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Try these cures for the cold room blues this winter

Posted by Jeffrey Anderson ~ December 9, 2013

There's nothing quite like being snug and warm in your home when the temperatures dip below freezing outside. Add snow coming down just beyond your windows and the scene may be ideal. However, the picture might not be quite as perfect if rooms in your home are so cold that even the pets are shivering.

As winter arrives, what can be done with rooms that just never seem to be warm? In many cases, there may be an easy and often inexpensive fix.

Warming up that room that always seems to be cold

How is it possible that some rooms in your home are cold when it's warm everywhere else?It's actually not that unusual. Here are a few things that could need attention:

  • Supply registers - Are the heat supply vents open in the room? While this may seem like common sense, a register that's partially or totally closed during air-conditioning season might need to be opened when it's time to turn on the furnace.
  • Drafty windows - Are there windows in your cold rooms? If so, rub your hand around the frames and sashes on a windy day. Do you feel any air coming in? As windows age and especially if they're opened and closed a lot, weather-stripping can wear out and small gaps may appear. You may be able to stop the air intrusion with caulk, but installing new weather-stripping or doing some adjustments is usually the best solution for drafty windows. If the draft is around the frames, removing the interior trim and installing batt or spray foam insulation may cure the problem.
  • Unbalanced HVAC system - At some point in time, an HVAC contractor probably balanced your heating and cooling system, but it may have been done before you occupied the home. Balancing the HVAC system consists of adjusting the air flow to rooms based on their sizes and expected usage. However, your family's lifestyle may require a little tweaking of the various lines. Getting a system balanced usually doesn't take very long and costs very little. Depending on the age of your home, it may even be covered by the warranty.
  • Fireplace damper - Again, it may seem like a common sense item, but if the room has a fireplace, make sure the damper is closed when the unit isn't being used. An open damper can allow a lot of cold air inside.
  • Leaky electrical outlets - Place your hand over electrical outlets on exterior walls - do you feel any air coming through? On a windy day, air can sometimes get past the exterior sheathing on your home. While it may not be felt during the summer, when the temperatures turn frigid, it can become very obvious. Removing the covers and installing some insulation around the outlet often takes care of the issue, but be careful not to disturb any of the wiring. Installing childproof covers on the outlets may also help.

There's no sense in your family and pets shivering this winter. Try one or more of these easy fixes to cure your home's cold room blues.

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