by Ben Wanner of Pro Service Mechanical
We have compiled a top 10 list of reasons you have a cold room or rooms in your home. We will discuss what to look for and some ways you can address these issues. While these issues are quite common and sometimes obvious, you can use this as a checklist to determine if one or more issues are present.
We must keep in mind that the home works as a system and changing one aspect of the home may affect other components of your house. It is always best to ask the experts when improving comfort and energy efficiency in the home. It may also be that something is going on that is not on this list in your situation.
OK, keeping those things in mind here we go with the top 10.
#10 Poor Thermostat Location
If the thermostat in your home is in an area with lots of windows and in direct sunlight or by a heat source such as a vent or a stove then the thermostat will become satisfied with the temperature in that area very easily compared to other rooms without as many windows etc. This will likely leave other rooms in your house cold. Some solutions would be to move the thermostat to a better location or to install a zone system that will let you control each room individually.
#9 Unbalanced Ventilation
Large exhaust fans, attic power ventilators, dryers, fireplaces, central vacuums and kitchen range hoods can put your home under negative pressure. This can pull in outside air in rooms with a lot of air leakage and make things feel cold. Large exhaust only appliances may require a fresh air intake near the appliance. The house ventilation can be changed to a balanced heat recovery ventilator which can make things more comfortable, save energy and improve the indoor air quality.
#8 Cold Storage Room in Basement
An unheated cold storage room in the basement underneath a room such as a bedroom or living room can create an uncomfortable situation, especially on the feet. If insulation levels in the floor/ceiling between the rooms is inadequate then expect cold floors above. Poorly insulated, sealed and ventilated cold rooms are very common. Consider having a professional contractor properly ventilate, seal and insulate your cold room.
#7 No Ceiling Fan
Homes with high vaulted ceilings can have heat move up to the top of the room which can leave the bottom of the room feeling cold. This can greatly depend on the house configuration and the thermostat location. Having ceiling fans running the correct way to push the air back down can keep a room much more comfortable.
#6 Single Stage Furnace or Inadequate Furnace Size
A single stage furnace (common with older furnaces) comes on full blast until the thermostat is satisfied. A muti-stage furnace has 2 or more stages of heating and a variable speed fan motor. This means the furnace runs longer on a lower setting which helps better circulate the air in your home. This creates more even temperatures throughout the home.
A furnace that is too small is fairly uncommon. It would likely leave your home uncomfortable on the coldest days. A solution for both would be replacement.
#5 Drafts (Air Leakage)
Having a home energy audit can help you find leaks and drafts. Some common places to look are at attic hatches, ceiling penetrations, doors, exhaust vents, basement header or rim joist, floor drains, foundation cracks, electrical outlets, windows and around chimneys among other places. We can start by weather stripping attic hatches, doors and windows, putting gaskets behind electrical covers and sealing pipe penetrations. We suggest getting a "Blower Door" test from an energy advisor with a thermal imaging camera to help you pinpoint the areas that are causing the most trouble.
#4 Missing Insulation
It`s a good idea to check insulation levels in your attic if accessible. If it is an older home (before 1980) you may want a professional to check it as some older types of insulation can contain asbestos. We should be looking at insulation levels of around R40 to R50. This usually means about a foot or more of insulation. We would also want to look for voids. Many places in your home like in walls or cathedral ceilings will not be accessible without having an invasive or destructive investigation. Having a Level 1 certified Thermographer perform a thermal imaging scan of your home can be very beneficial in finding out your problem areas and what steps to take next.
#3 Cold Floors in Bonus Room/Exposed Floors/Inadequate Insulation and Air Flow
Bonus rooms over a garage in homes are a common problem area for cold. Many of these rooms do not have properly sized ductwork running to them and are cold as a result. Another very common problem in these areas are cold floors. Often the floor is poorly insulated and this causes the feet to feel cold. We suggest having a heating and possibly an insulating contractor or Thermographer give you advice on how to improve the situation.
#2 Poor Air Flow at the Supply Vents (Furnace Vents)
If you ductwork looks like the picture above you are probably not getting heat to where it needs to be in the house very effectively. Poorly designed duct systems can definitely lead to uncomfortable areas of your home. A need for duct sealing can also be a common issue. A few leaky joints can add up to a lot of lost heat getting where it needs to go. You are going to need to call your heating pros to get an idea of what has to be done to fix the solution in most cases.
#1 No Return Air Vent
If we think of a blowing air into a box, once the box is full of air pressure then the air will want to go somewhere else. This is why we need return vents, especially in rooms where we close the door. Rooms such as bedrooms with no return vent will get very cold with the door closed. This is very common in older homes and we see this all the time. Alternatively to installing a return we can install a grate in the door or trim the bottom of the door in some cases.
If you have any other questions about cold areas of your home or any other heating issues call the Pros at Pro Service.
Pro Service can help with all of your heating, cooling and plumbing needs. Call us at 306-230-2442 to find out more.