Your entire residence should be a refuge that’s warm and comfy in the winter and cool and comfortable in the summer. However, families who live in some two-story homes find the upper floor is stubbornly hotter or colder than the main floor.
This could simply be due to the fact most thermostats in a house are on the first floor, which is where people spend the greatest amount of 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 discrepancies between the upstairs and downstairs could also be caused by problems with your HVAC system. Some of these challenges can be fixed relatively quickly while others might call for more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the specialists at Gopher Heating and Air Conditioning will help you determine 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. Number one, heat rises, so it’s natural for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the ground floor. Lack of 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 air conditioner is not big enough to cool the entire home, causing it to struggle to cool the upstairs adequately.
To deal with these issues, homeowners could install 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 right size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Gopher Heating and Air Conditioning inspect the unit. A knowledgeable professional also can help find a unit that's better suited for your home if you are considering 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 a frosty 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 lets cold air to seep through the home’s attic or walls and contribute to heat loss, resulting in colder temperatures upstairs. It’s important 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 very important role in distributing conditioned air throughout different areas of the building. However, troubles with the ductwork can cause the upstairs being colder than the downstairs. A typical cause for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the correct size or in the appropriate layout, resulting in an uneven distribution of air between the floors. This can cause more warm air to be directed to the downstairs, leaving insufficient airflow—which is the heated air—on the higher floors.
Another possible issue with the ductwork is the layout of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper story or they are not correctly positioned, it can restrict air circulation and cause substandard heating or cooling. Also, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can lead to air loss, decreasing the overall efficiency of the HVAC system and making the temperature difference more pronounced.
To determine why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork examined by skilled HVAC pros like the team at Gopher Heating and Air Conditioning to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and adding more vents or adjusting existing ones can help improve airflow and ensure a more even 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 home, an HVAC zoning system could be a great solution.
An HVAC zoning system divides the household 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 very beneficial in situations where the upstairs of a multi-story home is quite hot or extremely cold while the main floor is comfortable. By installing a zoning system, homeowners can manage the temperature independently in each zone, making it possible for them to address specific hot or cold spots effectively.
To learn more about an HVAC zoning system in Savage, call Gopher Heating and Air Conditioning. We’ve created and installed customized home comfort plans for many community members and are happy to show how an HVAC zoning system could work 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 issue in multi-floor homes is when the higher levels are more humid than downstairs.
A typical reason for excess upper floor humidity is weak ventilation on the upper floor, which can cause higher humidity levels. As is often the case with temperature differences between floors, poor insulation or sealing in the attic or walls may allow warm, humid air from outside the house infiltrate the upstairs rooms. In addition, if there are any leaks or plumbing concerns on the upper floor, that can also cause excess moisture in that level of a home.
To manage 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 prevent external moisture from entering the upstairs. Locating 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 control humidity on the upper and lower floors.