Every floor in your 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 just be because 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 variations between the upstairs and downstairs could also be due to trouble with your HVAC system. Some of these challenges can be fixed fairly quickly while others might call for more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the specialists at Ilten's will help you figure out 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 normal for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the ground floor. Insufficient insulation in the attic or roof can make this worse by allowing heat transfer from the roof into the upstairs rooms.
Another common reason is that the air conditioning is not strong enough to cool the entire home, causing it to struggle to cool the upstairs adequately.
To tackle these issues, homeowners could add additional insulation in the attic and make sure their home has sufficient ventilation. If there’s concern the air conditioner is the ideal size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Ilten's inspect the unit. A knowledgeable professional also can help find a unit that's better suited for your home if you are considering air conditioning installation or replacement.
Why Is My Upstairs Colder/Not Heating?
When the downstairs of your home is warm, but it’s freezing upstairs, that could result in a frosty 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 permits cold air to filter through the home’s attic or walls and contribute to heat loss, creating colder temperatures on higher floors. It’s essential 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 very important role in distributing conditioned air throughout different areas of the building. However, problems with the ductwork can cause the upstairs being colder than the lower floor. A frequently reported cause 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 be directed to the downstairs, causing insufficient airflow—which is the heated air—on the upper story.
Another factor with ductwork is the placement of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper level or they are not correctly installed, it can reduce air circulation and cause substandard heating or cooling. Also, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can cause air loss, reducing the overall efficiency of the HVAC system and making the temperature difference more pronounced.
To figure out why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork inspected by experienced HVAC pros like the team at Ilten's to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and adding new vents or adjusting existing ones can help improve airflow and ensure a more consistent 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 home, an HVAC zoning system could be a useful solution.
An HVAC zoning system breaks the residence into different 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 scenarios where the upstairs of a multi-story home is quite hot or too 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 effectively.
To learn more about an HVAC zoning system in Cedar Rapids, call Ilten's. 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 the Humidity So High 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 typical cause for excess upper floor humidity is weak ventilation on the upper floor, which can cause higher 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 the house infiltrate the upstairs rooms. Plus, if there are any leaks or plumbing issues on the upper floor, that can also cause extra moisture in that level of a home.
To fix 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 valuable tool to reduce humidity in your home.