Every floor in your home should be a sanctuary that’s warm and toasty in the winter season 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 simply be due to the fact most thermostats in a house are on the first 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 differences between the upstairs and downstairs could also be due to issues with your HVAC system. Some of these issues can be solved relatively quickly while others might necessitate more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the specialists at May's Heating & 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 feeling hotter than the downstairs can be attributed to several factors. For starters, heat rises, so it’s normal 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 allowing heat transfer from the roof into the upstairs rooms.

Another common reason is that the air conditioning is not powerful enough to cool the entire home, causing it to have difficulty cooling the upstairs adequately.

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 question of whether the AC is the right size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like May's Heating & Air inspect the unit. A knowledgeable professional also can help select a unit that's better suited for your home if you require air conditioning installation or replacement.

Why Is My Upstairs Always Cold/Not Heating?

When the downstairs of your home is warm, but it’s freezing upstairs, that makes for an ice-cold 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 leak through the home’s attic or walls and contribute to heat loss, resulting in colder temperatures upstairs. It’s important 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 circulating conditioned air throughout different locations of the building. However, troubles with the ductwork can contribute to the upstairs being colder than the main level. 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 go downstairs, which creates insufficient airflow—which is the heated air—on the upper story.

Another factor with ductwork is the location of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper story or they aren't well located, it can restrict air circulation and cause inadequate heating or cooling. Also, 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 determine why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork inspected by trusted experts like the team at May's Heating & Air 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.

How You Can Fix a Hot or Cold Upstairs?

If your upstairs is hotter or colder than the rest of your house, an HVAC zoning system could be an effective solution.

An HVAC zoning system divides the household into distinctive 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 effective in instances where the upstairs of a multi-story home is very hot or extremely cold while the main floor is comfortable. By setting up 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 Frederick, call May's Heating & 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 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 issue in multi-floor homes is when the upstairs is more humid than the lower level.

A typical explanation for excess upper floor humidity is weak ventilation on the upper floor, which can cause greater humidity levels. As is often the case with temperature differences between floors, inadequate insulation or sealing in the attic or walls may permit 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 cause excessive moisture in that section of a home.

To correct humidity problems, homeowners can increase ventilation by using fans or opening windows to promote airflow. Appropriate levels of 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 in your home.