The heat of summer is now on in full force, which means anyone experiencing issues with their air conditioning system is probably dealing with some serious panic. Since central air conditioning runs through the same unit that controls your home’s heating in the wintertime, chances are you’ll be in for a rude awakening when the temperature plummets as well. There are all sorts of issues you can contend with, and not all of them are caused by the same circumstances. If you don’t hear the unit’s motor running it might be burned out, and you’ll need to call in the professionals. If the temperature seems off, you might need a new infusion of Freon. But the most frustrating issue is uneven cooling throughout the home, since the cause can often be unclear. So here are some tips to help prevent uneven heating and cooling throughout your home.
First of all, take a walk through your home to get a feel for the current cooling situation. This is something you should do regularly regardless of the presence of specific issues. Prevention is the best approach, especially with a system as crucial as your HVAC. Feel around for areas that seem too cold or too warm. Consider drawing a simple floor plan, and marking down spots that may well need further attention.
Next, head back through the house and check out all of the grilles. Is every one of them open fully? This may seem like too obvious a solution, but you’ll be surprised how frequently this is the culprit behind uneven heating or cooling. You should also make sure that the grilles aren’t being blocked by window treatments or furniture. Leave at least several inches between the front of the vent and a piece of furniture, or even better yet rearrange things so that the grilles are completely unobstructed. Grilles can even be partly obstructed by clutter sitting out on tables and cabinets. Consider whether you can improve the airflow by rearranging your stuff, or perhaps even getting rid of things you don’t use with any frequency.
You should also regularly clean all of the ductwork in your house. Over the course of the year, those ducts and grilles covering the front of each vent get clogged with dust, dirt and debris. In the worst case scenario they can even end up clogged with dead animal matter or growing mold spores. Either clean them yourself or have them professionally cleaned at the beginning of each season. This will insure you never face air quality problems, while helping to insure the house heats and cools evenly.
Next, head over to your main HVAC unit. Check to see if it has dampers for manual balancing. You’ll have to trace your way through the house from duct to duct. The manual balancing dampers will be set into various points along the ductwork. You should see a switch that lets you know one is present. Each damper will slide closed or open in order to change the amount of air flowing from your HVAC unit. Some of the most common air conditioning problems are simply caused by the wrong damper being left closed. You can even have these dampers added on by a service company if you need a bit more control of the flow of air.