Three Ways To Help Your Cape Cod Style Home Cool More Evenly
If you have a Cape Cod style home, you've probably noticed that the upstairs does not cool very efficiently in the summer. The low, slated ceilings and short walls tend to trap heat in the corners of the upstairs rooms, challenging your cooling system to the max. Rest assured, however, that you don't have to just put up with a toasty upstairs all summer. These tips will help ensure your Cape Cod style home cools more evenly.
Tip #1: Run the fan constantly.
Your air conditioning system should have two settings. One setting, which is usually indicated with the words "fan auto" on your thermostat, turns the fan or blower unit on only when your home is cooling. The other setting, usually indicated with the words "fan on," leaves the fan or blower unit on constantly, and just cycles the cooling unit on and off as needed.
Turning the setting to "fan on" is a good choice in a Cape Cod home. This way, the air will continually be circulating through your home, preventing all of the warm air from rising and staying in your upstairs as it naturally prefers to do. (Remember, hot air always rises.) You'll notice that the temperature upstairs stays closer to the temperature downstairs once you implement this tip.
Since running the fan constantly can take a lot of electricity, you may want to leave the fan on "auto" during the day when you're not home, and turn it to "on" when you come home for the evening.
Tip #2: Put box fans in the low areas of your upstairs rooms.
Place box fans along the upstairs walls that have low ceilings. The fan will push the hot air that accumulates in these areas back into the center of the room, so it can be effectively circulated through your HVAC system and cooled. Don't place the fans flat against the wall. Rather, place them about 2 - 3 feet from the wall, so they can suck the air out from behind them and blow it into the room.
This is a rather low-cost tip to implement. Two box fans will only cost about $10 per month to run continually.
Tip #3: Have additional air returns and vents installed in your upstairs rooms.
Most Cape Cod homes were built before air conditioning was common, so their HVAC systems are generally designed to allow the home to be heated rather effectively, but not necessarily cooled effectively. Since hot air rises, you don't need many vents to effectively heat the upstairs of a home -- the hot air from downstairs will end up there anyways. However, in the summer, that hot air still rises, and so without a lot of air vents, your upstairs does not cool down very easily. Therefore, having an HVAC specialist add additional air vents to your upstairs will often help the home cool more effectively.
Though costly, this is the most hands-off tip on the list. Once the vents are in place, your upstairs should stay a lot cooler without the need to put fans in the corners of your rooms or run the blower continually. Depending on the layout of your home's ductwork, adding additional vents may or may not be possible without making major renovations, so it's wise to have an HVAC specialist look at your home and tell you whether or not this is even an option before you consider it further.
Don't suffer through another sweltering night in the upstairs of your Cape Cod home. Put some fans in the corners of the rooms, keep that blower unit on, and consider having additional vents installed so your home cools more evenly. For more information and tips, you can talk to a HVAC repair technician in your area.