Your entire home should be a refuge 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 rooms on ground level.
This could simply be because most thermostats in a house are on the ground 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 trouble with your HVAC system. Some of these issues can be resolved fairly quickly while others might require more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the team at Three Rivers Heating & Cooling 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 getting hotter than the downstairs can be traced to several factors. Number one, heat rises, so it’s natural for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the ground floor. Poor 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 conditioner is not powerful enough to cool the entire home, causing it to have difficulty cooling the upstairs sufficiently.
To deal with these issues, homeowners could add additional insulation in the attic and make sure their home has proper ventilation. If there’s a possibility the AC is the right size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Three Rivers Heating & Cooling inspect the unit. A qualified 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 So Cold/Not Heating?
When the downstairs of your home is warm, but it’s freezing upstairs, that makes for a very chilly night for anyone whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. The most frequent explanations for an upstairs not heating like it ought to 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, resulting in colder temperatures on the upper levels. It’s important 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 critical role in distributing conditioned air throughout different locations of the building. However, troubles with the ductwork can cause the upstairs being colder than the main level. A common explanation for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the proper size or in the appropriate layout, causing an uneven distribution of air between the floors. This can cause more warm air to be directed to the downstairs, leaving insufficient airflow—which is the heated air—on the upper story.
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 are poorly placed, it can restrict air circulation and cause substandard heating or cooling. In addition, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can lead to air loss, decreasing 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 checked by trusted HVAC pros like the team at Three Rivers Heating & Cooling to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and adding more vents or adjusting existing ones can help improve 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 lower floors of your home, an HVAC zoning system could be a great solution.
An HVAC zoning system divides the residence into distinct zones, which each have their own thermostat and damper system so the homeowner can modify the heating or cooling of each zone.
This system can be very effective in instances where the upstairs of a multi-story home is quite hot or too cold while the main floor is comfortable. By setting up a zoning system, homeowners can regulate the temperature independently in each zone, allowing them to address specific hot or cold spots easily.
To find out more about an HVAC zoning system in Portland, call Three Rivers Heating & 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 challenge in multi-floor homes is when the upstairs is more humid than the first floor.
A typical cause for excess upper floor humidity is inadequate ventilation on the upper floor, which can result in increased humidity levels. As is often the case with temperature differences between floors, inadequate 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 unwanted moisture in that level of a home.
To correct humidity problems, homeowners can improve ventilation by getting 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. Locating 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 manage humidity on the upper and lower floors.