One of the great things about central air conditioning is that it can keep your entire home cool no matter how hot it gets outside; it keeps every room at the perfect temperature, just the way you like it. However, sometimes, an air conditioner malfunction may mean one room in the house isn’t cooling properly. Uneven AC cooling can occur due to a number of reasons. If one room in your home remains hotter than the rest, utilize the guide below to narrow down your problem. You may be able to DIY troubleshoot the problem. If not, we’ll tell you when to contact a certified CW HVAC Service Professional.
How to Troubleshoot Uneven Cooling
1. Check the Vents
When one room in your house isn’t cooling, the first thing to check is the AC registers, or vents, in that particular room. The simplest reason that you have uneven home cooling is just that there’s something blocking the vent or that you have one or more closed vents.
What to do: This is a quick job you can safely do yourself. First, check that all the room vents are open and that there’s nothing blocking any of the vents.
If that’s not the cause of the problem, you can then open the vents to check inside. Use a screwdriver to remove the screws holding the vent cover in place, then remove the cover. You can then remove any dirt or debris that might have accumulated in the vent. Replace the cover, and then check to confirm that the air’s blowing properly again.
Also check: Another potential issue may be that the room does not have enough return vents. These are vents that return air from the room back into the HVAC system for cooling. Inadequate or incorrectly placed return vents may mean air isn’t recirculating properly, preventing the room from cooling to the right temperature. You may try to help the problem by ensuring all interior doors are open and using one or more fans can help circulate air flow. The other option is to talk to your HVAC professional about relocating or installing extra return ducts in the problem room.
2. Check Insulation, Windows and Doors
For central AC to work properly, the house needs to be sealed correctly, meaning air from outside the house isn’t able to get inside. This is why it’s best to keep windows and doors shut when you’re running the air conditioner. Home insulation also helps the system work at peak efficiency.
If one room is staying hot while the rest of your house cools down, it might be that a window or door in that room isn’t airtight. Make sure all the windows are fully shut, then check the sills for a crack or opening that’s letting air through. Even a small crack might be letting in enough air from outside that the room is unable to cool down.
What to do: This could be a simple fix, like resealing the windows, but if there’s a structural issue underlying the problem, it could be more complicated and require a structural engineer.
3. Check the Thermostat
If your HVAC system uses multiple thermostats to control different rooms or zones independently, then the problem may be related to the thermostat controlling that particular room.
Settings: Make sure the thermostat is in cooling mode, that the temperature is holding at the right level, and that the time is set correctly per the thermostat schedule.
Batteries: Digital thermostats use batteries as a source of backup power to preserve the settings in case of an interruption to the electrical supply. If the thermostat’s display screen is blank, it could be that its batteries are not holding charge. Replace the batteries in the thermostat, and the problem may solve itself.
Dirt: If the inside of the thermostat box is dirty, it might interfere with its operation. Shut off the thermostat breaker before opening the wall plate, then use a soft brush or a can of compressed air to gently remove dust and debris.
4. Inspect the Air Ducts
The ductwork in your air conditioning system is what transports cooled air around the home. If there’s a problem with the ductwork that leads to a particular room or zone, it will prevent that area from cooling properly. A leak, obstruction, or kink in the ductwork could prevent cool air from reaching its destination.
What to do: Problems with HVAC air ducts are best handled by a CW Service Professional. If you suspect there’s an issue with your ductwork, make an appointment with one of our service pros to have one of them come take a look.
Is Your Home’s Layout the Culprit? Zone Control May Be the Solution
Sometimes a problem with uneven home cooling isn’t due to a specific fault with the HVAC system. It may just be about your home’s layout. If the problem room has lots of windows, is on the upper floor of the home, or gets lots of direct sunlight, then it will naturally trap more heat.
Another possibility may be how you use that room. For instance, if it’s a home office full of computers and electronics, they may be generating excess heat that contributes to the problem.
What to do: While this problem may not be the result of a faulty HVAC system, making alterations to your HVAC can solve it. The answer may be what’s called “zone control,” which means dividing the home up into zones and using a separate thermostat to control each zone. Mini-split systems may be an option to rectify this issue. While additions to your current HVAC system result in an extra initial financial outlay, they can ultimately keep your family more comfortable and possibly boost your home’s efficiency.
Is Your AC the Right Size for Your Home?
Paradoxically, if your air conditioner is either too large or too small for the size of your home, it can lead to the same outcome: Some rooms don’t get enough cool air. If the AC is too powerful, it shuts off too soon and can leave some rooms too warm. If the system isn’t powerful enough, it struggles to cool the house, and some rooms will never cool down properly.
If your AC is too large for your home, you can use fans to circulate air and help cool down the warmer spots. You may also want to consult with an HVAC professional to determine if there are any modifications they can make to the system or equipment to improve the situation.
Unfortunately, if your air conditioner is too small, there’s no easy solution. In both cases, the best option is to replace your current AC with one that’s the right size for your home. When it’s time to replace your current AC, consult with your CW HVAC Service Professional to be certain that the same mistake isn’t made a second time.
Solve Uneven Cooling Issues, Improve Your Home Comfort Level
Uneven AC cooling can make one or more rooms in your home way too hot for comfort. Luckily, many of the causes of uneven home cooling are simple to diagnose. But if you find that one room in the house isn’t cooling properly and you’re unable to solve the problem on your own, don’t hesitate to schedule a visit with a CW Service Pros HVAC technician. An HVAC expert like the ones at CW Service Pros can find and fix air leaks and handle other more technical problems that lead to uneven cooling.