Every floor in your home should be a refuge that’s warm and toasty 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 rooms on ground level.
This could simply be due to the fact most thermostats in a house are on the main floor, which is where people spend the most 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 differences between the upstairs and downstairs could also be because of trouble with your HVAC system. Some of these difficulties can be solved fairly quickly while others might necessitate more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the specialists at Patterson & Stirling will help you determine 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 normal for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the ground floor. Poor insulation in the attic or roof can exacerbate this issue by permitting heat transfer from the roof into the upstairs rooms.
Another common reason is that the air conditioning is not powerful enough to cool the entire home, causing it to have difficulty cooling the upstairs adequately.
To fix these issues, homeowners could add more insulation in the attic and make sure their home has adequate ventilation. If there’s a question of whether the air conditioner is the right size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Patterson & Stirling 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 So Cold/Not Heating?
When the downstairs of your home is warm, but it’s very cold upstairs, that can cause an ice-cold night for anyone whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. The most frequent explanations for 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, creating 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 appropriate insulation in the walls to keep the cold out and the heat inside.
The ductwork in a home plays a very important role in distributing conditioned air throughout different rooms of the building. However, issues with the ductwork can result in the upstairs being colder than the downstairs. A typical explanation for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the right size or design, 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 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 positioned, it can reduce air circulation and cause inadequate heating or cooling. Also, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can lead to air loss, reducing the overall efficiency of the HVAC system and making the temperature difference more pronounced.
To determine why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork examined by skilled HVAC pros like the team at Patterson & Stirling to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and adding more 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 home, an HVAC zoning system could be an effective solution.
An HVAC zoning system separates the home into distinct 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 especially effective in scenarios where the upstairs of a multi-story home is very hot or extremely cold while the main floor is comfortable. By implementing a zoning system, homeowners can regulate the temperature independently in each zone, allowing them to address specific hot or cold spots effectively.
To learn more about an HVAC zoning system in Erie, call Patterson & Stirling. We’ve developed and installed customized home comfort plans for many community members and are happy to show how an HVAC zoning system could work in 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 cause for excess upper floor humidity is weak ventilation on the upper floor, which can produce increased 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 outside infiltrate the upstairs rooms. And, if there are any leaks or plumbing problems on the upper floor, that can also lead to unwanted moisture in that section of a home.
To deal with humidity problems, homeowners can increase 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 prevent 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 worthwhile tool to control humidity in the residence.