Make Your Home a Balanced Home

Are you playing games at your house? The Hot vs. Cold Game that is. No, wait. . . . that’s not a game. It is more like a war. The Thermostat War! Someone upstairs is hot so they turn the thermostat down while the person downstairs gets cold. When this happens your home is not balanced.  In these Hot vs. Cold games, Comfort always wins. There are many options available to homeowners for maintaining an even temperature throughout their home. While the home’s insulation factors in immensely, the supply and return air ductwork; the furnace; and, the air conditioner are the primary solutions to maintaining comfort. In other words, the main team for the comfort win for your home is your HVAC system - your Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning system. Ideally, each room in the house would achieve the temperature set at the thermostat. That’s the perfect game! To try and get a win for comfort try these easy solutions:
  • Check to see if the filters are clean – a dirty filter restricts air flow - regular 1” filters should be changed once a month
  • Check your vents and make sure they are adjusted properly. Your HVAC system should be sized to include each room in your house so keeping air moving to each room is important.
  • Check to make sure the windows are closed and keep doors closed – even in unconditioned spaces, like your garage
  • Check to make sure the ductwork is unobstructed and sealed properly. If you have “flexible duct” runs in your attic, make sure they are unobstructed.

The main game is maintaining BALANCE.

Just what is a balanced home when it comes to HVAC?

Air balancing is the process of adjusting the amount of cooled and heated air in each room of your house. In a perfectly balanced system, each room achieves the same temperature at the same time. A home with a lot of ups and downs in room temperatures is an UNBALANCED home.  No reflection on the life going on inside the home, but the comfort levels are way off in an unbalanced home.

What is the cause of a poorly balanced home and what’s the game plan in correcting these problems?

Improper duct sizing and installation could be the cause.

Proper duct installation gets your system pretty close to balanced. Once the duct is sized properly, dampers can be installed to fine tune airflow and provide even temperatures throughout your home. Dampers are valves that let you adjust the amount of air going to each room or part of the house. They are usually installed on the main duct near the inside unit. There are automated dampers available as well as manually adjusted mechanical dampers.

More than one level in the home with only one system to heat and cool the whole house.

Multiple levels are difficult to balance properly. Heat rising and long runs of duct work are needed to get air delivered to the rooms. The best solution to this problem is a zoned system. Each area of the home is ‘zoned” into different areas. Each zone has a thermostat or temperature sensor which delivers a signal to a “zone control” which automatically adjusts dampers in the duct work as needed. Zoning is the least expensive route to take when trying to achieve comfort in this scenario. The other option is installing an additional system for that area or level of the home.

Uninsulated Ductwork, Improperly Sealed Ductwork or Extra Long Duct Runs

Air traveling through ductwork in unconditioned areas (like an attic) gains or loses heat dependent on the season. Long runs of ductwork and uninsulated ductwork farther away from the system will not deliver the air to the room as designed. The solution could be as simple as adding insulation to the ductwork if it is not already insulated. Another approach would be restructuring the ductwork to more evenly distribute the air, but this could be more costly.

Inadequate return air

This is hopefully not the case, but in homes where there has been a room addition, or if the original ductwork was not sized and installed properly, there may be inadequate return air. Return air is the key to making sure the air is flowing in and out of a room. An easy solution is making sure the doors to the rooms in your home are kept open allowing air to move. If this doesn’t help, you may consider adding return air duct to your home. This can be done at a minimal cost if the system and ductwork is sized to allow for additional ductwork.

Oversized or an undersized system

Bigger is not always better when it comes to HVAC. An oversized system will shut off too quickly leaving some rooms not conditioned properly while an undersized unit may never actually ever manage to keep the home comfortable though it will run nonstop to get there. No one wants those utility bills. The least expensive solution if your system is oversized is to leave the fan in the “on” position on the thermostat to help circulate the air throughout the home. If the system is too small, you may consider adding an additional system and zoning areas, or adding a newer bigger system when your current system is ready for retirement.

Room use

How the room is used may cause for an unbalanced system. The kitchen or even a home office can be warmer because of the electronic equipment that produces heat. The game plan here often involves calling an HVAC professional to assess the problem and perhaps adjusting air flow to these rooms using dampers.

MAKE YOUR HOME A BALANCED HOME

While some of the solutions we’ve mentioned above can be done by you. We recommend you call an HVAC professional to assess your system, especially if you are uncomfortable. We all know maintaining balance in our lives, in all respects, is a good game plan to have.

Call us at Balance Point Heating & Cooling. We have the professionals to help you win the comfort game at your house. Call 816-265-0448 to schedule a home comfort assessment at your house.

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