Your entire residence should be a sanctuary that’s warm and toasty in the cold months and cool and comfortable in the summer. However, families who live in some multi-level residences find the upper floor is stubbornly hotter or colder than the rooms on ground level.

This could merely be caused by the fact that most thermostats in a house are on the ground floor, which is where people spend the most time—in the living room, kitchen, etc.—so they set the temperature according to how it feels on the first floor.

However, temperature differences between the upstairs and downstairs could also be caused by trouble with your HVAC system. Some of these issues can be sorted out fairly quickly while others might necessitate more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the professionals at Pepper AC & Heat will help you figure out why the upstairs of your home is hotter than downstairs, or vice versa.

Why Is My Upstairs So Hot?

The phenomenon of the upstairs of a two-story home feeling hotter than the downstairs can be chalked up to several factors. Number one, 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 big enough to cool the entire home, causing it to fight to cool the upstairs adequately.

To fix these issues, homeowners could install extra insulation in the attic and make sure their home has sufficient ventilation. If there’s concern the AC is the correct size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Pepper AC & Heat inspect the unit. A qualified 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 extremely chilly upstairs, that can cause an ice-cold night for anyone whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. The most common reasons an upstairs not heating like it ought 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, causing colder temperatures upstairs. It’s essential to make sure your home has a deep, 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 distributing conditioned air throughout different rooms of the building. However, issues with the ductwork can result in the upstairs being colder than the main level. A common reason for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the correct size or configuration, creating 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 upper story.

Another possible issue with the ductwork is the location of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper floor or they are not correctly placed, it can limit air circulation and cause inadequate heating or cooling. In addition, 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 checked by skilled HVAC pros like the team at Pepper AC & Heat to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and adding more vents or adjusting existing ones can help improve airflow and ensure a better 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 an effective solution.

An HVAC zoning system separates the household into distinct 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 particularly useful in scenarios where the upstairs of a multi-story home is quite hot or really cold while the main floor is comfortable. By setting up a  zoning system, homeowners can manage the temperature independently in each zone, making it possible for them to address specific hot or cold spots easily.

To discover more about an HVAC zoning system in Justin, call Pepper AC & Heat. 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 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 the first floor.

A typical reason for excess upper floor humidity is weak ventilation on the upper floor, which can produce 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 infiltrate the upstairs rooms. And, if there are any leaks or plumbing concerns on the upper floor, that can also lead to excess moisture in that level of a home.

To address humidity problems, homeowners can increase 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 stop external moisture from entering the upstairs. Identifying 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 useful tool to control humidity on the upper and lower floors.