It’s the Goldilocks phenomenon of home heating and air conditioning.

One part of the house is too warm, while another room is too cold.

Whether you’re heating your house in the cold, harsh Ottawa winter or running air conditioning in Ottawa’s hot, humid summertime, finding the right balance in your home’s HVAC system can sometimes be a tricky task.

In this edition of the Advanced HVAC Ottawa heating & cooling blog we’ll explore the delicate act of air balancing.

When the Heating or Air Conditioning Is Thrown Off Balance

If you’ve experienced a cold room or section of the house during a cold Ottawa winter’s eve, when everywhere else in the house is heated properly, you’re not alone.

Likewise, if you’ve found that running the air conditioning on a muggy Ottawa summer day leaves the upstairs too hot and/or the basement too cold, you’re bumping on a phenomenon called “air balance” – or imbalance in this case.

It’s a question we’re often asked here at Advanced HVAC, the trusted pros for Ottawa heating & air conditioning.

woman sweating at home too hot

In optimized situations, your home’s heating or air conditioning system will distribute air evenly throughout the house so that a comfortable temperature is maintained throughout.

When a home’s air balance is thrown out of whack, however, a heating or cooling temperature differential can be felt.

In the summertime, this often plays out as an upper floor being too warm and/or the basement being too cold. The combination of the two is stark; it could be 17C in the basement and 28C in the master bedroom, although the thermostat on the main floor reads a “comfortable” 23 degrees Celsius (who says statistical averages don’t lie?!).

In the winter the reverse scenario happens, where the basement dips to 15C or less; even a room on the upper floor (say in the corner) could also feel chillier than the rest of the house.

This is far from ideal.

But what to do?

How to Achieve Proper Air Balancing with Home Heating or Cooling

Fortunately, you don’t have to settle for parts of your home being too hot or too cold.

Just like Goldilocks, you can achieve the “just right” temperature with your Ottawa HVAC’s system.

Here’s how.

Check for Drafts

cold homeowner checking thermostatIf you’re noticing drafts in a room, you may have an issue with the window sealing and/or the insulation. Start with the window, make sure it closes fully sealed and check that there is no air coming in from around the window. Insulation is a trickier fix but we’d be glad to take a look (if all else doesn’t work).

Check the Ducts

Ducts that are blocked or clogged can affect air flow to parts of your home. We can inspect your air ducts and clean as needed.

Thermostat Positioning

The thermostat is usually in a trafficked area on the main floor. Sometimes it can be thrown off, though, such as from nearby appliances or being in a sunny spot. If this is the case, you can move the thermostat to an area with a more neutral temperature.

Open or Close Registers as Needed

Let’s say it’s summertime and you’re running air conditioning, but the basement is too cold. Go ahead and close off the registers (even in the unfinished parts of the basement), and that should balance the temperature a bit. If you have a spare room upstairs that you’re not actively using, you could also shut the registers in that room to redistribute hot or cold air elsewhere.

Should You Run the Fan?

home basement too coldThis one’s more of a contentious point. One school of thought says run the fan to redistribute the air for better balance; to do this, switch the fan setting to ‘ON’ instead of AUTO. What’s the downside to this? Well for starters, it could raise your hydro bill a bit and could cause increased wear on the blower. Also on hot, humid days it could cause the air conditioning to run shorter cycles, creating an increase in the humidity levels in your home (not ideal for comfort). Your mileage may vary, so this one could be trial and error.

Fans for Cooling Down in the Summer

On those warmer days, you could run an oscillating fan or ceiling fan while in the bedroom or office upstairs. Remember that fans cool people, not the room, so use only while in that room.

Space Heaters or Fireplaces for the Winter

On cold days some people like to run a space heater whilst in the basement, or a fireplace in the basement or main floor. Again, it’s trial and error to see what works for you. Not all fireplaces are created equally, however, and some are more ornamental while others are more effective for heating.

Call on Advanced HVAC for Ottawa Heating & Air Conditioning Balance

If you’ve tried some of these tricks to achieve air balance but can’t seem to get your house just right for your Ottawa air conditioning or heating needs, Advanced HVAC can help.

We can inspect your home and identify potential cause(s) that are throwing your HVAC system off balance/

Contact us today to find out more and get a free quote.