Most people have never even heard of the importance of air pressure balancing their home and HVAC, but without correct air balance, HVAC systems can’t function properly. Air pressure imbalance can cause uncomfortable drafts and hot and cold areas in your home, higher energy bills, and can shorten the life of your HVAC system.   Without proper air balancing, your HVAC won’t be able to function efficiently, which can cost you money every month on your power bill. And the strain on your HVAC can lead to costly repairs and may even necessitate early replacement of your HVAC.

Why is one side of my house colder than the other?

If you have uncomfortably cold or warm areas in your home, drafts, or high energy bills, you probably have air pressure balance issues in your home. But what exactly does this mean and what do you do about it?   Your home’s central HVAC system has to send out the same volume of air that it draws back in to be balanced. This is measured in CFM (cubic feet per minute). Ideally, you want what is called “neutral pressure”, which is where the amount of air sent out to all of your rooms through supply ducts equals the amount that is drawn back in through the return ducts.   If your HVAC sends out air than it takes in through the return ducts, this creates positive pressure (which is basically what it sounds like, the air in the house pushes outward). If it draws in more air than it sends out, this creates negative pressure (basically a slight suction).   Both of these situations make it harder for your HVAC to heat or cool your home evenly, drive up your power bill, and strain the system causing excess wear and tear. They can even potentially cause problems with air quality control in your home by allowing mold growth and other issues.   Also, each individual room in your home has a certain amount of CFM that it needs to receive to keep the air pressure balanced. That way your HVAC can heat and cool it evenly with the rest of your home.  The CFM that each room needs is based on many factors from the size of the room to how many windows it has to how many heat-producing appliances and electronics it contains.

How do I even out the temperature in my house?

There are ways that you can attempt to adjust the pressure balance in your home. They can work but they are time-consuming and more hassle than most people want to deal with.  And it’s not likely you will get as good of a result as professional HVAC maintenance services using proper equipment. But we will outline the process below in case you want to give it a go.  

To Air Balance HVAC For Cooling In The Summer:

    • Set your thermostat between 76 and 78 degrees and leave it there for a full 24 hours.  This may not be the temperature you’re normally comfortable with, but it’s a good range to be able to feel slight differences in temperature so you can make adjustments.
    • When you locate rooms or areas that are cooler than the rest of the house, slightly close those vents to send more cool airflow to the warmer areas in your home.
    • Wait a day and re-check the areas where you adjusted the vents to see if they are now the same temperature as the rest of the house.  If not, close the vents a little more, wait 24 hours, and try again.
    • Repeat this process till your home is at an even, comfortable temperature for the summer.
    If you have multiple floors, you can also try only adjusting the vents on the lower levels to send more cool air to the upper levels, making use of the fact that heavy, cooler air trickles downwards and will reach the lower levels even without being routed there through air ducts.  

    For Warming In The Winter:

    • First check the seals on the doors and windows, because heat escaping from your home is a major part of air balance issues in the winter.
    • Just like with the summer process, set your thermostat between 76 & 78 and leave it for 24 hours.
    • When you locate the rooms or areas that are warmer than the rest of the house, slightly close the vents to send more warm airflow to the cooler areas in your home.
    • Wait a day and re-check the areas where you adjusted the vents to see if they are now the same temperature as the rest of the house.  If not, close the vents a little more, wait 24 hours, and try again. Repeat this process till your home is at an even, comfortable temperature for the winter.
    • If you have multiple floors, the process is the same as for the summer but reverse. Only adjust the vents in the upper levels to push the warm air to the lower levels, making use of the fact that heat rises and will reach your upper levels even with reduced flow through the air ducts.
    If you are preparing for the coming summer or winter season, it’s a great time for your annual HVAC maintenance services anyway, so consider requesting an air balancing as well.  That way a trained professional with specialized equipment can analyze the static pressure in the ductwork and the CFM reaching each room through the supply ducts.  They can also check things like duct leakage that may need to be addressed before proper air pressure balance can be attained.

    How can I improve the air circulation in my house?

    If you’re having any issues with uncomfortably cold or hot areas of your home or high energy bills, here at Cardinal we can help you with air balance HVAC repair in Ashburn, VA. That way you can enjoy a comfortable home and a more efficient HVAC for fewer repairs and a lower energy bill.  We also provide HVAC replacement in Ashburn. Just click here or call us at (703) 721-8888 for more information.