If one of the rooms in your home is colder than the rest of the rooms, there may be something you can do about it. Whether it is an issue with your heating system, your windows or doors, or your attic or basement, there is typically a good reason you can feel the difference. A deficiency can cause temperatures in the room to be cooler by 2 to 10 degrees, or more.

If your thermostat is not located in the “cold” room, you can test how cold it is by using a thermometer. Leave it in the room for 15 minutes and you should be able to get an accurate reading. You then have an idea of how much colder it is, compared to the other rooms in your home – the actual room temperature noted on your thermostat.

When trying to find the source of cold air in the room, the easiest thing to do is check the simple problems first. Inspect heating vents and ductwork leading into the room to make sure warm air comes out. If furniture is blocking or covering a vent, move it out of the way. If there is no furniture blocking the vent, it may be an issue with air flow and it may require the assistance of a professional. It is possible that your supply air vents could be blocked, cracked or compromised, or your return air vents could be obstructed, blocking airflow into your heating system, thereby restricting airflow from the system to your rooms.  It can also be that your air filter is just dirty and needs to be changed.

If you have a boiler, check to make sure there is no air in your baseboard. This can prevent hot water from flowing through the baseboard and cause the room to be colder than others – it can also cause a knocking sound. If you have a steam boiler, check to make sure the radiator is fully heating. If not, your radiator could have shifted over the years changing the pitch. In either case, it may be a good idea to call your heating repair company if you notice your baseboard or radiator not fully heating.

If one wall in your home seems much colder than others during the winter, the problem may be your insulation. It may be insufficient, or may have eroded over time. There is no easy way to check your insulation, but if an exterior wall seems much colder than the others in the room, it may be a sign that you need to re-insulate.

Another reason a room can be colder than others are leaky windows or doors. Cold air can seep in along the edges of your doors and windows. It can also seep in when windows and doors are compromised, meaning the sealing around glass panes or doors are defective allowing cold air in. To verify there is a problem you can use a lit candle to go along the edges of your windows and doors.  If the flame blows sideways, there is probably a leak.

If you can salvage your windows and doors by sealing them, adjusting them, applying weather stripping, or blocking the leak, that’s great. You may be able to use a glass insulation film, tighten the door hinges, replace the door stripping or place a door sweep if there is a gap between the bottom of the door and the threshold. However, you may need to change a door or window to get the most efficiency.

If a cold air source cannot be traced to your ductwork, windows or doors, there may be an issue with a fireplace, or the attic above or basement below. Many people think of a fireplace as a source of warmth. However, it could also be the source of drafts in your home as well. It is a good idea to have your fireplace checked at least once a year and possibly twice if you use it often. Even if you don’t use your fireplace, it is a good idea to have it checked to ensure there are no drafts coming into your home, and that animals and birds haven’t made a home in your chimney flue.

Just like your walls, your ceiling can be a source of heat loss in your cold room. When heat enters your room, it can escape up into the attic if your ceiling is not properly insulated or if there are cracks at the seams. It is easiest to check inside your attic for worn insulation and install new insulation to protect the room below.

Like attics, an unfinished basement could let cold air into the living space above. Inspect your basement to see if insulation is missing or worn. If your basement is damp and cold, consider at least insulating the ceiling with more rigid and efficient insulation. It can help warm your cold room, while improving the overall efficiency of your heating system.

Whether you can or can’t identify why your room is cold, it may be a good time to add a supplemental heat source. By installing a small ductless heat pump unit, you can heat the room efficiently and effectively.  You can even use the system for cooling in the summer. These systems work with little or no ductwork, and can be installed in a day. Or you may want to consider adding a gas or electric fireplace. Most of these types of fireplaces have a blower that adds warm air into your room, while offering a decorative addition.

Having a cold room is not something you should have to live with. It is something that can be fixed – whether that means resolving the source of the cold air infiltration or adding supplemental heat.

Jim Hall, President – Jim Hall HVAC

(718) 948-2456   www.jimhallhvac.com