I'm looking for help with trying to balance the air temps in the living areas of my house.
I have a typical midwest 3 bedroom ranch, with the bedrooms on the north/east side, the living room centrally located with a south-facing picture window, the dining area in the SW corner of the house which is open to the kitchen in the NW corner. The dining area has large bay windows in both the south and west walls. The dining/kitchen areas are at least 10 degrees warmer than the bedrooms in the summer - I keep the blinds closed from mid-May to mid-October to try and keep the sun out. The thermostat is in the hallway near the bedrooms, as is the main floor return - there are no returns in the living/dining/kitchen side of the house. Whenever I have guests over for dinner I have to crank the A/C waaay down to get the dining area and kitchen comfortable. I'm looking for ideas on ways to try and remedy the situation. Here's my thoughts so far:
1. The existing return is a 2 framing bay setup. I can move one of those return ducts to the living/dining area in order to pull more of the heated air into the A/C. This won't be difficult as I have an unfinished basement and all the ductwork is in the floor trusses.
2. Leave the return as-is and install an attic type fan in the dining or kitchen area. There is about 3 feet of open wall space above the kitchen cabinets on the north wall of the kitchen. I think that would be a good spot as it is up high and can draw the hot air directly from the dining area through the kitchen. My only concern about an attic fan is that it may work against the A/C system in trying to draw air.
Summer temps can easily and often exceed 100 deg, and I usually have the thermostat set for 80 during the day and 75 at night. House is fully insulated, new construction in 1995, A/C and furnace replaced and uprated in 2003, but this problem has existed from day 1. Any thoughts, comments, suggestions, questions? TIA!