Central, forced air HVAC systems rely on good air circulation to heat and cool your home. If there are issues with how the airflow is balanced, it can lead to hot and cold spots, compromising the comfort of your home. Fortunately, making a few changes can help rid your home of hot and cold spots, keeping each room as comfortable as the next all year long.
These changes revolve around air balancing, a process HVAC technicians use to find inefficiencies in heating and cooling airflow. An experienced technician, like those at Lakeside Heating & Air Conditioning, will inspect your home and existing HVAC equipment. We can then recommend all your available options for improving air circulation, benefitting the energy efficiency and overall performance of your HVAC system.
Here are 5 ways you can help balance airflow in your home.
1. Check the Location of Your Thermostat
Your thermostat works by detecting changes in the ambient air temperature with a sensor before relaying the information to your heating or cooling. Unfortunately, things like air drafts, sunlight, cooking equipment and even nearby doors can impact the temperature; the right location for your thermostat is essential for an even distribution of heat or air conditioning.
For instance, imagine if your main-level thermostat is placed near the kitchen and a few west-facing windows. You may notice that your thermostat doesn’t turn on as often as it should around the afternoon and evening—generally when sunlight is abundant and people are cooking in the kitchen. The heat generated by cooking and the afternoon sun warms the air around your thermostat, tricking the sensor into thinking the ambient temperature is warmer than it actually is.
When your thermostat is placed near a draft during the winter, the opposite can happen. A drafty room or an open window tricks the thermostat into turning on the heat more often than what’s necessary,
To avoid confusing the thermostat, experts like Lakeside recommend placing it on an interior wall away from windows, doors, air vents and any heat-generating equipment. In fact, placing your thermostat inside the room you use most will help ensure it’s also the most comfortable, since your thermostat bases its heating and cooling schedule off this room’s ambient temperature.
2. Keep Rooms and Vents Open
When each member of your family has a different idea of what’s comfortable, they may close their room’s vent or door to try and maintain their preferred temperatures. Unfortunately, closing off rooms only increases HVAC balancing problems. This is because air continues to move through the ductwork even when heating vents are closed, gradually building up pressure. When the door to an unheated room is suddenly opened, it can rapidly cool the air nearby, tricking the furnace into running again.
Instead, leaving your home’s vents and doors open allows your HVAC system to evenly distribute heated and cooled air, balancing comfort and reducing energy consumption. In fact, try to provide each vent with a foot or so of clearance, as this will ensure air flows smoothly from the ductwork into each room.
3. Adjust Ductwork (fix, seal, add new return ducts)
Your home’s ductwork is usually the only ventilation your HVAC system gets, relying on the layout of each duct to evenly distribute temperatures to every room. But minor gaps in the ductwork and even the layout itself can allow air to escape. When this happens, heating and cooling dissipates in the unfinished parts of your home like behind the walls.
Repairing holes in your ductwork or adjusting the layout can have a major effect on the overall efficiency of airflow. A technician may also recommend sealing the ductwork with additional insulation or installing new return vents where they’re needed most.
4. Increase Insulation (windows, walls)
You may be surprised to hear that most homes lack proper insulation. Adding more insulation, especially around the ductwork, is a great to keep duct losses from turning into hot and cold spots. As a bonus, installing more insulation can also improve the energy efficiency of your HVAC system.
This includes other types of insulation, like for your windows and doors. Special materials and even pockets of air between the panes of glass can form a barrier against outdoor air, keeping more comfort indoors.
5. Install an Air Handler or Zoning System
Sometimes your HVAC system just needs a little help. When other options aren’t balancing airflow, dedicated ventilation equipment like a zoning system or another air handler could be what finally does the trick. Most HVAC systems already have an air handler, so installing one may only be necessary in homes without ductwork, such as those in warm climates or any using a ductless mini-split system for indoor climate control.
A zoning system is particularly effective at resolving hot and cold spots. By creating different comfort “zones” in your home, you can individually adjust the temperature of each zone according to any air balancing issues. So if the top floor is hotter than you want it to be, a zoning system could ensure it receives enough cooling to balance the temperature.
Call Lakeside for Professional Air Balancing
If you’ve noticed hot and cold spots or other air balancing issues in your home, talk with the HVAC pros at Lakeside Heating & Air Conditioning instead of taking matters into your own hands. By carefully calculating airflow rates throughout your home, a technician can determine the best options for properly balancing airflow. We may suggest removing excess air vents or installing new ones.
Whether you need help relocating your thermostat, sealing your ductwork or installing a new HVAC system, the team at Lakeside Heating & Air Conditioning offers all the services you need. As a family-owned and operated company with more than 46 years of experience, we can help you to create a safer, more comfortable home.
Reach out today by giving us a call at 303-412-8015 to learn more about how we can help.