How to Fix Hot and Cold Spots at Home
Is it hard for you to enjoy a comfortable day at home? If you have hot and cold spots in the home, you want to find the underlying cause and fix it. If you have a decline in airflow in your home, you may have blocked vents, or you may have a dirty air filter.
Here are two main reasons why you may have hot and cold spots in your indoor spaces:
Closed Vents & Registers
No matter what you hear online or in-person, it’s never a good idea to close off or block vents and registers. Your HVAC system was designed specifically for your home and closing off vents and registers will prevent your HVAC system from working the way it’s supposed to.
Basically, the HVAC system outputs the same amount of airflow at all times. Closing off vents and registers in an attempt to save energy actually won’t save any at all and may cause serious problems, such as air duct leaks and blower motor problems.
Go around your home and make sure that all your vents and registers are unblocked. Sometimes furniture, drapes, or other materials inadvertently block airflow. Check underneath rugs and behind furniture to make sure there is free-flowing air coming out of your supply and return vents.
Dirty Air Filter
Normally, airflow problems can be vastly improved by replacing your dirty and clogged air filter with a fresh one. It’s a good idea to check your air filter every 30 days to make sure it is clean.
Most homes need a fresh air filter every 30-60 days, depending on a variety of factors including pets, cleanliness, house and household size.
Still, it’s a good idea to set a reminder to check your air filter at the start of every month. You can do a simple check for cleanliness by holding up the air filter to a light source and seeing if light can pass through the filter. If the light is completely or nearly completely blocked, it’s time to change the air filter.
When Professional Service is Needed:
Sometimes, clearing the air blockages isn’t enough. Many airflow problems can be solved by making a quick call to your local HVAC professional.
If changing the air filter and clearing the area around your vents and registers doesn’t fix the problem, you may have one of the following issues that require a professional fix:
1. Ductwork Leaks and Other Inefficiencies
While you may be able to solve some of your ductwork leaks yourself with some DIY duct sealing (use mastic sealant; never duct tape), it’s probably better to go with the pros. In addition to sealing up all of your ductwork leaks, your HVAC technician will also be able to fix any disconnected pieces, damaged ducts, or lack of insulation and airflow.
Every once in a while, we find that homes have improperly-sized ducts that require a full replacement. Give us a call to discuss your ductwork options, including professional duct sealing and insulation that can significantly improve airflow and energy efficiency.
2. Improperly-Sized Equipment
In addition to the possibility of improperly-sized air ducts, you may also have an oversized or undersized HVAC unit. Unfortunately, over half of all new HVAC systems are improperly installed (according to ENERGY STAR).
If you have an HVAC unit that is over or undersized, you may experience frequent cycling on and off, improper airflow, and difficulty reaching the desired temperature and comfort settings.
3. Thermostat Settings and Location
If you don’t know how to use your programmable thermostat, you may be attributing thermostat problems to your HVAC unit.
Some thermostat operating tips include:
- Making sure the thermostat is in the right location, completely level and away from all heat sources and drafts, including solar rays, air vents, air leaks, fireplaces, lamps, and heat-producing appliances.
- Changing batteries once a year (some units will tell you when batteries should be replaced; others don’t).
The location of your thermostat is very important. To prevent “ghost readings,” install your thermostat on an interior wall away from all heat and cold sources. Call your HVAC professional when installing your thermostat to make sure it is in the right location and compatible with your HVAC system.
Depending on the layout of your home and if you have had any recent renovations, you may discover that one or more areas of your home doesn’t receive the necessary airflow. In this case, it is probably easiest to install a ductless mini-split unit that can provide “zone” heating and cooling for your home.