In homes with a single central return-air grille, return air often struggles to find its way back to the furnace. The result: room-to-room pressure imbalances that lead to uneven room temperatures, comfort complaints, higher energy costs, and even moisture problems in walls and ceilings. When a furnace comes on, heated air is pushed through supply ducts to registers in each heated room in a house. If the forced-air system is properly designed, the house includes return-air ducts to convey air back to the furnace to be heated again, in a kind of continuous loop. While most HVAC contractors install ducts and registers to deliver conditioned air to every room in a house, they often neglect to provide an adequate return-air path from each room back to the furnace. During the winter, the air that is pulled from the attic is cold, and the cold air increases the heating load. During the summer, the air that is sucked indoors is hot and humid; this infiltration increases both the sensible and latent load on the air conditioner. There are three possible ways to solve the pressurized-bedroom problem.
Make Sure It Is Not Your Windows or Doors
Best Ways to Solve Temperature Imbalances
When carolers sing of Christmas, of idealized images of happy families gathered around a warm hearth, they are not singing about our hearth. For my family, Christmas over the past two decades has meant sitting on the couch in sweatshirts or huddled under blankets, wondering why a constantly burning fire was doing nothing to raise the room temperature higher than that of a Norwegian ice storm. We joke about living in an igloo, but we know they must be warmer than this. The house, in a Philadelphia exurb, was new when we moved in in the fall of And although it would be the first house our family didn't all live in full-time—more home base than home, with both my older sister and me in college and my younger sister two years away from graduating high school—the family room was and is a central feature. Big enough for two couches, the room has two walls of windows, foot ceilings, and a fireplace.
How to Fix a Cold Room
Homeowners often think that resolving temperature fluctuations throughout their home may require a major investment — like replacing the heating system or re-installing all the insulation. The important thing is to determine the actual source of the problem, so that the fix will provide a viable solution that will be long lasting. Cold bedrooms, whether in the basement or the second floor, could be the result of anything from a dirty furnace filter, to clogged heating ducts, to a malfunctioning thermostat. At the same time, it could something more involved — like drafty windows or doors, a poorly sealed fireplace, even exterior walls that are overly cold to the touch in winter. Whatever the cause, whatever the source, getting to the root of the problem is essential.
Old Man Winter is nipping at your nose, chilling your toes and, perhaps most distressing of all, driving up your utility expenses with the increased use of your heating system. But wait: instead of automatically reaching for the thermostat dial, consider alternatives to heating the entire house at night. After all, the only room in use is the bedroom, so stay snug, lower your utility costs , and reduce your energy consumption with some simple—and cheap—solutions. If your bedroom windows or any other windows in your home, for that matter have gaps or leaks, your warm inside air is leaking away to the outside, leaving you chilly and wasting your hard-earned money. Each season, check all windows and doors that open to the outside. You can use a draft detector or simply a burning stick of incense to check for unwanted air movement.