Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night and walked downstairs for a glass of water, only to find that it’s freezing down there? While this is not uncommon, especially in multi-story houses, it isn’t something you have to live with.
If you remember back to your middle school days, you may recall learning about thermal convection. Essentially, hot air is less dense and tends to rise, while cooler air is denser and falls. That’s why it can be warmer upstairs and cooler downstairs.
Thermal convection means that your house may be uncomfortable in the winter and summer months, or in unfinished areas like basements, attics, and garages. Most of the time if temperatures are uneven, the upstairs is cold in the winter and hot in the summer.
These issues lead not only to temperature disparities but also to expensive energy bills. Because your home is never really at a comfortable temperature, your system has to work harder without ever fully evening out the temperature throughout your home.
If this sounds familiar, the first thing you want to do is determine the cause.
Common Causes of Uneven Temperature
Restricted airflow caused by closed vents and dampers, leaks due to ducts that are not sealed properly or poorly insulated, old windows that are not energy efficient or are not sealed properly, or an air conditioner/heating system that is too small for your home.
Once you find out what is causing the temperature disparity in your home, the next step is to fix it. There are a few things you can try on your own to balance the temperature.
Do it Yourself – Balancing the Temperature
In order to even out the temperature in your home, you can try to push air from one area to another. Make sure that the vents in each room are not covered up by furniture or curtains. From there, make small adjustments to the vents. A simple change can make a huge difference.
If your house has dampers that you can adjust manually, this is the next place to turn. Adjust the dampers back on the bottom floor during summer months, while adjusting the dampers on the top floor during the winter. This will restrict the way the air flows throughout your home, evening out the temperature.
Fans are another simple way to control airflow. Use ceiling, desktop or floor-standing fans to push air around.
Call for Backup
If you try the tactics above and none of them seem to make a major difference, your next step is to speak to professionals. Many heating and cooling companies, including Newcomb and Company, offer free energy audits and home analysis. Getting an evaluation will help you figure out where the drafts are coming from and how to fix them.
In some cases, you may need new windows or better insulation throughout your home. The best solution for many homes is to install a zoned system that will allow you to have separate thermostats on each floor for more granular control of temperature settings.
At Newcomb and Company, our team includes Certified Energy Managers, LEED Accredited Professionals, and those accredited by the Building Performance Institute. If you’re located in the Triangle or coastal regions of North Carolina (in proximity to Raleigh or Wilmington), consider reaching out to us for help. After all, your comfort is our business.