GBA Logo horizontal Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Picture icon Hamburger Icon Close Icon Sorted

Community and Q&A

Best way to circulate indoor air in winter?

Masb | Posted in General Questions on

We have baseboard heat so air doesn’t circulate in winter. How can I best circulate the air in the winter? Was thinking of the Nest Thermostat which seems to let you program HVAC fan to run every so often, but not sure. Would love advice!!!!

GBA Prime

Join the leading community of building science experts

Become a GBA Prime member and get instant access to the latest developments in green building, research, and reports from the field.


  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    Before we give you advice, we need to know what your complaint is.

    Complaint #1: "The temperature varies from room to room." This problem can be remedied by either installing zone valves, replacing baseboard units that aren't sized correctly with the right sized baseboard, or improving the air-sealing measures or the window performance in the cold rooms.

    Compalint #2: "The air feels stuffy." If this is the case, you might need a mechanical ventilation system. For more information, see Designing a Good Ventilation System.

  2. Expert Member
    Dana Dorsett | | #2

    Duty-cycling the air handler for the central AC would redistribute the air, but not the heat. If your central air system was designed with outdoor air ventilation intake & distribution it COULD be used for ventilation by duty-cycling it, but it's not very efficient, since most of the energy is spent just moving air around within the house, with only a small fraction of it being fresh air from the outside. If the AC system is not designed with ventilation air factored in, it's doing even less, but it might be doing some parasitic ventilation (at even worse efficiency):

    Ducted AC air handlers inevitably pressurize/depressurize rooms relative to one another, and some of the air movement that evens up the pressures uses "the great outdoors" as part of the return path, through all of the random air leaks in the house.

    The total volume of air moved by the air handler is also an order of magnitude larger than what would be needed for mere ventilation. The pressure differences induced even by unbalanced ventilation at appropriate ventilation volumes is tiny compared to those generated by ducted cooling & heating air handlers.

Log in or create an account to post an answer.


Recent Questions and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |