Your entire 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 main 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 most 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 resolved somewhat quickly while others might call for more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the team at TopTec 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 chalked up 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 letting heat transfer from the roof into the upstairs rooms.
Another common reason is that the HVAC system is not big enough to cool the entire home, causing it to struggle to cool the upstairs adequately.
To tackle these issues, homeowners could put in more insulation in the attic and make sure their home has sufficient ventilation. If there’s a question of whether the AC is the proper size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like TopTec inspect the unit. A qualified 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 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 permits cold air to filter through the home’s attic or walls and contribute to heat loss, resulting in colder temperatures on higher floors. It’s crucial 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 very important role in disseminating conditioned air throughout different areas 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 configuration, resulting in 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 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 story or they aren't well installed, it can reduce air circulation and cause inferior heating or cooling. Also, 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 figure out why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork checked by experienced professionals like the team at TopTec to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and putting in more vents or adjusting existing ones can help enhance 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 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 effective in scenarios where the upstairs of a multi-story home is too hot or really cold while the main floor is comfortable. By setting up a zoning system, homeowners can regulate the temperature independently in each zone, enabling them to address specific hot or cold spots effectively.
To find out more about an HVAC zoning system in Libertyville, call TopTec. 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 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 the first floor.
A common reason for excess upper floor humidity is poor 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 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 excessive moisture in that section of a home.
To manage humidity problems, homeowners can increase 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 protect against 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 helpful tool to manage humidity on the upper and lower floors.