Your entire home should be a refuge that’s warm and cozy in the winter season and cool and comfortable in the summer. However, owners of some two-story homes find the upper floor is stubbornly hotter or colder than the first floor.

This could simply be due to the fact most thermostats in a house are on the main floor, which is where people spend the greatest amount 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 differences between the upstairs and downstairs could also be due to issues with your HVAC system. Some of these issues can be sorted out somewhat quickly while others might require more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the professionals at Refrigeration Systems Ltd. will help you figure out why the upstairs of your home is hotter than downstairs, or vice versa.

Why Is It Hot Upstairs?

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 normal for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the main 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 conditioning is not big enough to cool the entire home, causing it to fight to cool the upstairs sufficiently.

To address these issues, homeowners could put in extra insulation in the attic and make sure their home has adequate ventilation. If there’s a question of whether the air conditioner is the ideal size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Refrigeration Systems Ltd. inspect the unit. A skilled 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 So 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 causes of an upstairs not heating like it is supposed to are the insulation levels and the ductwork.

Inadequate insulation allows cold air to filter 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 critical role in disseminating conditioned air throughout different rooms of the building. However, issues with the ductwork can contribute to the upstairs being colder than the downstairs. A frequently reported explanation for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the correct size or design, 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 story.

Another potential problem area in the ductwork is the location of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper floor or they aren't well located, it can limit air circulation and cause inadequate heating or cooling. Also, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can allow air loss, lowering the overall efficiency of the HVAC system and exacerbating the temperature difference.

To determine why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork checked by trusted HVAC pros like the team at Refrigeration Systems Ltd. to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and adding more vents or adjusting existing ones can help enhance airflow and ensure a more even 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 home, an HVAC zoning system could be an effective solution.

An HVAC zoning system divides the home 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 effective in instances where the upstairs of a multi-story home is very hot or really cold while the main floor is comfortable. By investing in a  zoning system, homeowners can regulate the temperature independently in each zone, allowing them to address specific hot or cold spots easily.

To discover more about an HVAC zoning system in Richmond, call Refrigeration Systems Ltd.. We’ve developed 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 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 downstairs.

A frequent reason for excess upper floor humidity is poor ventilation on the upper floor, which can cause increased humidity levels. As is often the case with temperature differences between floors, poor insulation or sealing in the attic or walls may let warm, humid air from outdoors infiltrate the upstairs rooms. Plus, if there are any leaks or plumbing concerns on the upper floor, that can also cause excessive moisture in that section of a home.

To address humidity problems, homeowners can improve ventilation by getting fans or opening windows to promote airflow. Adding more insulation  in the attic and better sealing the attic and walls can help stop external moisture from entering the upstairs. Finding and repairing any leaks or plumbing issues is also extremely important.

Depending on the levels of moisture found in the home, a whole-home dehumidifier could be another valuable tool to reduce humidity in your home.