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, residents in some multi-level residences find the upper floor is stubbornly hotter or colder than the main floor.

This could merely be because most thermostats in a house are on the main floor, which is where people spend the the majority 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 caused by problems 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 MPC Heating & Cooling will help you determine 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. Number one, heat rises, so it’s common for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the first floor. Lack of 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 HVAC system is not big enough to cool the entire home, causing it to have difficulty cooling the upstairs sufficiently.

To tackle these issues, homeowners could install extra insulation in the attic and make sure their home has proper ventilation. If there’s a question of whether the AC is the correct size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like MPC Heating & Cooling inspect the unit. A skilled professional also can help find a unit that's better suited for your home if you require 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 makes for a very chilly night for anyone whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. The most common explanations for an upstairs not heating like it ought to are the insulation levels and the ductwork.

Inadequate insulation enables cold air to filter through the home’s attic or walls and contribute to heat loss, causing colder temperatures on higher floors. It’s important 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 fundamental role in circulating conditioned air throughout different rooms of the building. However, problems 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 right size or design, resulting in an uneven distribution of air between the floors. This can cause more warm air to be directed to the downstairs, causing insufficient airflow—which is the heated air—on the higher floors.

Another potential problem area in the ductwork is the placement of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper story or they are poorly positioned, it can reduce air circulation and cause inadequate heating or cooling. In addition, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can cause air loss, reducing the overall efficiency of the HVAC system and actually making the temperature difference worse.

To figure out why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork examined by trusted professionals like the team at MPC Heating & Cooling to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and adding additional vents or adjusting existing ones can help improve 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 an effective solution.

An HVAC zoning system separates the residence into different 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 beneficial 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 easily.

To learn more about an HVAC zoning system in Chadron, call MPC Heating & Cooling. We’ve designed 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 upstairs is more humid than the first floor.

A frequent cause for excess upper floor humidity is weak ventilation on the upper floor, which can produce higher 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 outside infiltrate the upstairs rooms. In addition, if there are any leaks or plumbing issues on the upper floor, that can also lead to excess moisture in that section of a home.

To manage humidity problems, homeowners can increase ventilation by installing 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. Finding and repairing any leaks or plumbing issues is also imperative.

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