Common Causes of Uneven Home Cooling

Central air systems are vital components to any home—especially those in hot climates where an A/C unit can single-handedly make a home inhabitable. But sometimes, frustratingly, a central air unit doesn’t distribute cool air equally through all rooms in a house.

Here are some of the most common causes of uneven home cooling and suggestions for taking care of them.

Blocked or dirty vents

Vents or registers blocked by furniture or that haven’t been cleaned in a while can’t pass enough air into the rooms they’re in. Make sure all the ventilation outlets are free of obstruction—you may have to move furniture or household items that are blocking the grille. If there’s an excessive amount of dust or debris, give the vents a good cleansing.

Clogged air filters

Air filters trap a lot of airborne particles. Over-accumulations of dust and debris can prevent air from getting through the filter, which further restricts it from flowing freely into the rooms of your house. Regularly changing out your air filter helps keep it functional throughout the year; the rule of thumb is to replace your air filter every one to three months.

Ductwork leaks

Cool air escapes through ductwork leaks. When this happens, the air that travels through the vents in your house is warmer, which could result in hotter temperatures in certain rooms. Leaky ducts aren’t something you can repair on your own—call an HVAC professional to have them properly sealed and repaired.

Aging air conditioner

Air conditioning systems don’t last forever, and a unit that’s too old may be past the point where it can dependably generate consistent airflow. If your system is more than 15 years old, it’s likely time to have it completely replaced. Even a system that’s 10 years old may be too far past its prime, but there’s a chance that, with certain adjustments, its usefulness can be prolonged for a little while longer. Call an HVAC professional to analyze your system and tell you what steps are necessary.

Inadequately sized air conditioner

Improperly installed air conditioners may not have enough power to work in all areas of the home. Their cooling load or coverage may be too limited. Professional HVAC technicians can analyze the load calculation of your current AC system to determine whether it needs to be upgraded or entirely replaced.

Insufficient attic insulation

During the summer, insulation prevents warm air from collecting in the attic and allows cool air to come through. But if the insulating material is too old, worn out, or damaged—or if there’s simply not enough of it—you may be amassing hot air and losing cold air through certain rooms. An HVAC professional or energy efficiency auditor can determine whether your insulation is up to par.