September 19, 2017
It’s important to be able to regulate the comfort of your home. One phenomenon that compromises comfort for many homeowners is known as hot and cold spots. No, your home is not being haunted. Temperature imbalances, however, can indicate a problem with your HVAC or duct system. If there is a room in your home that is hotter or colder than other areas with no explanation, you can return everything to just-right levels without having to call a medium.
Temperature imbalances can be caused by a variety of factors. These include blocked vents or registers, ductwork inefficiencies, air leaks near windows and doors, and unbalanced HVAC systems.
We explore some of these common hot and cold spot culprits and how to reverse their effects. One thing is for sure, the solution is not to put your thermostat at temperatures that could overrun the system in order to compensate. Locate the true source of the problem and return your home to full comfort with the help of a professional, or if it’s a simple fix, on your own with a simple solution.
Common Causes of Temperature Imbalances
- Ductwork – Ductwork inefficiencies could be the culprit causing the hot or cold spots in one or more rooms of your home. The ductwork could either be improperly sized or leaky. When ductwork is the wrong size for the size of your home, airflow is affected. A professional can inspect your ductwork and determine if your ductwork has been improperly sized. Leaky ductwork also affects airflow in the home. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 20 to 30 percent of your conditioned air can be lost through leaks in the ductwork! We’ve found that many homes lose even more conditioned air than that. Properly sized and sealed ductwork is essential for consistent temperatures, especially when heating or cooling rooms that are farther away from the indoor air handler. Learn how our PureFlow Duct System works. If you’d like to tackle the project on your own, make sure to never use duct tape. Instead, use mastic sealant or aluminum foil tape. Learn more about DIY duct sealing versus professional duct sealing.
- Vents – You can easily investigate if vents are the culprits of your hot or cold spots. If the vents are closed, air will not be able to reach the room in which they are closed. Closing the air supply vents will not save you money on heating and cooling bills; it will only block the air from getting in the room and cause damage to your HVAC and duct system. That’s why you should always leave air vents and registers completely open and unobstructed. So, check for furniture, rugs, and drapes that make be inadvertently blocking your vents.
- Insulation – If rooms in your home are poorly insulated, you could have difficulties retaining heat or cold. This is a waste of energy, as you’ll be running your system for a long time and still not achieving the desired comfort level. A professional can determine if your home is poorly insulated and suggest how to remedy this. Poor insulation is more common in older homes. Find out if your home has poor insulation and some simple home insulation tips.
- Windows – Typically, windows lose the most heat in the winter and the most cold in the summer. If a room has a lot of windows in it, then summer heat and winter cold is going to be making its way in. The hotter a room is, the harder your system is going to have to work. If the windows aren’t tightly sealed, then they are letting heat out when you need it most. A professional can identify air leakages in any of your home’s windows. You may choose to fix air leakages with caulk, foam sealant, or weather-stripping. Speak with a professional HVAC technician for the most effective method. Although more expensive, upgrading to energy-efficient windows may also be a desirable solution. Additionally, adding blinds and shades is another method of saving money on your energy bills, reducing hot and cold spots, and adding some style into a room accented by windows. Outdoor window treatments should be considered as well. Learn about more passive heating and cooling window strategies.
- Thermostat – Temperatures are best regulated in the rooms where the thermostats are located. Rooms that are farther away from the thermostat will be harder to regulate. When you set a thermostat, the system will run until the room where the thermostat is located reaches the desired temperature. It has no way to test if the room down the hall also reached the pre-set temperature. This is why the location of your thermostat is crucial. To avoid false readings, make sure it is away from all cold and heat sources, such as sunlight, lamps, vents, windows, and doors. Depending on your home, it could make sense to install a Zoned HVAC System. When rooms are zoned, there are multiple thermostats in the home, allowing not just individualized comfort, but also more consistent airflow and temperature control throughout the whole home.
Best Ways to Solve Temperature Imbalances
Don’t call Ghostbusters; hot and cold spots are a job for an HVAC professional. The best solutions for correcting temperature imbalances are:
- Checking for closed supply vents and registers
- Fixing any leaks in the ductwork
- Identifying and sealing any air leaks in windows and doors
- Scheduling an insulation consultation or energy audit
- Considering zoning solutions
Who ya gonna call? Work with the hot and cold specialists at Service Champions if you are experiencing any eerie temperature imbalances in your home.