How Can You Fix Uneven Temperatures in Your Home?

How Can You Fix Uneven Temperatures in Your Home?

When you start to notice hot and cold spots around your home, the first thing you probably wonder is what you can do to get rid of them. Experiencing uneven temperatures around your living space is frustrating and uncomfortable, and it usually means that something is off with your household system. However, there isn’t one sure way to remedy those hot and cold spots. Because there are several potential causes for the issue, it’s often necessary to try out several troubleshooting methods to get your home’s climate back on track. Before you start panicking or replacing appliances, consider trying a few of these potential fixes to see if there’s a simpler solution.

Replace Your HVAC Air Filters

Many homeowners don’t realize that their uneven household temperatures may be caused by dirty or clogged air filters. When your HVAC filters become packed with contaminant particles, it starts to restrict the system’s airflow. That directly results in your heating and cooling units having to work much harder to circulate conditioned air, which can lead to certain areas of the home not receiving their fair share. Fortunately, if this is the cause of your hot and cold spots, it will be an extremely easy issue to fix. Simply switch out your HVAC air filters for brand new ones, and you should immediately notice a difference. And going forward, try to be proactive about replacing them before they become clogged.

Clean Your Vents

One or more of your household air vents could also be the cause of your hot and cold spots. Each area of your home has a dedicated air vent that all circulated air from your HVAC system must pass through. So, it stands to reason that if a vent was obstructed in any way, the temperatures in that part of the house would frequently be different than in other areas. So, one troubleshooting technique is to visit each of the vents in your dwelling and make sure that there isn’t furniture or clutter sitting in front of them. Then, take the protective vent cover off with a screwdriver and clean out the interior with a vacuum cleaner extension. This might not only fix your uneven temperatures, but it may also improve the indoor air quality of your home.

Schedule an HVAC Tune-Up

In many cases, the reason for uneven household temperatures is as simple as the HVAC system needing to be serviced. If you’ve been heavily relying on your heating or cooling system or it’s been several years since the last tune-up, it’s probably time to get that maintenance scheduled. During a service visit, your HVAC professional will make tweaks to your system, thoroughly clean it, and examine it for any mechanical problems. After the tune-up, your heating and cooling systems should be able to circulate air more smoothly and efficiently, which could result in the climate being more consistent around the house.

If you’re a resident of the greater Cincinnati, OH area, we at Crystal Blue Plumbing Heating & Air can handle your HVAC maintenance promptly and for a fair price. If our technicians find any issues, they can also provide whatever repairs are necessary to restore your system to tiptop condition.

Schedule a Duct Cleaning

One important ingredient to having even heating and cooling throughout your home is clean, healthy ductwork. If any areas of your air ducts are packed with contaminants like dust, dirt, mold, and random debris, it will be difficult for your HVAC system to move air through those ducts. As a result, some sections of your home will suddenly not be receiving the right amount of conditioned air. Plus, your HVAC system could potentially run into a mechanical failure due to the extra strain, and your energy bills will almost certainly increase.

When you hire Crystal Blue Plumbing Heating & Air to handle your duct cleaning, our team will clear all the pollutants and blockages out of your ductwork. Additionally, our professionals can inspect your ducts for any damage or leaks while they’re working. Leaky ducts are another potential cause of hot and cold spots, and they can also have various other negative effects on your home. Once you know about them, though, you can have them sealed up or repaired.

Seal Off Your Air Leaks

In many cases, all it takes is a couple of tiny air leaks to create consistently uneven temperatures in a living space. For example, if your bedroom window has a small leak, warm air is going to be escaping through it every time you run your heating system. And when that happens, your bedroom is obviously going to remain colder than other parts of your home. This situation can occur in any area of your household that features windows or doorways, and in addition to creating hot and cold spots, it can also worsen your HVAC system’s energy efficiency and force it to work harder.

If you feel like some rooms are often hotter or colder than others, it’s worth inspecting for any gaps or openings. Be sure to check around the edges of any doors or windows, and if you can’t find them visually, try feeling around for air movement with your hand. If you do find any air leaks, you’ll want to thoroughly seal them, and you can do so using caulk and weather-stripping from your local hardware store.

Switch Your Thermostat Setting

Typically, household thermostats will have two possible settings: “Auto” and “On.” Most homeowners opt to keep their thermostats set to “Auto” as that setting is usually the best for energy efficiency. When the thermostat is set to “Auto,” the HVAC system’s fan will only run while the system is cycling, and it will automatically shut off once it’s finished. Sometimes in this setting, the fan will turn off before the conditioned air has been evenly spread throughout the entire household.

If you switch your thermostat to “On,” the fan will continue running even after the cycling is finished, and it won’t stop until you manually shut it off. To keep your energy costs at a reasonable level, you probably don’t want to leave your thermostat on this setting for the entire day and night. However, if you set it to “On” and let the fan run for an extra 10 or 20 minutes after cycling, that may be enough to properly distribute the air to every section of your home. While there’s no guarantee that this troubleshooting method will be the fix you’re looking for, it’s free and easy to try, so it’s absolutely worth a shot.

Cincinnati’s Trusted Home Comfort Specialists

For over 50 years, we at Crystal Blue Plumbing Heating & Air have been proudly serving residents of the Cincinnati area. Whether you require heating, air conditioning, plumbing, indoor air quality, or ductwork services, you can count on our team to do a thorough, high-quality job. We’ve developed a reputation for professionalism, knowledge, and customer service, and you’ll see those things firsthand when you enlist our services. Give us a call today if you’d like to schedule an appointment!

