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Why Is My House Hot Upstairs and Cold Downstairs?

It’s not uncommon for the lower level of a home to be cooler than the rest of the house. Warm air rises – this core law of physics is to blame in most cases. But sometimes this temperature difference is uncomfortably noticeable. This difference in temperature can be annoying, to say the least. 

If you have to wear layers to stay warm downstairs but immediately work up a sweat when you go upstairs, you might have a real issue on your hands. Fortunately, there are a few different fairly simple solutions to try. Once you get to the bottom of the problem, you find a more harmonious balance between the different levels of your home and maybe even see a lower energy bill.  

Let’s take a look at why your home might be hot upstairs and freezing downstairs.

The Air Filter Needs to Be Changed

Before checking for any other issues, take a look at your air filter. A dirty filter can make it harder for your whole HVAC system to run smoothly. Change it out and see if that makes a difference in how the heat is distributed throughout your home. 

There are several factors that determine how often you need to switch out your filter. The size of your home, the number of pets you have, and local air pollution levels will all factor in.  Generally, you should switch out a basic 1"–3" air filter every 90 days. 

Your Home Is Poorly Insulated 

Insulation is key in HVAC. If there’s an air leak somewhere in your ducts, you could be losing precious heat and money. Sometimes there doesn’t even need to be a leak for the ducts to improperly dispel heat. If they aren’t properly insulated, warm air moving through them could cool by the time it exits the vents. This makes it virtually impossible for your system to do its job efficiently. 

The best solution to heat loss through the ducts is patching up any leaks and adding better insulation.

Other parts of your home can also lead to cooler temperatures in lower levels. If your attic isn’t properly insulated, the heat your HVAC system creates will rise to the upstairs level and straight through your roof. All the attic floor joists should be covered and insulated.  

There’s An Issue With the HVAC System 

Sometimes your HVAC system simply isn’t up to the task of heating the entire home evenly. When you have a clean filter and proper insulation yet each level of your home is a completely different temperature, your system may need maintenance or to be replaced. 

If your system is in reasonably good condition and you’re still encountering uneven heat distribution, you might need to consider using a zoned heating and cooling system. This is a way to heat the different levels of your home independently of each other to better control the temperatures. 

WM Buffington Is On the Job 

Whether you need guidance on what filter is best for your HVAC system or you need a complete overhaul of your ductwork, WM Buffington is here to help. We’ve proudly served the Central Pennsylvania area for 66 years with top-rated HVAC services. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team to schedule a diagnostic inspection of your HVAC system to uncover the best solution for your home! 

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