Ever noticed how some rooms in your home are cold while others are warm?
But why is that so and how do you even out the heat in your home? This happens typically because of poor ventilation and warmer air escaping to the higher levels of the home. There are many solutions that can help, including cleaning and opening up vents, turning the fan on auto, and even getting a dehumidifier. Professional help may also be needed to improve ventilation and insulation.
Why is Your Living Room Colder Than Your Bedroom ?
The answer to this question lies within two simple concepts; Ventilation and Thermal Convection.
You might remember learning about thermal convection in school, the movement of thermal energy away from the source, and the transfer of heat from the lower region to the higher up area of the home. Similarly, Ventilation is the exchange of air from outside to inside and vice versa. We will talk about the latter in a while.
Every house is different and the people living in these homes have different needs. But the mechanics of air is the same.
Warm air is lighter – it expands and rises while cooler air is denser and moves downwards. This is beneficial for inhabitants of the lower level in winter but not so beneficial for people residing in upper levels where bedrooms typically are.
In order to figure out what you need, you need to know what you already have.
Start assessing your heating unit, its size and efficiency, how old it is, the type of air filters you have, and how often these filters require a change.
HVAC systems also depend on the size and layout of your house, how many floors you have and whether you have an open concept house or close a concept one. All these things play an important part when it comes to the uneven distribution of heat around your living space.
Simple Fixes to See Instant Improvements
These are some quick, what I’d like to call do it yourself (DIY) ways that you can try to use and deal with the situation at hand.
More often than not, the reason why air cannot circulate the house properly is due to some furniture or other item blocking it. Check all your vents and make sure they are not blocked by anything. Try reorganizing your room and rearranging your furniture.
This will help even out the temperature around your house.
You can also check whether the vents are visibly blocked by dust or debris. If yes, then use a vacuum cleaner or a cloth and clean it as much as you can.
You can also strategically, and partially, block some vents in places that are nearer to other heat sources, for instance, near the kitchen, etc.
Always Keep the Fan ON
Make sure your system setting is on, ON, and not on AUTO. When the fan is on AUTO, it will only regulate air during a heating/ cooling cycle, when it is prompted.
But when the fan settings say ON, it will continue to circulate air even when the cycle is over. The constant air circulation will regulate the heat more effectively and keep a similar temperature around the whole house.
The former will also prevent air stagnation and keep a more consistent temperature. This might cost you $5 – $20 more on the monthly electricity bill, but it will solve your problem.
Get a Dehumidifier
Given similar temperatures, the room with more humidity will always feel as if it’s warmer because sticky air is less comfortable and appears to feel warmer.
More humid air is also more difficult to move about in a home overall, making your air conditioning system less efficient, overworked, and unable to cool the less accessible and open parts of your home.
Maybe a dehumidifier can help dry some of that air so that it can circulate more evenly.
Recommended reading: It Cheaper to Run the AC or a Dehumidifier?
Get Professional Help
If the above-mentioned ways do not work for you, it is time to call an HVAC professional to assist you.
This is something that will require a professional inspection. As mentioned above, if the previous methods do not work, it is better to call for professional help. Most times inadequate and uneven heating (or cooling) around the house is due to leaks in ducts. This is something you can suspect but can only confirm after a thorough inspection.
If there are holes, cracks, or leaks in your vent ducts, the air will escape and not reach the designated area, resulting in uneven temperature.
These leaks also make your system work harder, which in turn can cause even more issues along with higher electricity bills.
And maybe it’s also time to have your ducts cleaned?
Old Heating System
Heaters older than 15 years tend to work slower and produce less heat. Maybe the reason why some parts of your house remain colder, while others are warm, can be due to an old heating system. These are early signs that you are due a system change.
This is especially an issue for older houses that have not been upgraded in a while. It would be better to call a technician so that they can evaluate the situation and recommend some repairs.
Sometimes it is more cost-efficient to install a new heater than having multiple parts repaired since repairs can cost you almost the same and would only last you another few years before requiring more services.
Insulation in Attic (and Other Places)
Insulating the attic might also help with uneven heat distribution. Insulation prevents conditioned heat from going outside. Not only that but insulting your house will also reduce your cooling and heating cost by almost 40%.
It is an investment, but one which will cover its cost in just a few years and improve your comfort and living condition.
Don’t forget to check for cracks and openings in other areas of your home where insulation may be poor and have those fixed – around windows, doors, basement walls, especially.
Upgrading to a Zoning System
The Zoning System is one of the most expensive ways to even out the heat in your house, but an investment you will not regret in the long run. This system will separate the different parts of your house so that you can control their heating and cooling individually, depending on the needs.
There are many ways how you can customize the different zones. HVAC professionals can help you set up your zoning system based on your house’s plan, layout, and floors.
This will prevent some areas of your house from getting warmer and others from remaining colder and will result in a consistent temperature throughout your whole house.
Some Other Solutions
Ventilation across rooms is an energy-efficient way to even out the heat in your house. In hotter months, you can open the window or door to your backyard to get rid of stuffiness and get a cool breeze in. You can also use ventilation between rooms to exchange air among them.
For more thorough ventilation, you do not have to open every single window and door of your house, just two windows on opposite sides of the house should be enough.
If you are cooking in the kitchen, it can also raise the temperature of the rooms close to it; in this case, ventilation (both electrical and open) would really be handy to get rid of excess heat and smoke.
Fans and Exhaust Fans
Fans are a great way to circulate the air around your house. If a part of your house is warmer, just open the fan in there and it would bring in cooler air and even out the temperature. It also helps remove stagnant air and improve air quality.
Indoor air is 5 to 10 times more polluted than outdoor air; therefore using an exhaust fan to discharge indoor air to the outside would not only balance the heat but also decrease the number of pollutants from your house.
But to bring in fresh air from outside, Fresh Air Intake Fans would be preferable. It uses less electricity than a traditional cooling system and is way cheaper too. You can also install the fan yourself and it requires way less upkeep.
For people who live in a region with moderate temperature, a combination of exhaust, ceiling, and fresh intake fan will be a better choice. It would not only be energy efficient but also economically efficient.
How can I balance and even out the heat in my house?
First, try changing your temperature on your thermostat by 2 degrees, and remove all electronic devices away from your thermostat. If this does not work, check your filters for dirt and dust, and adjust ceiling fans.
What causes uneven heating of air?
Uneven heating is due to land heating faster than water, which causes air to expand near the land and move upward while cool air moves downward. This results in cooler temperatures on lower levels and warmer temperatures on upper levels. This is also why the ground floor of houses tends to be cooler than the 1st or 2nd floors.
How do you equalize temperature upstairs?
You can both equalize temperature and save energy at the same time. Turn off your air registers for the lower level in summer, this will force warm air to stay in the upper level and reach places it normally would not, at the same time air will naturally come downwards as well. Similarly, close air registers for the upper level in winter.
How can I regulate the air in my house while saving energy?
By using fans. They are energy-efficient and cost-efficient, you can use ceiling fans in different rooms or place small, portable fans around your house. They will perform the same function as your cooling system but will cost you less money by lowering energy bills.