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The Importance of SEER Ratings When Buying an Air Conditioner

The Importance of SEER Ratings When Buying an Air Conditioner

Buying a new air conditioner for your home is a major investment. Before making that venture, it makes sense to understand all you can about the different types of air conditioners. One big difference between various units is the SEER rating of the individual units. Although it’s easy to see the difference between the ratings on each unit, understanding what each rating means can be a bit of a mystery. After you read this guide from Crystal Blue Plumbing Heating & Air, you’ll be a well-prepared HVAC buyer with a better understanding of SEER ratings.

What Does SEER Stand for?

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. This federally mandated rating measures how much energy a particular air conditioner uses to produce a specific amount of cool air. The idea behind SEER ratings is to allow buyers of air conditioners to make objective comparisons between systems without worrying about the marketing language employed by various manufacturers.

If a system has a higher SEER rating, you know for sure that it is more energy-efficient than a system with a lower SEER rating, even if the lower-tier system looks better on paper. It is always recommended to ask about the SEER rating of a system whenever you have a new air conditioner installed.

Why Is SEER Important?

Consumers who want to reduce their energy usage need to understand the energy efficiency of air conditioners. That’s because a substantial percentage of a home’s energy usage goes to powering its air conditioner. Any reductions in energy usage you can make when using your air conditioner will have a major impact on your energy bill and your environmental impact. By comparing various air conditioning units with an apples-to-apples comparison, you can determine how much money you want to invest to get the best return on your investment over the number of years you expect to use the system.

Understanding the Comparisons

When it comes to SEER ratings, a higher rating indicates lower energy usage. It’s important to understand the differences between the individual ratings so that you know where your money is going when you buy a new system. In general, each step in the SEER rating system represents an increase in efficiency of approximately 7%. Thus, a system with a SEER rating of 13 will be approximately 21% less efficient than a system with a SEER rating of 16.

The current minimum SEER rating for new systems in California is 14, but the maximum SEER rating for a whole-home central air conditioning unit is 25. Most homeowners opt for a SEER rating somewhere between these two numbers.

Dramatic Changes

In 2006, the United States Department of Energy updated its requirements for new air conditioners. This was when the minimum SEER rating was increased to 13 on a national level. In the 1990s, the minimum SEER rating was 10. Before that, the average SEER rating was only six. This means that you’ll see the most dramatic reduction in energy usage if you have an older system, even if you only opt for a system with the current statewide minimum SEER rating of 14. If you have a newer system that you need to replace, you’ll need to choose a system with a higher SEER rating to notice any significant differences in energy usage. Although these systems cost more upfront, the lower energy usage will help offset the costs.

How Do Air Conditioners Become More Efficient?

Another component of air conditioner efficiency that’s important to understand is how air conditioners achieve improved efficiency in the first place. The main way to save energy with an air conditioner is to reduce the energy that the compressor uses. The compressor sits outside your home and compresses the refrigerant to turn it from a gas to a liquid. This compression process takes an enormous amount of energy. In most systems, the compressor works at the same level at all times, even if the interior of the home doesn’t require much cooling capacity.

However, in systems with a higher SEER rating, the system can reduce the amount of energy going to the compressor if the system doesn’t need to pull air from the home as quickly. These multi-stage compressors are great for temperate climates like you’ll find in Sacramento since there is often “free” air conditioning available in the morning, thanks to cool desert nights.

Debating Immediate Replacement

In an effort to improve their home’s energy efficiency, some people opt to replace their air conditioners even if their current systems aren’t at the end of its service life. Unfortunately, this approach does nothing to save money or energy and is not recommended by Crystal Blue Plumbing Heating & Air.

In terms of money, you’ll be wasting money by removing your current system before you realize its full depreciation, meaning you effectively spend more per year on the system than you would if you kept the system until it was no longer functional. In terms of environmental costs, although your new system will use less energy, there is energy required to build and transport your system, which you could offset for a longer period of time if you kept your current system for its entire life cycle.

Maintenance Costs

Without a doubt, efficient systems save money on energy costs. An important consideration for these systems, though, is the potential for higher maintenance and repair costs over the system’s lifetime. Multi-stage compressors and variable-speed fans, two important components of efficient air conditioners, can be expensive to replace because of their highly sophisticated circuitry and complicated mechanical design. Therefore, if you’re going to own a high-efficiency air conditioner, it is imperative that you utilize professionals to perform regular maintenance. Maintaining your system will significantly reduce the risk of a system breakdown and expensive repairs.

Improving Efficiency

Even if it’s not quite time to invest in a new air conditioner, there are still steps you can take to improve the efficiency of your current system. Something as simple as replacing your thermostat with a programmable model can do a lot to help reduce your energy usage without spending a lot of money.

Of course, the always-important air filter replacement is another great way to reduce wear and tear on your system and to ensure that your system can produce comfortable air without using excess energy. Annual maintenance visits from Crystal Blue Plumbing Heating & Air are also helpful when working to keep your air conditioner from being an energy hog.

The Professionals

At Crystal Blue Plumbing Heating & Air, our industry experience allows us to take care of all types of air conditioners in Sacramento. We can maintain, repair, and replace systems from every era. We also work on furnaces and offer a complete lineup of plumbing services, including drain cleaning, sewer repair, water treatment, and much more. We’ve been impressing customers in the area for over 45 years and always love to receive thoughtful and positive reviews for a job well done. Contact us at Crystal Blue Plumbing Heating & Air today to learn more about upgrading your air conditioner!