Have you ever noticed that you are cool and perfectly comfortable when you’re downstairs but as soon as you need to go upstairs for something you are hit with a wave of hot air? Do you dread having to make trips upstairs, not because of actually having to walk up the stairs but because the temperature upstairs is always so much warmer than the temperature downstairs, even with the AC turned on? Why does it always seem to be warmer upstairs and what can we do about it? These are common questions for many homeowners, and we have the answers for you!
The Science Behind It
In the most basic concept, heat rises. Because colder air tends to be more dense than warmer air is, the cold air sinks while the warmer air rises. This means that the upper levels of your home are more likely to contain more warm air than the lower levels of your home, which will make it more difficult for your AC to cool the upper levels the same way it is cooling the lower levels. When your AC is running it will blow the cooler air throughout your home, but when your system shuts off, the cooler air will begin to settle, and the warmer air will naturally begin to rise again.
The Attic And The Roof
Two areas of your home that could be contributing to the problem of the upstairs part of your home being warmer than the downstairs part of the home are your home’s attic and roof. If your home’s roof is not protected from the sun or designed to deflect the sun’s rays throughout the day, then the sun will heat the roof which will begin to leak the warmer air into your home. Often, your attic is the next space below your home’s roof, and the attic usually is not air conditioned. If your attic does not have a good amount of insulation, then more warm air will leak into the upstairs portion of your home. You will also want to make sure your attic is well ventilated, so it can push as much heat and moisture out of your home as possible.
Issues With Your System
Besides the natural science of warm air rising, there may be some issues with your AC system that are making it stay warmer upstairs than it is downstairs. One issue could be that your home does not have the proper amount of air returns upstairs. Your AC system relies on the air returns to pool the warm air into the system, so it can be cooled by the air conditioning coil, so without the proper amount of air returns your AC system is not going to be able to perform its job efficiently and effectively.
If your AC system has an issue with the ductwork, any type of faulty ductwork from improper installation to leaking or old ducts, will force your AC system to have to work harder to cool your entire home. Anytime there is strain on your AC system to cool any part of your home, the upstairs is always going to be the most difficult part to cool.