Have you ever noticed that when you enter a certain room in your house, it’s always warmer than all the others? Or have a room that you know has the coolest temperature in your house? No matter what you set your thermostat to, those rooms are always hotter or colder than the others. Your living room may be the exact temperature you want, but your bedroom upstairs is freezing. It can be aggravating and uncomfortable and, while these temperature imbalances are frustrating, they may be warning signs of a much larger issues. So why does this happen and what can you do to fix it?
First, check for the following common issues:
- Air Duct Problems: If your air ducts are crushed or kinked, certain areas of your house won’t get sufficient air. Air duct leaks can also cause uneven temperatures, among other issues.
- Dirty Air Filters: Clean air filters allow air to flow through your home efficiently. If your air filters are dirty, it restricts airflow therefore affecting the amount of cool air circulating throughout your home.
- Open Windows: Cool, air conditioned air can escape out of open windows leading to uneven temps in your home.
- Closed Vents: If a vent remains closed in a room, it restricts airflow leading to a warmer temperature than in other rooms of the house.
If it’s not one of the problems above, the next likely cause is an unbalanced air conditioning and heating system. You’ll need an AC company to balance it.
Air Balancing for Temperature Regulation
If you’ve checked all the issues above and all are okay, the cause of your temperature variances is probably an unbalanced heating and air conditioning system. Air balancing is a service that HVAC companies provide where they adjust the amount of heated and cooled air each room gets in your home.
When a system is perfectly balanced, each room in your home would be the same temperature at the same time. If this is not the case in your house, then you have an unbalanced system.
Unbalanced HVAC System Causes
There are many different factors that can cause an HVAC system to become unbalanced. During the system’s installation, larger ducts and additional supply vents are used to push more air into the rooms that need it. Dampers are also installed which help regulate the air flow and even out the temperatures throughout your home. These are valves that allow you to adjust the amount of air getting to each room or area of the house. They are installed near the inside unit of the AC unit on the main ducts, typically in a closet or in the attic.
If your ducts and dampers are properly installed, your system should be pretty balanced; however, there are many factors that can affect this balance. Here are some of the most common things that cause your system to become unbalanced:
1) Multilevel Homes
If your home has multiple levels, it can be difficult to properly balance the air due to the nature of hot air rising as well as the long duct runs that are required to get air to every room. If this is the case in your home, you may want to consider a zoned AC system. With zoning, your home is broken up into different areas, each of which has its own thermostat and temperature control/sensor that automatically adjusts the dampers in your duct system. Zoning also allows you to set different temperatures for different rooms, enabling you to even out the temperature in your home.
2) Long Duct Runs or Uninsulated Ducts
A lot of times, duct work will run through unconditioned areas such as your attic. When the air passes through these warm areas it gains heat, therefore causing rooms furthest away from the air conditioner much warmer (with rooms closer to AC much cooler). This can also be caused by uninsulated ducts – which is a simple solution to this issue. Adding insulation to your ducts will keep the cool air in and the warm air out. A much more complex solution would be to restructure all of the duct work in your home to more evenly distribute the air throughout your home.
3) Inadequate Return Vents
Return vents are what suck the warm air from the room, recycling it into the air conditioning system to be cooled and redistributed. If you have a large home that only has one return vent, it is not able to adequately grab the warm air from rooms that are far away, therefore there is a large amount of cool air mixing with warmer air, increasing the temperature in your home. One way to overcome this is to leave all the room doors in open, which can help with return airflow. If this doesn’t work, you’ll need to add more return vents into your home.
4) Under or Over-sized Systems
Having an improperly sized AC system for your space can cause air balancing issues as well. If your AC system is too large, it shuts off quickly leaving certain rooms too cold or warm. If they system is too small for your space, it could potentially never be able to cool your whole home properly. If your home has an air conditioning system that is too large, use fans to help circulate the cooler are to those warmer rooms in the house. On the flip side, if your system is too small, consider installing an additional system or replace the current small system with a new bigger one that is able to cool your whole house.
5) Room Usage
How you use the rooms in your home may also cause an unbalanced system. For instance, a home office tends to be warmer due to the equipment running in it producing heat (e.g. computers, server, and other electronics). This can be solved by having an AC company regulate the airflow to those warmer rooms by adjusting the dampers in the air ducts, increasing the amount of cool air into the room.
6) Home Renovations and/or Additions
Adding rooms or remodeling can throw off your AC systems balance, especially when walls are added or removed. This could be an easy fix by just having the dampers adjusted in your ducts; however, you may also need to run additional ducts depending upon the renovations or additions that were done. In some cases, you may need to install a second air conditioner.
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