Hot upstairs, cool downstairs

June 1, 2010

Hi folks,

I have an upstairs, that on sunny days, can get fairly hot, at least compared to the downstairs. Based upon how the upstairs feels during the winter, I'd guess that it is not due to a lack of insulation in the attic. Instead it seems to be a function of our landscaping:

Our house is surrounded by trees and can be in the shade for most of the day. But, for a couple of hours in the afternoon, the upstairs gets pounded by the sun while the 1st floor remains mostly shaded. That means that on 90 degree day without the AC on (e.g. while we're at work and the thermostat is turned up), the downstairs may remain 73 all day long while the upstairs increases is 80+ degrees.

The key problem (I think) is that the thermostat is on the 1st floor, which means on those really hot days, it may not get warm enough downstairs to turn on the thermostat even though the upstair is baking. On the weekends I turn the fan from "auto" to "on", and the extra circulation seems to do the trick.

What I've been thinking about doing is buying a new thermostat with a remote sensor I can place upstairs. I thought about buying a Honeywell, but I understand that they require a minimum of 4 sensors, which is overkill.


(1) Does anyone know of a good thermostat that can take a single remote sensor and averages the temperature at the thermostat (1st floor) and remote sensor (2nd floor)?

(2) Another option is buying a new thermostat with a "circ" function for the fan (other than "on" and "auto"). Would that be sufficient to stir up the air enough on those hot days to get the 1st floor thermostat to kick in?

(3) Do #1 and #2 sound like good ideas?

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