Room Temperature Differences: Why Some Rooms Are Colder Than Others?

Why may one room in your home feel like the perfect temperature and when you step into the next room it feels like a sauna? Walk yet into another room, and it feels like the North Pole. Why do certain parts of your home stay warmer than others even when your furnace is working? Temperature imbalances can be frustrating but they may be signs of bigger issues as well.

Before cranking up the thermostat, let’s try to uncover the problem. Uneven room temperatures are caused by a number of factors that can be minor or major issues. If every room of the house is at a different temperature, your energy bills will be higher than necessary. At Hillside, we want to help our customers avoid high heating bills and that’s why we offer FREE budget billing.


Dirty furnace filters are the primary cause of heating problems.

The Problem: Check your heating system’s air filter. According to the Diamond Certified Organization, a clogged furnace air filter is the primary cause of equipment failure. Air filters build up dust and debris that restrict airflow forcing your furnace to work harder than necessary while using more energy to heat your home.

Dirty air filters force your air handler to compensate for the blockage of air flow. Any inefficiencies strain your heating system and drive up your heating bills. This reduced airflow causes your heat exchanger to overheat and shut off prematurely. Essentially, that overworked air handler may stop working and cause the whole system to fail. This can cost your family a lot of money to repair, or worse, replace!

It is not healthy for you either. Clogged air filters recirculate the dust and debris back into your home. This may be the cause of chronic allergies and be dangerous for people with respiratory conditions.

The Solution: Periodically replace or clean your air filter and remove the dirt, dust, and other debris. Check to see if you have a reusable filter. The filter should be labeled. If you don’t have a reusable filter, you need to purchase replaceable/disposable filters. If you are unsure about which kind of filter you have, sign up for our heating maintenance plan—we will clean or replace your filters for you and inform you which kind of air filter you have.

Window and/or door leaks allow cold air in lowering the room’s temperature.

The Problem: Winter’s cold air can penetrate through the small and large cracks around your doors and windows.  This will make your heating system work harder to get to the proper room temperature.

The Solution: Curtains, blinds, and shades can keep your house warmer longer this winter while lowering your heating bills. Let the free sunlight heat your house during the day and close your window coverings at night to maximize your home’s potential heat retention.

Use weather stripping or caulk to seal up each opening. For the do-it-yourselfers, purchase and install a window insulator kit.  See all 9 ways you can be winterized.

You may have blocked, closed, or dirty return vents.

The Problem: If you have a colder room in your home, check all of your air vents in the room and be sure they are open and clear of any obstructions. A buildup of small debris on the vent is enough to change airflow significantly. So clean off those dusty intake vents to open up the air pathways in your rooms.

The Solution: Move your furniture to be sure nothing is blocking any floor vents. Vents that are blocked can change the way air flows around the room. While you have moved the furniture, vacuum any buildup on the register.

Poor insulation makes your home vulnerable against the bitter cold and excess heat.

The Problem: Poor insulation along with thin walls can significantly lower the overall temperature of your home. If your home doesn’t retain heat, managing your utility bills and keeping you and your family comfortable will be difficult. Your heating system will constantly be running to fight against the cold air penetrating your home causing your unnecessary stress and frustration. According to the US Department of Energy, only a 20% of homes built prior to 1980 are properly insulated.

The Solution: Adding insulation to your home is highly recommended for retaining the heat your heating system produces. Before you do it yourself or hire a contractor, determine whether you need additional insulation. A qualified home energy auditor will include an insulation check as a routine part of a whole-house energy assessment.  Insulation will add a layer of protection between your house and the cold air.

Poor airflow caused by improperly sized ductwork or HVAC system.

The Problem: If your ductwork or HVAC was not properly sized for your home, you will have improper airflow between rooms and floors. Improper air flow causes drafty conditions, poor ventilation and stuffy air, lingering odors, as well as inconsistent temperatures in your space.

HVAC system design mistakes will cause your system to run longer and work harder because of its flaws. This will add additional wear and tear on your equipment, causing equipment failure and shortening your equipment’s life. Not to mention, higher energy bills.

Failed ductwork design and sizing mistakes lead to poor indoor air quality — dust, contaminants and even mold growth in your ducts from excess humidity.

The Solution: You will need a trained DE, PA, or MD HVAC technician to help determine whether there is a problem. Or hire Hillside Oil Heating and Cooling for installing a new heating and cooling system for your home.

A single thermostat monitoring a multi-level home will create temperature imbalances by rising heat.

The Problem: In the average two-story home, you may find a 10-degree temperature disparity between the first floor and second floor. Heat naturally rises from the lower floor to the higher floor. This will cause the lower floor to be a bit cooler than the upper floor in a home. If you have only one thermostat to regulate all room temperatures, the rooms farthest from the thermostat will be under-conditioned.

The Solution: Upgrade to an HVAC zoning system (also referred to as “zoned HVAC”) that will provide complete control over specific areas of your home. Don’t be limited to a single set temperature for your entire house.

The HVAC zoning system uses dampers to isolate each vent to provide conditioned air only to the areas which need it. Individual thermostats allow for customized temperature zones throughout the home for increased comfort and efficiency.

What can be done about temperature imbalances?

If you’re handy, you can probably manage minor issues that are causing room temperature differences in your home. However, if you have a major issue, it would probably be best to call a heating and cooling professional.

Let Hillside HVAC tune up your home heating system. Regular furnace cleaning and maintenance helps prevent frequent failures, inefficient performance, and poor indoor air quality. Hillside Heating & Cooling is the leading furnace cleaning and maintenance specialists in New Castle County, DE, Cecil County, MD, and Southern Chester County, PA. Schedule our  30-point Furnace Tune-Up designed to prevent heating problems this season.

If replacement of heating equipment becomes necessary, or the customer decides to upgrade heating equipment, Hillside Oil Heating & Cooling will credit the amount of this maintenance plan toward a replacement installation performed by Hillside.

If you need a new furnace, boiler, heat pump, you can feel confident that Hillside will take care of your home heating needs. 🙂

Call Hillside Heating and Cooling today for furnace maintenance, furnace repairs, or a FREE estimate for new furnace sales and installation in DE, PA, and MD at 302-738-4144 or 410-398-5879 or contact us to schedule service.

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