Every floor in your home should be a refuge that’s warm and cozy 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 main floor.
This could just be due to the fact most thermostats in a house are on the main 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 issues with your HVAC system. Some of these issues can be fixed relatively quickly while others might require more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the professionals at Ilten's will help you determine 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. First, heat rises, so it’s natural for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the ground floor. Insufficient insulation in the attic or roof can worsen this problem by letting 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 have difficulty cooling the upstairs adequately.
To tackle these issues, homeowners could install extra insulation in the attic and make sure their home has adequate ventilation. If there’s a question of whether the air conditioning unit is the correct size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Ilten's inspect the unit. A qualified 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 very cold upstairs, that can cause a frosty night for anyone whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. The most common explanations for 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 higher floors. It’s crucial to make sure your home has a thick, level layer of insulation in the attic and adequate insulation in the walls to keep the cold out and the heat inside.
The ductwork in a home plays a very important role in disseminating conditioned air throughout different locations of the building. However, problems with the ductwork can contribute to the upstairs being colder than the lower floor. A common explanation for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the right size or design, causing an uneven distribution of air between the floors. This can cause more warm air to flow downstairs, which creates insufficient airflow—which is the heated air—on the upper story.
Another possible issue with the ductwork is the placement of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper level or they aren't well installed, it can limit air circulation and cause inadequate heating or cooling. Additionally, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can allow air loss, decreasing the overall efficiency of the HVAC system and making the temperature difference more pronounced.
To understand why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork checked by skilled experts like the team at Ilten's to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and putting in more vents or adjusting existing ones can help enhance airflow and ensure a better 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 great solution.
An HVAC zoning system breaks the home into distinct 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 especially effective in instances 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, enabling them to address specific hot or cold spots effortlessly.
To discover more about an HVAC zoning system in Cedar Rapids, call Ilten's. We’ve created 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 first floor.
A common reason 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, insufficient insulation or sealing in the attic or walls may let warm, humid air from outside infiltrate the upstairs rooms. Plus, if there are any leaks or plumbing problems on the upper floor, that can also lead to unwanted moisture in that level of a home.
To correct 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 protect against external moisture from entering the upstairs. Locating 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 worthwhile tool to control humidity on the upper and lower floors.