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Cold Spot Conundrums: How To Balance Your Heating System

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Few things can leave your home feeling uncomfortable all winter long like cold spots. If you've found that the average temperature from room to room varies in your house, it's time to start focusing on where all of that warm air is going. The best way to do that is to assess and balance the heating system so that the heated air is distributed equally throughout the house. The process of balancing your HVAC system will allow you to measure the air distribution and then adjust the system as needed.

Check the Ambient Temperature

Walk through your house from room to room and evaluate the temperature in each room. Make note of the rooms that feel colder or warmer than the rest of the house. Rooms where the temperature is markedly different may need some adjustment to the air flow in the room. If it's particularly cold, check the air vent to see if there might be a blockage preventing air from flowing into the room.

Adjust the Air Registers

Inspect the air registers in each room of the house to make sure that they are open and allowing air to travel through the ducts into the room. Each air register should be fitted with a lever for adjusting the fins so that you can control the air flow. Start the process by making sure that all of the levers are open as far as they'll go.

Once you have maximized the air flow, let the system run for a bit and then inspect the room temperatures again. Make a note of any that seem to be more balanced than before. If some of the rooms that were cold now feel consistent with the rest of the house, the problem was in the position of the vents. For rooms that are too hot, you may be able to control the temperature by closing the vents slightly to limit the warm air distributed into the room. Smaller rooms may need less warm air than larger ones for the same benefit.

Inspect the Air Ducts

Another potential problem area is the air ducts in your HVAC system. Look at each air duct individually, inspecting them all closely for any holes or damage. If there are any holes or other damage in the air ducts, it will lead to a reduced air supply throughout the house.

Depending on where the damage is, it could be progressive from room to room or it could be isolated to a single room. The more you know about where the damage is, the easier it will be to address it and eliminate that as a source of fluctuation in your air flow. Wrap holes with sealant tape to keep the air in, or replace the air ducts with new ones.

Clean the Filter

Check and clean the air filter that fits in the furnace. If the filter is disposable, replace it. Remember that air filters need to be replaced every few months to keep air flowing properly in the system. The more air that flows through the furnace, the more effectively it will heat your home.

Control the Dampers

Adjust the manual balance dampers along the air ducts to help regulate the air pressure that flows through the ducts. Most systems are fitted with these dampers so that you can regulate the air on your own. If your HVAC system doesn't have in-line dampers, you can have them installed by working with a certified heating contractor.

When you go through process described here, you'll not only identify the potential trouble spots, but also the biggest threats to your heating system's efficiency. If you're uncertain about a specific area or you want your duct work professionally inspected, talk with an HVAC contractor from a company like Redlands Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning about your concerns.