Balancing: Why is it Hotter Upstairs than Downstairs?

Why is it Hotter Upstairs Compared to Downstairs?

air condition balancing

If your home has more than one story, there might be a time that you’ve felt a little warmer upstairs than you were downstairs. It’s inconvenient, and you might worry that you’re wasting energy. You have to look at balancing.

In your high school physics classes, you learned that heat rises and cold air falls, so it’s natural that it would be a little warmer in the higher levels of a building than the lower levels. While your air conditioning system is running, it’s able to circulate the cool air all over your home, but when it shuts off, that allows the hot air to rise.

One thing that can also affect the balance of the air in your home is not having adequate air returns upstairs. You have to be able to pull that hot air off the top so it can go back through the furnace or air handler to get cooled by the air conditioning coil and cool your home. Without the appropriate amount of returns, that isn’t possible. The professionals from Lindstrom Air Conditioning can come and review your duct system and air returns to ensure you have the appropriate set up.

How can we balance the air?

There are a couple of things you can do, seasonally, to help balance the air in your home:

  • Close a few downstairs registers to force more cool air upstairs during the hotter months (note: don’t close them all, your system has to move a certain amount of air to ensure the coil doesn’t freeze)
  • Run the fan at all times to pull cold air from downstairs to upstairs (you’ll have to change the setting on your thermostat from auto to on so it’ll run at all times). Be aware, though, that running the fan at all times will increase the humidity in your house because when the A/C shuts off there will be some condensation on the coil which will get circulated via the fan. So see how the increase in humidity affects your comfort.

If neither of those options work, it’s time to call Lindstrom.

Your comfort consultant at Lindstrom might recommend one of two things:

  • Using a zone damper systems—dampers in all runouts for first and second floor, second thermostat upstairs. We tell the dampers going to second floor if the thermostat upstairs is hot, just send cold air up to the second floor, not the first.
  • If your equipment is older and you’re looking to replace it anyway, look at two-stage equipment, which operates at 2 different strengths. The two stage will have longer run times to keep forcing the air upstairs. Use it in conjunction with a variable speed blower.

Call the professionals at Lindstrom Air Conditioning to discuss your options to keep your home cool from top to bottom.

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