Your entire home should be a retreat that’s warm and cozy in the winter and cool and comfortable in the summer. However, owners of some two-story homes find the upper floor is stubbornly hotter or colder than the main floor.
This could simply be because most thermostats in a house are on the ground floor, which is where people spend the most time—in the living room, kitchen, etc.—so they 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 issues with your HVAC system. Some of these difficulties can be sorted out relatively quickly while others might require more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the specialists at Bishop’s HVAC will help you determine why the upstairs of your home is hotter than downstairs, or vice versa.
Why Is It Hot Upstairs?
The phenomenon of the upstairs of a two-story home getting hotter than the downstairs can be chalked up to several factors. Number one, heat rises, so it’s natural for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the first 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 conditioning is not strong enough to cool the entire home, causing it to fight to cool the upstairs effectively.
To tackle these issues, homeowners could install more insulation in the attic and make sure their home has proper ventilation. If there’s a question of whether the air conditioner is the ideal size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Bishop’s HVAC inspect the unit. A knowledgeable 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 extremely chilly upstairs, that makes for 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 lets cold air to filter 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 appropriate 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 areas of the building. However, troubles with the ductwork can contribute to the upstairs being colder than the main level. A typical cause for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the proper size or configuration, causing 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 possible issue with the ductwork is the layout of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper level or they are not correctly located, it can limit air circulation and cause inadequate heating or cooling. In addition, 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 determine why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork checked by trusted HVAC pros like the team at Bishop’s HVAC 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 even 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 ground level of your house, an HVAC zoning system could be an effective solution.
An HVAC zoning system breaks the household 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 particularly effective in situations where the upstairs of a multi-story home is very hot or too cold while the main floor is comfortable. By installing a zoning system, homeowners can control the temperature independently in each zone, making it possible for them to address specific hot or cold spots effectively.
To find out more about an HVAC zoning system in Sacramento, call Bishop’s HVAC. We’ve developed 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 it So Humid Upstairs?
In addition to the upper story being hotter or colder than the rest of the house, another issue in multi-floor homes is when the upstairs is more humid than the first floor.
A typical cause for excess upper floor humidity is weak 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 permit warm, humid air from outdoors infiltrate the upstairs rooms. Plus, if there are any leaks or plumbing concerns on the upper floor, that can also create unwanted moisture in that section of a home.
To fix humidity problems, homeowners can add more ventilation by getting fans or opening windows to promote airflow. Appropriate levels of insulation in the attic and better sealing the attic and walls can help stop external moisture from entering the upstairs. Locating 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 valuable tool to manage humidity on the upper and lower floors.