Your entire home should be a refuge that’s warm and comfy in the winter season 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 first floor.
This could simply be due to the fact 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 discrepancies between the upstairs and downstairs could also be because of problems with your HVAC system. Some of these difficulties can be solved fairly quickly while others might call for more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the specialists at Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling 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 becoming 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 main 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 properly.
To deal with these issues, homeowners could add additional insulation in the attic and make sure their home has proper ventilation. If there’s a possibility the AC is the right size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling inspect the unit. A qualified professional also can help find a unit that's better suited for your home if you require air conditioning installation or replacement.
Why Is My Upstairs Always Cold/Not Heating?
When the downstairs of your home is warm, but it’s freezing upstairs, that makes for a very chilly night for anyone whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. The most common explanations for 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 essential to make sure your home has a solid, 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 fundamental role in distributing conditioned air throughout different areas of the building. However, issues with the ductwork can cause the upstairs being colder than the main level. A common explanation for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the correct size or design, creating 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 upper story.
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 placed, it can limit air circulation and cause inferior heating or cooling. In addition, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can lead to air loss, lowering the overall efficiency of the HVAC system and making the temperature difference more pronounced.
To find out why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork checked by skilled experts like the team at Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and adding new vents or adjusting existing ones can help enhance 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 a highly effective solution.
An HVAC zoning system breaks the residence into distinctive 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 useful in scenarios where the upstairs of a multi-story home is too hot or extremely cold while the main floor is comfortable. By investing in a zoning system, homeowners can control 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 Greater Richmond, call Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. We’ve created 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 it So Humid 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 upstairs is more humid than the first floor.
A frequent cause for excess upper floor humidity is poor ventilation on the upper floor, which can result in 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. Plus, if there are any leaks or plumbing issues on the upper floor, that can also cause extra 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. Adding more insulation in the attic and better sealing the attic and walls can help stop external moisture from entering the upstairs. Finding 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 helpful tool to reduce humidity in your home.