Wind facing rooms are colder than other rooms

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Posted by: from Markham
12/3/2012 at 12:11:03 PM

The bedrooms at the front of my house are always colder than any other room in the house. The rooms face north west and are on the 2nd floor of the house.

I have asked my neighbors and they say that they have the same problem.

Is this an HVAC (There is hot air coming from the registers) or is this a problem with insulation?

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Bourdeau Renos in Ottawa
Date/Time12/3/2012 at 1:07:12 PM

How old is the house?

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Gregory from Multi Reno in Gatineau
Date/Time12/3/2012 at 1:09:55 PM


You probably need an assesment of the insulation on that wall. Removing the drywall would show you what the problem is.

Most of the time its an infitration of cold air from outside into the walls comming from windows and siding and floor or soffits or attics.

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Date/Time12/3/2012 at 1:13:08 PM

This could be a insulation problem, re; around windows, perhaps rooms located above uninsulated ringbeam etc or forced air not balanced properly.

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Archie from Sobol Inc. in Toronto
Date/Time12/3/2012 at 1:15:52 PM

Hello Mauricio,

You might have multiple issues. Window quality, installation quality combine with poor insulation.

Another reason is sealed unit quality, spacer type. You can replace sealed units If windows allow so to improve energy efficiency.

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Date/Time12/3/2012 at 1:51:12 PM

Most home heating systems are not very well balanced. Try partially closing registers in the warmer rooms to force more warm air into the colder rooms.

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Gus from Triworx Design in Vaughan
Date/Time12/3/2012 at 1:53:31 PM

If there is a garage in below the bedrooms, you may have to consider heating the ceiling space.

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Date/Time12/3/2012 at 1:58:12 PM

It is hard to say for certain what the problem is, it could be as you have suggested a problem with insulation, or it may even be the placement of the rooms, environmental factors such as wind and shade, or a combination of both.

Your options are to either hire a local professional to do an inspection and make some recomendations or to purchase an alternate heat source for the rooms.

There are many radiator type heaters that work fairly efficiently and can be turned on as needed or even some of the electric fireplace units now available may help take the cold edge off.

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Bourdeau Renos in Ottawa
Date/Time12/3/2012 at 2:06:21 PM

There are a few reasons for this. The first being if the rooms are over the porch or garage, the spray foam may not have been installed properly under the rooms. Secondly, there could be air leakage around the window or a spot on the wall that wasn't insulated properly, or it could be the attic insulation.

A lot of new builds have the attic insulated before the soffit is installed. If its a windy day, the air will flow into the roof and blow the insulation back. If your room is built above the porch, your heat run will go through the porch or garage. Which is the reason they spray foam it. Unfortunately, when they spray, sometimes there are air pockets that are missed. That may be another cause.

The last one being air leakage and cold spots in the wall either around the windows or in the wall. Some builders are now building the exterior walls with rigid foam and use a different spray foam around the windows.. If there is a hole in the foam, it will cause air to leak through as well as there being a space missed by the spray foam around the window would also cause air leakage.

I know its a lot of info, but these would be the main causes of the rooms.

Hope this was helpful.

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Date/Time12/3/2012 at 2:55:00 PM


I would recommend having an inspector come in and take a look. There are to many things that may be causing the problem. Have him isolate the problem and then you will be able to determine what needs to be done.

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Edwin from Dasouza Construction in Ajax
Date/Time12/3/2012 at 3:20:52 PM

This can either be that there is no insulation, the hvac pipes not insulated or if you on top the garage and the door is not a insulated door and the garage is unfinished all the cold air coming through there.

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Date/Time12/3/2012 at 3:37:59 PM

From your description it sounds like your problem is an insulation problem . The cold rooms that you mentioned have exposure to the north west. Typically the worst winds come from this direction. If your house is fairly new you have R-20 insulation in your walls. If it is from the seventies or older it will have R-12 in the walls. In January the building code changed to require R24 in exterior walls. With bad exposure R20 will not be effective.


I have north west exposure in my own house. I installed E.I.F.S to the exterior. This gives me an additional R-8 insulation plus a complete insulation wrap on the exterior. The extra cost of this is approx $13.00 per square foot.

Another solution is to install foamed in place insulation to the walls from the inside or the outside. If you have vinyl siding it would be less expensive from the outside. The foam should be less expensive compared to E.I.F.S.

Paul Justice ...Justice Construction.

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Date/Time12/3/2012 at 7:05:53 PM

This is definitely an insulation and energy efficiency issue. Other than just the insulation itself.

Another probable factor is often drafty spaces around windows lacking in proper insulation and caulking, as well as the efficiency of the windows themselves.

Once these issues have been addressed you will likely see a dramatic drop in your heating bill and your furnace will not kick on as frequently.

Wind facing rooms are colder than other rooms
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Date/Time12/4/2012 at 8:21:46 AM

There could be a number of factors that can cause rooms to be colder that other rooms.

Orientation of the rooms are a factor as direct winds hitting a home will affect the heat loss of the room.

I would start with the windows and make sure they are sealed and caulked on the exterior.

Although you said there is heat coming out of the register we would not know if there is enough warm air entering the room to offset the heat loss of the room.

I would check the exterior finish and make sure there are no issues or openings that would cause air infiltration.

I would check the attic insulation to confirm that there are no air leaks into the room or from the room into the attic.

These are a couple of items that you can start or undertake on your own as I feel you may need a professional to visit your home to analyse how to rectify the situation.

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Date/Time12/4/2012 at 11:10:47 AM

This could be a number of different problems. But I will try break in down to "main type's":

1) Windows, inefficient and improperly sealed, possibly allowing draft

*Temp solution-cover window with poly and tape edges

2) Improper or compacted insulation in attic

No real Temp solution

3) Inadequate insulation in walls

No real Temp solution

4) Improper air flow in rooms, furnace works but not able to blow enough air in

A)If you are able to see ducting from basement check to make sure of proper connections

*Solution-Heat tape(shiny metal duct tape) will tape over holes and unsealed joints

B)Look for return air ducts close to the bedrooms, they are usually vertical instead of horizontal

*Solution-Cutting aproximately 1/2" to 3/4" off bottom of bedroom doors if they do not seem to have a gap on bottom to allow air flow to get to return air

5) Furnace not adequate

Consult expert for proper sizing.

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Date/Time12/4/2012 at 10:55:52 PM

Hello Mauricio

I have use a number of heat sensing scanners to identify leaks. They highlight low/high temp spots.

Once that information is confirmed it will support where you may want to open the wall for further inspection.

Good luck

Norman Richter

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Jeff from Newson Interiors in Dunrobin
Date/Time12/5/2012 at 9:32:17 PM

Hi Mauricio,

I think Norman is on the right track here. We have tools for answering all of your questions.

I suggest contacting and insulation contractor or a home inspector with a thermal imaging camera to take a look at the walls in question. It will show where the heat is escaping through the exterior. The coldest rooms are always on the NW but it shouldn't be that noticable.

Spend a little now doing some investigation rather than throw monet at a guess.

Hope that helps.


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Date/Time12/6/2012 at 8:20:26 PM

In my opinion this is an insulation issue.

Was the house built in the 70's?

This vintage of house had the pink insulation stuffed in between the window and the rough opening. This is an easy fix from the inside.


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