Chill Out: Fixing a Hot Second Floor

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Venturing to your second floor shouldn’t feel like walking into an oven. Unfortunately for many homeowners, heat in the upper levels of the home is a daily annoyance. Even with a central HVAC system, there may be operational issues that keep the upper floors toasty. When your home cooling system feels unevenly distributed, it’s time to do some troubleshooting to pinpoint the source of the problem.

Look into Your Layout

The first places to look when investigating uneven home cooling issues are the vent openings. Pay attention to where each one is located, as there might be an uneven distribution of cooling downstairs. The problem will be especially pronounced if the HVAC system doesn’t emit any cool air upstairs, forcing the downstairs vents to compensate for two floors.

Because heat rises, the system must work extra hard to keep the elevated rooms comfortable. Diverting the airflow could make a huge difference in home comfort. In the basement, look for the vent dampers leading to the first floor and lower them halfway to even cooling out.

Dig into Ductwork

If all seems well with the layout of your vent openings, the culprit behind sweltering temperatures may lie within the ducts themselves. Your home’s ductwork is meant to transport cool air throughout the home as efficiently as possible. If there is an opening in the ducts, the HVAC system must work harder to push air through the home.

While you might not notice ductwork problems on the first floor, they are likely to be more noticeable on the second floor or higher. Rising heat isn’t the only thing that will catch your attention — rising energy bills should also clue you into the issue. You already pay more for electricity during the summer, so keep a close eye on your utility costs to notice spikes that seem unusual even for the warmer months of the year.

Look Up

Having a roof over your head is something to be thankful for, but this part of your home may also lead to discomfort on the upper floors during the summer. Unless your roof uses materials built to reflect sunlight, it will absorb every ray that comes its way.

Conventional roofs can reach 150 degrees on a hot summer day, but there are alternative cool roof options to consider if you want to keep upper floor temperatures down. Cool roofs use highly reflective paint, tiles, or shingles to limit heat absorption and lower energy bills. Sometimes they’re the perfect solution for a home with hot upper floors.

Build Barriers

Insulation might seem like something that’s most important in the wintertime, but it’s an essential part of a comfortable home in the summer. All roofs absorb some amount heat from sunlight, even cool roofs designed to limit the impact. Insulation slows the heat transfer process by absorbing the heat before it reaches living spaces. Insulation also keeps cool air from escaping the home. As a result, the air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard to achieve a comfortable home temperature, which saves you money.

Trapping the cool air inside would be a whole lot easier without windows, but a view of the outdoors and natural light is an essential part of every home. Thankfully, you can install energy efficient windows to limit the heat from outdoor air and sunlight. These windows create an airtight seal that prevents humidity from entering the home. What’s more, efficient windows utilize UV coatings to limit the impact of heat-producing sunrays. You don’t have to sacrifice your view to stay comfortable!

Turning the Dial on Heat

If you’re unsure where to start when it comes to cooling down your upper floors, reach out to our HVAC experts to find a solution. A comfortable home is a necessity when a heat wave arrives, so do everything you can to keep every floor cool. When you intentionally avoid your upper floors to stay comfortable, it’s time to give our experts a call. We’ll identify the problem and find an effective solution. Contact us today!