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  • Writer's pictureBrian Harm

Troubleshooting uneven heating or cooling in your house

If you own a home, at some point you will be confronted with uneven cooling or problems with even heating, especially if you own a large home. In fact, many homeowners with basements and attics have found a disparity between the temperature in these areas of their homes versus more common areas. Usually the lower levels are cooler while the higher floors are hotter. So what is the reason for this inconsistency? Well, there are a number of factors, and in this article, we will address some of the more common problems that can disrupt the flow of air in your home.


Inconsistent heating/cooling can wreak havoc not only on your comfort but also your energy bill. What does this mean, exactly? Well, as homeowners seek to remediate this problem, they will typically adjust their thermostats to better cool or heat a particular area of their home, which, in turn, results in a higher than usual energy bill. That said, some of the primary reasons for uneven heating and cooling include

• Dirty air filters

• Blockages in ductwork

• Blocked registers

• Problems with return vents

• Wrong size HVAC system


Although often overlooked, your air filter is one of the most critical components of your HVAC system. These relatively inexpensive filters help keeps dust from building up in your system, which, in turn, makes it far more efficient/effective. Having said that, if your air filter is dirty, you’re encouraged to replace it as soon as possible. After all, a dirty air filter can impede your system’s ability to circulate air into certain areas of your home.


When was the last time you had your ducts cleaned? Like your air filters, air ducts play a critical role in distributing air throughout your home. If there are blockages in your HVAC system, airflow will invariably be impacted; however, unlike replacing an air filter, resolving this problem may require enlisting the expertise of an HVAC technician. These technicians are highly adept at inspecting and repairing blockages that have contributed to your system’s airflow imbalance.


Although most homeowners would never purposely disrupt the flow of air in their own homes, many people unknowingly have, often by placing furniture and other objects in front of their vents. Fortunately, this problem that can easily be corrected by moving objects away from vents to increase air circulation.


Typically found at the top of walls/ceilings, return vents are the vents that disperse that air from your HVAC system to specific areas of your home. You should periodically clean these vents, either with a vacuum hose or a broom to remove built-up debris.


It should be noted that some HVAC systems, from a logistical standpoint, may not be capable of heating or cooling all areas of a home, mainly due to their size. If your HVAC unit is not larger enough, it won’t have enough power to circulate air throughout your home. Unfortunately, if you find yourself in this situation, you may have to replace the unit with one that is capable of meeting the heating/cooling needs of your home.

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