You may have been told by a contractor or a warranty technician that you need to balance the heat in your new home. But what does that actually mean?
Heat Balancing your home refers to when you are adjusting the amount of heat entering into each room every time the furnace turns on. Most homes use a single control point, the thermostat, to tell the single source of heat, the furnace, either to turn on because it is cold or to turn off because the temperature is good. We have to remember that the thermostat controls the heat for the whole home.
You might have experienced this in your home, the thermostat senses the temperature is a bit cool and it decides that it needs to turn on the heat. The furnace turns on and heat starts coming out the registers. After a few minutes, the furnace turns off but the room upstairs over the garage is still cold…why?
Too much of the heat that the furnace produced ended up on the main floor by the thermostat and not in the areas that are cold. Once the thermostat was warm after a few minutes of the furnace being on, it turns off. So how do you fix this so that the rooms upstairs are warm when the furnace turns off? You do a heat balance.
Taking a look at your registers, they can be adjusted from fully opened to fully closed and everything in between. Your heat registers are most likely all open as that’s how they typically are installed in new homes. If your vent covers don’t have a slider to close them, avoid covering them with furniture, rugs, or other objects around your home. Vent covers can be purchased at most home hardware stores or online.
The first thing to consider when starting a heat balance is “Do I have any rooms that are getting heat, that probably don’t need it?” Rooms such as the main level bathroom or pantry can get hot when the furnace turns on, typically getting heat that can be used elsewhere in the home. Closing the register halfway is a good test to see how it feels. If the temperature is still hot, then close them some more. Closing the registers in those rooms forces the hot air to be redirected to other registers around the house.
The next step is to look at the registers closest to the thermostat. If lots of heat is coming out around that area, then the thermostat will turn off before the cold room upstairs warms up. By exploring the different combinations of closing the registers, you can see how it changes the heat in the house. Does a different room in the home feel warmer? Was there any change? If not try closing the registers more, or some different ones. The goal is to move the heat that comes out of the registers away from the thermostat. This way it takes longer for the area around the thermostat to heat up and turn the furnace off which allows the room upstairs to heat up more.
Heat balancing gives you the control to climatize your new home the way you want to. Through experimentation and seeing what works best for your home, you can create the perfect home environment and reduce running your furnace needlessly.