/6/2011

AcL
Why is it 20 degrees hotter in my upstairs?

We have to go to sleep later in the summer because its too hot to sleep up there. Fan on, windows open... only helps a little. Why is this? How do you fix it??

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12 Answers

0
Votes

What Mike said. Also, the problem may be heat building up in the attic all day and not being able to escape due to poor attic ventilation. If that's the case there is probably something that can be done about it in the form of vents, attic fan, etc. In addition, if the underlying issue is lack of ventilation in the attic that is something that needs to be addressed because in the long run it can cause condensation and damage to the existing insulation and roof structure.

Answered 7 years ago by Commonsense

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It is an older home.. at least 50 years old. No air conditioning.. we live in eastern maine, so air conditioning isnt standard here. What kind of job is ventilating the attic?? We have what we call "crawl spaces" in each of the three rooms up there, would that make this an easier job? Any ideas on cost or time or anything would be appreciated, this is my first home and I have NO idea about any of it. Thank you for your help :)

Answered 7 years ago by AcL

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There are many ways to ventilate an attic, and basically the more ventilation the better. Soffit vents, ridge vents, etc. Why not find two or three roofers on the List and get some free estimates (and advice) from them on how to ventilate your particular roof? There are also some good books at the library that will help you with all the questions you'll have as a first-time homeowner. Some basic knowledge will help you to know what questions to ask and also to determine whether you're dealing with honest repair people.

Answered 7 years ago by Commonsense

0
Votes

Not only does heat rise, it sounds like your older home is not adequately insulated. Most permanent improvements come with a tax break. You have several options: install a whole house fan, 21st century insulation, and new E windows. Least costly is to block the sun from all windows (heavy drapes, shutters). another is to purchase & install an (110 v) upstairs window AC

I feel your discomfort, it was 101 here today. TG humidity was in single digits and a delta breeze should arrive by the weekend

Answered 7 years ago by tessa89

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Thanks a lot everyone :) Its great to have an idea whats going on, and how to get in touch with someone who can help. Very much appreciated. We're looking at having it fixed this time next year... so I can start going back to bed at a decent hour!! :)

Answered 7 years ago by AcL

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It might be worth considering that if the problem is a combination of insufficient - or missing - insulation and no attic ventilation, the problems that occur in the winter are going to be just as bad, with warm moist air from the house rising into the attic, not being able to escape and causing condensation which can ruin the roof sheathing and anything else that's up there. Not to mention the loss of warm air from the parts of the house you actually want to heat, which I assume is going to be a major factor in your part of the country, as it is in mine.

Finances allowing, this is not something I'd recommend leaving unaddressed for any length of time.

Answered 7 years ago by Commonsense

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wait until this time next year.? contractors offer best deals before severe fluctuations in temps and/or panic calls from inconvienced home owners

No one wants to work in a hot attic in summer, nor crawl in a cold damp area in winter!

Answered 7 years ago by tessa89

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Votes

We have a similar issue with our house - I know I need to install a house fan, but was wondering who I should contact for an estimate. Is that something a roofer can do? Or will I need a carpenter to install the interior side of the fan (the vent into the house itself) without trashing the ceilings?

Answered 7 years ago by TheGrislees

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Votes

The answers to your questions depend on so many variables. First, a huge buildup of heat in the summer in the attic (or a huge loss of heat from the house through the attic in the winter) is not an indication that you need a whole house fan - it's a sign that you need more ventilation and/or insulation in the attic.

In regard to a whole house fan, I'd say a general handyman or carpenter could frame it into the ceiling, but you'll need someone who's comfortable and qualified with electrical work to make that connection. You'll also need to determine where the air is going after it gets sucked up from the house. You have to have a pretty large gable vent to let that air escape.


Answered 7 years ago by Commonsense

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I also live in an old home (over 100 years!) where the second floor is significantly warmer than the first floor. This is the third summer we've been in the house, and the first summer that it's relatively comfortable upstairs. Each year we seem to learn a new trick.

The first year we were in the house, we replaced all the windows. The old ones were probably almost as old as the house itself, and they provided almost no insulation. Installing brand new windows was a huge help in keeping the cool air in during the summer and out during the winter. (It also cut down on the loud noise of freight trains passing by outside.)

Last year, we had an insulation company come add insulation to our attic. It turned out that there was almost none to begin with! They gave us the right amount, and also added a second vent from the attic to the roof.

This year, we purchased a second window air conditioner to use upstairs. With an AC unit running in the bedrooms at each end of our upstairs hallway, the second floor is actually quite comfortable. In fact, I even caught myself saying to my husband, sitting downstairs, that I was going to "go upstairs where it's cooler." The new AC was about $170, and well worth it. It also has an energy saver feature so you can specify a temperature and it will only run until that temp is reached, and then shut off. (The first AC we had was purchased used from the previous owners of the house for about $80 - it's not that old, but they've come a long way in the last few years.)

Good luck, and keep cool!

Answered 7 years ago by Zifa16

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Votes

an attic fan (vented to the outside) will help reduce a build up of heat or moisture. a whole house fan might be best for your house and locale.

many of my neighbors have had a whole house fan installed rather than central air conditioning. the new ones are very quiet. Additionally, recently I've seen room air conditioners advertised that do not require a hole in an exterior wall.

Answered 7 years ago by tessa89

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Warm air rises. Upstairs in all but the most recent homes with well-engineered HVAC is usually the warmes part of the house.

You don't mention how old the home is or whether there is any sort of air conditioning in the house.

Share some more of the environment and maybe someone will have some suggestions ranging from fairly expensive to sleeping downstairs in the summer.

Tell us more.

Answered 7 years ago by Old Grouch




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