Every floor in your home should be a retreat that’s warm and comfy in the winter and cool and comfortable in the summer. However, residents in some multi-level residences find the upper floor is stubbornly hotter or colder than the first floor.
This could merely be caused by the fact that most thermostats in a house are on the first floor, which is where people spend the most 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 caused by trouble with your HVAC system. Some of these challenges can be resolved somewhat quickly while others might necessitate more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the specialists at West Michigan Heating & Air Conditioning Services will help you solve 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 feeling hotter than the downstairs can be traced 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 allowing heat transfer from the roof into the upstairs rooms.
Another common reason is that the HVAC system is not big enough to cool the entire home, causing it to have difficulty cooling the upstairs effectively.
To tackle these issues, homeowners could put in additional insulation in the attic and make sure their home has sufficient ventilation. If there’s concern the air conditioning unit is the right size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like West Michigan Heating & Air Conditioning Services inspect the unit. A qualified professional also can help find a unit that's better suited for your home if you want air conditioning installation or replacement.
Why Is My Upstairs Colder/Not Heating?
When the downstairs of your home is warm, but it’s very cold upstairs, that could result in a frosty night for anyone whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. The most common explanations for an upstairs not heating like it is supposed to are the insulation levels and the ductwork.
Inadequate insulation lets cold air to leak through the home’s attic or walls and contribute to heat loss, creating colder temperatures on the upper levels. It’s crucial to make sure your home has a deep, 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 fundamental role in circulating 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 reason for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the right size or design, which results in an uneven distribution of air between the floors. This can cause more warm air to flow downstairs, leaving insufficient airflow—which is the heated air—on the higher floors.
Another potential problem area in the ductwork is the location of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper level or they aren't well positioned, it can reduce air circulation and cause inferior heating or cooling. Also, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can allow air loss, reducing the overall efficiency of the HVAC system and actually making the temperature difference worse.
To understand why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork examined by experienced experts like the team at West Michigan Heating & Air Conditioning Services to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and putting in additional vents or adjusting existing ones can help improve airflow and ensure a better temperature balance between the upstairs and downstairs.
Fixing the Hot or Cold Upstairs Problem?
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 divides 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 particularly useful in situations where the upstairs of a multi-story home is very hot or really cold while the main floor is comfortable. By implementing a zoning system, homeowners can regulate the temperature independently in each zone, enabling them to address specific hot or cold spots effectively.
To learn more about an HVAC zoning system in Hudsonville, call West Michigan Heating & Air Conditioning Services. 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 the Humidity So High Upstairs?
In addition to the upper story being hotter or colder than the rest of the house, another issue in multi-floor homes is when the higher levels are more humid than the first floor.
A common cause for excess upper floor humidity is poor 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. In addition, if there are any leaks or plumbing problems on the upper floor, that can also lead to extra moisture in that level of a home.
To deal with humidity problems, homeowners can improve ventilation by using fans or opening windows to promote airflow. Adding more 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 critical.
Depending on the levels of moisture found in the home, a whole-home dehumidifier could be another worthwhile tool to control humidity in your home.