It’s never a pleasant realization when you notice significant hot and cold spots around your home. If you’re hanging out in the living room in a T-shirt, you shouldn’t need to put on a sweater to walk down the hall to the bedroom. Unfortunately, uneven temperatures are a common problem for houses, and many homeowners aren’t sure what to do when they occur. If you’re experiencing this frustrating issue, there are a variety of potential reasons it could be happening. Every situation is different, but there are a handful of troubleshooting steps you can take to try and get your home climate back on track.

1. Have Your Ducts Cleaned

If certain parts of your home are receiving more airflow from the HVAC unit than others, dirty or clogged air ducts may be the culprit. Things like dust, dirt, mold, and small debris can accumulate inside your ductwork over time, and if you don’t schedule duct cleaning regularly, the contaminants may clog up the pathways. As a result, the airflow from your heating or cooling system will have trouble pushing through those sections of the ducts, leading to certain rooms receiving less warm or cold air.

If you’re in the greater Sterling, VA area, you can enlist Meade’s Heating and Air to handle your duct cleaning. Our skilled professionals will thoroughly clean all of the grime and dirt out of your ducts. They can also inspect for any leaks or damage, which could also be to blame for your uneven temperatures. For example, if one section of ductwork has a significant leak, then much of the conditioned air that circulates through will seep out, which is a perfect recipe for hot and cold spots.

2. Check and Clean Your Air Vents

After the air from your HVAC unit passes through the ducts, it then has to travel through different air vents to reach the various parts of your living space. Because each section of the house typically has its own dedicated air register, dirty and obstructed vents are a common cause of hot and cold spots. For example, all it takes is one person unintentionally moving a piece of furniture or pile of clutter in front of a vent to seal that room off from receiving warm or cool air. So, if you’re suddenly dealing with uneven home temperatures, checking on the status of your vents and thoroughly cleaning them are two good troubleshooting methods to try.

Once you’ve checked each vent and verified that nothing is blocking their airflow, the next step will be to clean the interiors. You should be able to remove the protective panels with a screwdriver, and you can then use a hose extension on a vacuum cleaner to suck up all of the dirt and dust. If left to accumulate for too long, all of that dirtiness can block air from getting through and put extra strain on your HVAC system. So, it’s always a good idea to clean them periodically, even when you’re not trying to solve a problem.

3. Switch the Thermostat Setting

While there are certainly benefits to keeping your thermostat set to auto, switching its setting to on may be an effective remedy for your uneven household temperatures. When the thermostat is set to auto, the fan on your HVAC system will only run while the unit is cycling. However, when it’s switched to on, it will continue running until you manually stop it. You probably won’t want to leave it set to on throughout the day and night, as that can lead to quite a bit of energy being wasted. However, if you let the fan run for an extra 10 or 20 minutes, that will give the hot or cold air from your HVAC system a little extra time to circulate to every part of the house. It could be that you’re getting hot and cold spots because the fan is simply shutting off before the air has had time to evenly distribute. So, this is an easy troubleshooting technique that costs nothing to try, and it just might solve your problem.

4. Schedule HVAC Maintenance

If your HVAC system is getting up there in age or hasn’t received a tune-up in several years, your home’s uneven climate could be a result of its struggles to circulate air effectively. Generally speaking, any HVAC unit that hasn’t been serviced in more than a year or two is going to see its performance, efficiency, and health suffer. It could be that the system simply needs to be cleaned out or have its equipment adjusted, both of which will be taken care of during maintenance. Or, it could be that your HVAC unit’s airflow is being hampered by some sort of mechanical problem. In that case, your hired technician should be able to diagnose it during the tune-up; after that, you can get the necessary repair taken care of. For residents of the Northern Virginia area, Meade’s Heating and Air is always available to handle preventative HVAC maintenance.

5. Take Care of Your Leaks

Air leaks are another common cause of household hot and cold spots, and your home could be harboring many of them without you even realizing it. Little gaps and cracks will frequently develop around the edges and corners of your windows and doors. Regardless of their size, those leaks can let large amounts of conditioned air escape and allow extreme outdoor temperatures to infiltrate your dwelling. If the areas of your home that aren’t receiving enough warm or cool air feature any doorways or windows, it’s absolutely worth inspecting them for leaks.

You can search for the air leaks visually, but the smaller ones will be very difficult to spot. One effective method is to slowly guide your hand around the outer edges of the opening and see if you feel any airflow. If you’re able to find any gaps, caulking, and weather-stripping should be effective for thoroughly sealing them.

6. Invest in a Zoning System

Zoning systems are special systems that utilize dampers to control the temperatures in individual areas of your home. For example, if you prefer warmer temperatures but your significant other likes it cool, you can each enjoy the climate you want while hanging out in separate rooms. If you’re having issues getting to the bottom of your uneven temperatures and have some extra money to spend, installing a zoning system could be a great option. Purchasing a zoning system is an investment, but the return will be improved comfort and even better energy efficiency in the long run.

Your Trusted Local HVAC Professionals

At Meade’s Heating and Air, we proudly provide top-notch home comfort services to Northern Virginia and the surrounding areas. Our specialties are quality heating and cooling services, but we’ll also gladly assist you with your indoor air quality, water heater, dehumidifier, gas line, or ductwork needs. Our expert HVAC technicians have years of experience and can work on all makes and models of equipment. We even offer 24/7 service, so you can call us day or night if you’re dealing with an emergency. If you’re ready to schedule an appointment, contact Meade’s Heating and Air today!

Meade's Heating and Air

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