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Why are there hot and cold spots in my house?

Why are there hot and cold spots in my house?

Cold spots in one’s home can be one of the most baffling and frustrating things to deal with, especially in the winter. The issue with them is that they come in two varieties: The first is cold spots that stay in one spot, and the second is cold spots that seem to materialize and disappear without warning. What is the deal with them?

Well, the most common cause of cold spots in one’s home is also the most intuitive cause, and that is cracks and breaches in your walls and insulation. An opening in your home’s insulation can be far more destructive to the atmosphere of your home than you might think.

The reason for this has to do with how thermal energy works. Thermal energy (what most people call “heat”) is always trying to reach an equilibrium in the space around it. If ten molecules are touching each other and one is one hundred degrees while the rest are zero degrees, the heat of the one will vent to the other nine until each molecule is only ten degrees. Usually, insulation stops this from happening.

But if there is a gap in your insulation, or if one was created by the weather or a rat chewing through it, then it is much like your house is a bucket full of water and that breach in the insulation is a hole. Heat will leak out as it tries to balance the heat inside your home with the heat outside your home.

This balance will, obviously, never truly be struck. But the heat does not know that. In the end, what will happen is that the spot closest to the broken insulation will feel far colder than anywhere around it. This can happen even if the walls of your home are intact, as the walls are usually not as insulating as the insulation in them.

Another common cause of cold spots in your house is likely poorly weathered doors and windows. This is a problem that can develop over time, though if you have an older house, it might be something that feels like it got bad suddenly. And that is because it has to do with how houses wear down over time.

When walls and doors get old, they shrink. It is barely perceptible at any given time, but over a long period, you will notice that the weight of a wall will cause the wall to sag on itself. This can impact many things, but one of the most common issues it causes is gaps that form next to doors and windows.

Imagine a door is flanked by two walls (as they often are). If both of those walls shrink, then there is more space between the doorframe and the door. It might not be much, but it will usually be enough for heat to escape through. The solution is installing weathering around the door or window that is having this problem.