Every floor in your home should be a retreat that’s warm and cozy in the winter and cool and comfortable in the summer. However, owners of some homes with multiple levels find the upper floor is stubbornly hotter or colder than the first floor.
This could simply be due to the fact most thermostats in a house are on the ground floor, which is where people spend the most time—in the living room, kitchen, etc.—so it makes sense to set the temperature according to how it feels on the first floor.
However, temperature variations between the upstairs and downstairs could also be caused by issues with your HVAC system. Some of these difficulties can be resolved somewhat quickly while others might call for more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the team at Home Comfort Heating & Air will help you solve why the upstairs of your home is hotter than downstairs, or vice versa.
Why Is My Upstairs So Hot?
The phenomenon of the upstairs of a two-story home becoming hotter than the downstairs can be attributed to several factors. For starters, heat rises, so it’s common for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the first floor. Poor insulation in the attic or roof can make this worse by letting heat transfer from the roof into the upstairs rooms.
Another common reason is that the air conditioner is not big enough to cool the entire home, causing it to have difficulty cooling the upstairs sufficiently.
To deal with these issues, homeowners could install additional insulation in the attic and make sure their home has proper ventilation. If there’s a possibility the air conditioning unit is the right size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Home Comfort Heating & Air inspect the unit. A skilled professional also can help locate a unit that's better suited for your home if you need air conditioning installation or replacement.
Why Is My Upstairs So Cold/Not Heating?
When the downstairs of your home is warm, but it’s freezing upstairs, that can cause an ice-cold night for anyone whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. The most prevalent causes of an upstairs not heating like it should are the insulation levels and the ductwork.
Inadequate insulation allows cold air to leak through the home’s attic or walls and contribute to heat loss, creating colder temperatures on the upper levels. It’s essential to make sure your home has a deep, level layer of insulation in the attic and proper insulation in the walls to keep the cold out and the heat inside.
The ductwork in a home plays a fundamental role in circulating conditioned air throughout different locations of the building. However, troubles with the ductwork can cause the upstairs being colder than the lower floor. A common cause for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the right size or design, which results in an uneven distribution of air between the floors. This can cause more warm air to go downstairs, causing insufficient airflow—which is the heated air—on the higher floors.
Another potential problem area in the ductwork is the placement of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper floor or they are poorly positioned, it can reduce air circulation and cause substandard heating or cooling. In addition, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can lead to air loss, lowering the overall efficiency of the HVAC system and exacerbating the temperature difference.
To find out why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork examined by trusted HVAC pros like the team at Home Comfort Heating & Air to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and installing more vents or adjusting existing ones can help increase airflow and ensure a better temperature balance between the upstairs and downstairs.
How You Can Fix a Hot or Cold Upstairs?
If your upstairs is hotter or colder than the rest of your house, an HVAC zoning system could be a highly effective solution.
An HVAC zoning system separates the household into different zones, which each have their own thermostat and damper system so the homeowner can control the heating or cooling of each zone.
This system can be particularly effective in instances where the upstairs of a multi-story home is very hot or too cold while the main floor is comfortable. By investing in a zoning system, homeowners can control the temperature independently in each zone, making it possible for them to address specific hot or cold spots easily.
To learn more about an HVAC zoning system in Elk River, call Home Comfort Heating & Air. We’ve developed and installed customized home comfort plans for many community members and are happy to show how an HVAC zoning system could benefit your home.
Why Is My Upstairs So Humid?
In addition to the upper story being hotter or colder than the rest of the house, another challenge in multi-floor homes is when the upstairs is more humid than downstairs.
A frequent explanation for excess upper floor humidity is weak ventilation on the upper floor, which can produce higher humidity levels. As is often the case with temperature differences between floors, poor insulation or sealing in the attic or walls may let warm, humid air from outdoors infiltrate the upstairs rooms. In addition, if there are any leaks or plumbing problems on the upper floor, that can also cause excessive moisture in that area of a home.
To correct humidity problems, homeowners can add more ventilation by using fans or opening windows to promote airflow. Adding more insulation in the attic and better sealing the attic and walls can help stop external moisture from entering the upstairs. Finding and repairing any leaks or plumbing issues is also imperative.
Depending on the levels of moisture found in the home, a whole-home dehumidifier could be another valuable tool to manage humidity in the residence.