Wintertime is upon us, so you may be experiencing a phenomenon that many homeowners are familiar with: hot upstairs and cold downstairs.
It’s a common problem, but it doesn’t have to affect you! Let’s take a look at why this happens and what you can do about it.
Why Is My House Hot Upstairs and Cold Downstairs?
Your house is hot upstairs because the hot air rises. The warm air rises to the top of your home, taking longer to cool off than the cool air at the lower levels of your home because there is less surface area for the warm air to spread out when it reaches the ceiling. This means your upstairs will always be hotter than your downstairs; unless vents or ceiling fans are blowing warm air out into other parts of the house.
Your downstairs is cold because cold air sinks, and heat naturally moves from higher to lower temperatures until they’re equalized (which is why water freezes). So unless there’s something actively keeping warmth inside, like an insulating layer between floors or insulation around pipes (or both), cool air will keep flowing into your basement, and the heat will continue to rise.
Maintaining a consistent temperature setting throughout every room in your house is no easy feat. Countless variables will affect the temperature difference in each part of a home. This is especially true in buildings with two stories. Here is a look at some of the reasons your two-story home might have uneven heating and what you can do about it.
What are the Common Causes Of an Uneven Heating System
This is a common problem that can be caused by several different things.
The most likely culprits include:
- Poor insulation
- Leaky windows or doors
- Broken or missing heat registers or vent covers
- Too much heat from the furnace
- A drafty door or window
- An uninsulated attic or crawlspace
- An improperly insulated [duct system](https://rpsc.energy.gov/tech-solutions/hvac#:~:text=The ENERGY STAR Program offers technical and homeowner,direct conditioned air to where it is needed.)
- The ductwork was installed incorrectly or not maintained properly
- Ducts are damaged because of age or improper installation
- A lack of insulation in your attic or basement
- Poor air circulation
- The HVAC system has been installed incorrectly or not maintained properly
- The whole home has an improper insulation
- You have an older home
- You have radiant heat
- You live in a townhouse or an apartment building
If you live in a house with two floors, you may have a problem: its winter and your downstairs is cold, but your upstairs is hot! If this sounds like you, don’t worry, you aren’t alone. Many people experience this during winter because of their home’s design. The good news is that several things can be done to fix this problem.
The first step is to identify the cause of the heat loss and make sure that it isn’t caused by something more serious than just poor insulation. Once you have identified the source of your problem, you can begin working on ways to fix it.
Why Is the Temperature So different Throughout My Home?
There are many reasons your house might be hot upstairs and cold downstairs during winter. The most common reason for this is poor insulation. This means there isn’t enough insulation between floors to keep heat from escaping at night when temperatures drop significantly lower than inside your home. In addition to poor insulation, there may also be cracks in the walls or ceiling.
If you find yourself with a hot upstairs and cold downstairs, there are a few steps you can take to fix the problem before it becomes unbearable.
Common Causes of Uneven Heating
Before investing in a zoned heating and cooling system, you and your HVAC technician should first look for:
1. Insulation Issues
Properly insulating a home could reduce a homeowner’s energy costs by as much as 15 percent. In addition to saving you money, proper insulation will also maintain a home’s temperature much more efficiently. Check your attic for insulation. If you have inadequate insulation, you’ll need to add more. It is time for new insulation if you can see the floor joists in your attic.
2. Damaged Air Ducts
A damaged or improperly installed air duct can wreak havoc on your family’s comfort. Your furnace and AC will be forced to work much harder, and it will be nearly impossible to match the temperature between rooms. Our technicians can inspect your ducts and then make repairs if any damage is found.
3. Blocked Indoor or Outdoor Vents
Many families will close indoor vents when the weather changes and then forget to open those vents next year. After inspecting the indoor vents, you should look for outdoor vents (soffit vents) leading into the attic that has been blocked by insulation, foliage, or bird nests.
If your attic is well insulated, check the windows for drafts and make sure they are properly caulked. Next, ensure your windows are closed tightly so that no damp air escapes your home through cracks or gaps around frames.
Invest In A Zoned System
If the frustration of cold lower living space and hot upper living space sounds familiar, you may want to consider investing in a zoned system. This HVAC system allows you to control the temperature in different parts of your home more precisely than a single-zone system (single thermostat) can provide. In addition, with multiple zones, each area can have its own temperature setting. This means less energy wasted and increased comfort for everyone.
