Every floor in your home should be a sanctuary that’s warm and comfy in the winter season 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 first floor.

This could simply be caused by the fact that most thermostats in a house are on the first floor, which is where people spend the greatest amount of 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 discrepancies between the upstairs and downstairs could also be due to issues with your HVAC system. Some of these difficulties can be solved relatively quickly while others might call for more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the professionals at Air Masters Heating & Cooling will help you solve 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 becoming hotter than the downstairs can be traced to several factors. First, heat rises, so it’s natural for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the first floor. Lack of insulation in the attic or roof can exacerbate this issue by permitting heat transfer from the roof into the upstairs rooms.

Another common reason is that the air conditioning 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 adequate ventilation. If there’s a possibility the AC is the correct size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Air Masters Heating & Cooling inspect the unit. A qualified 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 Colder/Not Heating?

When the downstairs of your home is warm, but it’s freezing upstairs, that can cause a very chilly night for anyone whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. The most prevalent causes of an upstairs not heating like it should 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, causing colder temperatures on higher floors. It’s essential to make sure your home has a solid, 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 disseminating conditioned air throughout different areas of the building. However, issues with the ductwork can contribute to the upstairs being colder than the lower floor. A common explanation for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the proper size or configuration, creating 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 story or they are not correctly installed, it can restrict air circulation and cause inferior heating or cooling. In addition, 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 examined by skilled experts like the team at Air Masters Heating & Cooling to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and adding more vents or adjusting existing ones can help enhance airflow and ensure a more consistent 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 rest of your home, an HVAC zoning system could be a useful solution.

An HVAC zoning system breaks the residence into different 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 particularly useful in scenarios 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 regulate the temperature independently in each zone, making it possible for them to address specific hot or cold spots easily.

To find out more about an HVAC zoning system in Port Orchard, call Air Masters Heating & Cooling. We’ve designed 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 it So Humid 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 upper floors are more humid than downstairs.

A typical reason for excess upper floor humidity is poor ventilation on the upper floor, which can result in greater humidity levels. As is often the case with temperature differences between floors, insufficient insulation or sealing in the attic or walls may allow warm, humid air from outside infiltrate the upstairs rooms. In addition, if there are any leaks or plumbing concerns on the upper floor, that can also lead to unwanted moisture in that area of a home.

To manage humidity problems, homeowners can improve 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. Identifying and repairing any leaks or plumbing issues is also critical.

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