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Angie’s List: Evening Out The Temperature In Your Home

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jim-donovan-web Jim Donovan
Jim Donovan is a 13-time Emmy Award-winning consumer reporter w...
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By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Soon the cool air will move in and we’ll be turning up the heat. But do you ever find it hard to maintain an even temperature throughout your entire house? You’re not alone, it’s a problem many homeowners have.

In this week’s Angie’s List report, Jim Donovan shows things you can do to in order to make your entire home feel more comfortable.

Upstairs it’s hot, but downstairs it’s cold. In many two story homes, there’s a significant temperature difference between the first and second floor. But it doesn’t have to stay that way.

“If you find yourself having problems with temperature on different levels of your house, talk to a reputable heating and cooling company because they can give you suggestions for how to best manage for that. Whether it be settings on your existing system or whether you need to add additional equipment,” said Angie’s List founder, Angie Hicks.

One simple thing you can do involves making an adjustment to your thermostat.

“On your thermostat there is a switch for your fan for ON and AUTO. You want to switch that to ON and what that will do, is run your fan continuously. What that does in your house is that keeps the rooms a little more even-temperature because you are continuously circulating the air throughout the house; so it’s mixing all the air between the upstairs and the downstairs,” said HVAC contractor Dave Mejean.

Other options to consider — have your ductwork inspected — leaks can often keep air from getting where it should.

You cold also add another HVAC system to your home, but that can be expensive, upwards of $7,000.

A cheaper option would be installing a zoning system. They allow you to control the temperature on each floor and cost about $3,000.

Common reasons for temperature variances between floors:

• Restricted air flow from the furnace to the registers.

• Inadequate or improperly sized and sealed ductwork.

• A heating and cooling system that’s not sufficient for the size of the home.

Angie’s List, the nation’s leading provider of consumer reviews, asked highly heating and cooling companies about the options that are available today.

Run the furnace blower continuously: Heating and cooling professionals recommend homeowners switch their thermostat fan to the ‘On’ position to allow the blower on the furnace to run continuously, which better circulates air throughout the house. First, though, make sure your air filter is clean. Adjusting the vents can also help redirect the forced air to the places it’s needed.

Add a second system: Certainly the most expensive fix – a second system could run upwards of $7,000, but is the best option for two-story homes with one furnace. Adding a second system allows the homeowner to better control the temperature on each floor.

Add a zoning system: Zoning systems are a less-expensive alternative than adding another system. Zoning systems allow a homeowner to control the temperature independently from a thermostat placed on each floor. Zoning systems are easiest to install in new construction. However existing homes can sometimes be retrofitted to accommodate the system. Most zoning systems cost $3,000 and up.

Add a ductless split: Essentially an air conditioner without the ductwork, these small room-based units pass cold air through small air handlers mounted on the wall. The homeowner can control the temperature independently in each room the air handler is installed. Cost for ductless air conditioners typically starts at about $1,500 per unit.

Have ductwork inspected: Improperly sized and leaky ducts are often the culprits. Ultimately, homeowners with temperature variance issues should consult a reputable heating and cooling contractor to diagnose the issue and determine possible solutions. Doing so could not only make their home feel more comfortable, it can help ensure they are using their heating and cooling energy as efficiently as possible.

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