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Why Is One Room In My House Always Cold?
By Mike Holmes
Friday, May 22nd, 2020 @ 4:43pm
I get this question all the time. Why is one room in my home cold?
It’s hard for some homeowners to pinpoint the exact reason for temperature variations in the house. If certain rooms in your house never seem to be warm enough, it’s typically for one of two basic reasons: there isn’t enough heat being delivered to the room, or the room can’t hold the heat. This doesn’t have to be an unsolved mystery. Here are five common causes to check for.
CLOSED OR COVERED VENT PREVENT AIR FROM REACHING THE ROOM
This is pretty simple. Closing supply vents or blocking them with furniture will prevent treated air from reaching the room.
This goes for the air return vent as well. While you won’t feel any air coming out of these vents, they still perform an important function and shouldn’t be covered up by furniture. They pull cool air out of the room to be treated by the furnace – and blocking it causes your HVAC to work harder than it needs to, leading to a less efficient unit overall. Don’t cover them up!
BAD WINDOWS CAN BE THE CAUSE OF HEAT LOSS
Typically, windows lose the most heat in the winter and the most cold in the summer. Examine the windows of your too cold room. Do you feel a draft blowing in? Another reason for one room in your house to be too cold is your windows. Here’s what to check for:
- Check the caulking around the window. What kind of shape is it in? If it’s damaged, or missing all together, there’s your first place to start.
- Is the area around the window properly insulated? If you can pull out the casing, see what’s in there. If the insulation is sorely lacking, fill it with a low-expansion foam to help keep the cold out.
- Is the seal broken? If it is, unfortunately you will need to install new windows.
Keep in mind that a room facing the sun will be naturally warmer than rooms not facing the sun.
LEAKY DUCTS CAN CAUSE YOU TO LOSE TREATED AIR
Your ducts are hidden–in your walls, under floors, running through attics and crawlspaces–so most homeowners never think of them, or have any idea why it’s important. Leaking ducts can cause you to lose up to 20% of your airflow—that’s air you’ve paid to either heat or cool. That really adds up.
Cracks or gaps in your ductwork can also cause temperature imbalance. Cracks cause treated air to be lost before it hits the room.
THE SOLUTION: You can fix this by patching your leaky ductwork – though it won’t be a quick fix.
Potentially, this is a job you could do on your own. It will take a lot of time, and accessing your ductwork may involve busting into your drywall, so I wouldn’t recommend it. But with enough mastic sealant, time, and patience, you could solve it.
A ductwork sealant company is something you should look into. I have used Aeroseal on my projects, and it’s a fantastic product.
Not only should this solve the problem of inconsistent room temperatures, it will help your HVAC run much more efficiently, and lower your energy consumption.
DO YOU HAVE AN UNBALANCED HVAC SYSTEM?
Even if the problem isn’t cracks in your ducts, they could be off balance. What does this mean? Typically this happens if there aren’t enough vents in the room, the duct runs are too long or improperly sized. Often, a room that’s farthest from the HVAC will feel the effects the most.
THE SOLUTION: A Band-Aid fix could be to have a duct booster fan involved, but that’s not something I would personally do. An HVAC tech can help you determine a better solution.
It’s also possible that your HVAC system is just plain the wrong size. I’ve seen this a lot. If you’ve put in an addition in your house, and the new areas are cold, it’s likely your HVAC doesn’t have the capacity to bring enough heat to the whole home.
NOT ENOUGH INSULATION
It’s common for rooms above your garage to be cold, because there isn’t enough insulation between the ceiling of the garage and the floor of the room above. Generally, I like using spray foam insulation, but especially for this space. Why? It provides a good thermal break which helps keep moisture at bay.
I talk a lot about poor insulation—that’s because it’s important. Good insulation is absolutely key to reduced energy costs and better indoor air quality. For an insulation to be ‘good’ it needs to give you energy savings.
THE SOLUTION: Add better insulation to your home.