Every floor in your home should be a refuge that’s warm and comfy in the winter season and cool and comfortable in the summer. However, owners of some homes with multiple levels find the upper floor is stubbornly hotter or colder than the main 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 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 caused by problems with your HVAC system. Some of these difficulties can be fixed fairly quickly while others might require more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the specialists at Pratt Brothers 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 getting hotter than the downstairs can be chalked up to several factors. Number one, heat rises, so it’s common for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the ground floor. Insufficient insulation in the attic or roof can worsen this problem by allowing heat transfer from the roof into the upstairs rooms.

Another common reason is that the air conditioning is not powerful enough to cool the entire home, causing it to struggle to cool the upstairs sufficiently.

To fix these issues, homeowners could install 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 proper size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Pratt Brothers inspect the unit. A knowledgeable professional also can help select 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 extremely chilly upstairs, that makes for an ice-cold night for anyone whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. The most prevalent causes of an upstairs not heating like it is supposed to are the insulation levels and the ductwork.

Inadequate insulation allows 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 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 fundamental role in distributing conditioned air throughout different areas of the building. However, problems with the ductwork can contribute to the upstairs being colder than the lower floor. A frequently reported reason for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the right size or in the appropriate layout, which results in an uneven distribution of air between the floors. This can cause more warm air to go downstairs, leaving insufficient airflow—which is the heated air—on the upper story.

Another possible issue with the ductwork is the placement of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper story or they are poorly placed, it can restrict air circulation and cause substandard heating or cooling. Additionally, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can cause air loss, lowering the overall efficiency of the HVAC system and exacerbating the temperature difference.

To find out why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork examined by skilled professionals like the team at Pratt Brothers to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and adding additional vents or adjusting existing ones can help improve 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 home, an HVAC zoning system could be a great solution.

An HVAC zoning system separates the residence 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 especially useful in situations where the upstairs of a multi-story home is too hot or really cold while the main floor is comfortable. By implementing a  zoning system, homeowners can regulate the temperature independently in each zone, making it possible for them to address specific hot or cold spots effortlessly.

To find out more about an HVAC zoning system in Jefferson, call Pratt Brothers. We’ve created 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 challenge in multi-floor homes is when the higher levels are more humid than downstairs.

A common cause for excess upper floor humidity is weak ventilation on the upper floor, which can cause greater 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. Plus, if there are any leaks or plumbing concerns on the upper floor, that can also lead to excess moisture in that area of a home.

To correct humidity problems, homeowners can add more ventilation by installing fans or opening windows to promote airflow. Appropriate levels of insulation  in the attic and better sealing the attic and walls can help stop 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 valuable tool to control humidity in your home.