Upstairs AC not working? Check Out These Tips for Cooling a Two-Story Home's Upstairs

Are you having trouble sleeping due to the intense summer heat? Even worse, your room is on the second story, however the upper level of your AC is not cooling.

In the summer, having a heated second floor is a regular issue. Perhaps you've observed that your upstairs air conditioner isn't cooling as well as it does below.

It may be very annoying, especially when the temperature rises beyond 29 degrees Celsius.  To go to the first level, nevertheless, is not yet necessary. You have a variety of options for keeping your upstairs cool.

For some great advice on how to make the upstairs cooler, keep reading.

How Does the Design of Multi-Story Homes Affect Temperature?

Do you often wonder why, during the summer, it is usually hot upstairs but cool below, or why the upstairs air conditioner isn't working so well?

Unfortunately, here physics is against you!

Due to its lower density, hot air rises and cold air sinks. As a result, in a multi-story house, hot air rises to the second level while cold air descends to the first.

Additionally, this implies that in order to keep your home at the ideal summer temperature, your upstairs air conditioner will need to work harder. In order to attain your target temperature, your HVAC system would be working continuously. Your air conditioning expenses and maintenance expenditures will rise dramatically as a result.

You can set your thermostat exactly, but other things must also be taken into consideration since chilly air will ultimately descend to the first floor.

Why Is AC Not Cooling Upstairs?

Your air conditioning may be operating upstairs but not downstairs for a variety of reasons. Let's look at them now:

1. Single Air Conditioning System or Thermostat

Your two-story home may be using a single cooling system that is controlled by a single thermostat if you don't have a new air conditioning system. This thermostat is more likely to leave warm patches in other regions of your house because it only senses the temperature in one area of it.

Particularly if your thermostat is located on the first floor, this is the situation. It won't start cooling until this region becomes heated. However, because the temperature is so much higher upstairs, this configuration will result in a hot upstairs and a cold downstairs.

2. HVAC Unit Is on the First Floor

On top of bringing cool air to the second story, air conditioners must also force hot air out. It takes two efforts to prevent cold air from continuing to sink back to the first floor since central HVAC units are located on the first floor, which demands another effort. The necessity for your HVAC system to send cold air up more regularly results from this. Your air conditioner might quickly get overworked and damaged as a result.

3. Hot Roof

An uninsulated roof is one of the primary causes of the second floor's excessive heat. The heat from the sun is absorbed by your roof, which then transfers to the second story, making it extremely warm. Your attic may also allow this heated air to descend to the second story.

Insulation in the attic is necessary for a comfortable home and efficient operation of your air conditioner.

4. Faulty or Inadequate Ducts

You can have dated and ineffective ducts if your ducted (central) HVAC system is quite old. They can be leaking or were first put incorrectly. There may not be enough ducts running to the second story.

5. Your HVAC Unit Is Cooling More Rooms Than Its Capacity

The incompatibility of your HVAC system with your house may also be a problem. For instance, it could only be able to cool a four-bedroom, two-story house. If you've just added extra rooms, it could be operating at capacity.

6. Your HVAC Unit Is Outdated

It's possible that your HVAC system has reached the end of its lifespan and can no longer keep the upstairs cool in the summer if you've lived in your home for a long time without replacing it.

7. The Temperature on Your Thermostat Is Too High

Your second level may be excessively hot if you have a zoning system or numerous air conditioners installed since you haven't adjusted the temperature correctly. The majority of individuals set the higher and lower levels at the same temperature. As hot air rises, the second story becomes warmer as a result. By reducing the temperature of your second level by at least two degrees, you can solve this issue immediately. In this aspect, zoning, sensors, and smart thermostats may all be quite beneficial.

Two-Story House Air Conditioning Tips

Despite the fact that the second floor tends to be hotter owing to a number of the factors mentioned, the two-story house air conditioning guidelines will ease your life and keep you cool. Here's how to keep the upstairs cool:

1. Increase Airflow to the Second Floor

By changing the HVAC dampers, you may improve airflow to the second story.

