No Control Over Your Climate Control? Try These Solutions To Common Headaches

Your home is your castle -- or so you thought. But if you're constantly suffering from temperature or air quality issues, you may feel that your climate control system has taken over as lord of the manor. Here are some smart ways to regain control of your environment.

Hot or Cold Spots in the House

Legend has it that a permanently cold spot in a home indicates the presence of a ghost -- but it's more likely to indicate inadequate climate control from room to room. This vexing problem may be caused by inconsistent thickness of insulation throughout the home's walls and ceilings, or may be due to eastern or western exposures that give some rooms an extra dose of thermal energy on sunny days. Whatever the cause, your home constantly feels hot on one side and cold on the other, which makes for an unpleasant living environment. Solutions may include:

  • Window modifications - Installing double-pane windows in your east-facing or west-facing walls can dramatically reduce the amount of heat that radiates through the windows (either inward or outward). Low-emissivity ("low-E") glass windows have metallic coatings that achieve the same goal. You may opt to install "passive" low-E glass for better retention of warmth or "solar control" low-E glass to keep the room cooler.
  • Ductless heat pumps - Ductless heat pumps, also known as mini-split pumps, are small, wall-mounted climate control units that heat or cool individual areas of the home. This makes them a handy solution for adjusting the temperature in a specific zone, as opposed to cranking up your HVAC system and making the rest of the house too warm or cool (wasting energy in the process). Each ductless heat pump is equipped with a separate thermostat, and some can even be operated with remote control devices.
  • Additional insulation - If poor insulation is clearly the source of your discomfort, you may need to add insulation. Start with the part of the attic that sits over the problem area, since it's relatively easy to lay down solid "blankets" of insulation or spray foam insulation into gaps.

Too Moist or Too Dry

One of the principal jobs of a good climate control system is to provide a comfortable level of water content in the air. If your air is too humid, your home may be prone to mold and mildew accumulation, which not only hurts your air quality but can also damage the organic structures that make up the home itself. If the air is too dry, your family may suffer from nosebleeds, chronically dry eyes (which can lead to corneal damage in extreme cases) or dry mouths (which can hasten the erosion of tooth enamel by depriving teeth of protection from saliva).

The simplest solution for these problems is to equip your home with a humidifier or dehumidifier. If just one part of the home is too moist or dry, then you can get away with a small and/or portable unit; if the problem afflicts your entire home, then make sure you get a furnace or "whole-home" product that directs dried or moistened air through your HVAC system's ducts.

The Dust Problem

Even if you've got your mold and mildew levels under control, you may still find yourself plagued by coughing, sneezing and other respiratory issues inside your home -- and yes, your HVAC system may be to blame. That's because dust, dust mites, pollen and hair collect in the complex maze of ductwork that feeds treated air to all parts of the house. This dust accumulation gets especially bad if you let the system go unused for long periods of time. The first time you fire it up again in the summer or winter after a long spell of temperate weather, all that debris gets expelled into your environment -- and from there, into your lungs.

The good news is that controlling this problem is easier than you might think. Prevention is always a smart first step, so dust and vacuum your home regularly so there's less debris to travel into your ductwork. Pay close attention to the system's air filters as well. As soon as a filter starts to look dirty or clogged, replace it immediately, and check the filters periodically so they can't surprise you with a sudden, dusty failure.

Switching to a ductless heat pump system can also help you resolve your dust problem. Since you're not using ducts at all, you don't have to worry about dust accumulating in your climate control system and then being blown all over the house. If you still have dust issues regardless of that kind of climate control system you're using, you might consider purchasing a portable or whole-home air purifier -- but make sure the one you buy doesn't produce ozone, which can actually cause respiratory problems instead of solving them.

Don't let your climate control system control your quality of life. Take these tips to heart and master your home's environment for a healthier, more comfortable, more energy-efficient lifestyle. For more information, contact a local HVAC company like Salem Heating & Sheet Metal, Inc.