Every floor in your home should be a retreat that’s warm and cozy in the winter and cool and comfortable in the summer. However, residents in some multi-level residences find the upper floor is stubbornly hotter or colder than the rooms on ground level.
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 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 differences between the upstairs and downstairs could also be caused by issues 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 specialists at Controlled Comfort HVAC will help you determine 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 feeling hotter than the downstairs can be traced to several factors. Number one, heat rises, so it’s natural for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the main floor. Not enough insulation in the attic or roof can make this worse by allowing 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 fight to cool the upstairs sufficiently.
To address these issues, homeowners could add more insulation in the attic and make sure their home has adequate ventilation. If there’s concern the AC is the proper size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Controlled Comfort HVAC inspect the unit. A skilled professional also can help find a unit that's better suited for your home if you need 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 could result in a very chilly night for anyone whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. The most frequent explanations for an upstairs not heating like it should 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 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 circulating conditioned air throughout different rooms of the building. However, problems with the ductwork can result in the upstairs being colder than the downstairs. A common explanation for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the correct size or in the appropriate layout, causing an uneven distribution of air between the floors. This can cause more warm air to flow downstairs, which creates insufficient airflow—which is the heated air—on the higher floors.
Another factor with ductwork is the placement of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper story or they aren't well placed, it can limit air circulation and cause substandard heating or cooling. Also, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can cause air loss, lowering 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 checked by trusted professionals like the team at Controlled Comfort HVAC 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 rest of your residence, an HVAC zoning system could be an effective solution.
An HVAC zoning system separates the residence into distinctive 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 particularly beneficial in instances where the upstairs of a multi-story home is quite hot or too cold while the main floor is comfortable. By investing in a zoning system, homeowners can manage the temperature independently in each zone, enabling them to address specific hot or cold spots effectively.
To discover more about an HVAC zoning system in Carpentersville, call Controlled Comfort HVAC. We’ve designed 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 higher levels are more humid than downstairs.
A frequent reason for excess upper floor humidity is poor ventilation on the upper floor, which can result in increased humidity levels. As is often the case with temperature differences between floors, insufficient insulation or sealing in the attic or walls may permit 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 extra moisture in that area of a home.
To manage humidity problems, homeowners can increase 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.