Every floor in your 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 multi-level residences find the upper floor is stubbornly hotter or colder than the first floor.

This could just be due to the fact most thermostats in a house are on the first floor, which is where people spend the the majority 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 variations between the upstairs and downstairs could also be caused by problems with your HVAC system. Some of these difficulties can be fixed somewhat quickly while others might require more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the team at Enertek Air Conditioning & Heating will help you figure out 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 getting hotter than the downstairs can be chalked up to several factors. For starters, heat rises, so it’s natural for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the ground floor. Insufficient insulation in the attic or roof can exacerbate this issue by allowing heat transfer from the roof into the upstairs rooms.

Another common reason is that the air conditioning is not big enough to cool the entire home, causing it to fight to cool the upstairs sufficiently.

To fix these issues, homeowners could put in additional insulation in the attic and make sure their home has sufficient ventilation. If there’s a question of whether the air conditioner is the correct size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Enertek Air Conditioning & Heating 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 Colder/Not Heating?

When the downstairs of your home is warm, but it’s extremely chilly upstairs, that makes for a frosty night for anyone whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. The most common reasons an upstairs not heating like it is supposed to 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 crucial to make sure your home has a thick, 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 disseminating conditioned air throughout different rooms of the building. However, troubles with the ductwork can cause the upstairs being colder than the lower floor. A typical reason for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the right size or configuration, causing an uneven distribution of air between the floors. This can cause more warm air to flow downstairs, causing 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 level or they are not correctly positioned, it can restrict air circulation and cause inferior heating or cooling. In addition, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can lead to air loss, decreasing the overall efficiency of the HVAC system and actually making the temperature difference worse.

To figure out why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork examined by trusted HVAC pros like the team at Enertek Air Conditioning & Heating to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and putting in new vents or adjusting existing ones can help improve airflow and ensure a more consistent 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 great solution.

An HVAC zoning system breaks the household into different zones, which each have their own thermostat and damper system so the homeowner can customize the heating or cooling of each zone.

This system can be particularly helpful in instances where the upstairs of a multi-story home is very hot or really cold while the main floor is comfortable. By installing 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 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 the Humidity So High Upstairs?

In addition to the upper story being hotter or colder than the rest of the house, another problem in multi-floor homes is when the upper floors are more humid than the lower level.

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, inadequate insulation or sealing in the attic or walls may allow warm, humid air from outdoors infiltrate the upstairs rooms. Plus, if there are any leaks or plumbing issues on the upper floor, that can also cause excessive moisture in that area of a home.

To manage humidity problems, homeowners can add more 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 worthwhile tool to manage humidity in your home.