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 two-story homes find the upper floor is stubbornly hotter or colder than the rooms on ground level.
This could simply be due to the fact most thermostats in a house are on the first floor, which is where people spend the greatest amount of 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 variations between the upstairs and downstairs could also be because of issues with your HVAC system. Some of these difficulties can be sorted out somewhat quickly while others might require more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the professionals at Contra Costa Heating & AC 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 becoming hotter than the downstairs can be chalked up to several factors. Number one, heat rises, so it’s natural for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the first 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 air conditioner is not big enough to cool the entire home, causing it to struggle to cool the upstairs sufficiently.
To fix these issues, homeowners could add more insulation in the attic and make sure their home has proper ventilation. If there’s a possibility the AC is the proper size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Contra Costa Heating & AC inspect the unit. A qualified 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 very cold upstairs, that can cause a very chilly night for anyone whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. The most frequent causes of an upstairs not heating like it should 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 the upper levels. It’s important to make sure your home has a thick, 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 very important role in circulating conditioned air throughout different areas of the building. However, issues with the ductwork can result in the upstairs being colder than the downstairs. A common cause for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the correct size or design, resulting in 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 upper level.
Another factor with 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 inadequate heating or cooling. Additionally, 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 find out why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork inspected by experienced professionals like the team at Contra Costa Heating & AC to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and adding 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 lower floors of your residence, an HVAC zoning system could be a useful solution.
An HVAC zoning system separates 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 helpful in situations where the upstairs of a multi-story home is very hot or extremely cold while the main floor is comfortable. By installing a zoning system, homeowners can control the temperature independently in each zone, making it possible for them to address specific hot or cold spots effortlessly.
To find out more about an HVAC zoning system in The Bay Area, call Contra Costa Heating & AC. We’ve designed 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 upstairs is more humid than the lower level.
A frequent explanation for excess upper floor humidity is poor ventilation on the upper floor, which can result in greater 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 outside infiltrate the upstairs rooms. And, if there are any leaks or plumbing issues on the upper floor, that can also lead to excessive moisture in that area of a home.
To deal with humidity problems, homeowners can increase ventilation by using fans or opening windows to promote airflow. Appropriate levels of insulation in the attic and better sealing the attic and walls can help stop 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 helpful tool to reduce humidity in the residence.