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Uneven Townhouse Heating / Blocking Air Returns

I live in a 3 story townhouse, the lower level is a family room/entrance, main level is the kitchen/dining/family room, and upper level is 3 bedrooms. Each level has its own air return.

The thermostat is set for 71 degrees on the main level. However the lower level is 66, the main level is 71, and the upper level is a toasty 76 degrees, unbearable to sleep in. I have adjusted the dampers to direct 75% of the air flow onto the first 2 levels and we have closed the air vents on half of the upstairs. However, its still a 10 degree difference from top floor to bottom floor.

I had our local heating company do a regular preventative maintenance inspection on our heater and commented on the problem and he suggested covering the air return on the upper floor, which would force the furnace to suck the colder air from the lower level and main floor. He then said to switch it in the summertime and block the air return on the lower floor which would suck in the warmer air from the top and middle floors.

I have the fan for the heating system set on "on" to constantly circulate air throughout the house but we still have a 10 degree difference.

Since there are 3 air returns, would covering the upstairs air return in the winter and then covering the lower floors air return in the summer be a smart thing to do?

Re: Uneven Townhouse Heating / Blocking Air Returns

If you want you can cover the downstairs return in the winter, this will pull more air from the upstairs. Another thing is your windows, what is the exposure, does the sun beat down on the upstairs windows all day?? That could easily raise the Temp 10 degrees. My wife used to live in a Condo and she had the same problem, the sun that is. Where is you furnace located?? Would it be in the attic?? If it is that could be part of your problem. If all else fails you may have to have it zoned.

Re: Uneven Townhouse Heating / Blocking Air Returns

The furnace is located on the first floor of the townhouse, the one thats always cold.

As for the sun exposure, the sun's path goes overhead and because we have a townhouse, we dont have that many windows on the upper level.

Ive even debated adding a duct off the ductwork which goes up to the 3rd floor and patching it directly to the basement. This would add heat to the basement, and take heat away from the upstairs. Thoughts?

Re: Uneven Townhouse Heating / Blocking Air Returns

I may have misread your first post but, if the furnace is on the cold level the air could be going right past the supply takeoffs for that floor, especially if the same main trunk is supplying the upstairs. If this is whats happening you may have to put in what is called a scoop, at the takeoffs. This will catch air for the cold floor, this usually happens if the supply on the Main Trunk is to close to the furnace. Try to explain how your system is set up, one main trunk or two, if two does one go downstairs, if one how is the supply routed to the cold floor? If you can explain this and repost it sure would help us to help you.

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