Your entire home should be a retreat that’s warm and toasty 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 main floor.
This could merely 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 differences between the upstairs and downstairs could also be because of trouble with your HVAC system. Some of these issues can be solved somewhat quickly while others might call for more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the specialists at Air Current AC & Heat 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 becoming hotter than the downstairs can be traced to several factors. Number one, heat rises, so it’s common for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the main floor. Lack of insulation in the attic or roof can worsen this problem by allowing heat transfer from the roof into the upstairs rooms.
Another common reason is that the HVAC system is not big enough to cool the entire home, causing it to struggle to cool the upstairs adequately.
To address these issues, homeowners could add additional insulation in the attic and make sure their home has sufficient ventilation. If there’s concern the air conditioner is the correct size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Air Current AC & Heat inspect the unit. A skilled professional also can help select a unit that's better suited for your home if you require air conditioning installation or replacement.
Why Is My Upstairs So Cold/Not Heating?
When the downstairs of your home is warm, but it’s very cold upstairs, that makes for an ice-cold night for anyone whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. The most common reasons an upstairs not heating like it should are the insulation levels and the ductwork.
Inadequate insulation lets cold air to leak through the home’s attic or walls and contribute to heat loss, resulting in colder temperatures on the upper levels. It’s important to make sure your home has a deep, 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 distributing conditioned air throughout different areas of the building. However, troubles with the ductwork can contribute to the upstairs being colder than the lower floor. A typical explanation for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the correct size or in the appropriate layout, which results in an uneven distribution of air between the floors. This can cause more warm air to be directed to the downstairs, causing insufficient airflow—which is the heated air—on the higher floors.
Another potential problem area in the ductwork is the layout of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper level or they are poorly located, it can restrict air circulation and cause inferior heating or cooling. Also, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can cause air loss, decreasing the overall efficiency of the HVAC system and exacerbating the temperature difference.
To understand why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork checked by skilled HVAC pros like the team at Air Current AC & Heat to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and installing new vents or adjusting existing ones can help improve airflow and ensure a more consistent 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 lower floors of your residence, an HVAC zoning system could be a highly effective solution.
An HVAC zoning system separates the residence into distinct 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 useful in situations where the upstairs of a multi-story home is too hot or too cold while the main floor is comfortable. By setting up a zoning system, homeowners can control the temperature independently in each zone, allowing them to address specific hot or cold spots effortlessly.
To find out more about an HVAC zoning system in Houston, call Air Current AC & Heat. 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 problem in multi-floor homes is when the upper floors are more humid than the first floor.
A common cause for excess upper floor humidity is weak ventilation on the upper floor, which can produce greater humidity levels. As is often the case with temperature differences between floors, insufficient insulation or sealing in the attic or walls may allow 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 unwanted moisture in that area of a home.
To correct humidity problems, homeowners can add more ventilation by installing fans or opening windows to promote airflow. Appropriate levels of 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 valuable tool to reduce humidity in the residence.