image of girl with blanket due to uneven heating in house

To keep your home comfortable and safe in winter, the U.S. DOE (Department of Energy) recommends a thermostat setting of 68°F. At this temperature, you will be able to avoid hypothermia and frozen pipes. In winter, it is critical that your heating system remains reliable and capable of producing constant and even temperature throughout the house. Uneven heating in house will seriously affect home comfort. If the HVAC system produces uneven heat, you may have to make up for it by cranking up the temperature of the thermostat – a solution that will result in higher heating costs. Knowing what causes uneven temperatures will help you determine the problem and solve it before it gets worse.

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What Causes Uneven Heat In Rooms?

There are several possible reasons why certain rooms experience uneven heat. Let’s take a look at these issues.

Heating Furnace Sizing

If the furnace is too small, it will have to work harder to heat the room for a longer period. This demand on the system will stress it out and ultimately cause the system to generate uneven heat. If, on the other hand, the system is oversized, it will produce more heat than required and will shut down prematurely. Over the long term, both circumstances lead to system failure.

Getting the correct size for your heating system is important to ensure home comfort, even heating, and reasonable energy costs. To achieve this, the NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) recommends installing a properly-sized furnace for your home. As an example, if your home has an area of 1,000 sq.ft., it will require a furnace that has an output of 30,000 BTUs. This, however, is merely figuring the area of the home. There are other factors that must be considered to find the correct size for your home. Make sure to talk to a licensed and experienced HVAC contractor about performing a Manual J calculation that will help determine the correct furnace size for your requirements.

 

Furnace Maintenance

The ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers) recommends getting a furnace that has 78% AFUE or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (or higher) for optimum performance. A unit that does not receive regular maintenance will have reduced efficiency, which in turn in will cause uneven heating. Regular and timely maintenance will help identify potential problems early and rectify them when needed. To prevent potentially serious issues with your furnace, schedule an annual checkup, and tune-up with your local HVAC professional, particularly before the cold months.

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Uneven Heating Requirements

thermostat

Warm air rises, which means that rooms on the upper levels of your home will feel warmer compared to rooms on the lower levels. This means that rooms on the lower levels will often require increased temperatures. Uneven heating usually occurs in homes with a single-thermostat furnace. If you have a multi-level home or have different heating/cooling requirements for different rooms, consider getting a zoning system. A zoning system allows you to create “zones” or independent areas that can be serviced by different thermostats. Each of these thermostats can be set at different temperatures independent of each other. This means that one room can have a different temperature from another room, so different home comfort needs are met.

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Air Leaks

image of homeowner sealing air drafts

Air leaks are notorious for causing a drop in your home comfort. Every crack, joint gap, and hole in your home allows warm air indoors to escape. As a result, you will experience uneven heating, especially during the colder months. To keep warm air indoors and maintain the proper temperature, make sure that all windows, doors, and spaces are closed. This will help trap warm air and prevent cold air from entering. Keeping air leaks at bay will also help save energy since the furnace does not have to work harder to keep the rooms heated.

To prevent leaks, you might consider using:

  • Caulk
  • Door sweeps
  • Weatherstrips
  • Window film
  • Foam tape
  • Insulated windows
  • IGUs (Insulated glass units)
  • Door snake

Keeping your home sealed will help keep temperatures even indoors.

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HVAC Air Filters

image of a homeowner replacing an hvac air filter to improve indoor air quality

Air filters perform a very important job in keeping indoor air clean and safe to breathe by trapping dirt and other particulates. Over time, the air filters become clogged. This obstructs proper airflow and prevents warm air from being released efficiently through the return ducts. If your furnace cannot push warm air properly, rooms that are far from the vents will not be heated properly. To keep heating constant, make sure that the furnace filter is cleaned or replaced every three months or so. Keep in mind that the frequency with which the air filter has to be replaced will depend on your use and specific home. To keep yourself on top of things, check your air filter monthly. If it is clogged, have it replaced.

HVAC Air Vents

Air vents must be open and unobstructed to ensure that air flows properly. If air vents are blocked or clogged, warm air will become trapped within the vents. This will cause the pressure to build up, which could increase the likelihood that your system will break down prematurely. To prevent this, check your air vents to ensure that they are clear and unobstructed.

 

HVAC Air Duct Leaks

image of leaking hvac ductwork

If air ducts are reliable and efficient, they can deliver warm air effectively throughout the house. They can bring air even to the farthest rooms or spaces. If there are cracks, holes, gaps, or damage along the HVAC ductwork, air will leak. Damage to the ducts is usually caused by:

  • Structural deterioration due to aging
  • Damage due to rodents and other vermin
  • Structural work damage
  • Poor installation

Duct leaks can be prevented by regular maintenance and checkups. Small issues can also be resolved using caulk and sealants.

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Thermostat Fan Settings

If you put the furnace fan on auto, it will automatically distribute warm air when the furnace system is on, then stop when the heating stops. The cycle will then begin again. When the furnace fan is on auto, it will continue to cycle on and cycle off. This could result in the uneven distribution of air while frequent cycling could result in the premature wear-and-tear of the fan. To fix this, use the “On” option for the fan, especially during winter. There is a drawback to this, however. Keeping the setting on “On” will increase energy consumption. You can help this process along by turning the ceiling fan on a low setting and ensuring that it turns clockwise. This will help you save on energy.

 

Conclusion

There are many reasons why you may experience uneven heating and similar problems with home comfort. To optimize the functions of your furnace system and save on cost and energy, make sure to hire only a professional HVAC technician or contractor. Qualified professionals are trained and knowledgeable in ensuring that your HVAC system is maintained and checked. A system that receives regular tune-ups will last longer and will not likely break down prematurely. A licensed contractor will also be able to recommend the best practices that will optimize your system and keep it efficient and working properly.

Call Hart Home Comfort For All Of Your Home Heating Requirements

hart-logoHart Home Comfort offers high-quality heating and cooling services in Nassau County, Suffolk County, and Queens, New York. We have professionally certified technicians who can conduct excellent HVAC services, including boiler repair, furnace maintenance, HVAC installation, and more. Each of our expert technicians has the extensive knowledge and experience needed to correctly and promptly service your HVAC system.

When you need heating system repair or replacement, you can feel confident that you are in good hands with Hart Home Comfort. We offer one of the affordable HVAC services in the area. Need a replacement system? No worries. We can help you find the make and model most suitable for your needs while keeping your budget in mind. Your home comfort, efficiency, and indoor air quality are our priority. Book an appointment, and give us a call today for a free, in-home consultation.

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