Understanding HVAC Temperature Imbalances and Solutions

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As most of us will remember learning in school during our formative years, hot air rises compared to cold air. Within homes and HVAC systems, this can mean that temporary imbalances exist between floors in terms of the temperature, with higher floors sometimes just slightly warmer than lower ones.

In some homes, however, this theme will be far too severe, and major temperature imbalances will exist. Not only does this risk discomfort and even potential sickness for occupants of the home, but it may also be a major factor in raising your home’s HVAC bill, especially if you live in a state where average bills are already high, to begin with. Here are some of the possible culprits in major temperature imbalances, plus what you or HVAC professionals can do about them.

Air Conditioner Problems

Air Conditioner Solutions

The most common single cause of temperature imbalances between floors in a home is an issue with an air conditioner not functioning at peak capacity. If you have owned your air conditioner for at least 15 years, and especially if it’s getting closer to 20 years, there’s a decent chance, it’s worn down over time and no longer can properly cool the entire home during the hottest months of the summer.

In other cases, temporary AC issues might be a concern. Maybe a single component has malfunctioned, or perhaps your filter has not been changed recently enough, clogging the system and slowing down production. In either situation, HVAC pros can help you with a repair or replacement needs.

Ductwork

Ventillation Installation

Another common cause of hotter upper floors than lower floors is the simple distance the air has to travel for higher areas. The vast majority of AC units are on the ground floor, meaning air has to travel further to reach the upstairs areas. This will be even tougher if there are any cracks or issues with your ducts, which is a very good reason to schedule regular duct inspections with HVAC technicians.

Attic Concerns

Attic Ventilation

If your home has an attic in it, chances are it isn’t air-conditioned. This means large quantities of heat will fill the area during the summer, often enough to impact other areas of the home, particularly upper floors nearest to the attic.

This is why insulation is vital between the attic and lower levels. If your home does not have any or you’re worried it’s lacking, this is an area to see to immediately.

Trees And Shade

Log Cabin Heating & Cooling

Finally, an area you may not have considered here is the way shade impacts your home’s temperature. For properties with smaller trees or shrubs around the outside of the home, for instance, the shade these items create often helps cool the lower floors – but if they aren’t tall enough to reach upper floors, this doesn’t happen at the higher levels.

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