Every floor in your 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 two-story homes find the upper floor is stubbornly hotter or colder than the first 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 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 challenges can be sorted out somewhat quickly while others might call for more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the professionals at Van Haaften Plumbing & Heating 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 common for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the first floor. Not enough insulation in the attic or roof can worsen this problem by permitting heat transfer from the roof into the upstairs rooms.
Another common reason is that the air conditioner is not strong enough to cool the entire home, causing it to have difficulty cooling the upstairs sufficiently.
To address these issues, homeowners could add additional insulation in the attic and make sure their home has proper ventilation. If there’s a possibility the AC is the correct size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Van Haaften Plumbing & Heating inspect the unit. A knowledgeable professional also can help locate 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 freezing upstairs, that can cause an ice-cold night for anyone whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. The most frequent reasons an upstairs not heating like it should 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 fundamental role in circulating conditioned air throughout different locations of the building. However, problems 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 design, causing an uneven distribution of air between the floors. This can cause more warm air to go downstairs, leaving 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 floor or they are not correctly installed, it can reduce air circulation and cause inferior heating or cooling. Also, 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 understand why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork checked by skilled professionals like the team at Van Haaften Plumbing & Heating to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and installing more vents or adjusting existing ones can help increase airflow and ensure a more even 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 house, an HVAC zoning system could be an effective solution.
An HVAC zoning system separates the residence 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 particularly effective in instances where the upstairs of a multi-story home is too hot or extremely cold while the main floor is comfortable. By installing a zoning system, homeowners can regulate the temperature independently in each zone, allowing them to address specific hot or cold spots easily.
To learn more about an HVAC zoning system in Pella, call Van Haaften Plumbing & Heating. 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 upper floors are more humid than downstairs.
A typical reason for excess upper floor humidity is weak ventilation on the upper floor, which can cause 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. And, if there are any leaks or plumbing concerns on the upper floor, that can also create excess moisture in that level of a home.
To address humidity problems, homeowners can improve 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 prevent external moisture from entering the upstairs. Identifying 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 control humidity in the residence.