Your entire residence should be a retreat that’s warm and cozy in the winter season and cool and comfortable in the summer. However, residents in some homes with multiple levels find the upper floor is stubbornly hotter or colder than the rooms on ground level.

This could just be due to the fact most thermostats in a house are on the first floor, which is where people spend the greatest amount of time—in the living room, kitchen, etc.—so they set the temperature according to how it feels on the first floor.

However, temperature differences between the upstairs and downstairs could also be because of trouble with your HVAC system. Some of these challenges can be fixed somewhat quickly while others might call for more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the team at Connolly Electric & Mechanical will help you solve 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 attributed to several factors. First, heat rises, so it’s normal for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the ground floor. Lack of 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 air conditioner is not big enough to cool the entire home, causing it to fight to cool the upstairs effectively.

To address these issues, homeowners could install extra insulation in the attic and make sure their home has sufficient ventilation. If there’s concern the AC is the correct size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Connolly Electric & Mechanical inspect the unit. A skilled professional also can help select 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 frosty night for anyone whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. The most frequent explanations for an upstairs not heating like it should are the insulation levels and the ductwork.

Inadequate insulation allows 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 thick, 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 circulating conditioned air throughout different rooms of the building. However, troubles with the ductwork can contribute to the upstairs being colder than the main level. A frequently reported explanation for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the proper size or configuration, resulting 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 story.

Another potential problem area in the ductwork is the placement of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper level or they are not correctly located, it can reduce air circulation and cause substandard heating or cooling. In addition, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can cause air loss, reducing the overall efficiency of the HVAC system and exacerbating the temperature difference.

To understand why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork checked by skilled HVAC pros like the team at Connolly Electric & Mechanical to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and installing more vents or adjusting existing ones can help improve airflow and ensure a more even 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 residence, an HVAC zoning system could be a useful solution.

An HVAC zoning system breaks the residence into distinctive 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 very helpful in instances where the upstairs of a multi-story home is quite hot or extremely cold while the main floor is comfortable. By setting up a  zoning system, homeowners can regulate the temperature independently in each zone, making it possible for them to address specific hot or cold spots effortlessly.

To find out more about an HVAC zoning system in Cottonwood & Prescott, call Connolly Electric & Mechanical. We’ve created 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 problem in multi-floor homes is when the higher levels are more humid than downstairs.

A common cause for excess upper floor humidity is weak ventilation on the upper floor, which can produce greater 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 outdoors infiltrate the upstairs rooms. In addition, if there are any leaks or plumbing problems on the upper floor, that can also cause excessive moisture in that section of a home.

To fix humidity problems, homeowners can add more 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 protect against external moisture from entering the upstairs. Locating 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.