High ceilings add style and flair to residential interiors. A soaring vaulted ceiling “opens up” a room and adds an impression of elegant spaciousness to the house. However, high ceilings can also pose certain difficulties when it comes to HVAC performance and efficiency. This is particularly true in winter, when your central heating system is in operation.
It’s a basic fact of physics: Hot air rises. In rooms with a vaulted ceiling, the volume of hot air rising is substantially more than in a room with a standard ceiling. Heat rises higher and collects far above the level where occupants can benefit from the warmth. The room tends to stay more chilly and more expensive to heat in winter.
Here are some strategies to help your furnace keep a high-ceilinged room effectively and efficiently comfortable in winter and summer:
- A ceiling fan redistributes warm air accumulating near a high ceiling to augment comfort in winter. Ceiling fans are directional and can be set to rotate in a counterclockwise direction that blows air downward. This returns heated air at the ceiling back to a lower level, where occupants in the room can benefit from the warmth.
- Changing the fan setting on the central HVAC thermostat from “Auto” to “Fan” means the system fan circulates air continuously. This ongoing circulation helps aid temperature control in high-ceilinged rooms in both winter and summer. Heating/cooling cycles still cycle on and off automatically.
- When sizing an air conditioner with the BTU capacity to properly cool the house, make sure the increased volume of air present in rooms with vaulted ceilings is part of the calculation. Air conditioner sizing is based on square footage of rooms. However, the calculation typically assumes a standard ceiling height in every room. Because a room with a high ceiling contains substantially more air volume than a standard room, an A/C unit with greater BTU capacity will likely be required to provide adequate cooling performance.
For more information about strategies to effectively and efficiently heat rooms with high ceilings, contact the professionals at Detmer and Sons.