Your entire residence should be a sanctuary that’s warm and comfy in the cold months and cool and comfortable in the summer. However, families who live in some multi-level residences find the upper floor is stubbornly hotter or colder than the first floor.
This could simply be because 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 variations between the upstairs and downstairs could also be because of trouble with your HVAC system. Some of these difficulties can be sorted out fairly quickly while others might require more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the professionals 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 attributed to several factors. Number one, 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 worsen this problem by permitting 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 fight to cool the upstairs adequately.
To address these issues, homeowners could add additional insulation in the attic and make sure their home has proper ventilation. If there’s concern the air conditioner is the ideal size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Three Rivers Heating & Cooling inspect the unit. A knowledgeable professional also can help select a unit that's better suited for your home if you want air conditioning installation or replacement.
Why Is My Upstairs Always 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 frequent explanations for an upstairs not heating like it is supposed 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, causing colder temperatures upstairs. It’s essential to make sure your home has a solid, 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 distributing conditioned air throughout different locations of the building. However, problems with the ductwork can contribute to the upstairs being colder than the main level. A common cause for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the correct size or design, which results in an uneven distribution of air between the floors. This can cause more warm air to go downstairs, which creates insufficient airflow—which is the heated air—on the upper level.
Another possible issue with the ductwork is the location of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper floor or they are poorly installed, it can limit air circulation and cause inferior heating or cooling. Additionally, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can allow air loss, decreasing 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 skilled HVAC pros like the team at Three Rivers Heating & Cooling to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and putting in additional vents or adjusting existing ones can help enhance airflow and ensure a more consistent temperature balance between the upstairs and downstairs.
What Do I Do to Fix a Hot/Cold Upstairs?
If your upstairs is hotter or colder than the rest of your house, an HVAC zoning system could be a great solution.
An HVAC zoning system breaks 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 especially effective in situations where the upstairs of a multi-story home is quite hot or really cold while the main floor is comfortable. By installing a zoning system, homeowners can control 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 Portland, call Three Rivers Heating & Cooling. 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 it So Humid Upstairs?
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 upper floors are more humid than downstairs.
A frequent cause for excess upper floor humidity is inadequate 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 allow warm, humid air from outdoors infiltrate the upstairs rooms. And, if there are any leaks or plumbing concerns on the upper floor, that can also lead to extra moisture in that section of a home.
To fix humidity problems, homeowners can improve ventilation by getting fans or opening windows to promote airflow. Proper insulation in the attic and better sealing the attic and walls can help prevent external moisture from entering the upstairs. Identifying and repairing any leaks or plumbing issues is also critical.
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.