Your entire home should be a refuge that’s warm and cozy in the winter 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 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 it makes sense 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 challenges can be resolved fairly quickly while others might call for more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the team at Everest Heating & Cooling 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 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. Not enough insulation in the attic or roof can exacerbate this issue by letting 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 have difficulty cooling the upstairs effectively.

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 Everest Heating & Cooling inspect the unit. A knowledgeable professional also can help select a unit that's better suited for your home if you want air conditioning installation or replacement.

Why Is My Upstairs Always Cold/Not Heating?

When the downstairs of your home is warm, but it’s very cold upstairs, that makes for a frosty night for anyone whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. The most frequent causes of an upstairs not heating like it is supposed to are the insulation levels and the ductwork.

Inadequate insulation allows cold air to seep through the home’s attic or walls and contribute to heat loss, resulting in colder temperatures on the upper levels. 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 circulating conditioned air throughout different areas of the building. However, issues with the ductwork can contribute to the upstairs being colder than the downstairs. A common cause for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the right size or in the appropriate layout, causing an uneven distribution of air between the floors. This can cause more warm air to flow downstairs, leaving insufficient airflow—which is the heated air—on the upper level.

Another possible issue with 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. In addition, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can lead to air loss, lowering the overall efficiency of the HVAC system and making the temperature difference more pronounced.

To figure out why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork inspected by skilled experts like the team at Everest Heating & Cooling to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and putting in more vents or adjusting existing ones can help increase 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 separates the household 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 helpful in situations where the upstairs of a multi-story home is very 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, enabling them to address specific hot or cold spots effortlessly.

To discover more about an HVAC zoning system in Lansing, call Everest Heating & Cooling. We’ve created and installed customized home comfort plans for many community members and are happy to show how an HVAC zoning system could work 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 problem in multi-floor homes is when the upper floors are more humid than the lower level.

A common cause for excess upper floor humidity is poor ventilation on the upper floor, which can result in higher humidity levels. As is often the case with temperature differences between floors, poor 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 create unwanted moisture in that section of a home.

To fix humidity problems, homeowners can improve ventilation by getting fans or opening windows to promote airflow. Proper 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 valuable tool to reduce humidity in your home.