My first audit was triggered by the homeowner concerned that the upstairs was several degrees warmer than downstairs. Since we all have experienced Hot Air goes up, it makes some sense. In this case the difference was 15° F at 8:00 am, rising to 20° F by noon that August morning. Yes, it was hot.
There are a number of ways to help this out, for existing homes. Which one is best depends on the specific home, the existing setup and the homeowner. For new homes, it usually falls to the HVAC guys to work out.
In a new 2 story home, it is common to see two HVAC units. One in the basement for most of the home and one in the attic for the second floor. Some builders, concerned with cost, or space considerations, will try a Zoned System. You can also find Zoned Systems in single story homes, with the master suite on one zone and the rest of the home on another zone.
In the video below, John Proctor, goes through the measurements and calculations of using or not using a bypass and dampers to figure out exactly what is happening. His conclusion: The Bypass Damper set up costs 22% – 32% more.
This video is primarily written for HVAC contractors and others interested in the details and workings of air conditioning. If all the numbers make your eyes glaze over, that is OK. All you want is comfort, a Bypass dampened system may do that at a cost. It may have the cost and not do that. So if you are considering a Zoned HVAC system, tell your contractor — ‘No Bypass Dampers’! And refer them to this post.