Your entire residence should be a sanctuary that’s warm and comfy in the cold months and cool and comfortable in the summer. However, residents in some homes with multiple levels find the upper floor is stubbornly hotter or colder than the rooms on ground level.

This could simply be because most thermostats in a house are on the main floor, which is where people spend the the majority 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 variations between the upstairs and downstairs could also be due to trouble with your HVAC system. Some of these challenges can be resolved relatively quickly while others might necessitate more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the specialists at H & H Service Company will help you figure out why the upstairs of your home is hotter than downstairs, or vice versa.

Why Is It Hotter Upstairs?

The phenomenon of the upstairs of a two-story home feeling 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 ground floor. Insufficient insulation in the attic or roof can make this worse by allowing 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 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 question of whether the air conditioning unit is the right size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like H & H Service Company inspect the unit. A knowledgeable professional also can help find a unit that's better suited for your home if you are considering 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 makes for a frosty night for anyone whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. The most common causes of an upstairs not heating like it is supposed to are the insulation levels and the ductwork.

Inadequate insulation enables cold air to filter through the home’s attic or walls and contribute to heat loss, creating colder temperatures upstairs. It’s important to make sure your home has a thick, 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 circulating conditioned air throughout different rooms of the building. However, problems with the ductwork can result in the upstairs being colder than the lower floor. A common explanation for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the right size or design, resulting in an uneven distribution of air between the floors. This can cause more warm air to be directed to the downstairs, which creates insufficient airflow—which is the heated air—on the upper level.

Another factor with ductwork is the location of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper story or they are not correctly installed, it can limit air circulation and cause inadequate heating or cooling. Also, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can cause air loss, decreasing the overall efficiency of the HVAC system and actually making the temperature difference worse.

To find out why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork inspected by experienced professionals like the team at H & H Service Company to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and putting in more vents or adjusting existing ones can help enhance airflow and ensure a more even 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 ground level of your residence, an HVAC zoning system could be a highly effective solution.

An HVAC zoning system breaks the residence into different 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 useful in scenarios 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 control the temperature independently in each zone, allowing them to address specific hot or cold spots effortlessly.

To learn more about an HVAC zoning system in Mechanicsburg, call H & H Service Company. 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 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 first floor.

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

To manage humidity problems, homeowners can improve ventilation by using fans or opening windows to promote airflow. Proper 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 imperative.

Depending on the levels of moisture found in the home, a whole-home dehumidifier could be another valuable tool to manage humidity on the upper and lower floors.