Your entire residence should be a sanctuary that’s warm and toasty 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 main floor.
This could simply be caused by the fact that 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 as a result they tend 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 problems with your HVAC system. Some of these issues can be resolved somewhat quickly while others might require more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the professionals at Phelps Heating & Cooling, Inc. will help you solve why the upstairs of your home is hotter than downstairs, or vice versa.
Why Is It Hotter Upstairs?
The phenomenon of the upstairs of a two-story home feeling hotter than the downstairs can be traced to several factors. Number one, heat rises, so it’s common 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 allowing 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 fight to cool the upstairs effectively.
To fix these issues, homeowners could put in more insulation in the attic and make sure their home has sufficient ventilation. If there’s concern the air conditioning unit is the proper size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Phelps Heating & Cooling, Inc. inspect the unit. A knowledgeable professional also can help locate a unit that's better suited for your home if you want 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 can cause a very chilly night for anyone whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. The most common causes of 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 appropriate insulation in the walls to keep the cold out and the heat inside.
The ductwork in a home plays a critical role in distributing conditioned air throughout different locations of the building. However, troubles with the ductwork can contribute to the upstairs being colder than the main level. A typical reason 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 go downstairs, causing insufficient airflow—which is the heated air—on the higher floors.
Another factor with ductwork is the layout of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper level or they aren't well located, it can reduce air circulation and cause inadequate heating or cooling. Additionally, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can cause air loss, lowering 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 trusted HVAC pros like the team at Phelps Heating & Cooling, Inc. to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and adding new vents or adjusting existing ones can help enhance airflow and ensure a better temperature balance between the upstairs and downstairs.
Fixing the Hot or Cold Upstairs Problem?
If your upstairs is hotter or colder than the lower floors of your home, an HVAC zoning system could be a highly effective solution.
An HVAC zoning system breaks the home into distinct zones, which each have their own thermostat and damper system so the homeowner can control the heating or cooling of each zone.
This system can be very beneficial in situations 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 manage 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 Hodgenville, call Phelps Heating & Cooling, Inc.. We’ve created 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 it So Humid 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 higher levels are more humid than the first floor.
A common cause for excess upper floor humidity is inadequate ventilation on the upper floor, which can result in greater humidity levels. As is often the case with temperature differences between floors, insufficient insulation or sealing in the attic or walls may let warm, humid air from outside infiltrate the upstairs rooms. In addition, if there are any leaks or plumbing issues on the upper floor, that can also cause excess moisture in that area of a home.
To address humidity problems, homeowners can increase ventilation by getting fans or opening windows to promote airflow. Adding more insulation in the attic and better sealing the attic and walls can help protect against external moisture from entering the upstairs. Identifying 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 your home.