When you run your air conditioning unit during the warmer months, you should feel a similar level of cool air in each room. This should remain true no matter what size the room is, provided that your system is balanced and is delivering the right amount of air to each space.
If your system is out of balance, you may notice that some rooms stay hotter or colder than others, even with the registers wide open and the system running at optimum temperatures. Often this is fairly subtle – no more than a couple of degrees difference between rooms. It can become a problem, however, when the difference becomes more noticeable and you find your comfort level decreasing.
Balancing the Load Professionally
The most efficient way to balance the load and make sure that the right amount of air is delivered to each room of your home is to call in a professional. A contractor will make a load calculation of your home, determining its overall size and square footage, how much air is being supplied, the sizes of the various rooms, and how many registers you have in each area.
Once the calculation is complete, your contractor will use a computer program that calculates exactly how much air needs to go to each room. He can then balance the air flow to each room so it optimizes the space. This will give you the most precise air flow between rooms, and it is the fastest method of adjustment.
If you don’t want to hire a professional, it’s entirely possible to balance the air being supplied to each room yourself. The method takes a little more trial and error, however, and isn’t as precise or immediate.
There are three different ways you can adjust the air flow in your home. The first is through the registers in each room called face dampers. By adjusting these, you can control some of the air flow to specific rooms. This is the easiest method of controlling the air supply, but not the most efficient. Use this method if you only want to change the air flow slightly.
The next method adjusts the branch ducts in your system using branch dampers. The dampers are a series of levers you can use to adjust how much air moves to various areas of the home. When the lever is parallel with the duct, the most amount of air is flowing through it. Adjust these dampers to reduce air flow to larger areas of the home.
The final method is adjusting the main dampers (which may be installed near the main trunk lines closest to your air source). Not every system has these installed, but if you do have them installed, you can adjust the air to the whole system by moving them.
To balance the load for yourself, begin closest to the air source and move toward each room to tweak. Make a few changes at a time and see how the air supply feels after a couple of weeks. If it isn’t where you want it yet, adjust it again. It may take up to several weeks to get the air supply just right if the system was out of kilter in the first place. Keep in mind as you make adjustments that upper levels of the home often need more air, while small spaces like bathrooms need less.
When the air supply in your home is in balance, every room should be equally comfortable. Take the time to get your air balanced, either professionally or by using the DIY method to ensure proper air flow to all quarters.
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