A zoning system will help keep your energy bills lower by distributing heat only where needed. For example, in the summer, when it gets hot outside but you still want to maintain comfortable temperatures inside, zoning can work in reverse. You can cool only the rooms where you need it instead of maintaining an overall cooler temperature throughout the house.
What is a zoned system? It’s a heating and cooling solution that divides your house into zones based on their use. For example, if you have a bedroom on the main floor that is used only occasionally, this room can be heated using a smaller amount of energy than the rooms on the second floor that are used more often.
Not only does this make sense financially, it also makes sense environmentally. Instead of wasting energy heating rooms where no one will ever be, you can adjust it so that only the spaces where people live are heated and cooled appropriately! This can save money and help protect our environment!
A zoned HVAC system divides your home into two or more sections, giving you much more control over the different temperatures on each floor. Instead of installing a second AC unit or furnace, these systems use multiple thermostats and electronic dampers to control where the air is going. Thermostats are strategically placed on both floors and will send information back to the dampers (valves) to regulate the airflow.
Zoned HVAC systems can be a large investment, but they might be necessary if all other options have been exhausted. When combined with programmable thermostats, you and your family will be given an incredible amount of control over exactly when your HVAC system is on and the temperature of each zone.
It may seem like your home is a complete mess of temperature variances during the winter or summer, but there are probably a few reasons for this phenomenon.
First, the sun is falling on the south side of your house during the day, heating that side of your home and making it warmer than the rest of your home. Then, at night, when the sun sets and cold air comes in from outside through an open window or door, that side of your home will be much colder than the other parts of your home.
This can be fixed by closing openings to outside areas and keeping windows closed until morning. This will prevent warm air from escaping into the cold air outside while also keeping cold air out of warmer areas inside.
Another possibility is that you have radiant heaters installed in certain rooms that have been turned off during winter. This could cause those rooms to get too warm while others are too cold! Make sure to turn these systems back on before leaving for work each morning, so everyone stays comfortable throughout the day!
Temperature issues in the winter are a problem that many of us have to deal with, but one that can be solved!
Here Are Some Things To Try:
Adjust Your Thermostat
If your thermostat is set too high (or low), this could cause temperature variance. Try adjusting it up or down by 5°F and see if the heat/cool stays consistent throughout your house. If not, try again until you find a number that works the best way for you.
Add A Door or Window Insulator
If you’re lucky enough to have access to an attic or crawlspace, you can cut out a piece of insulation and place it over an open door or window. This will block the heat from escaping through those areas during colder months (and vice versa during warmer months). The same goes for using curtains or shades. Instead of leaving windows uncovered during warmer days, it’ll help keep warm air inside!
You can also use window insulation film. It is placed on the window or glass doors to reduce the transfer of extreme temperatures between your home and the outside environment.
If your home is large or has spacious, open, vaulted ceilings and large open windows and doors, it has more surface area than a smaller house. This is because the heat from your furnace and the sun will be able to escape through these surfaces more easily, while cold air may enter the house through them as well.
Another reason for temperature variance is the materials used in your home’s construction. If they’re particularly porous, they’ll allow warm air to escape more easily and cold air to enter more readily.
You can also consider where you live. For example, living in an area with a lot of snow or rain can affect how warm or cool your home feels during different seasons.
Finally, remember that when it’s hot outside, your windows are open more often than during colder months. This leads to a greater chance of letting in heat or cool air.
Contact The Cooling Company Today
If you’re noticing that your house is hot upstairs and cold downstairs, it might be time to call The Cooling Company. We know how uncomfortable it can be to have one part of your home warm and another part cold, but no need to fret! Our team will be able to diagnose the problem and fix it, so you don’t have to suffer through another night of roasting or freezing.
If you have trouble keeping your home balanced in the summer or winter months, it would be a good idea to contact our experienced technicians. We are ready to help! Please feel free to contact The Cooling Company today for new installations, seasonal HVAC maintenance, emergency repairs, and more. We can help you with all of your heating and cooling needs. We’re here for you 24/7, so don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and give us a call at (702) 567-0707.