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architectural notes



Venting the top floor by Isa Stralian

The venting and cooling of a double story house is more complex than a ground level dwelling.

The common statement heard made by owners is.... I only want to ventilate the upper level as the ground level is cool, so that area doesn't need it!'

well of course it doesn't need it, it's cool as a consequence of the heat migrating to the upper level....all the heat absorbed by the whole house has moved up into the upper level....even the heat off the downstairs refrigerator coils has moved you could say that the upper level has the combined heat load of the whole house, making the exercise of venting the upper level more critical.

In the quest for making our homes more naturally responsive in maintaining comfort levels, and reducing costs, one need to apply a little logic and common sense

Electricity costs are going to go in one of two directions, ......and down is not one of them.

So there you are, a high heat load in the upper level and the concept of cross ventilation isn't working for you.

Cross ventilation,....has a nice connotation with the promise of what you're not going to be able to use efficiently because if you are able to avail yourself of it, it's going to be uncontrollable and secondly you're introduced to the reality that dust is a consequence of volume.

No one told you?....maybe is was something for you to discover, so back to the real world

Bedrooms on the top floor are hot, and if the temperature prevails no one is going to get any sleep and what makes is worse, there's a cool breeze outside where the temperature is several degrees cooler.....and none of it is coming inside.

What to do?....other than rip off the roof.

Unless you've been able to master the art of blowing air into a bottle. You're suddenly faced with the reality that the only way you are going to get the cool air to come inside is to let the hot air out....and the best way of getting the hot air out is straight up and out to atmosphere. install on large roof ventilator or cupola...not some mickey mouse product that works on solar power and delude yourself that you're going to get free power....because you're not...nothing is 'free'

Nature provides you with pluses and minus....and it's up to you to choose those which could benefit you.

If you were to punch a hole in the bottom of a full water tank you wouldn't use a pump to take the water out.

So too the roof, once there's a nice big hole, the heat will come barrelling out.

That's the roof space/attic area taken care for the rooms.

A ceiling vent placed in each of the rooms which will allow the heat trapped above door heights to escape into the roof space....and as it's escaping, it draws the cooler air in from outside to replace it.
Note that I say 'draw' and not 'sucking', I leave that claim to the flim flam artists

You can't remove one thing without replacing it with another...even if it's air.

Like I said....try blowing air into a bottle!

The ceiling vent ideally needs to be adjustable, preferably with a push / pull action, so you can open and close it incrementally. Whatever you do, I suggest you DO NOT USE A PLASTIC TYPE....they break easily and at the worst possible time and you have to replace the whole unit...if you can find one

Condor manufacture metal ceiling vents or registers which come in two types, manually operated, using a rod of appropriate length with a hook, and 12v electrical, with a remote option.

Not only do you vent the room(s) naturally but you end up with fresher and cleaner odourless rooms because you are introducing fresh clean oxygen by removing the waste air.


infographic on venting top floor
click here for Top Floor pdf

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there are only two reasons why something is not done properly

either the person doesn't want to....,
or doesn't know how to!

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