Your entire home should be a sanctuary that’s warm and comfy in the winter season and cool and comfortable in the summer. However, residents in some homes with multiple levels find the upper floor is stubbornly hotter or colder than the main floor.
This could simply be caused by the fact that 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 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 due to trouble with your HVAC system. Some of these issues can be fixed relatively quickly while others might require more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the professionals at Heartland Heating & Cooling 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 feeling hotter than the downstairs can be traced to several factors. First, heat rises, so it’s normal for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the ground floor. Not enough insulation in the attic or roof can exacerbate this issue 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 deal with these issues, homeowners could install more insulation in the attic and make sure their home has proper ventilation. If there’s a possibility the air conditioner is the ideal size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Heartland Heating & Cooling inspect the unit. A skilled professional also can help locate 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 extremely chilly upstairs, that can cause an ice-cold night for anyone whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. The most common reasons an upstairs not heating like it ought to are the insulation levels and the ductwork.
Inadequate insulation permits cold air to seep through the home’s attic or walls and contribute to heat loss, causing colder temperatures on higher floors. It’s crucial to make sure your home has a deep, 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 distributing 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 common reason for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the proper size or design, creating an uneven distribution of air between the floors. This can cause more warm air to go downstairs, which creates insufficient airflow—which is the heated air—on the upper level.
Another potential problem area in the ductwork is the layout of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper story or they aren't well placed, it can reduce air circulation and cause inferior heating or cooling. In addition, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can allow air loss, reducing 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 experienced HVAC pros like the team at Heartland Heating & Cooling to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and installing additional vents or adjusting existing ones can help enhance 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 residence, an HVAC zoning system could be an effective solution.
An HVAC zoning system breaks the residence into distinct 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 useful in instances where the upstairs of a multi-story home is very hot or really cold while the main floor is comfortable. By setting up a zoning system, homeowners can control the temperature independently in each zone, enabling them to address specific hot or cold spots effectively.
To learn more about an HVAC zoning system in Des Moines, call Heartland Heating & Cooling. We’ve designed 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 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 upstairs is more humid than the lower level.
A frequent explanation for excess upper floor humidity is inadequate ventilation on the upper floor, which can cause 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 extra moisture in that section of a home.
To manage 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 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 helpful tool to manage humidity on the upper and lower floors.