Your entire home should be a sanctuary that’s warm and cozy 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 first floor.
This could just be caused by the fact that 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 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 issues with your HVAC system. Some of these challenges can be fixed somewhat quickly while others might call for more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the team at Enertek Air Conditioning & Heating 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 becoming hotter than the downstairs can be attributed to several factors. First, heat rises, so it’s common for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the ground floor. Insufficient 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 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 extra insulation in the attic and make sure their home has adequate ventilation. If there’s concern the AC is the ideal size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Enertek Air Conditioning & Heating inspect the unit. A skilled professional also can help select a unit that's better suited for your home if you require air conditioning installation or replacement.
Why Is My Upstairs So Cold/Not Heating?
When the downstairs of your home is warm, but it’s extremely chilly upstairs, that can cause an ice-cold night for anyone whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. The most frequent reasons an upstairs not heating like it is supposed to are the insulation levels and the ductwork.
Inadequate insulation enables cold air to filter 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 critical role in distributing conditioned air throughout different locations of the building. However, problems with the ductwork can contribute to the upstairs being colder than the lower floor. A frequently reported explanation for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the right 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 upper story.
Another potential problem area in the ductwork is the location of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper floor or they are poorly installed, it can restrict air circulation and cause inadequate heating or cooling. Also, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can allow air loss, lowering the overall efficiency of the HVAC system and making the temperature difference more pronounced.
To understand why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork examined by trusted experts like the team at Enertek Air Conditioning & Heating to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and putting in more vents or adjusting existing ones can help increase airflow and ensure a better 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 a useful solution.
An HVAC zoning system divides the residence into different 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 effective in scenarios where the upstairs of a multi-story home is quite 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 easily.
To find out more about an HVAC zoning system in Northridge, call Enertek Air Conditioning & Heating. 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 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 higher levels are more humid than downstairs.
A common explanation for excess upper floor humidity is inadequate ventilation on the upper floor, which can result in greater 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 outdoors infiltrate the upstairs rooms. And, if there are any leaks or plumbing issues on the upper floor, that can also create excess moisture in that level of a home.
To address 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. Identifying 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 worthwhile tool to control humidity in the residence.