Second-Story Comfort: How to Fix Uneven Cooling

Do HVAC Components All Have the Same Lifespan? Many people have come to expect that the upstairs of a home will always be warmer than the first floor, primarily because heat rises. But uneven cooling doesn’t have to be the case because there are workarounds to this natural tendency.

Deal with Its Energy Efficiency

Before undertaking an HVAC modification or upgrade, make improvements to its energy efficiency by:

Better insulating the attic. If you can see the tops of the floor joists in the attic, you need more attic insulation. The Department of Energy recommends having at least 16 inches for this climate. Insulation slows heat transfer from the attic where temperatures can exceed 140 degrees F on a sunny summer day.

Sealing the air leaks. Go through the upstairs rooms and look for leaks between the ceiling and the attic, along with leaks around the exterior walls. Most common places for air leaks are around the window frames, recessed lights and bathroom ventilation fans. If there are gaps, air will transfer in and out of the space year-round.

HVAC Solutions

If the energy efficiency of the second floor is solid, you may need to consult an HVAC contractor who can help you with uneven cooling issues. Options include:

Air balancing. An HVAC pro can change the airflow throughout your system by changing the size of the ductwork or adding registers to the upstairs.

Adding a zoning system. Zoning systems let you control the temperatures throughout your home on an individual basis. Each zone has its own thermostat and motorized dampers that open and close based on its need for conditioning.

Combined with a programmable thermostat, you can set the temperature for the upstairs as cool as you wish without affecting the first floor’s comfort. You’ll also save energy and money, since you won’t need to condition every room in your home to be comfortable in just one area.

An HVAC pro from Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help you learn which strategy will work best for you to solve uneven cooling this summer. We provide HVAC services for Cleveland-area homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues. For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or give us a call at 440-345-8795.