Your entire home should be a refuge that’s warm and toasty in the cold months 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 main floor.

This could simply be because 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 discrepancies between the upstairs and downstairs could also be because of problems with your HVAC system. Some of these challenges can be sorted out somewhat quickly while others might necessitate more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the specialists at Franklin's Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc will help you solve 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. For starters, heat rises, so it’s common for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the first floor. Lack of insulation in the attic or roof can exacerbate this issue 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 struggle to cool the upstairs properly.

To deal with these issues, homeowners could put in more insulation in the attic and make sure their home has sufficient ventilation. If there’s concern the air conditioner is the right size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Franklin's Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc inspect the unit. A qualified 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 Always Cold/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 frequent explanations for an upstairs not heating like it should 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, resulting in colder temperatures upstairs. It’s important to make sure your home has a solid, 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 distributing conditioned air throughout different areas of the building. However, issues with the ductwork can contribute to the upstairs being colder than the downstairs. A typical explanation for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the proper 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 upper level.

Another potential problem area in the ductwork is the placement of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper story or they aren't well positioned, it can limit air circulation and cause inferior heating or cooling. Additionally, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can lead to air loss, lowering the overall efficiency of the HVAC system and exacerbating the temperature difference.

To understand why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork inspected by skilled professionals like the team at Franklin's Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and installing additional vents or adjusting existing ones can help improve 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 useful solution.

An HVAC zoning system breaks the household 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 very helpful in situations where the upstairs of a multi-story home is very hot or too cold while the main floor is comfortable. By setting up 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 Oxford, call Franklin's Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. 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 problem in multi-floor homes is when the higher levels are more humid than downstairs.

A frequent reason for excess upper floor humidity is weak ventilation on the upper floor, which can result in increased 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 concerns on the upper floor, that can also lead to excess moisture in that level of a home.

To fix humidity problems, homeowners can add more 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 valuable tool to reduce humidity in the residence.