Your entire residence should be a refuge that’s warm and comfy in the winter 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 main floor.

This could merely be due to the fact 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 because of trouble with your HVAC system. Some of these challenges can be fixed fairly quickly while others might call for more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the specialists at Ambient Air will help you solve 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 chalked up to several factors. Number one, heat rises, so it’s common for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the ground floor. Insufficient 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 big enough to cool the entire home, causing it to struggle to cool the upstairs properly.

To deal with these issues, homeowners could put in extra insulation in the attic and make sure their home has sufficient ventilation. If there’s a possibility the air conditioning unit is the proper size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Ambient Air inspect the unit. A skilled professional also can help locate a unit that's better suited for your home if you need 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 a frosty night for anyone whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. The most common causes of an upstairs not heating like it is supposed to are the insulation levels and the ductwork.

Inadequate insulation allows cold air to filter through the home’s attic or walls and contribute to heat loss, creating colder temperatures on higher floors. 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 disseminating conditioned air throughout different locations of the building. However, problems with the ductwork can result in the upstairs being colder than the lower floor. A frequently reported reason 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 be directed to the downstairs, which creates insufficient airflow—which is the heated air—on the upper story.

Another possible issue with the ductwork is the layout of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper floor or they are not correctly located, it can reduce air circulation and cause inferior heating or cooling. In addition, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can lead to 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 trusted HVAC pros like the team at Ambient Air to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and installing 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 home, an HVAC zoning system could be a useful solution.

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

To learn more about an HVAC zoning system in Tucson, call Ambient Air. 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 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 upper floors are more humid than the lower level.

A frequent explanation for excess upper floor humidity is poor ventilation on the upper floor, which can produce greater humidity levels. As is often the case with temperature differences between floors, poor insulation or sealing in the attic or walls may allow warm, humid air from outdoors infiltrate the upstairs rooms. And, if there are any leaks or plumbing issues on the upper floor, that can also create unwanted moisture in that area of a home.

To fix humidity problems, homeowners can add more ventilation by installing 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 critical.

Depending on the levels of moisture found in the home, a whole-home dehumidifier could be another helpful tool to manage humidity in your home.