Nothing is worse than having a modern home with supposed comforts that end up not quite so comfortable. Many home designs, especially older ones, are not built with optimal airflow in mind. Other times, a lack of upkeep can make home temperature differences grow more noticeable over time.
These temperature inconsistencies — whatever the cause — can not only make homeowners uncomfortable but can also increase energy costs anywhere from 3 to 40 percent. To avoid paying a thousand dollars or more over a five year period on trying to keep the whole house comfortable, consider these common problems and their solutions:
Inefficient Ducting Configuration
Ducting may only cost a few dollars per foot, but the effects it has can be quite dramatic. Correctly configuring your ducts can make a difference of as much as ten degrees for many home layouts.
On the other hand, incorrectly configuring your ducts can easily lead to dramatic temperature differences throughout the house. A rule of thumb is that the shorter the duct, the faster the air travels and the quicker that duct’s vent will blow out the desired temperature of air. However, longer ducts will take more time to reach the vent, which can result in complications.
There are two main problems that come about from improper ducting configuration, and both have to do with the location of the thermostat:
- The shortest ducts are too close to the thermostat, making the thermostat shut off before the rest of the house reaches the correct temperature
- The shortest ducts are the farthest away from the thermostat, making the system run longer than it should before it shuts off
A third problem can occur when the air flow from one room is misdirected after a door is shut or a vent is closed. For instance, closing a door to the hallway your thermostat and intake register are located can cause the intake to pull air from a different side of the house. If this happens during the winter, the intake will pull in colder air from the other rooms while the room behind the shut door gets roasting hot from the heat.
These problems can happen more frequently in older homes that are retrofitted with central HVAC systems as well as homes that have been added onto without the optimal airflow in mind.
To fix the problem, an HVAC technician will have to come out to your house to evaluate what is happening to the airflow and what should be happening if the system was installed correctly. Fixing the problem can involve rearranging the duct paths or even relocating the thermostat to a more optimal area.
Sometimes, no matter how many ducts you switch around, a home will not achieve a consistent temperature. For homes with uncommon layouts or far-off additions and wings, a zoned HVAC system could be the answer.
Zoned systems use devices called dampers to open or shut off the flow of air to various sections of the house. The dampers are usually controlled electronically by the thermostat. Once installed, the home will only heat or cool the sections of the house as needed rather than blasting the HVAC trying to reach every corner.
Special wiring installations are needed and equipment precisely installed to achieve a functional and efficient zoned HVAC system. For this reason, the job should be evaluated and performed only by a skilled, licensed technician.
Leaky Ducts and Homes
Sometimes, the issue of inconsistent temperature comes from air coming in or going out where it is not supposed to at all. In other words, you may have a drafty window or ducts that have holes in them.
An HVAC technician can inspect your ducts for proper connections or signs of leaks. They can also perform a home energy audit to find out problem spots where air is coming in or out where it should not be. Fixes can range from replacing ducts, installing a newer model of window or arranging to have an entire area professionally reinsulated.
In the end, the homeowner will be wasting far less money in addition to being more comfortable throughout the house. Research shows leaky ducts and outer walls can decrease HVAC efficiency by a whopping 20 to 40 percent.
To help you find the source of the problem and stop it for good, enlist the help of a seasoned HVAC guru to assess the situation and advise the best way to remedy it. Click here to get free custom quotes from reputable HVAC contractors. You’ll receive upfront pricing without having to invite a contractor to your home or even enter your contact information!