I live in a pretty old house in the midwest, built 1929, bought in '21, single-story, ~1300ish sqft, and with a large, spacious basement. Every time summer comes around I’ve had issues with the basement getting MUCH colder than the rest of the house (like >10 degrees F difference), presumably due to poorly-insulated floors and cold air sinking. The HVAC is still capable of keeping the main floor at the temp set on the thermostat, but the temperature differential indicates it’s working quite a bit harder than it really needs to be, and is probably wasting quite a bit of money.

I’m planning on getting an insulation specialist in at some point to go over options for shoring up the insulation, but I’m wondering if there’s anything else I could do to recirculate air in the basement through the rest of the house - even with good insulation, I feel like the laws of thermodynamics would still result in a basement at least fairly colder than the rest of the house.

Is there anything I could look into that is reasonably cost-effective for circulating air from the basement to the rest of the house so my HVAC doesn’t have to work so hard in the summer? Thanks

  • Dem Bosain@midwest.social
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    25 days ago

    If you pull air from the basement, it’s going to get replaced with warmer, wetter air from upstairs. As it cools the air is going to deposit that water on the coolest surfaces. You might be trading this problem for another, more damaging one.

    • jedibob5@lemmy.worldOP
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      25 days ago

      Good point, I’ll have to keep that in mind. I would think that after the initial temperature equalization, it shouldn’t be an issue as long as the temp remains relatively stable afterward, so in theory, if the rate of the initial equalization is gradual enough, I would think it wouldn’t cause any long-term issues.

      Though that does depend on how exactly any possible solutions would work, and how controlled they could be. I might just re-evaluate after I get the insulation work done.

      • bizarroland@fedia.io
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        25 days ago

        I’ve had this conversation before.

        I live in a geodesic dome and the finished basement is always noticeably cooler than the main floor and top floor.

        As a test, I got a blower fan and put it at the basement stairs blowing the air from the very bottom of the house up towards the middle floor.

        After about a day the temperatures equalized enough that it was difficult to tell the difference between the Middle floor and the basement.

        Doing that causes the colder air to mix in with the warmer air upstairs, and the registers pull the warmer air in and blow out dehumidified air back into the basement, so no moisture build up.

        The only downside is the noise and energy costs to run a fan. Probably 400 watts.

        What I want to do is get a 4 inch duct fan and place that in the wall and run ducting from the basement up to the top floor so that the cold air is constantly being reblendid back up with the rest of the air upstairs.

        I feel like that would use much less power and do a decent job of blending the two.

        Maybe you can find something like that that will work for you.

  • Semi-Hemi-Lemmygod@lemmy.world
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    25 days ago

    When I was a kid some family friends had put an air-moving fan in the floor from the basement to the first floor. On hot summer days it would pull the cool air from the basement, and in the winter it would circulate the air from near their woodstove in the basement to the upstairs.

    Maybe that would help? Wiring would be the hardest bit to figure out. After that it’s just cutting a hole in the floor.

  • givesomefucks@lemmy.world
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    25 days ago

    Yeah, the basement is going to be colder…

    You can circulate the air if you want to balance it out, but the basement is going to get colder again.

    If you’re talking about saving energy:

    At about 3pm circulate the air. That’s a little before your AC is going to start experiencing it’s highest workload.

    At around 6pm or when ever, stop.

    Try it for a couple of days with just a fan. If it’s a noticeable difference and you like it, you can get a vent installed that pushes up from the basement, and another somewhere else that just goes straight to the basement. You can put the fan/blower on a timer. I’d recommend one of those “smart plug” things, they work as a timer and you can also controll locally from your phone.

    But if you’re circulating air 24/7, it’s just making your AC cool even more air.

    So you just want to use it to dump a bunch of cold air when you need it most, and then let it naturally cool down the rest of the nigh/day.

    Whether or not this adds up to more than negligible benefits for energy use…

    I have zero idea.

    But it’s essentially just an inefficient heat pump. The theory behind it is sound.

  • aramis87@fedia.io
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    25 days ago

    I know there’s a floor insulation issue, but what about redirecting air, and other sources of leaks? Does your basement have vents in it? Turn them off and maybe consider getting bent covers that can seal in the summer. Close the vents on the first floor so that (the majority of) the cool air comes in at the second floor and sinks down. Weather-strip and baffle the basement door.

    Also, see if your electric company offers a home energy assessment. It takes about an hour, and there are usually two tiers: free, and a second tier where you pay for a blow test. They can make some recommendations on making your home more energy efficient.

  • wjs018@lemmy.world
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    25 days ago

    My house has a similar issue with a lower level that is perpetually much colder than the upper level. The main way we have somewhat alleviated the problem is by opening/closing registers. In the summer, we close all the registers in the lower level, forcing all the cold air from the HVAC into the upper level, then letting it sink down naturally. Our lower level is still cooler, but it isn’t as stark a difference. Due to the layout of the stairs linking the two levels, a fan is not terribly effective at exchanging a lot of air between the two on its own.

  • thegreekgeek@midwest.social
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    24 days ago

    If you’re looking for a commercial product it’s called a whole house fan. The tl;dr is there are vents in the places you want cooled connected to this fan that sits in your attic. Twice a day or so it exhausts the hot air letting it be replaced by the cooler basement air. Depending on the humidity you might need to run the AC to dehumidify the air a bit.