Your entire home should be a sanctuary that’s warm and comfy in the cold months 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 rooms on ground level.

This could simply be caused by the fact that most thermostats in a house are on the ground 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 because of problems with your HVAC system. Some of these difficulties can be sorted out fairly quickly while others might call for more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the specialists at Total Assurance AC & Heating 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 chalked up to several factors. First, heat rises, so it’s natural for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the ground floor. Poor insulation in the attic or roof can make this worse 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 deal with these issues, homeowners could put in additional insulation in the attic and make sure their home has proper ventilation. If there’s a possibility the air conditioner is the correct size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Total Assurance AC & Heating 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 very cold upstairs, that can cause a frosty night for anyone whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. The most frequent explanations for an upstairs not heating like it is supposed to are the insulation levels and the ductwork.

Inadequate insulation lets cold air to filter through the home’s attic or walls and contribute to heat loss, creating colder temperatures upstairs. It’s crucial 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 fundamental role in distributing conditioned air throughout different areas of the building. However, issues with the ductwork can cause the upstairs being colder than the lower floor. A common explanation for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the correct size or design, which results in 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 higher floors.

Another potential problem area in the ductwork is the placement of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper floor or they are not correctly installed, it can restrict air circulation and cause substandard heating or cooling. In addition, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can cause air loss, decreasing 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 checked by skilled experts like the team at Total Assurance AC & Heating to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and adding more vents or adjusting existing ones can help increase airflow and ensure a better temperature balance between the upstairs and downstairs.

How You Can Fix a Hot or Cold Upstairs?

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

An HVAC zoning system separates the residence 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 particularly effective in situations where the upstairs of a multi-story home is quite hot or extremely cold while the main floor is comfortable. By installing a  zoning system, homeowners can regulate the temperature independently in each zone, enabling them to address specific hot or cold spots effectively.

To find out more about an HVAC zoning system in Corpus Christi, call Total Assurance AC & Heating. We’ve developed 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 problem in multi-floor homes is when the upstairs is more humid than the lower level.

A common explanation for excess upper floor humidity is poor 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 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 unwanted moisture in that level of a home.

To manage humidity problems, homeowners can increase ventilation by getting fans or opening windows to promote airflow. Appropriate levels of 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 imperative.

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