Your entire home should be a sanctuary that’s warm and toasty in the winter season and cool and comfortable in the summer. However, families who live in some homes with multiple levels find the upper floor is stubbornly hotter or colder than the first floor.
This could merely be caused by the fact that most thermostats in a house are on the ground floor, which is where people spend the the majority of 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 discrepancies between the upstairs and downstairs could also be due to trouble 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 Gilray Heating and Cooling 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 getting hotter than the downstairs can be chalked up to several factors. For starters, heat rises, so it’s common for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the first floor. Lack of insulation in the attic or roof can make this worse 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 fight to cool the upstairs adequately.
To address these issues, homeowners could install more insulation in the attic and make sure their home has sufficient ventilation. If there’s a question of whether the air conditioning unit is the proper size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Gilray Heating and Cooling inspect the unit. A knowledgeable professional also can help locate a unit that's better suited for your home if you need 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 could result in an ice-cold night for anyone whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. The most common reasons an upstairs not heating like it should are the insulation levels and the ductwork.
Inadequate insulation enables cold air to filter through the home’s attic or walls and contribute to heat loss, creating colder temperatures on the upper levels. It’s important to make sure your home has a solid, 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 circulating conditioned air throughout different locations of the building. However, issues with the ductwork can contribute to the upstairs being colder than the main level. A common cause for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the right size or in the appropriate layout, creating an uneven distribution of air between the floors. This can cause more warm air to flow downstairs, causing insufficient airflow—which is the heated air—on the higher floors.
Another potential problem area in the 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 limit 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 making the temperature difference more pronounced.
To find out why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork inspected by experienced HVAC pros like the team at Gilray Heating and Cooling to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and installing additional vents or adjusting existing ones can help improve 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 residence, an HVAC zoning system could be a useful 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 very beneficial in situations where the upstairs of a multi-story home is quite 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, making it possible for them to address specific hot or cold spots easily.
To learn more about an HVAC zoning system in Wausau, call Gilray Heating and Cooling. We’ve developed and installed customized home comfort plans for many community members and are happy to show how an HVAC zoning system could benefit 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 issue in multi-floor homes is when the higher levels are more humid than the first floor.
A common explanation for excess upper floor humidity is inadequate ventilation on the upper floor, which can cause higher 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 outdoors infiltrate the upstairs rooms. And, if there are any leaks or plumbing problems on the upper floor, that can also lead to extra moisture in that level of a home.
To address humidity problems, homeowners can add more ventilation by using 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. Finding 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 valuable tool to reduce humidity on the upper and lower floors.