If you are planning to install a new HVAC system in your home, then you have to consider the ceiling height. Living in a house with high ceilings, such as a cathedral or vaulted ceilings, can be aesthetically pleasing and show off your architectural craftsmanship. The high ceilings, however, will also increase your energy bills and decrease the efficiency of your HVAC system.
The standard ceiling height for most residential buildings is 8 feet. If your home’s ceiling height is at least 4 feet more than the standard height, then the additional open, airy space may be costing you more than you think.
How High Ceilings Affect Your HVAC System
During cold months, your HVAC system works to warm the air in your home. However, if your home has high ceilings, you may have noticed that the temperature remains cold even during winter. This is because the warm-conditioned air settles at the top of the ceiling while the cold air remains at the bottom. Since hot air is less dense than cold air, the warm-conditioned air fails to flow to the lower areas of the room where you can feel the warmth and instead remains at the top while you freeze at ground level.
During warm months, homes with high ceilings are likely to suffer from excessively high temperatures. A room with a high ceiling has a higher volume of air compared to a room with a standard ceiling height. Therefore, if the HVAC system is not large enough to cool the high air volume, there may be areas within your home that have high temperatures, thereby creating an uncomfortable atmosphere.
How to Save Energy and Optimize Air Flow With High Ceilings
There are cost-friendly alternatives that can improve the efficiency of your HVAC system and save more energy.
Installing the Right Sized HVAC System
If your HVAC system has too low of an AC tonnage to cool the higher volume of air created by high ceilings, it will strain to regulate the temperatures in your home, consume more energy, and even sustain damage due to wear and tear.
Therefore, if you want to offset these high utility bills, we recommend consulting with our HVAC experts on the right size requirements for your HVAC system. Our HVAC professionals will ensure that you take into account the ceiling height, square footage, and other significant factors when buying an HVAC system.
Getting the Ductwork Design Right
Did you know that your ductwork design determines whether or not your HVAC system will function efficiently with your high ceilings? Most of the heat from your home will rise to the top, which means your HVAC system needs to work twice as hard to cool the increased volume of air above.
If you install dual low-return and high-return ductwork in rooms with high ceilings, you will increase the efficiency of your HVAC system. During warm months, you will turn off the low return system with magnetic covers or dampers, thereby allowing the high return system to extract heat from the ceiling. This will help to relieve the HVAC system of some workload.
In winter, all you have to do is reverse the setting by turning off the high return system, which will cause the warm air at the top of the ceiling to flow downwards, thereby allowing your HVAC system to function more efficiently.
Reversing Airflow Using Ceiling Fans
Another way to boost the performance of your HVAC system is by installing ceiling fans that will help to push the warm air settling at the top downwards to warm the rest of the room. In winter, set the ceiling fans to run with their blades rotating to remove heat from the top of the ceiling and push it downwards.
During summer, ensure that you set the ceiling fans to run in the opposite direction. This will allow the fans to draw the cool air towards the top of the room, thereby making your living space cooler. Consult with our HVAC experts when buying a ceiling fan so that they can recommend to you the best fans for high ceilings. Ensure that you check for a side sliding switch that allows you to reverse the direction of blade rotation on the fan.
Ideally, ceiling fans function best when placed at least 8 to 10 feet above the floor of your home. We recommend placing the fans in the hottest area of the room so that they can distribute the air more efficiently. In case your home has a high vaulted ceiling, using an extension rod on the shaft of the ceiling fan will help to optimize the reach of the fan. Additionally, we recommend buying ceiling fans with wide paddles because they are capable of shifting a larger volume of air around the room.
Ventilating the Attic
Another way to boost the efficiency of your HVAC system is by properly ventilating the attic. In summer, attic temperatures can rise as high as 150 degrees Fahrenheit, which then raises the temperature of the rest of your home to uncomfortable levels.
One of the easiest ways to control the high temperatures in your attic during summer is to mount a whole house fan with an automatic opening shutter in your attic. For maximum performance, mount the whole house fan in the ceiling that leads to your living space. During cooler temperatures at night, make certain that you open the windows, turn on the fan, and open the shutter. This will allow the fan to draw cool air from outside into your home through the windows.
As a result, the hot air at the top of the ceiling, as well as the air in the attic, will be pushed out of your home through the vents. The best thing about this plan is that you can select which rooms in your home will be cooled by opening their windows. Also, a whole house fan will help you save more because it uses less electricity.
Get Started With Matheson Heating, Air & Plumbing Today
Are you ready to work with the best HVAC experts in Commerce, MI? Matheson Heating, Air & Plumbing is a heating, cooling, plumbing, and indoor air quality company that you can count on to improve the performance of your HVAC system if your home has high ceilings.
We are a family-owned organization that has been serving South Eastern Michigan since 1946. If you are looking for an HVAC crew with fast response time, transparent pricing, and great in-flight customer services, we are the team to work with. From the moment you call us until the moment we are done with your HVAC system, we will provide you with quality customer care and exceptional workmanship.
Our ultimate goal is to ensure that you are 100 % satisfied with the services we provide. You are more than just our customer. You are an honored member of our HVAC family, and we will ensure that we fix all your HVAC problems.
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Call Matheson Heating, Air & Plumbing today for top-tier HVAC services and consulting.