High ceilings are known for adding an aesthetic appeal to your home, opening up your indoor space, and creating the illusion of a larger living area. Although high ceilings can upgrade your home’s appearance and increase its resale value, they have a negative effect on your HVAC system’s performance and efficiency.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about how ceiling height affects your HVAC system and your overall energy use.
Ceiling Height and HVAC Systems
A room with a high ceiling has more air volume compared to a room with a low ceiling. The air volume in a room affects the heating and cooling dynamics and influences temperature control. As a result, this affects the efficiency of your HVAC system, leading to uncomfortable temperatures and wasted energy.
For example, if your home has high ceilings, the warm heat produced by the HVAC system tends to accumulate at the top, which causes the cold air to settle in the lower atmosphere of your home. This phenomenon occurs because warm air is lighter than cold air. Therefore, if you have high ceilings, you are likely to feel chilly in your home despite having an HVAC system that functions properly.
Obviously, you can change the thermostat setting to warm the air more. However, this will cause your furnace to work twice as hard to maintain your home’s temperature, increasing the heating costs and decreasing your furnace’s efficiency.
During the summer months, your air conditioner will need to run longer cycles to keep the high air volume in your home cool. These extended cycles will eventually lead to wear and tear of the air conditioner and increase your energy costs.
How To Cool a Home With High Ceilings
To effectively cool your home, you don’t need to bring in a home remodeling expert to lower your ceiling! There are ways to cool your home without overworking your HVAC system or incurring high energy bills each month.
Get an Air Conditioner With the Right Capacity
In order for an air conditioner to perform efficiently in a home with high ceilings, it needs to have a higher cooling capacity. Before buying a new HVAC system, check its cooling capacity to ensure that you select one with enough power. Air conditioners are classified according to their BTU classes, which are based on your home’s square footage.
When dealing with high ceilings, we recommend choosing an air conditioner with a slightly higher cooling capacity than your square footage requires. This is because your home contains a large volume of air compared to a home with a standard ceiling height. Choose an air conditioner rated one or two BTUs higher than the recommended BTU class for your home’s actual square footage. If you choose an air conditioner with a lower cooling capacity, it will cycle off too often to cool the room effectively.
Strategically Position the Condenser
The condenser’s location impacts the efficiency of the air conditioner. If you place the air conditioning unit in a spot where it is exposed to sunlight for many hours throughout the day, it will need to work much harder than its capacity allows, lowering its efficiency.
Your air conditioner is already working hard due to the increased air volume in your high-ceilinged home. Place the condenser in a cool area sheltered from the sun. The shady environment will allow your air conditioning unit to consume 10 percent less energy than it would if it was exposed to direct sunlight.
You can ask the HVAC experts to install the condenser where it will receive maximum shade from the trees around your home. To maintain the cooling capacity of the condenser, make sure to prune the branches of nearby bushes and trees a few feet away from the equipment. Any shrubs near the condenser will affect the surrounding airflow.
Run the HVAC System’s Fan
If you are using a central HVAC system, it probably has an option that allows you to run its fan continuously. When you run the fan continuously, it will operate even when the air conditioner or the furnace cycles off. The continuous circulation of air will mix the warm air with the cool air, which will keep the temperatures consistent in rooms with high ceilings.
Ventilate the Attic
If your home has an attic, you need to be aware of the temperatures in your attic during the summer. They can reach as high as 150 degrees! When the attic temperatures reach this level, the temperature within the rest of the house also increases significantly, making the atmosphere within the house very uncomfortable.
The best way to control the attic temperature is by using a whole-house fan. The whole-house fan is mounted inside the attic and features vents that lead outside. If you operate it when the temperature drops in the evening, your whole-house fan will draw cool air into your home and disperse it while pushing warm attic air outside through the vents. Whole-house fans are an effective, environmentally friendly way to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home when the outside air is cooler than the inside air.
Install a Ceiling Fan
A ceiling fan ensures that warm or cool air is distributed effectively throughout your home. When the fan is strategically mounted on a high ceiling, you can adjust the settings to direct the air downwards. As a result, when warm air accumulates in the upper atmosphere of your home during winter, the ceiling fan can blow the warm air back down, keeping the home at a comfortable winter temperature.
Instead of purchasing a standard fan, we recommend buying ceiling fans specifically designed for high ceilings because they can move higher volumes of air.
About Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning
If you are looking for expert HVAC services in the North Valley and Greater Sacramento area, then Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning is the company to contact. We believe in putting our clients first, and we are dedicated to offering you the best HVAC and plumbing services in the area.
Whether you need assistance with heating, air conditioning, indoor air quality issues, or plumbing, you can count on our experienced and specialized crews to keep your systems clean, safe, efficient, and functional throughout the year.
Does your home have high ceilings? If so, we can improve the performance of your air conditioning system by installing a new unit with a higher capacity. We can also ventilate your attic by installing a whole-house fan that will efficiently maintain your home at a comfortable temperature. Lastly, we can install high ceiling fans that evenly distribute warm air.
If you suspect that you may be dealing with a faulty HVAC system, give us a call today, and we will send an expert to inspect the unit to provide reasonable repair options. You can also count on us to help you accurately calculate the square footage of your home to ensure you buy an HVAC system that will keep you comfortable year-round.
Call Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning today to learn more about our HVAC and plumbing services.