Your entire home should be a sanctuary 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 first floor.

This could merely be caused by the fact that most thermostats in a house are on the main floor, which is where people spend the most time—in the living room, kitchen, etc.—so as a result they tend 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 issues with your HVAC system. Some of these issues can be resolved somewhat quickly while others might call for more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the specialists at Haselhoff Air Solutions 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. For starters, heat rises, so it’s normal for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the ground floor. Poor insulation in the attic or roof can worsen this problem by letting heat transfer from the roof into the upstairs rooms.

Another common reason is that the air conditioner is not strong enough to cool the entire home, causing it to have difficulty cooling the upstairs sufficiently.

To deal with these issues, homeowners could add more insulation in the attic and make sure their home has proper ventilation. If there’s a question of whether the AC is the ideal size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Haselhoff Air Solutions inspect the unit. A knowledgeable professional also can help locate a unit that's better suited for your home if you are considering 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 could result in a very chilly 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 enables cold air to leak through the home’s attic or walls and contribute to heat loss, resulting in colder temperatures upstairs. It’s essential 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 very important role in disseminating conditioned air throughout different areas of the building. However, problems with the ductwork can result in the upstairs being colder than the lower floor. A common cause for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the proper size or in the appropriate layout, causing an uneven distribution of air between the floors. This can cause more warm air to flow downstairs, causing insufficient airflow—which is the heated air—on the upper story.

Another potential problem area in the ductwork is the placement of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper level or they are not correctly located, it can limit air circulation and cause inferior heating or cooling. Also, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can cause air loss, reducing the overall efficiency of the HVAC system and actually making the temperature difference worse.

To figure out why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork inspected by experienced professionals like the team at Haselhoff Air Solutions to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and putting in new 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 house, an HVAC zoning system could be a useful solution.

An HVAC zoning system breaks the residence into distinctive 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 very effective in instances where the upstairs of a multi-story home is quite hot or extremely cold while the main floor is comfortable. By investing in a  zoning system, homeowners can manage the temperature independently in each zone, making it possible for them to address specific hot or cold spots effectively.

To discover more about an HVAC zoning system in Ames, call Haselhoff Air Solutions. 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 issue in multi-floor homes is when the higher levels are more humid than downstairs.

A frequent explanation for excess upper floor humidity is inadequate 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 permit warm, humid air from outdoors infiltrate the upstairs rooms. In addition, if there are any leaks or plumbing problems on the upper floor, that can also lead to unwanted moisture in that level of a home.

To fix humidity problems, homeowners can add more 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. 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 helpful tool to reduce humidity on the upper and lower floors.