Your entire residence should be a refuge that’s warm and cozy in the winter 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 just be because most thermostats in a house are on the main floor, which is where people spend the most time—in the living room, kitchen, etc.—so they 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 problems with your HVAC system. Some of these issues can be fixed fairly quickly while others might call for more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the team at Scott Temperature will help you solve why the upstairs of your home is hotter than downstairs, or vice versa.
Why Is It Hotter Upstairs?
The phenomenon of the upstairs of a two-story home getting hotter than the downstairs can be attributed to several factors. First, heat rises, so it’s natural for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the ground floor. Poor insulation in the attic or roof can make this worse by permitting 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 fight to cool the upstairs sufficiently.
To address these issues, homeowners could add additional insulation in the attic and make sure their home has sufficient ventilation. If there’s a question of whether the air conditioning unit is the ideal size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Scott Temperature inspect the unit. A qualified 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 very cold upstairs, that can cause an ice-cold night for anyone whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. The most prevalent reasons an upstairs not heating like it is supposed to are the insulation levels and the ductwork.
Inadequate insulation enables cold air to leak through the home’s attic or walls and contribute to heat loss, creating colder temperatures on higher floors. It’s important 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 distributing conditioned air throughout different rooms of the building. However, problems with the ductwork can cause the upstairs being colder than the main level. A typical cause for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the proper size or in the appropriate layout, resulting in an uneven distribution of air between the floors. This can cause more warm air to flow downstairs, leaving insufficient airflow—which is the heated air—on the upper story.
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 not correctly installed, it can limit air circulation and cause inadequate heating or cooling. In addition, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can cause air loss, decreasing the overall efficiency of the HVAC system and making the temperature difference more pronounced.
To figure out why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork examined by trusted professionals like the team at Scott Temperature to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and installing more vents or adjusting existing ones can help increase airflow and ensure a more consistent temperature balance between the upstairs and downstairs.
Fixing the Hot or Cold Upstairs Problem?
If your upstairs is hotter or colder than the ground level of your home, an HVAC zoning system could be a highly effective solution.
An HVAC zoning system breaks the home into distinct 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 especially helpful in instances where the upstairs of a multi-story home is too hot or really cold while the main floor is comfortable. By implementing a zoning system, homeowners can regulate the temperature independently in each zone, enabling them to address specific hot or cold spots effortlessly.
To learn more about an HVAC zoning system in Lawrence, call Scott Temperature. We’ve designed 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 issue in multi-floor homes is when the upstairs is more humid than the lower level.
A frequent reason for excess upper floor humidity is poor ventilation on the upper floor, which can cause greater humidity levels. As is often the case with temperature differences between floors, inadequate insulation or sealing in the attic or walls may let 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 cause unwanted moisture in that area of a home.
To deal with humidity problems, homeowners can add more ventilation by using fans or opening windows to promote airflow. Appropriate levels of insulation in the attic and better sealing the attic and walls can help prevent external moisture from entering the upstairs. Locating and repairing any leaks or plumbing issues is also critical.
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.