Your entire residence should be a sanctuary that’s warm and toasty in the winter and cool and comfortable in the summer. However, residents in some two-story homes find the upper floor is stubbornly hotter or colder than the rooms on ground level.

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 greatest amount of time—in the living room, kitchen, etc.—so they set the temperature according to how it feels on the first floor.

However, temperature variations between the upstairs and downstairs could also be due to problems with your HVAC system. Some of these issues can be sorted out fairly quickly while others might call for more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the team at GV Heating & Air 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 feeling hotter than the downstairs can be traced to several factors. First, heat rises, so it’s normal for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the main floor. Insufficient 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 HVAC system is not strong enough to cool the entire home, causing it to fight to cool the upstairs effectively.

To address these issues, homeowners could put in more insulation in the attic and make sure their home has sufficient ventilation. If there’s a question of whether the air conditioning unit is the proper size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like GV Heating & Air inspect the unit. A skilled professional also can help locate a unit that's better suited for your home if you want air conditioning installation or replacement.

Why Is My Upstairs Always Cold/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 reasons an upstairs not heating like it is supposed to are the insulation levels and the ductwork.

Inadequate insulation enables cold air to seep through the home’s attic or walls and contribute to heat loss, creating colder temperatures on the upper levels. It’s essential to make sure your home has a deep, 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 locations of the building. However, issues with the ductwork can result in the upstairs being colder than the lower floor. A typical reason for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the proper size or design, creating an uneven distribution of air between the floors. This can cause more warm air to go downstairs, causing insufficient airflow—which is the heated air—on the upper level.

Another factor with ductwork is the layout of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper floor or they are not correctly positioned, it can reduce air circulation and cause inferior heating or cooling. Also, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can lead to air loss, decreasing the overall efficiency of the HVAC system and exacerbating the temperature difference.

To figure out why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork inspected by trusted professionals like the team at GV Heating & Air to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and adding additional vents or adjusting existing ones can help enhance airflow and ensure a better temperature balance between the upstairs and downstairs.

Fixing the Hot or Cold Upstairs Problem?

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

An HVAC zoning system breaks the household into distinctive zones, which each have their own thermostat and damper system so the homeowner can control the heating or cooling of each zone.

This system can be very beneficial in instances where the upstairs of a multi-story home is quite hot or too cold while the main floor is comfortable. By installing a  zoning system, homeowners can control 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 Crystal and Twin Cities, call GV Heating & Air. We’ve created 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 it So Humid 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 upstairs is more humid than the first floor.

A frequent cause for excess upper floor humidity is inadequate ventilation on the upper floor, which can result in greater humidity levels. As is often the case with temperature differences between floors, inadequate insulation or sealing in the attic or walls may allow 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 create excessive moisture in that area of a home.

To fix humidity problems, homeowners can increase 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 prevent external moisture from entering the upstairs. Locating 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 worthwhile tool to control humidity in the residence.