Your entire home should be a sanctuary that’s warm and toasty in the cold months 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 main floor.
This could just be because most thermostats in a house are on the ground floor, which is where people spend the the majority of time—in the living room, kitchen, etc.—so as a result they tend to set the temperature according to how it feels on the first floor.
However, temperature differences between the upstairs and downstairs could also be because of issues with your HVAC system. Some of these difficulties can be sorted out fairly quickly while others might call for more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the team at Alpine Summit Heating & Cooling will help you determine why the upstairs of your home is hotter than downstairs, or vice versa.
Why Is It Hot Upstairs?
The phenomenon of the upstairs of a two-story home becoming hotter than the downstairs can be traced to several factors. First, heat rises, so it’s normal for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the ground floor. Poor insulation in the attic or roof can exacerbate this issue by allowing heat transfer from the roof into the upstairs rooms.
Another common reason is that the air conditioning is not strong enough to cool the entire home, causing it to fight to cool the upstairs sufficiently.
To address 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 conditioner is the correct size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Alpine Summit Heating & Cooling inspect the unit. A skilled professional also can help find a unit that's better suited for your home if you want air conditioning installation or replacement.
Why Is My Upstairs Always Cold/Not Heating?
When the downstairs of your home is warm, but it’s extremely chilly upstairs, that could result in a very chilly 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 enables cold air to seep 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 adequate insulation in the walls to keep the cold out and the heat inside.
The ductwork in a home plays a very important role in circulating conditioned air throughout different areas of the building. However, troubles with the ductwork can result in the upstairs being colder than the lower floor. A frequently reported cause for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the proper size or design, resulting in an uneven distribution of air between the floors. This can cause more warm air to be directed to the downstairs, which creates insufficient airflow—which is the heated air—on the upper story.
Another possible issue with the ductwork is the location of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper level or they are not correctly installed, it can restrict air circulation and cause inferior heating or cooling. Also, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can cause air loss, lowering the overall efficiency of the HVAC system and actually making the temperature difference worse.
To figure out why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork inspected by skilled experts like the team at Alpine Summit Heating & Cooling to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and installing additional 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 lower floors of your residence, an HVAC zoning system could be an effective solution.
An HVAC zoning system breaks the residence into different zones, which each have their own thermostat and damper system so the homeowner can modify the heating or cooling of each zone.
This system can be especially beneficial in scenarios where the upstairs of a multi-story home is quite hot or really cold while the main floor is comfortable. By implementing a zoning system, homeowners can regulate the temperature independently in each zone, allowing them to address specific hot or cold spots easily.
To find out more about an HVAC zoning system in Athol, call Alpine Summit Heating & Cooling. 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 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 upper floors are more humid than downstairs.
A frequent reason for excess upper floor humidity is weak ventilation on the upper floor, which can result in increased 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 outside infiltrate the upstairs rooms. And, if there are any leaks or plumbing issues on the upper floor, that can also lead to extra moisture in that area of a home.
To address humidity problems, homeowners can increase ventilation by getting fans or opening windows to promote airflow. Proper insulation in the attic and better sealing the attic and walls can help protect against external moisture from entering the upstairs. Identifying 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 useful tool to manage humidity in the residence.