Does this sound familiar? You’re enjoying perfect temperature in the living room watching TV or having a coffee with a friend. However, when you go to your bedroom or home office afterward, it’s way colder there. You’re thinking, “How can this be? It’s supposed to be central heating!” Finally, you plug in a space heater in a feeble attempt to ward off the cold, all the while wondering what could be the problem with your heating system.
If that’s you, you’re not alone. Uneven heating is an issue in many Virginia homes due to a variety of causes. The good news is that there are lots of solutions.
Troubleshooting Central Heating – Issues To Check On Yourself
- Dirty Air Filters. The easiest, cheapest, and most important thing you can do for proper heating and to preserve the life of your HVAC is to change the filters frequently. A filter clogged with dust and hair will slow down the heated airflow, so the rooms that are further from your furnace get less warm air than other areas, and your whole home gets less heat overall.
- Blocked Air Vents. Go through your house room-by-room and see if any of your vents or registers are closed or blocked by drapes, equipment or furniture.
- Duct Leaks. Breaks or faults in your ductwork allow warm air from your furnace to leak out before it gets to the rooms it needs to heat and is one of the biggest causes of uneven heating. According to the S. DOE Energy Star Program, around 66% of American homes have leaky air ducts, and those faulty ducts in crawlspaces or attics make up at least 20% of heating and cooling energy losses. The ACCA, the largest HVAC contractors’ organization in the USA, has this to say about leaking ducts. “Ductwork has to be sized right, positioned right, and installed right to provide the comfort promised. Houses where the ducts have deteriorated or are cracked and leak have major issues of hot and cold spots in the home. Those spaces are not getting the air they are designed to receive. Duct sealing is the best solution for duct leakage. Duct sealing can be done using mastic or duct tape, but the most effective way to seal ductwork is with Aeroseal. Aeroseal seals holes in the ductwork from the inside, with an adhesive sealant that is injected in the air ducts and travels throughout to seal any holes 5/8” or smaller. (ACCA.org)
Depending on the location of your ductwork and the scale of the problem, you may want to try this. Or you may prefer to call in an HVAC professional to take care of it and make sure that it’s done correctly and completely.
Call an HVAC Contractor to Check These Uneven Heating Causes
- Lack of Furnace Maintenance. Just like our cars require a tune-up, tire rotation, and an oil change at certain intervals to avoid breakdowns and keep them running safely, so our HVAC systems also need regular inspection and care. If your furnace didn’t get a professional maintenance check in more than a year, call your HVAC company for this ASAP. A well-maintained furnace is going to operate better and last longer.
- Wrong Furnace Size. Sometimes heating systems are not properly sized upon installation, or if there has been an addition to the home after the HVAC was installed. Either of these can result in the furnace being incapable of delivering the necessary amount of warm air to heat the whole house.
- Short-Cycling Heating System. Do you notice your heater turning on and off several times in the space of an hour? If so, you might have a problem with short-cycling, where the furnace shuts off prematurely before it can finish a heating cycle. This can cause uneven heating and a lot of problems for your HVAC and needs a technician to fix it right away.
- Duct Insulation. Along with repairing leaks, insulating your ducts and basement walls can help to prevent heat loss. Insulation helps to keep the air warm while it’s in the ducts and on its way to your living spaces. To quote the US Department of Energy: “If only half the typical loss of uninsulated and unsealed ducts that are in attics or crawl spaces were saved, it would amount to $160 off the total heating and cooling bill in a typical home. This savings is based on the national average use of natural gas and electricity for central heating and cooling at the national average energy cost of 70 cents per them, and 8 cents per kilowatt-hour. With these savings, the cost to seal and insulate the ducts would most likely be paid for after three years.”
- Your Home’s Structure. Remember that thermostats only control the temperature where they are located. Many homes are structured in ways that make it hard for a heating system with only one thermostat to warm the entire house evenly. In that case, you might need a zoning system with more than one thermostat to control temperatures in different parts of the house. The cost of installing a zoning system can be partly offset by energy savings since your furnace will only heat the zones where you request it.
- You Need a New Furnace. If your furnace is past 15 years of age, it may produce less heat. Your HVAC tech can advise you on this. Sometimes all it needs is a few minor adjustments, while in other cases it would be most cost-effective to get a new one.
Experiencing uneven heating problems at your home or office? Try DM Select Services, serving 16 locations in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C., with an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau. We can inspect your ducts for leaks and insulation, and provide the expert seasonal maintenance your HVAC needs to keep it running strong and efficiently, avoiding problems like short-cycling. And should you need a larger job such as a new HVAC or setting up a zoning system, we’ll make that as smooth and easy as possible for you, with affordable financing options and expert service. Check out our reviews! Call DM Select Services at (703) 721-4844.