Every floor in your home should be a retreat that’s warm and cozy in the cold months and cool and comfortable in the summer. However, families who live in some homes with multiple levels find the upper floor is stubbornly hotter or colder than the first floor.
This could simply be caused by the fact that most thermostats in a house are on the first floor, which is where people spend the the majority of time—in the living room, kitchen, etc.—so they set the temperature according to how it feels on the first floor.
However, temperature discrepancies between the upstairs and downstairs could also be because of issues with your HVAC system. Some of these challenges can be solved somewhat quickly while others might call for more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the professionals at Indoor Comfort Systems HVAC will help you figure out 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 getting hotter than the downstairs can be chalked up to several factors. For starters, heat rises, so it’s natural for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the ground floor. Not enough insulation in the attic or roof can worsen this problem by letting heat transfer from the roof into the upstairs rooms.
Another common reason is that the HVAC system is not strong enough to cool the entire home, causing it to have difficulty cooling the upstairs adequately.
To deal with these issues, homeowners could put in additional insulation in the attic and make sure their home has adequate ventilation. If there’s concern the air conditioning unit is the correct size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Indoor Comfort Systems HVAC inspect the unit. A skilled professional also can help select a unit that's better suited for your home if you want air conditioning installation or replacement.
Why Is My Upstairs Colder/Not Heating?
When the downstairs of your home is warm, but it’s extremely chilly upstairs, that can cause an ice-cold night for anyone whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. The most prevalent explanations for an upstairs not heating like it is supposed to 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, resulting in colder temperatures on higher floors. It’s crucial to make sure your home has a thick, level layer of insulation in the attic and appropriate insulation in the walls to keep the cold out and the heat inside.
The ductwork in a home plays a fundamental role in distributing conditioned air throughout different areas of the building. However, issues with the ductwork can contribute to the upstairs being colder than the downstairs. A frequently reported reason for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the right size or design, creating 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 upper level.
Another factor with ductwork is the layout of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper story or they are poorly located, it can restrict air circulation and cause inferior heating or cooling. In addition, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can cause 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 inspected by trusted professionals like the team at Indoor Comfort Systems HVAC to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and putting in more vents or adjusting existing ones can help increase airflow and ensure a more consistent temperature balance between the upstairs and downstairs.
What Do I Do to Fix a Hot/Cold Upstairs?
If your upstairs is hotter or colder than the rest of your home, an HVAC zoning system could be a great solution.
An HVAC zoning system separates the home into distinct zones, which each have their own thermostat and damper system so the homeowner can customize the heating or cooling of each zone.
This system can be very useful in situations where the upstairs of a multi-story home is quite hot or extremely cold while the main floor is comfortable. By investing in a zoning system, homeowners can manage the temperature independently in each zone, making it possible for them to address specific hot or cold spots effortlessly.
To learn more about an HVAC zoning system in Croydon, call Indoor Comfort Systems HVAC. We’ve developed and installed customized home comfort plans for many community members and are happy to show how an HVAC zoning system could enhance the comfort in your home.
Why Is the Humidity So High Upstairs?
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 the lower level.
A frequent cause for excess upper floor humidity is inadequate ventilation on the upper floor, which can result in increased humidity levels. As is often the case with temperature differences between floors, inadequate insulation or sealing in the attic or walls may allow warm, humid air from outside the house infiltrate the upstairs rooms. And, if there are any leaks or plumbing concerns on the upper floor, that can also lead to unwanted moisture in that area of a home.
To manage humidity problems, homeowners can improve ventilation by installing fans or opening windows to promote airflow. Proper insulation in the attic and better sealing the attic and walls can help prevent external moisture from entering the upstairs. Finding and repairing any leaks or plumbing issues is also extremely important.
Depending on the levels of moisture found in the home, a whole-home dehumidifier could be another helpful tool to manage humidity in your home.