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Tri-level home hvac issues advice please

Lauren Lundy
June 7, 2017

I have a 1950s trim level home. The duct work is a nightmare. The hvac is old. The air unit is pea green that's how old it is. Heat works well though. The air conditioning is awful. It's always so hot but the air conditioner pushes out cold air. Some rooms upstairs have a decent air flow from the vents while others barely have any output. What has everyone done to keep a tri level house cool without ranking up energy bills? My furnace is gas and ac is electric. I had an 1800 electric bill last year. Our ac ran full blast and couldn't cool the house under 85 degrees. Heeeeellllpp.

Comments (5)
  • PRO
    Ellsworth Design Build
    Pull out all the ceilings on the upper floor to spray foam the underside of the roof deck, or if you have an attic just spray the underside of the roof deck.

    Otherwise sounds like you need to convert it to a multi zone system which will mean replacing the ductwork completely anyhow.

    No easy or cheap solutions (if you have an attic the spray foam is a no brainer)
  • Lauren Lundy
    We do have an attic. There's also a huge roof fan. Will the spray insulation really help keep it cool or is it just best to get a dual unit?
  • PRO
    Sophie Wheeler

    No unit can cool the outdoors. Which is basically what you are trying to do in a home with no insulation. 1950's has minimal ceiling insulation, and limited wall insulation. You need insulation. It's the coat that keeps you warm in winter, and cool in summer.

    You need to conduct a full blown Energy Audit for the home and find it's weak spots, with the recommended fixes. Your utility company can help you to find someone local, and may even help to cover some of the updates with rebates.


  • Lauren Lundy
    Our energy company isn't concerned about its customers. They gouge everyone in the area. It's awful. The energy audit with them wouldn't do any good. We have a hearing and air company coming out on Saturday.
  • PRO
    Sophie Wheeler

    Your utility company may not have an Energy Rater on staff, but they are required to assist you in locating a qualified one. There are also Federal programs that assist with creating more energy efficient homes for senior citizens and those on some form of assistance. Even if this is fully out of pocket, getting an audit is the absolute BEST expenditure that can happen. You are fighting a 100% losing battle, no matter what HVAC you put in. If there is no insulation to prevent heat transference, your money is just being set fire to constantly.

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