Why Is My Upstairs Hot & Downstairs Cold?

Posted on: Jul 23, 2019

For families living in a two-story home, a common issue is that the upstairs is hot, and the downstairs is cold during the warm summer months. Installing an air conditioner upstairs could remedy the problem or could be the start of the solution. This is a typical complaint from those who have forced-air HVAC systems using a single thermostat that is on the ground floor. In order to resolve this temperature variations issue, it is essential to understand why this discrepancy occurs.

Reason for Variation

Adjusting your thermostat will likely result in the downstairs becoming cold with the upstairs being comfortable, thus worsening the situation. The following are four reasons why there may be a difference between the two floors.

1. Blocked Soffit Vents

The soffit vents are located at the lowest segments of the roof and allow air to free flow into the attic from outdoors. When one of these vents is blocked, there’s a partial amount or no airflow into the attic. One of the primary reasons for a blocked soffit vent is poor insulation which results in the upstairs heating up. Unblocking the vents allows for a free flow of outdoor air.

2. HVAC Contamination – Inadequate HVAC System

In many instances, your HVAC system cannot maintain the same temperature on both floors due to old parts, incorrect installation, or many other reasons. In addition to causing a temperature discrepancy, an inadequate system can result in costly monthly utility bills. Luckily, there is a solution: a zoning system.

A zoning system separates your home into two zones based on the floors – upstairs and downstairs – to create a temperature equilibrium. A zoning system is available using the following two technologies.

  • Electronic Dampers

Electronic dampers are valves situated in your air conditioner ducts that open and close to properly regulate airflow throughout your home. You can heat or cool this air to provide the most comfortable temperature.

  • Multiple Thermostats

The other option is a thermostat installed in each zone to control the electronic dampers better. Therefore, you can set the downstairs thermostat to a warmer temperature and the upstairs thermostat to a cooler temperature to eliminate the issue.

3. Leaking Air Ducts

Leaking HVAC air ducts indicates that they are not functioning correctly, resulting in uneven temperature distribution. Fixing air conditioner ducts stops the leakage and eliminates the temperature fluctuation.

4. Poor Attic Insulation

To determine the insulation sufficiency within your attic, check the attic floor joists. If you can see a joist, then the insulation has not been correctly installed. It is critical to call a professional HVAC company to fix the problem and regulate the temperature throughout the household better.

A Solution to Home Temperature Variations: Ceiling Fans

As you may have noticed, the circulation of air throughout each room and the ductwork is integral to the proper regulation and functioning of the air conditioner system. Therefore, the simplest solution could be to utilize your ceiling fans effectively if you have them installed.

By setting the fan blades in the clockwise direction, on the lowest setting, it will draw up the warm air that collects close to the ceiling. This will push down the heat and keep the floor portion of the room warm. In the hotter months, switch the fans to counterclockwise to cool the air and blow it into the room.

If you have made these adjustments and are still experiencing inconsistent temperature variations between the first and second floors, contact a Airco Service professional today to help mitigate this issue. A home air conditioner company can quickly help you resolve the problem.