Problem: How can I boost the airflow to my bonus room?

By glblguy

Windblown grass

I would suspect many of you have a similar problem. We have a bonus room above our garage. It has two air vents but for some reason the builder decided to place them next to each other in the ceiling, on the far side of the room, right next to two large windows. To make matters worse, one vent is connected to our downstairs heating and AC unit, the other to the upstairs heating and AC unit.

This all adds up to two major problems: 1) In the winter the room is cold 2) In the summer the room is hot. Most people use their bonus room as a spare/extra room. Given we have 6 children, ours is a bedroom for 3 of them. Throughout the year I consistently hear either “Dad, we’re freezing” or “Dad, we’re hot“.

Given the room is above the garage, that’s problem enough and I’ve read the two issues I have are quit common for rooms above garages or any uninsulated or partially uninsulated space. With the vents both being on the far side of the room AND being coupled to different HVAC units it’s really only getting heat or AC from one vent at any one time. See, I have electronic thermostats that adjust my heat and AC depending on where we are in the house. In the evenings, the downstairs unit gets turned way down so it doesn’t run, and the opposite occurs during the day. Doing this has really cut by heating and AC bills each month.

During the winter, we use a ceramic heater which really does the trick and keeps the room toasty. I don’t like to run it all the time though, as it’s a little expensive. Not to mention, it dries the room out along with the rest of the house. We use a portable humidifier to offset this some, but it seems like a losing battle.

Anyway, where am I going with all of this? I’d like to find a way to boost the airflow to the bonus room. I’ve seen a couple of air vent boost fans at the local hardware store, but not sure if they really work. I’ve talked with our preferred HVAC company, and getting the vent moved would be an expensive ordeal. Considering we are thinking about moving in the next year or two, I really don’t want to put that kind of investment into the house.

I would appreciate any ideas or suggestions you might have. I’ll keep you posted on my progress as I experiment with various solutions and products.


13 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Problem: How can I boost the airflow to my bonus room?”

  1. Randall Says:

    Glblguy, I did read about this air vent booster (http://cashmoneylife.com/2007/11/28/save-money-with-an-air-vent-booster/)
    that you could get a couple for the room.

    My oldest has the upstairs room, and he’s always too hot or too cold. When our air conditioning went out late in the summer one year, we decided to try to hold off getting it fixed until the next season by buying a room air conditioner (not a window unit, but one of the little stand-up ones). It also doubles as a heater as well.

    When we got the air conditioning fixed, it was moved upstairs, and now gets used by my son to warm up/cool down his room to his tastes.

    Randall.

  2. glblguy Says:

    Thanks Randall. Have to check out Patrick’s article. How well does the portable AC unit work?

  3. Randall Says:

    It’s about the size of a largeish suitcase and sits beside/behind my son’s bed. A hose sneaks out to a low-profile plastic slot that fits in the window. You can see it from the outside, but only if you look closely. Just plugs into normal outlets and off you go.

  4. glblguy Says:

    How often do you have to empty the condenser pan?

  5. Randall Says:

    To date, I’ve never had to empty it. It’s large enough to hold all the moisture, and it evaporates out as the humidity changes. Clean it every few months, but no dumping. YMMV though.

  6. chris Says:

    Exact same situation over here. Garage converted into “family room,” cold in winter and HOT in summer. Cold we can deal with as we live in California. However the hot was too much. This is also the room which we converted into my workspace for my ebay business. Two years ago we cut a small hole in the wall and put in a small wall unit airconditioner. It has made all the difference in summer. As long as this room is cool, the whole house is cool, too. Last summer our main unit went out and we just ran the wall in the family room. Our electric bill for the hottest month of the year in So. Cal was $69.00. Can’t help you with the heat part, but we’ve found that our electric – all summer long – has gone down with the installation of the wall unit. Good luck!

  7. glblguy Says:

    Hi Chris, that is another option we’ve considered. I think our HOA may restrict us from using that option though. I’ll have to dig out the documentation and see. Good to hear that you electric bill actually dropped and didn’t go up, that makes me feel better! Thanks for your insight.

  8. Adam Says:

    Seal up your duct work with in the home it is typical for duct systems to leak mass amounts of air recapturing this air will put a greater air flow to the living spaces through out the home the best way to seal duct work is by a process called Aeroseal check out the web site at Aeroseal.com

  9. Air vent Says:

    I really liked your writing style, please do keep putting out more content like this!

  10. Roselle Seguin Says:

    a good dwelling air conditioner will save you 1000′s 1 year with cost.

  11. Todd M Says:

    There are quick fixes that will mask the problem like a window unit but addressing the real problem is more complicated. A hot bonus room means more heat is entering that part of the house than is taken out by the AC. Usually the problem is not the AC but the shell of the home. Inadequate insulation, poor windows and leaks in ducts or the building materials allow too much heat to come into the room. It’s not necessarily expensive to fix but the solution isn’t obvious either.

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