return air in tri level

Old 01-23-08, 08:04 PM
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return air in tri level

We live in the Denver air and we are considering installing AC in a 30 year old tri-level house. We used to use a swamp cooler, although that leaked occassionally (probably due to being old and would hope a new one would provide more reliable performance). For the last 2 summers, we have used a room air conditioner, venting through a hose in the window, to cool down our bedroom in the evenings. Once we get it to 80 degrees or so, it was pretty comfortable. However, we never used the portable AC in the heat of the day, only enough to cool the room off in the evenings to sleep.

We now want to be able to keep the whole house at a more comfortable temperature. On days in the mid to upper 90s, the upstairs would get to almost 90 degrees, so it seems to me we need a lot of cooling upstairs to keep it in the 70s constantly during the hot days. We have had a couple of AC guys who both indicate we need to get return air from upstairs to get any reliable performance from the AC. This makes sense to me. My questions are:

How high should the return air vents be installed? Seems like the higher the better, but it seems it is going to be pretty difficult for them to get the vents installed much higher than floor level upstairs.

If the in fact they can only install the vents at floor level upstairs, are we going to be satisfied with the performance of the AC? Would we be better off buying a new swamp cooler (the current cooler is installed on the roof and vents into the upstairs hallway).

I'm worried that the contractors I have talked to obviously want to sell me a new furnace and AC and might not tell me that we would be better off with a swamp cooler since we can't run the return air to draw the heat off the ceiling upstairs.

Any thoughts are appreciated.

Old 01-23-08, 09:43 PM
Ed Imeduc's Avatar
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A tri-level house. First Id say go with two units . One for up and one for down If you want it to work right.
But you have to think about this. You have a swamp cooler
and now want a AC. Now one puts the humidity in and the other takes it out. So just what do you need there for sure??

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