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A Frugal Solution To An Expensive House Problem

I have a family member (lets call him Bro) with a small problem with the design of their recently purchased house.  You see, their house is a decently sized house (about 2,500 square feet), but their furnace/air conditioner is designed for a 1,800 square foot house.  So, the upstairs rooms are way too hot in summer and too way to cold (about 45 degrees) in winter.

A new furnace/air conditioner would cost thousands of dollars, which my Bro doesn’t want to pay for.  So instead, he is contemplating installing floor board heaters and room air conditioners.  This would make the rooms look presentable (although the room air conditioners wouldn’t be that nice looking)! 

But I think I know of a better solution!  What if instead, a small fan was place over the vents, then turned on to suck the air out from the vents.  When the fan is not in use, it can be stored under the bed or in the closet.  This would be the cheapest solution of all the options.

Perhaps there is a company out there that has a more elegant solution than my fan idea.   Maybe someone already makes a fan that replaces the grill so it’s is more aesthetically pleasing to the eyes and less hassle!

In the rooms that are not in use, my Bro can just keep the fans stored away someplace until needed.

Do you think my frugal solution will work?  Have you ever come up with non-conventional solutions for major flaws?

-MR

14 Responses to A Frugal Solution To An Expensive House Problem

  1. I don’t think that will ultimately do the trick. While it might draw more air into those rooms, it will do so at the expense of air flowing into other rooms. Adding fans to all the vents in the house will negate any effect. The bottom line is that the furnace can only provide air for so many cubic feet (which is really the true measure).

    The thing your brother should consider is that even if he does put in the floor system as an auxiliary, there could be significant wear and tear on the current system that will require it to be replaced. Murphy’s Law states that he’ll spend the money on the floor system, and then have to make a decision on the forced air system anyways. At that point, would he really put in another undersized system or would he re-size it, making the expense of the floor system a potential waste?

  2. For me, I am all about comfort. I cannot stand being too hot or too cold. I would probably just suck it up and have some heating and cooling person devise some solution. Plus, it may be harder to re-sell the house in the heating/cooling system truly isn’t the right size for the home.

  3. I usually suck it up until I have the money to fix it correctly. I almost always get mad at myself when I spend money for a band aid solution and then end up spending money again to fix it properly.

    We have a similar problem in our house (not due to sizing but because we removed a duct..it’s only a problem in the summer though). The way we get around is it to set the fan to “ON” instead of auto. That at least has air circulating non stop.

  4. I think that fans may help while he saves up enough money to have the system replaced with one of the proper size. Money Beagle was right, whether he adds assisting systems or not, his current system is going to break down faster than it normally would. Sometimes we just have to suck it up and pay for the right solution…it sucks, but the system just won’t last as long when it’s overworked…

  5. @Money Beagle
    Downstair is usually cooler in summer and warmer in winter (thanks to some extremely large oak trees and a fireplace stove insert downstairs).

    So I suggested that he close or lessen the air flow downstairs, and open it up wide, upstairs. That should suck the cool and warm air up depending on the season.

    He’s fortunate in that he gets free wood from where he works, so heating the downstairs in winter is no problem…

    His case is unique, perhaps as you state this wouldn’t be the ideal idea for a typical scenario, but in his, I think it just might work.

  6. @Everyday Tips
    Those are great points. Unfortunately my family member (not really my brother), is kind of tight right now with cash. Most likely 3 to 5 years down the road, my Bro will have to do as you suggest.

  7. @Sandy L
    I agree, the last think I think he should do is buy a bunch of air conditioners for each room and install the floor base heaters… I think it would lessen the appeal of the house when they go to sell it.

    I forgot that he does have a ceiling fan. Perhaps that would be a good option too, during a less hot summer (this one bites…)

  8. @Budgeting in the Fun Stuff
    I agree, I think he should limp by with my proposed solution until he accumulates enough money to bite the bullet.

    Unfortunately, I doubt he will even give my system a try (he’s kind of stubborn that way). I think my solution could be implemented for very low cost just to see if it works.

    After a day or so if my solution doesn’t work… then scrap my idea and try other options.

  9. Have you tried it out? Maybe tell him to give it a try for a week..

    I guess if that doesn’t work then he can blow some cash on a new system?

    That’s the problems with D-I-Y renos sometimes, eh? =(

  10. We use a series of tower fans next to the vents. It isn’t that the airconditioner isn’t strong enough- it is that I refuse to lower the temperature.
    The vents downstairs are completely shut when we are not there. We then place a tower fan next to the vent in the room we are in. It circulates better than a ceiling fan.
    This minor solution has brought down our air costs $100 per month this summer (and it is much warmer than last summer)!

  11. @Frank @ Payday Loan
    Yep, that true. It’s his house… He doesn’t even want to try my suggestion.

    Too bad, I would like to see if it works well or not… Oh well 🙂