Why Is The Second Story Hot When The Rest Of The House Is Cool?

Posted on: 21 May 2018

Rising heat, basement (or first floor) HVAC systems, or a single thermostat controlling all of the rooms in the house are three of the top reasons that the second level of your home is warmer than the first. There's some science behind why heating can be so uneven within your home:

1. Heat Rises

According to Angie's List, there can be up to a 15-degree difference between the first floor and the second floor. One solution to cool off your upper rooms are simply to close the registers or vents. This keeps the rising warm air more evenly distributed throughout the main floor of your home. If your warmer rooms have larger windows facing the sun, closing the registers or vents may not suffice. Certain times of the day will naturally be warmer with the sunlight coming through the windows; try light-reducing curtains or drapes to keep the sunshine at bay.

2. Cool Air

If warm air rises that means cold air stays grounded, closer to its source, which is your HVAC system. Try this experiment: walk up your stairs, taking note of where and when your air-conditioned air switches over to warmer air. Then walk around upstairs. Which room is closest to your HVAC system? It should be the cooler of the upstairs rooms. The warmest should be farthest away. Try keeping a good airflow by opening opposite windows if weather permits; you should also keep the doors open. Before the prevalence of air conditioners, people pointed fans out their windows so that the hot air blew out; a second fan on the floor circulated the cooler air.

3. Single Thermostats

Thermostats are set to regulate the air temperature in your home. If you set it at 68 degrees Fahrenheit, then the thermostat keeps the temperature from rising above 68 degrees. The issue is that cool air tends to hover around the rooms that thermostats are located, according to Angie's List. If your thermostat is on the main floor of your home in the living room, then your living room should be cool. If each room in the house has its own cooling zone and thermostat, then each room's occupant can maintain the temperature that's most comfortable for them. It can be an expensive solution to rezone your home, but it is an effective one.  

Those are a few reasons that your second floor might be uncomfortably warm. If your second story is still too hot after trying out some of these solutions, consult an HVAC professional to inspect your cooling and heating system to determine if there's a non-DIY issue.


Summer is Upon Us – Is Your AC Working?

Hi. My name is Laurie Waters. The HVAC contractor was just out at our house last week and did I ever get a lesson from him. You see, we had a warm spell hit and I went to turn our air conditioning on for the first time since last summer. Much to my dismay, it wasn’t working. All I got was a blast of warm air. The fan was bringing the outdoor heat inside. Thank goodness it wasn’t anything major. My unit needed Freon. While he was here, the contractor taught me how to do some routine maintenance around my unit, vents, and filters. I’m going to share this information with you. I hope you find it to be useful.

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