Your entire home should be a sanctuary 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 rooms on ground level.
This could merely be because most thermostats in a house are on the ground floor, which is where people spend the greatest amount 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 differences between the upstairs and downstairs could also be due to trouble with your HVAC system. Some of these issues can be solved relatively quickly while others might necessitate 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 My Upstairs So Hot?
The phenomenon of the upstairs of a two-story home feeling hotter than the downstairs can be attributed to several factors. For starters, heat rises, so it’s common for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the first floor. Poor insulation in the attic or roof can make this worse 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 have difficulty cooling the upstairs sufficiently.
To fix these issues, homeowners could put in more insulation in the attic and make sure their home has sufficient ventilation. If there’s a question of whether the air conditioner is the ideal size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling inspect the unit. A qualified professional also can help select 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 freezing upstairs, that could result in a frosty 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 allows cold air to leak through the home’s attic or walls and contribute to heat loss, causing 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 critical role in disseminating conditioned air throughout different areas of the building. However, issues with the ductwork can result in the upstairs being colder than the main level. A frequently reported reason for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the right size or configuration, resulting 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 factor with ductwork is the location of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper floor or they aren't well positioned, it can restrict air circulation and cause inadequate heating or cooling. Additionally, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can allow air loss, reducing the overall efficiency of the HVAC system and actually making the temperature difference worse.
To understand why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork inspected by skilled HVAC pros like the team at Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and adding more vents or adjusting existing ones can help enhance airflow and ensure a more even 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 rest of your house, an HVAC zoning system could be an 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 very useful in situations where the upstairs of a multi-story home is very hot or really cold while the main floor is comfortable. By investing in a zoning system, homeowners can regulate the temperature independently in each zone, making it possible for them to address specific hot or cold spots effectively.
To discover more about an HVAC zoning system in Greater Richmond, call Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. 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 challenge in multi-floor homes is when the upper floors are more humid than the first floor.
A typical cause for excess upper floor humidity is poor ventilation on the upper floor, which can cause higher humidity levels. As is often the case with temperature differences between floors, insufficient insulation or sealing in the attic or walls may let warm, humid air from outdoors infiltrate the upstairs rooms. And, if there are any leaks or plumbing concerns on the upper floor, that can also create extra moisture in that area of a home.
To deal with humidity problems, homeowners can improve 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. Finding 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 helpful tool to control humidity in the residence.