Every floor in your home should be a sanctuary that’s warm and toasty in the cold months and cool and comfortable in the summer. However, residents in 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 greatest amount 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 variations between the upstairs and downstairs could also be due to issues with your HVAC system. Some of these issues can be solved fairly quickly while others might require more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the professionals at Forster 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 getting 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 main floor. Not enough 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 HVAC system is not powerful enough to cool the entire home, causing it to fight to cool the upstairs properly.
To tackle these issues, homeowners could install additional insulation in the attic and make sure their home has sufficient ventilation. If there’s a question of whether the AC is the right size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Forster Heating inspect the unit. A qualified 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 So Cold/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 frequent explanations for an upstairs not heating like it is supposed to 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, resulting in colder temperatures upstairs. It’s essential 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 fundamental role in circulating conditioned air throughout different areas of the building. However, problems with the ductwork can result in the upstairs being colder than the main level. A typical reason for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the correct size or in the appropriate layout, which results 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 potential problem area in the ductwork is the layout of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper story or they are poorly installed, it can limit air circulation and cause substandard heating or cooling. In addition, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can allow air loss, lowering 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 examined by trusted HVAC pros like the team at Forster Heating to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and installing new 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 ground level of your home, an HVAC zoning system could be a highly effective solution.
An HVAC zoning system divides the household 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 helpful in scenarios where the upstairs of a multi-story home is very hot or too cold while the main floor is comfortable. By investing in a zoning system, homeowners can manage the temperature independently in each zone, allowing them to address specific hot or cold spots effortlessly.
To learn more about an HVAC zoning system in Auburn, call Forster Heating. We’ve developed 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 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 lower level.
A common explanation for excess upper floor humidity is poor ventilation on the upper floor, which can cause greater humidity levels. As is often the case with temperature differences between floors, insufficient insulation or sealing in the attic or walls may permit 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 cause excess moisture in that level of a home.
To address humidity problems, homeowners can add more ventilation by getting fans or opening windows to promote airflow. Proper 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 imperative.
Depending on the levels of moisture found in the home, a whole-home dehumidifier could be another helpful tool to reduce humidity on the upper and lower floors.