Finding And Fixing Hot And Cold Spots In Your Office BuildingJason Siddall
Have you ever noticed how the upstairs of your building is much hotter than the downstairs? Or how a colleague is comfortably warm in her office, while you’re really cold in yours? Many buildings have hot and cold spots, and often people just live with them – mainly because they’re not sure how to remedy the situation. Fortunately though, the problem of erratic temperature zones in your office building is not usually difficult to solve – you just have to know why and where it’s happening.
Why Do You Get Hot And Cold Spots?
Sharp differences in temperature in different parts of your office building are usually caused by one or more of the following factors:
- HVAC equipment that isn’t powerful enough for the size of your office.
- Air ducts that are either leaking or insufficiently insulated.
- Duct systems that are incorrectly designed or sized.
- Improper, or no, HVAC zoning.
Let’s look at each of these issues in more detail.
Airconditioning or heating units that are not the right size mean it’s unlikely you’ll enjoy steady temperatures and humidity levels inside your office building. This is a leading cause of the “sauna vs igloo” effect! If your HVAC system is too small, or not powerful enough for the size of your office, it will have to work much harder, and there will be some areas where heated or cooled air simply never reach. Even a system that is too big can also be a problem, as it will cycle on and off too frequently to effectively and evenly regulate the temperature.
Over time, leaking air ducts are a common sign of wear and tear. Ductwork is usually made of metal sections, and hot or cool air cool easily escapes through the joints when traveling to rooms further away from the HVAC unit. Often ducts located in exposed areas, such as in a roof space, may not be as well-insulated as those in other areas. Of course, even well-insulated ductwork isn’t much help if your office building itself is poorly insulated. This can cause a room on the west side being warmer than on the north side, for example, because the afternoon sun will warm it up. Check for sneaky air leaks in common problem areas such as doors and windows – they could be letting cool air out and hot air in. When poor insulation and leaky ducting combine, your office is guaranteed to have hot and cold zones.
Your HVAC unit could be the correct size for your office, but if the ducts themselves are not appropriately sized, you will still experience hot and cold spots. Incorrectly-sized ducts are especially common in older buildings that were constructed without the benefit of much of today’s modern technology. This can really cause problems for new HVAC equipment – it has to work harder to compensate for inadequate ducting. This results in a shorter lifespan.
Improper, Or No, Zoning
Just as an alarm system divides your office into zones, so too does an HVAC system. If the zones aren’t properly demarcated, or if there are no zones, hot and cold areas will occur. A zoning system lets you set different temperatures for each individual zone, rather than your entire building, using multiple thermostats. Not only does this makes things more comfortable for your employees, it also offers considerable savings on your energy bill.
Although the above reasons are most often why people experience hot and cold zones in their offices, there are other factors too.
The way your office is built, for example, can have a significant influence on the efficacy of your heating and cooling system. How many windows you have, and how much sun your office gets on an average day, both impact the inside temperature. The location of your thermostat is also key. If you have a room with lots of windows that lets in lots of sun (and heat), but your thermostat is situated in a shady corner, it won’t register that the room is unusually hot and adjust the temperature accordingly.
At Toshiba, we supply, manufacture and install HVAC systems guaranteed to eliminate hot and cold spots in your home or office. Chat to us today about how we can make consistent temperatures happen for you.