What is the best way to circulate heat downward in a room with 14' ceilings where the heat ducts are at the top?
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I have a loft-style condominium with 14' ceilings and ducts at the top, as well as expensive electric heat. In the winter, at ceiling level the temperature will be 90 degrees whereas at ground level it will be 60 degrees, which causes my furnace to have to run continuously. The room is 35' x 18', and I currently have one ceiling fan at the rear that I can run in reverse. The front half cannot accommodate a standard ceiling fan in the middle, however, due to a hanging 8' x 8
Hi Lindsey --
Sounds like a great space! From your description, I am picturing a ceiling that has everything exposed -- a very industrial look. If that is the case, you may not mind the appearance of a product called the Air Pear.
You'll see from the website that it is typically specified for more commercial applications, but sounds as though it would be an option if you are OK with the aesthetics. The model 10 can be installed 12 to 18 ft from the floor and covers an area 35 feet in diameter. Noise level is rated at 44 dbA, which is roughly equivalent to a quiet conversation. Electrical usage appears to be less than a typical clg fan. So, assuming you are OK with the appearance and noise level, one Air Pear sounds like it will provide good results.
When we design homes with high ceilings we will frequently coordinate with the mechanical contractor to install return air registers high on the adjacent walls to "pull" the hot air off the ceiling and recirculate it back to the heating equipment, thus destratifying -- and, as you pointed out, saving the homeowner money.
In your situation, with the supply registers being high, I would be concerned about trying this approach, as it would likely "short-circuit" the air flow. It is interesting that the heating system was installed as you describe.
One other thought would be to work with a mechanical contractor and see if it would be possible to relocate your supply registers down at floor level and introduce high return air registers into the system as mentioned above. This, however, is not an inexpensive solution.
The Air Pear is probably your best value from a first cost and operational cost standpoint, with appropriately placed quantities and sizes of standard ceiling fans being your other most cost-effective option.
In any case, I think you would benefit from having a reputable heating/air conditioning contractor look at your space and determine if there are any simple cost-effective ways to modify your existing system for greater comfort and efficiency. Hope this helps and gets you closer to finding a solution!