heat/AC from ceiling or floor?

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Old 01-24-03, 01:47 PM
rafaelj
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Question heat/AC from ceiling or floor?

I recently purchased a house and will move there in a couple of months.

The house has a gas furnace and AC condenser in the basement. Both heat and AC are directed to a little attic space under the roof - there they go through a humidifier and a fan coil and get distributed to the different rooms (house is one level only). Each room has one or two outlets in the ceiling. Then there are some grills near the floor for "Ret. Air" ....

I know this from looking at the house and some of the plans. The house was built in 1940, the heat/AC and the lowered ceilings were installed in 1960. The house is in L.A. - moderate climate. Both AC and heat work well at the moment.

I don't know if this is the most efficient system. I would like to take out the lowered ceiling and have 'cathedral ceilings' instead. (For aesthetic preference)

Is it necessary to have the "Ret. Air" grills? (I assume they take the 'old' air back to the furnaca/condenser) Is it unwise to take out the lowered ceilings?
Is it an expensive adventure?

Any advice appreciated!
 
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Old 01-24-03, 06:32 PM
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Well I'm not really going to answer the question you asked. I don't exactly know what you meant by lowered ceilings. I just wanted to mention that if the house wasn't designed with cathedral ceilings, you can't just take out the joists and expose the rafters. The walls will bow and structure is kaput. Maybe you are not planning this but your post made me want to warn you.

A/c and heat both work OK with ceiling or floor supplies. But you must have high and low returns for either to work confortably.
 
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Old 01-24-03, 06:45 PM
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rafaelj:

Return air grills are most definately required. If the house has good airflow characteristics you would not want to mess that up.

If you change the structure of the house to have cathedral ceilings where none existed before, you will greatly increase the heating and cooling load, and will require a new HVAC system as well.


As far as the structural changes, this would not be the place for that advice.

Post your ceiling question here:

http://forum.doityourself.com/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=11
 
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Old 01-28-03, 11:16 AM
rafaelj
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high ceilings preferred

thanks for the replies so far ...

I guess the original structure from 1940 didn't have the lowered ceilings.

I was just wondering if it's necessary to have them in the whole room just to have an outlet for Heat and A/C in the center of the room. Would it be advisable to take out the ceilings in the individual rooms, exposing the cathedral ceilings and have the outlet for the Heat and A/C high on the wall nearest to the hallway - this way the ducts would still run throughout the house over the "lowered ceilings" in the hallways to each room.

I guess most of that was done in 1964 when people thought low ceilings were a great place to put lights, loudspeakers and hide the ducts ... when now we all want the ceilings to be as high and airy as possible.
 
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Old 01-28-03, 11:56 AM
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rafaelj:

What you can do with your ceilings will be determined by the original construction.
If the home was designed with a cathedral ceiling you likely could open it up.

You better get someone to look at it though, as it could be possible that some structural changes have been made to the original design.
 
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Old 01-28-03, 12:36 PM
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It is best to have the supply as far away from the return as possible and still be in the same room. That prevents short circuiting of air from the supply to the return without blanketing the room with conditioned air.

Supplies are better on the outside wall and returns usually on inside walls.
 
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