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W.C. Butler Heating and Air Conditioning Blog

Is Your Heating System Not Warming Up Your Whole House?


The point of having a central heating system is to deliver heat to the entire home (or at least the living spaces). When you turn on your furnace or heat pump during a cold winter day, you expect to have heated air flow evenly to all the rooms. There may be some temperature differences from place to place, but there should be a general “comfort consensus.” 

However, you might be dealing with a heating system that isn’t living up to expectations. The center of the house feels warm enough, but other areas have cold spots or perhaps aren’t getting warm at all. What’s happening? Do you need to call us for heater repair in Roanoke, VA?

Check the air filter first

There may be a simple reason the heater is unevenly heating your house: a clogged air filter. Any forced-air heating system like a furnace uses an air filter to prevent dust and debris from getting inside and damaging components. This filter will get dirty over time and eventually become so clogged that it blocks airflow. Without enough airflow, the heater won’t be able to deliver the same level of heated air. The solution is easy: put in a clean filter. We recommend changing the filter every one to three months to prevent future problems.

Thermostat issues

A common cause of uneven heating is when the thermostat for the house is miscalibrated so it reads incorrect temperatures. If you set your thermostat to 70°F on a winter day, but the thermostat registers the house as several degrees warmer, the thermostat will shut the heater off too early. Although you can raise the thermostat higher, we don’t recommend this: it’s better, in the long run, to have professionals recalibrate the thermostat. 


This is a problem that often affects heat pumps but will also happen with furnaces. When a heater is short-cycling, it turns on and off rapidly over a short period of time. A heater will normally cycle on and off three to five times an hour. When short-cycling, a heater can cycle more than eight times an hour. This is not only damaging to the heater and wasteful of energy, but it also prevents the heater from staying on long enough per cycle to provide enough heat to the house. There are numerous causes of short cycling, so you will need a professional to diagnose the source and repair it.

Faulty zone control system

Do you have a zone control system that allows you to control which rooms in your house receive heat when the heater is running? If so, then the uneven heating may be the fault of a stuck damper or a faulty relay in the zone controls. HVAC professionals can repair this.

Failing heater

The problem may simply be that the heater is too old and is starting to fail. As a heater’s capacity begins to decline from age, it will first appear as uneven heating. If you have a heating system that’s already above its estimated service life, we recommend looking into having it replaced when it starts to struggle to heat up the entire house.

W.C. Butler Heating and Air Conditioning Has Been Southwest Virginia’s Choice Since 1985. Let Us Take Care of Your Comfort!

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