photo: Jorg Schubert
A very common concern around this time of year is the presence of cold and hot spots. One room is comfortable, another too hot, and another too cool. Keeping your entire home a comfortable temperature can be a challenge, and it also may be costing you more in utility bills, as the Department of Energy finds. In this post we will go over some of the most frequent causes of uneven heat distribution and cold spots.
For the most part, structures in our region use central HVAC units for heating as well as air-conditioning. HVAC units are systems that warm or cool circulating air which flows through ducts and is distributed evenly around your home or business. Although you may think the poor heat distribution is the result of your system, it may be caused by air leaks or poor insulation, so a careful inspection of the causes below is recommended. You may also want to call Cooper Mechanical to schedule a home energy audit to make sure your heating system is energy and cost-efficient.
Air Ducts Are Leaking: Warm air may be escaping from gaps in the ductwork, which would create not only cooler rooms for those furthest from the HVAC system, but also weaker airflow. A leaking duct is also driving up your utility bill. Thankfully a leak, once identified, can be easily sealed with patches or speciality tape.
Poor Insulation: The ducts moving the warm air through your home are often made of a thin sheet metal. Poorly insulated ducts running through a cold attic in January do not effectively retain heat and could be the cause of cold spots in certain places. Similarly, poorly insulated windows and doors may make some rooms cold while others remain comfortable. Your HVAC system could be working properly, but a gap below your front door that's missing weather-stripping may be the real culprit from the cold foyer and living room. Conducting tests for air leaks around windows and doors can help identify the cause of cold spots and save you money once addressed.
Your HVAC System Is Too Small or Big for Your Home: Heating and cooling systems should be sized to the square footage and contours of your home. A system too large or small could result in hot or cold spots, and this is especially true for renovated home as well as homes with additions. In this case calling a Cooper professional to assess your home's needs is the best plan of action.
You Need Better Zoning: Home HVAC systems often use zoning which allow homeowners to control temperatures around the house using separate thermostats. For example, it makes sense to have multiple zones in a 2-story home: one for upstairs and one for downstairs. An unzoned home is using one setting for an entire home, which may not warm or cool the entire home evenly. Moving to a zoned system may be an large up-front expense, but it can lead to more balanced heating and cooling as well as future energy savings.
Blocks and Obstructions: Cold spots may be the result of a clogged or blocked vent. It may even be as simple as having furniture in front of a grill or vent, weakening airflow. Walk through each room of your home and check vents to make sure they are open; check and replace filters to ensure strong airflow.
If you are too hot or too cold, or maybe a little bit of both, don't worry. Cooper Mechanical Services is proud to have served the HVAC needs of the Grand Strand region for nearly 30 years. Let our professionals troubleshoot your hot or cold spots, and stay tuned for future posts exploring some of the things you can do at home to address air leaks and improve airflow.