Have you ever walked by a spot in your home and felt an intense chill? Having an area in your home that is consistently chilly is never a good sign. It means that something in your heating or cooling system is not working correctly. Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to banish cold spots.
1. Avoid Blocking Vents
One of the quickest things you can do to address cold spots is to locate all your vents and be sure nothing is blocking them. A blocked vent can lead to problems like all your heat getting stuck behind a chair, leaving the middle of your living room cold. Every vent needs at least 10 inches of clearance in front of it. This is so the vent can evenly spread hot or cold air around your home. In some homes, giving your vent even more clearance can help further balance temperatures.
If a vent is blocked, moving the furniture or another item blocking airflow is the simplest way to deal with the problem. However, it might not be an option if your current layout is the only one that makes sense for your space. In these situations, you may want to look into relocating your ductwork. Though this takes a bit more time and money, it is worth it if you live in a small space where furniture always has to be pressed against the wall.
2. Rethink Your HVAC Size
An incorrectly sized HVAC unit can cause multiple problems that lead to cold spots. An overly large air conditioner can cause cold spots in the summer by blasting a bunch of ice-cold air on a single spot. Meanwhile, an improperly small air conditioner has to run too long to cool the whole home, causing cold air to build up near vents. A heater that is too small can cause similar problems in winter, warming parts of the home without being able to reach faraway corners.
There is no quick fix for an improperly sized air conditioner. All you can do is take out the unit and put in a replacement that is the correct size for your home. Because the size of an HVAC system affects its ability to function so much, you need to make sure you install the right size in the first place. Picking a size based on your home’s square footage provides a rough estimate of the size you need. However, things like duct placement, room shape, and the size of your family also affect size requirements. Be sure to get help from an experienced HVAC installer when selecting a system.
3. Increase Insulation Levels
Sometimes, the cold spot is not caused by a problem with your HVAC system itself. Instead, it is because a part of your house is not working with the HVAC system to maintain proper temperatures. Any sort of air leak or lack of insulation can cause hot air to rush out and cold air to leak in. This can lead to pronounced chilly spots that get especially bad when your heat is not actively running.
To look for these air leaks, move a piece of tissue paper or a candle flame around the cold area. In spots where they move dramatically, you may have an air leak. Adding weatherstripping to doors or a little spray insulation around your window frame can help with the cold spot a lot. In some cases, the cold spot may be due to single-paned window glass or a lack of wall insulation. You can remodel your home to add some extra insulation if you want to fix the cold spot for good. You can also try quick fixes like hanging thermal curtains over old windows.
4. Move Your Thermostat
The thermostat placement in your home actually has a huge effect on how well the rest of the HVAC system functions. If a thermostat is too near a vent, it may register that the temperature has reached your desired level long before the rest of the house is properly cooled or heated. A thermostat in an area without much airflow may have the opposite problem, causing your system to run long after the air in the rest of your home is the right temperature. Thermostats located near sources of heat, like a sunny window or a stove, may also act up.
For best results, your thermostat needs to be placed in an area that accurately represents the overall temperature of your home. If your thermostat is in an isolated corner, right by a vent, or near the kitchen, you may encounter hot and cold spots. Moving the thermostat is relatively simple. However, if you do not have experience with electrical work, it is best to get help from a professional. Everything needs to be properly wired or you can end up causing even bigger problems.
5. Clean and Maintain Your System
Sometimes, the problem is simply that your heating system is not working as well as it should. Since heaters are often turned off for several months in Las Vegas, people can end up with buildup. This can result in a heater that barely warms your home during winter. It can also keep your AC from cooling evenly, causing too much cold air to build up in spots.
To avoid this problem, you need to be proactive about maintenance. Schedule annual maintenance for your system in fall and spring, to help it operate as effectively as possible. You may also want to have duct cleaning performed as well. This can blast out any blockage that was keeping your heater from warming a room. Generally, you should try to get your ducts cleaned every three to five years to help your system run efficiently.
6. Install Multi-Zone HVAC Systems
A good solution for cold spots you just cannot seem to remove is a multi-zone HVAC system. These types of HVAC systems let you control the heating and cooling separately for different parts of your home. They can be a great way to warm up one persistently cold spot. Another great perk of multi-zone systems is that they are energy efficient. You do not have to heat and cool parts of the home you are not using, so you save money. Installing a multi-zone system is typically a little pricier than standard HVAC systems, but it can be worth it. You end up with both complete temperature control and a lower utility bill.
If you are still dealing with cold spots, it may be a good idea to call in the professionals. At Polar Air & Heating, Inc., we can do an audit of your home and suggest ways to balance cold zones inside your home. Our technicians are also happy to help Las Vegas residents with repairing, installing, or maintaining their heating and cooling systems. We are comfortable working on a variety of residential and commercial systems. To learn more about our products and services, give us a call now.