What to Do if Your Upstairs is Warmer Than Your Downstairs

By
Real Estate Agent with The Premier Properties Group RM419338
https://activerain.com/droplet/54tM

Today we are going to address a common question that many homeowners have - why is my upstairs warmer than my downstairs?

It's a common issue, but often times it can be hard to find a solution.

We asked a local heating and cooling expert to weigh in on the topic.

Video Transcription

Today I want to talk to you about a common problem people have in the air conditioning season, and that’s their upstairs is significantly warmer than the downstairs when they’re trying to cool their house.

 

So, basically, it’s a physics issue. The hot air wants to rise, cold air wants to fall. So, in your house you have the ventilation system, you know, the blower, and when the air conditioner is running it’s blowing cold air throughout the house, but as soon as the system shuts down that cold air is falling and that hot air is rising.

 

There are some inherent things that come with the house that are going to affect it, and that’s if you don’t have adequate returns upstairs, you know, you want to make sure you have adequate return ducting up to the upstairs because you have to pull that hot air off the top. There’s no reason, that hot air, if you don’t have good returns up there, that hot air is not going to go down through that furnace or air handler and get treated by that air conditioning coil.

 

So, those are issues that you would probably have to have a professional look at to see if you have adequate return ducting. But there are some things that you can do. I call it “seasonal balancing” and it’s probably the easiest and quickest for the home owner. And that’s close some of the downstairs registers. You want to force more of that cold air upstairs. So in the winter, you’re going to have the downstairs open because obviously then want hot air, more hot air downstairs. But in the summer, close the rooms you don’t use.

 

Typically that living room or that dining room that you really never go in, you’re in the kitchen and the family room, so close some of the downstairs registers. Now, I wouldn’t close them all. Your system has to move a certain amount of air, or you can have some air flow issues and possibly freeze up a coil, or you know, have some issues like that.

 

But you could close two or three registers on the first floor. That’s going to help force more air upstairs.

 

The next thing you could try, some people run the fan all the time. It takes – especially if you don’t have those good returns upstairs – it’ll keep pulling that cold air from the downstairs returns and sending it upstairs. So you’re running the fan all the time, and that’s, on your fan, on your thermostat, it’s a switch and it says “Auto” and “On”. When you have it on auto it’s only going to run with the equipment runs. In the on position it’ll run 24/7.

 

So you want to put that in the on position, that’ll keep taking that colder air from downstairs and pushing it back upstairs. Now, the only problem with that is you are going to increase the humidity in the house a little bit, because when the air conditioner shuts off there will be some condensation left on the coil, and that’s going to re-evaporate and end up back in the air. So you will increase the humidity, so you have to weigh that. See if the increase in humidity is affecting your comfort as far as, you know, the temperature difference.

 

Now, then there’s some things that we can do, that, to really affect it. Now we’re getting into making modifications to the system.

 

The first one would be put a zone damper system in, and there we take and we put dampers in all your runouts, going to the first floor and the second floor, and we put a second thermostat upstairs, and we tell those dampers going to the second floor “Hey, if the thermostat upstairs is hot, and one’s cooling, just send the air up there, don’t send any to the first floor”.

 

But that’s a pretty big modification to a system. You would want, you’d have to have a professional look at that.

 

The next thing that you can do is if your equipment is older and you’re getting ready to replace it, you want to definitely look at replacing it with two-stage equipment. Two-stage equipment operates at two different strengths.

 

So our goal is to have that system run all the time, so in the summer we’re constantly pushing that cold air upstairs. So the two-stage will run on a lower stage, it’ll have longer run times, keep forcing that air upstairs. You use that in conjunction with a variable speed blower. If it does need to use the second stage the blower kicks up, and everything’s working well.

 

In summation, there are some things you can do to try and fix it, but most of the time you’re going you’re probably going to have to get a professional in there, and have them take a look and go over your options.

 

Many thanks to Paul, from a local heating oil company Haly Oil. He also provides expert level consulting on many common HVAC related issues for Great Valley Propane and Hunter Heating Oil. You can also read a lot more tips and find the latest pricing on propane at ComparePropane.com, a resource & blog for all things related to heating and cooking with propane.

 

Find Haly Oil on the map here:

 

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Topic:
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Pennsylvania Montgomery County
Tags:
air conditioning
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Rainmaker
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William Feela
WHISPERING PINES REALTY - North Branch, MN
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

I have seen this issue solved by closing the upstairs vents down and allowing the heat  to migrate upstairs.

In the summer do the opposite for air conditioning.

Apr 22, 2017 09:59 AM #1
Rainmaker
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David J. Caracausa
The Premier Properties Group - North Wales, PA
ABR, CRB, CRS, GRI, SRES, CRE

That's really good advice William. Thanks.

Apr 22, 2017 10:45 AM #2
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Rainmaker
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David J. Caracausa

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