Why Are Some Rooms in My House Hotter (Or Colder) Than Others?

Updated: Aug. 25, 2023

Heating and cooling systems in a home are complicated. Learn more about making sure your AC system is balanced here.

Woman Adjusting Thermostat At Home Steve Chenn/Getty images

Ideally, the flow of air in your home is kept in perfect balance and your rooms are uniformly warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Sometimes, though, that’s not quite the way things works out. Have you every walked into a room and found it to be either oppressively warm or chillingly cold, despite the rest of the house feeling as it normally does? This is most likely due to unbalanced airflow in your home’s heat and cooling system.

So how do you balance airflow? There are a few reasons why your airflow has become unbalanced in the first place, and each of them might need to be addressed in or order to fix the problem. Here are a few of the common causes of unbalanced airflow and what can be done to potentially correct the issue:

Your Air Ducts Are Not Insulated

As cool air travels in your ducts through unconditioned areas of your home, it will naturally warm up. So if a room is farther away from an AC unit, the air will have more time to gain heat as it travels through your home. One way to solve this is to make sure that all of your ducts are insulated so that the air inside of them is less affected by external factors.

Air is Not Traveling Between Levels

When it comes to larger, multi-level homes, air flow can have a hard time balancing properly. Things like long runs of ducts and the fact that heat rises naturally can make getting conditioned air into all of the rooms of a large house a complicated endeavor. If you are noticing air balancing problems in a multi-level home, you may need to look into a zoned air conditioning system. Zoned AC works more efficiently in larger homes because it breaks them into specific sections and treats them individually, with separate thermostats or temperature gauges for each.

Your System is the Wrong Size

There’s a chance that the reason the heating and cooling in your home seems uneven is that your AC system is either too small or too large for your home. Large air conditioning systems can in some cases shut off too quickly before properly affecting each of the rooms in a home. This can be solved by leaving door’s open and using fans to circulate air throughout your house. Small air conditioning units, on the other hand, just might not be able to keep up with the square footage of the home, making any airflow inconsistent and inadequate. The best solution for this problem is to either add an additional system or upgrade to a larger AC unit that can handle the size of your home.

Home Additions and Renovations Were Not Properly Addressed

Sometimes a remodel or addition to a home can throw off the balance of that home’s air conditioning system. Fixing this will almost certainly involve bringing in an HVAC professional to adjust the dampers in your ducts or adding additional ducts to your system.