When the temperature starts to rise in the summertime your home is your retreat. In an ideal world, every room should be cool and comfortable. However, some families experience rooms that just won’t behave. Maybe it’s a spare bedroom that never seems to cool down, or the living room is always extra hot during certain times of the day. What’s up with that?!
Hot spots are a common problem. Luckily, finding the cause of (and the cure for) the issue is usually straightforward. These are the ten most common factors leading to hot spots – read on to find out how to fix each problem.
The location of a room in your home can make a difference in its temperature. For example, do you have a room that is hot and located far away from the air conditioner? That could mean the cool air just isn’t making it as far as it should. Is the hot room on a second floor? Rising warm air could be causing the problem. Does the place get a lot of direct sunlight? Radiant heat from outside might be the issue.
One way to fix this problem is to consider zoning your air conditioning system. Your air conditioner will better regulate the temperature in these problem rooms, pushing more cooling power to where it is most needed.
The placement and type of windows you have in your home can also contribute to hot spots. Depending on the type of window, light flowing through the glass also produces heat. If a particular window is exposed to direct sunlight all day, it is likely to cause a hot spot in your home.
Proper window treatments can solve the problem – just keep the blinds closed during the day. Another option is to replace the older windows with newer, energy-conserving models. Not only will these newer windows keep heat out, but they will also do a better job insulating against all types of weather, hot or cold.
High ceilings can play a significant role in creating both hot and cold spots, depending on the time of year. These rooms have a larger volume of space to cool. If the room is located on a portion of the house that gets a lot of direct sunlight, it can heat up quickly.
A ceiling fan is the quickest fix to evening out the temperature in rooms with high ceilings. Another is to call in an HVAC technician to inspect at your air conditioner. This is another situation where zoning or even a mini-split can improve temperature regulation.
Rising Hot Air
We find that hot spots tend to occur on the higher floors of a home, due to warm air rising. Unfortunately, this is usually where bedrooms are located, and no one wants to sleep in a hot, stuffy room.
Ceiling fans are an excellent option for upper-level rooms, as they help the air to better circulate through space. For places that are extra hot, it might be worth considering a zoned system. That way, each room or area of the home can be individually controlled, allowing you to create the perfect environment in the rooms where you spend the most time.
If you only have a single thermostat in your home, your air conditioner considers its job done as soon as the thermostat says it has reached the right temperature. But where is the thermostat located? If it is in the coldest room in the house, then there is a problem brewing.
An HVAC technician can determine the best placement of your thermostat and move it if necessary.
Before the cool air produced by your air conditioner can reach the inside of your home, it travels through ductwork. Any holes or tears in the ducts causes cool air to escape. Not only does this make your rooms uncomfortable, but it also means the money you spent cooling that air is wasted.
Every few months, do a visual inspection of your ductwork. Small holes can be patched easily. Larger holes or signs of escaping air through duct joints should be handled by an HVAC technician.
Home attics have a reputation for being hotter than you-know-what. Just ask our technicians – they spend countless hours in these spaces every summer fixing air conditioning issues. When indoor areas are located right under the attic, it is possible for a hot spot to be created. This is especially true when the attic space has limited ventilation, leaving the hot air trapped indefinitely in a confined space.
Check your attic to make sure it has proper ventilation. If not, it is time to get the air moving, letting the heat out and giving your living spaces a break.
Insulation is so essential to maintaining a comfortable home environment. When it is doing its job, it keeps the hot outdoor air outside and your cool air inside. Without proper insulation, your air conditioner will struggle to maintain a comfortable temperature in your living space. It also means the money you are spending on cooling is seeping right through your walls.
If you think poor insulation is causing hot spots in your home, it is time to call in a pro for an evaluation. A tech can tell you where any problem areas are and what needs to be done to keep your home comfortable.
Size of Air Conditioner
An air conditioner that is too small for your home struggles to maintain a comfortable temperature. It works hard to produce the amount of cold air needed to reduce temperatures and fully dehumidify your home. An air conditioner that is too large will cool your home, but will also have issues dehumidifying the air. Either way, your house is left in an uncomfortable state.
To correct this issue, an A/C technician needs to have a look at the situation. From there, the tech works with you to find the best solution. You may not need to replace the air conditioner ASAP – there may be workarounds that will keep your home comfortable without such a significant investment.
Sometimes, homes (and/or HVAC systems) are just designed in a way that is not optimal for air conditioning. A lousy layout can include many of the problems listed above, and determining where to start to fix the problem is frustrating for many homeowners. In this situation, it seems like no matter what you try, you always have hot spots in your home!
Again, this is a situation for a pro. A trained technician will look at the home, your current A/C system, and talk with you about cooling problems. From there, the tech creates a plan that considers your budget and comfort. It is not always about replacing parts or adding new equipment – sometimes it’s also about finding ways to add shade around the home and small fixes that can make a big difference.