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Old 07-10-2010, 12:15 PM
 
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Default At what temperature for upstairs?

I have dual zone heating/cooling... I have left upstairs at 80 degrees but it still comes on frequently (I live in the south)... nobody lives upstairs... should I raise the temperature? I don't want it so hot that it damages the furniture and wall paint but I am not sure what temperature to leave it at...
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Old 07-10-2010, 07:32 PM
 
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Does it save you money to keep it at a higher temp.? It is true that higher temps increase degradation. Radiation from direct sunlight does more damage than actual, slight, temperature differences. Makes sure you still leave all the vents open and the filters changed and do some experimenting into what influences your bills. Keep as much direct sunlight out of that space as possible otherwise the degradation between 75F and 85F is minimal.
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Old 07-10-2010, 07:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJon3475 View Post
Does it save you money to keep it at a higher temp.? It is true that higher temps increase degradation. Radiation from direct sunlight does more damage than actual, slight, temperature differences. Makes sure you still leave all the vents open and the filters changed and do some experimenting into what influences your bills. Keep as much direct sunlight out of that space as possible otherwise the degradation between 75F and 85F is minimal.
The upstairs is vacant so the I assume if the AC isn't running for a vacant level as much, then it should save some money... I keep downstairs cool at 75 (any lower and I am freezing)... I will set it at 85 degrees upstairs and 75 degrees downstairs then... thanks!
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Old 07-11-2010, 05:19 AM
 
Location: Prospect, KY
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Keeping upstairs too hot can affect your downstairs temps (in certain situations). You didn't mention whether or not you have an open floor plan - is any part of your first floor (entry, living room, etc.) open to the second floor? If it is, keeping the air temp at 80 or above will have some effect on your downstairs temperature. Heat rises - so open floor plans with tall ceilings will cause your upstairs to be warmer than your downstairs.

One thing that will save you money is to keep your ceiling fans on throughout the house (including upstairs fans). Keeping your ceiling fans on (and connecting doors open) helps keep the air flowing and evenly cooled - those fans will actually save you money.

Also, make sure you are closing all doors to areas that aren't vented - like closets. Keep all windows covered too.

If your upstairs isn't opened up to the downstairs, then keep the thermostat at 80 or 85 and keep your ceiling fans on too. When we go on vacations, we keep our thermostat at 80 for the whole house without any problems.

Hope this helps.
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Old 07-11-2010, 01:02 PM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
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On first glance, keeping the thermostat upstairs at a higher temp to save money makes sense. On second look, however, you are defeating the purpose.

What you are effectively doing is creating a heatsink or thermal oven on top of your living space. While it's true that warm air rises, heat also radiates through solid surfaces, so by keeping the upstairs warmer you are turning your ceilings into radiant heaters. This is going to make your downstairs AC work harder to combat the heat radiating from your ceilings. You'll be better off keeping the entire house at a reasonable temperature, or at least keep the upstairs within a comfort zone of 75-80.

If you want to keep the upstairs AC from kicking on so often, make sure you go through the upstairs and get everything weatherproof. Hang reflective shades on the upstairs window to keep out the sunlight. Check for drafts around all the windows and seal them up, etc. Check your attic insulation and make sure it is up to standard. If you have it in the budget, look into getting radiant barrier installed in the attic (it works, my sister had it done and so far she is running about 20% below last year's electric bills - and this year has been much warmer than last year was).

I used to live in an old 2 story farmhouse that had been retro-fitted with 2 ac units. I tried the same thing you are trying, and then had a friend that was into "green" living explain thermal mass and heat transfer to me. By keeping the whole house in a comfort zone, I knocked about 10% off of my electric bill.
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Old 07-11-2010, 04:24 PM
 
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Thanks... the second floor is not opened to the first floor except from the stairs of course and I have ceiling fans in every room... I am hesitant to turn them all on since I don't want wear/tear on them so fast... There are only three windows without blinds, I am considering having window blinds installed but there isn't much "direct" sunlight through the windows... I will leave the temps the same on both floors.. thanks everyone..
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Old 07-12-2010, 12:47 AM
 
Location: Prospect, KY
5,219 posts, read 11,004,452 times
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Better to have wear and tear on your ceiling fans than your air conditioner along with higher electric bills each month....you will have less wear on your air conditioner if you use your ceiling fans both in winter & summer - you will notice a difference on your electric bill and ceiling fans should last for many years even when you leave them turned on all the time. Most of our ceiling fans are over 20 years old and still going strong.

There are many articles about this subject:

Ceiling fans reduce energy costs summer and winter - Home/Garden - NewsObserver.com

http://www.aceee.org/consumerguide/cooling.htm
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Old 07-12-2010, 12:15 PM
 
11,853 posts, read 10,905,255 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cattknap View Post
Better to have wear and tear on your ceiling fans than your air conditioner along with higher electric bills each month....you will have less wear on your air conditioner if you use your ceiling fans both in winter & summer - you will notice a difference on your electric bill and ceiling fans should last for many years even when you leave them turned on all the time. Most of our ceiling fans are over 20 years old and still going strong.

There are many articles about this subject:

Ceiling fans reduce energy costs summer and winter - Home/Garden - NewsObserver.com

Efficient Home Cooling
That's a good point and I did leave the ceiling fans on (total 8 fans)... the AC (both upstairs and downstairs have not turned on as much!!).. Do you leave your ceiling fans on 24/7?? Or do you give small breaks in between? Its working great so far! I would rep you again but I have to spread it around...
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Old 07-12-2010, 12:31 PM
 
Location: Prospect, KY
5,219 posts, read 11,004,452 times
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Good - glad you had good results. We leave our fans on 24/7 unless we are on vacation or gone for a day or two. We noticed an immediate reduction in our electric bill when we started doing this and the rooms are more evenly cool.
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Old 07-12-2010, 12:39 PM
 
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Just make sure you're not leaving your HVAC fan in the "on" position for humidity reasons.
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