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What to Do If Your Second Floor is Too Hot

by Stewart Unsdorfer

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My second floor is too hot! If you live in a two-story home, you may have found yourself saying the same thing. Unfortunately, you may not remember or notice the problem until the hot summer months come scorching in.

You may have tried making the air colder, and even left it there all day hoping it would help. But to your dismay, when you return home, the second floor is still much hotter than the first.

What Causes The Problem?

You can start by asking a qualified HVAC technician to give you their opinion. Some common reasons that your second floor is too hot include:

Hot Air

Keep in mind, that heat rises. If your HVAC unit is on the first floor, it has to push hot air out as cooler air enters a room. That means the system has to work harder to distribute cool air to the second floor.

There are a few factors that determine how hard your HVAC unit has to work to cool your second floor:

  1. The number of rooms in the home.
  2. If the unit is outdated and needs replacing.
  3. How well equipped the system is for cooling.

Hot Roof

Another reason why your second floor is too hot in the summer could be because of your roof. Unless your roof is somehow protected from the sun or deflects it, it will absorb the sun’s heat. This heat travels through the attic and into the second floor making it harder for the system to cool.

Ductwork, Insulation and Seals

Ducts are responsible for taking cool air from your system throughout the home. Any type of faulty ductwork like improperly installed installation, or leaking or old ducts will force the HVAC unit to work harder to cool your home. Another issue could be that there is not enough ductwork reaching the second floor.

Fix The Problem

Now that you know what can cause the problem, it's time to fix it!

Redirect airflow to the second floor

If you have a basement, you can locate your HVAC system's dampers on the ducts leading to the first floor and close them halfway down or more. This will push more airflow up to the second floor.

If you don't have a basement, or can't locate the dampers, you can close your first floor register vents down some which will also help push more air to the second floor.   

Change filters

Dirty filters will restrict some airflow throughout your home, so regular cleaning or replacement is highly recommended.

Insulate and ventilate the attic 

Proper insulation in the attic will lessen the amount of heat that reaches the second floor. You should also make sure that the attic is ventilated to get as much heat and moisture out as possible. An attic fan will also help circulate the air, which in turn decreases the amount of hot air that reaches the second floor.

Close some, but not all, supply vents on the first floor for better circulation to the second floor. Also, make sure nothing blocks your vents upstairs, and that your air-return vents are open.

Insulate windows

Seal all cracks, holes, and gaps around windows to prevent seepage.

Change the fan setting on your thermostat from "auto" to "on" 

Keeping your HVAC system's blower fan running constantly will help mix the air more evenly throughout the entire house. Keeping the fan running doesn't use a lot of energy and it can often lower you energy usage because your HVAC system won't need to cycle as often. 

Conclusion

While these may not be DIY fixes, is it important for homeowners to be aware of the issues that occur when cooling the second floor of a home. It is best to refer to a certified HVAC technician to help you evaluate and solve the problem of why your second floor is hotter than the first.

Download our free PDF version of the 11 Fujitsu Mini-Split Systems Benefits

Topics: Cooling Tips

blog author

Stewart Unsdorfer

Stewart has been in the HVAC business for more than 25 years. He is a state licensed heating and A/C contractor, as well as being certified in design, fabrication, layout and installation of forced air heating / cooling systems.

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