Hey, is this thing on? Your thermostat, that is. Anyone who’s ever had trouble heating up their house in January or struggled to cool it down in July knows the misery of dealing with uneven temperatures at home.
Whether the basement is freezing, your kitchen is always too warm, or there never seems to be enough airflow upstairs, you shouldn’t have to settle for uneven temperatures in the comfort of your own home. Learn what causes these discrepancies and how to fix them.
What Causes Uneven Temperatures at Home?
There are a few main reasons you might feel like your thermostat isn’t doing a great job. But chances are it’s not the thermostat that’s the problem. If your rooms all seem to be different temperatures, here are the most likely culprits.
1. Blocked or Leaky Ductwork
Blocked or leaky air ducts are one of the most common causes of uneven temperatures. If your air ducts are full of dust, hair, and dirt, have a professional take care of them for you. A duct cleaning company will be able to fully clear your ducts of anything that has built up over the year and ensure you’re only breathing clean air.
A leak in your ductwork doesn’t need to be huge to cause problems. Your ducts can lose up to 30% of their airflow to leaks, which means air from your AC unit or furnace might not be reaching the furthest rooms in your house. Every homeowner should have their ducts inspected and cleaned at least once a year. To ensure your ducts are in good working order for the winter season, contact an HVAC specialist right away.
2. Poor Insulation
Whether your insulation is too old or too thin, poor insulation makes it much harder to regulate temperatures throughout your home. Plus, you’re likely wasting energy and money by paying for air that isn’t being contained within the house. Since hot air rises, it’s particularly important to make sure the insulation in your attic (if you have one) is up to par. The great news is that many homeowners find that adding insulation instantly improves the temperature of their homes. Even better, a pro can install fresh insulation in a matter of hours.
3. Inefficient or Poorly Sealed Windows
It’s no secret that cold outside air can affect your temperature indoors, especially if there are large windows in your home. This effect becomes exponentially worse when windows are not properly sealed. Having your windows re-caulked can prevent warm air from escaping and cold air from entering your home. If the caulking around your windows is in good shape, you can also look at the weather stripping. If it looks old and worn out, have it replaced. A handyman can have your windows sealed and protected in no time.
4. The Wrong Size AC or Furnace System
The bigger your house, the bigger your AC unit and furnace system must be to maintain an even temperature. If your unit is the wrong size, you’ll struggle to get enough airflow to cool or heat your entire home. Based on your home’s square footage, an HVAC specialist can quickly determine the correct make and model for your home. Inquire about your options during your annual maintenance appointment if you think your system isn’t adequately covering your home.
5. Blocked Vents
This is the easiest way to fix uneven temperatures in your house. Move any furniture that might be blocking airflow from floor and wall vents. Check to make sure all the vents are fully open or facing a direction that maximizes airflow. You can also consider closing some of the vents in rooms that have reached your desired temperature to push conditioned air to other areas of the house.
6. An Old AC or Furnace System
If none of the above solutions fix your temperatures, you might have to replace your heating or cooling system. This is likely the case if your AC unit is ten years or older.
Installing a new heating and cooling system is pricey, but definitely worth it in the long run. Plus, most newer models are more environmentally friendly and energy efficient – which means you’ll save money on your energy bill.
You should contact an HVAC installation technician and have them visit your home to determine the type of system you need. They’ll ensure you receive a properly-sized unit and, once it’s installed, you’ll have more even temperatures throughout your living space.
Be Comfortable in Your Home
If you’re struggling with uneven temperatures at home or are overdue for your regular HVAC maintenance, there are plenty of professionals ready and waiting to help you. Get started today and find the right professional for the job on HomeStars.
Cover image courtesy of Ray and Son Heating and Air Conditioning.
Article updated November 20, 2019.