Your entire residence should be a sanctuary that’s warm and toasty in the winter 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 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 because of problems with your HVAC system. Some of these issues can be resolved somewhat quickly while others might require more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the team at Cooks Air Conditioning and Heating Specialists 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 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 main floor. Poor insulation in the attic or roof can make this worse by permitting heat transfer from the roof into the upstairs rooms.

Another common reason is that the HVAC system is not powerful enough to cool the entire home, causing it to have difficulty cooling the upstairs effectively.

To tackle these issues, homeowners could add more insulation in the attic and make sure their home has adequate ventilation. If there’s a possibility the air conditioning unit is the correct size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Cooks Air Conditioning and Heating Specialists inspect the unit. A qualified professional also can help select a unit that's better suited for your home if you need air conditioning installation or replacement.

Why Is My Upstairs Colder/Not Heating?

When the downstairs of your home is warm, but it’s extremely chilly upstairs, that makes for an ice-cold night for anyone whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. The most prevalent explanations for an upstairs not heating like it ought to are the insulation levels and the ductwork.

Inadequate insulation enables cold air to leak through the home’s attic or walls and contribute to heat loss, creating colder temperatures on higher floors. It’s crucial to make sure your home has a solid, 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 areas of the building. However, problems with the ductwork can result in the upstairs being colder than the main level. A common 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 flow downstairs, causing insufficient airflow—which is the heated air—on the upper level.

Another factor with ductwork is the placement of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper level or they are poorly positioned, it can reduce air circulation and cause substandard heating or cooling. Also, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can cause air loss, decreasing the overall efficiency of the HVAC system and making the temperature difference more pronounced.

To determine why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork inspected by trusted experts like the team at Cooks Air Conditioning and Heating Specialists to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and installing 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 residence, an HVAC zoning system could be a highly effective 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 very useful in instances where the upstairs of a multi-story home is too hot or too 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 Palm Coast, call Cooks Air Conditioning and Heating Specialists. We’ve developed 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 challenge in multi-floor homes is when the upstairs is more humid than the lower level.

A typical cause for excess upper floor humidity is poor ventilation on the upper floor, which can produce increased humidity levels. As is often the case with temperature differences between floors, insufficient insulation or sealing in the attic or walls may permit warm, humid air from outside the house infiltrate the upstairs rooms. In addition, if there are any leaks or plumbing issues on the upper floor, that can also lead to excess moisture in that area of a home.

To correct 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 protect against 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 helpful tool to control humidity in the residence.