Do you find yourself overheated in some parts of your house, while throwing on a sweatshirt in others? It's a common problem that can leave household members uncomfortable and fighting over the thermostat. It can even increase your energy bills. Learn what causes hot and cold spots in your home and how you can fix them.
Why do homes have hot and cold spots?
Heat rises. The second floor or finished attic in your home will likely be hotter than the rest of the house. For the same reason, your basement is typically colder.
Distance from the heating or cooling system can be a factor. If a room is at the opposite end of the home, the more difficult it is to heat or cool.
Leaky ducts can also reduce the amount of conditioned air that reaches a room or space. Other common causes include air leaks in windows and exterior doors, closed or blocked vents and a room's orientation to the sun.
6 ways to fix hot and cold spots
Even out comfort levels throughout your home with these measures.
1. Turn on ceiling fans. Turn on ceiling fans in rooms that are too warm. Ceiling fans move air across your skin, helping you feel cooler. In winter, reverse the ceiling fan direction so that it moves cool air upward, where it mixes with warm air and provides more uniform comfort. Remember to turn off fans in empty rooms.
2. Use window treatments. In rooms with plenty of windows, use blinds or shades to block unwanted heat gain from the sun during the day. At night, insulating curtains can help keep in conditioned air.
3. Check ductwork. Inspect accessible ducts in your basement or attic. Looks for leaks or poor connections that may be keeping air from getting to where it's supposed to go. Fix any leaks you find with mastic tape.
4. Seal windows and doors. Air leaks in windows and exterior doors can make a space less comfortable. If any room feels drafty, check windows and exterior doors for gaps or cracks. Seal any leaks you find with caulk or weather stripping.
5. Check attic insulation. A poorly insulated attic can make your upstairs hotter in summer. How do you know if you have the right amount? If you have batt insulation, check the insulation R-value listed on the paper cover. If you have loose fill insulation, stick a ruler in to measure the depth. Compare your insulation to recommended levels for your climate zone. Contact a qualified insulation contractor if you're not sure.
6. Air seal your basement. Warm air can leak out of gaps and cracks in the rim joists, where the wall meets the ceiling, as well as plumbing and wiring holes on outside walls. Caulk is best for sealing gaps or cracks that are one-quarter inch or smaller. Use spray foam insulation to fill gaps up to three inches. Fill larger gaps by cutting and stuffing pieces of insulation.
If problems persist, contact a qualified HVAC professional. There could be more complex issues with your ductwork or system design.