Your entire home should be a retreat that’s warm and comfy in the winter season and cool and comfortable in the summer. However, families who live in some two-story homes find the upper floor is stubbornly hotter or colder than the main floor.

This could just be due to the fact 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 variations between the upstairs and downstairs could also be due to issues with your HVAC system. Some of these difficulties can be fixed fairly quickly while others might necessitate more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the team at Comfort Concepts Heating & Air Conditioning will help you determine why the upstairs of your home is hotter than downstairs, or vice versa.

Why Is It Hot Upstairs?

The phenomenon of the upstairs of a two-story home feeling hotter than the downstairs can be attributed to several factors. Number one, heat rises, so it’s common for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the first floor. Insufficient insulation in the attic or roof can worsen this problem by permitting heat transfer from the roof into the upstairs rooms.

Another common reason is that the HVAC system is not big enough to cool the entire home, causing it to fight to cool the upstairs properly.

To fix these issues, homeowners could install extra insulation in the attic and make sure their home has adequate ventilation. If there’s a possibility the air conditioning unit is the ideal size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Comfort Concepts Heating & Air Conditioning inspect the unit. A qualified professional also can help select a unit that's better suited for your home if you need 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 could result in a frosty night for anyone whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. The most frequent causes of an upstairs not heating like it should 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 on the upper levels. It’s crucial to make sure your home has a deep, level layer of insulation in the attic and adequate insulation in the walls to keep the cold out and the heat inside.

The ductwork in a home plays a fundamental role in circulating conditioned air throughout different rooms of the building. However, issues with the ductwork can result in the upstairs being colder than the downstairs. A common cause for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the proper size or configuration, resulting in an uneven distribution of air between the floors. This can cause more warm air to flow downstairs, which creates insufficient airflow—which is the heated air—on the higher floors.

Another possible issue with the ductwork is the location of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper story or they aren't well installed, it can reduce air circulation and cause inferior heating or cooling. Additionally, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can allow air loss, lowering the overall efficiency of the HVAC system and making the temperature difference more pronounced.

To determine why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork examined by trusted experts like the team at Comfort Concepts Heating & Air Conditioning to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and installing new 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 lower floors of your home, an HVAC zoning system could be a highly effective solution.

An HVAC zoning system divides 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 especially helpful in instances where the upstairs of a multi-story home is too hot or too cold while the main floor is comfortable. By implementing a  zoning system, homeowners can control the temperature independently in each zone, allowing them to address specific hot or cold spots effectively.

To discover more about an HVAC zoning system in Yukon, call Comfort Concepts Heating & Air Conditioning. 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 challenge in multi-floor homes is when the higher levels are more humid than the first floor.

A typical 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 excess moisture in that section of a home.

To manage humidity problems, homeowners can increase ventilation by using 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 extremely important.

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