Your entire home should be a retreat that’s warm and cozy in the winter and cool and comfortable in the summer. However, owners of some multi-level residences find the upper floor is stubbornly hotter or colder than the main floor.

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

However, temperature discrepancies between the upstairs and downstairs could also be because of issues with your HVAC system. Some of these challenges can be sorted out fairly quickly while others might necessitate more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the professionals at SKC AC LLC 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. For starters, heat rises, so it’s common for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the main floor. Lack of insulation in the attic or roof can exacerbate this issue 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 have difficulty cooling the upstairs sufficiently.

To deal with these issues, homeowners could add more insulation in the attic and make sure their home has sufficient ventilation. If there’s concern the air conditioner is the correct size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like SKC AC LLC 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 Colder/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 reasons an upstairs not heating like it is supposed to are the insulation levels and the ductwork.

Inadequate insulation lets cold air to seep through the home’s attic or walls and contribute to heat loss, causing colder temperatures upstairs. It’s important 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 fundamental role in disseminating conditioned air throughout different areas of the building. However, troubles with the ductwork can cause the upstairs being colder than the main level. A typical reason for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the correct size or configuration, creating 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 level.

Another possible issue with the ductwork is the placement of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper floor or they aren't well placed, it can restrict air circulation and cause inadequate heating or cooling. Also, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can allow air loss, reducing the overall efficiency of the HVAC system and exacerbating the temperature difference.

To find out why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork examined by experienced experts like the team at SKC AC LLC 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.

What Do I Do to Fix a Hot/Cold Upstairs?

If your upstairs is hotter or colder than the rest of your home, an HVAC zoning system could be a highly effective solution.

An HVAC zoning system divides the household into different 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 especially helpful in scenarios where the upstairs of a multi-story home is quite hot or extremely cold while the main floor is comfortable. By installing a  zoning system, homeowners can regulate the temperature independently in each zone, making it possible for them to address specific hot or cold spots easily.

To learn more about an HVAC zoning system in Big Spring, call SKC AC LLC. We’ve designed 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 the Humidity So High Upstairs?

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 the lower level.

A frequent explanation 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, 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 concerns on the upper floor, that can also cause extra moisture in that area of a home.

To address humidity problems, homeowners can increase ventilation by getting fans or opening windows to promote airflow. Proper 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 useful tool to manage humidity in your home.