Your entire residence should be a sanctuary that’s warm and toasty in the winter 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 caused by the fact that most thermostats in a house are on the main 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 discrepancies between the upstairs and downstairs could also be due to problems with your HVAC system. Some of these issues can be solved fairly quickly while others might necessitate more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the team at Struven Heating & Cooling 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 traced to several factors. First, heat rises, so it’s common for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the first floor. Not enough insulation in the attic or roof can exacerbate this issue by permitting heat transfer from the roof into the upstairs rooms.

Another common reason is that the air conditioner is not powerful enough to cool the entire home, causing it to fight to cool the upstairs adequately.

To tackle these issues, homeowners could put in more insulation in the attic and make sure their home has sufficient ventilation. If there’s a possibility the AC is the proper size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Struven Heating & Cooling inspect the unit. A qualified professional also can help locate a unit that's better suited for your home if you require 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 an ice-cold night for anyone whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. The most frequent causes of an upstairs not heating like it should are the insulation levels and the ductwork.

Inadequate insulation permits cold air to filter 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 thick, level layer of insulation in the attic and appropriate insulation in the walls to keep the cold out and the heat inside.

The ductwork in a home plays a critical role in circulating conditioned air throughout different areas of the building. However, troubles with the ductwork can contribute to 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 design, resulting in an uneven distribution of air between the floors. This can cause more warm air to flow downstairs, which creates insufficient airflow—which is the heated air—on the upper level.

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 are not correctly located, it can limit air circulation and cause inferior heating or cooling. Also, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can lead to air loss, lowering the overall efficiency of the HVAC system and making the temperature difference more pronounced.

To find out why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork inspected by trusted experts like the team at Struven Heating & Cooling to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and installing new vents or adjusting existing ones can help increase airflow and ensure a more consistent temperature balance between the upstairs and downstairs.

Fixing the Hot or Cold Upstairs Problem?

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

An HVAC zoning system divides the household into distinct 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 very effective in situations where the upstairs of a multi-story home is too hot or extremely cold while the main floor is comfortable. By setting up a  zoning system, homeowners can manage the temperature independently in each zone, enabling them to address specific hot or cold spots effortlessly.

To discover more about an HVAC zoning system in Crown Point, call Struven Heating & Cooling. 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 it So Humid 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 common explanation for excess upper floor humidity is inadequate ventilation on the upper floor, which can cause greater 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 outside infiltrate the upstairs rooms. Plus, if there are any leaks or plumbing concerns on the upper floor, that can also create extra moisture in that area of a home.

To manage humidity problems, homeowners can improve ventilation by installing 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. 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 useful tool to reduce humidity in your home.