To direct more air to the second-floor vents during the summer, partially or completely close the dampers for the first-floor vents. You can close the registers on the first level if you can't find the dampers or if your HVAC system doesn't have any.

2. Open Top Return Vents

A different solution is to open the top return vents, which will allow hot air from the top of your room to be drawn into the HVAC system to chill the upstairs.

3. Clean or Replace Your Air Filters

Airflow is restricted by dirty and clogged air filters, which makes it harder for your HVAC system to keep the upstairs cool in the summer. Replace filters every three to four months and clean them often.

4. Keep Your HVAC Fan Setting on “On” Instead of “Auto”

If the fan setting on your thermostat is now set to "auto," switch it to "on" to solve the problem of the upstairs AC not cooling. An uniform distribution of air will be produced throughout the home by turning on the blower fan.

When the fan is set to "auto," it only activates when cooling is actually occurring. Even if the cooling cycle is off, the fan still circulates air around your home when it is "on."

5. Create Climate Zones

To establish a distinct temperature for each area of your house, you may also create HVAC zones. For your central system, you may set up different thermostats or sensors for every zone. Use intelligent AC controllers for mini-splits or ductless systems. Your home's size and cooling needs will determine how many zones you need.

You can simply adjust the temperature where it is needed by setting up numerous controls for each zone. Creating climatic zones can significantly reduce energy expenditures while resolving the hot upstairs and chilly downstairs issue.

For the first and second levels to have distinct temperatures, find out more about dual-zone thermostats. A system of sensors and dampers is employed to accomplish this. To create a comfortable atmosphere throughout the house, you may set the first floor and second floor at various temperatures.

6. Upgrade Your HVAC Unit

An air conditioner typically lasts between 10 and 15 years. If your HVAC system is older than this, it might not be able to adequately cool your home.

Another frequent problem is that many homes have HVAC units that are installed but are the wrong size. To determine whether your HVAC system has to be replaced or whether it is inadequate to cool the second story of your home, speak with a reputable HVAC expert.

7. Invest in a Ductless Air Conditioner

Consider purchasing a ductless air conditioner if your central air conditioner is not effectively cooling your upstairs.

Each air conditioner in these self-contained devices cools a single room. Mini-splits, portable air conditioners, and window units are some of the most often used ductless air conditioner kinds.

With ductless ACs, it is simpler to establish climate zones because there is a separate unit for each room. Since you do not have to spend energy cooling empty rooms, they are also more economical.

Thermostats Settings for Each Level of Your Home

Here are some suggestions for the ideal settings taking into account that you have different air conditioning units, thermostats, or sensors to efficiently cool the various sections of your home. You can successfully cool the upstairs and downstairs and conserve energy by using the finest thermostat settings.

One helpful suggestion is to adjust the thermostat on the second level to the desired temperature for the entire home. Then drop the temperature on the first floor a few degrees. For instance, if 23°C is your preferred temperature, set the second floor to 23°C and the first floor to 25°C.

The first floor will reach the same temperature as the second story because cold air lowers. Most of the time, doing so can efficiently chill the upstairs of a two-story home without skyrocketing your energy costs!

The optimum thermostat setting for summer days is 25°C. This configuration guarantees both comfort and energy savings. You can start by gradually reducing the thermostat temperature to assist you acclimate if you think this setting could be too warm for your house. Switching to a smart thermostat will also help you save the most money.

How to Keep Upstairs Cool Without AC?

You may lower your expenses and learn why your air conditioning works downstairs but not upstairs by putting the above advice for two-story homes to use.

However, don't worry if you want to save money on air conditioning and protect the environment. Your two-story home's upstairs may be kept cool without costing a lot in utility costs. Here are a few strategies for keeping your upstairs cool without an air conditioner.

1. Insulate the Attic

Insulating your attic is among the most important two-story house air conditioning advice. It will be cooler upstairs if your attic is well-insulated since it will absorb less heat from the outside and transfer less heat to the second story.

2. Ventilate the Attic

Ventilating the attic is another method for keeping your home cool. Hot air will be forced out of an attic with sufficient ventilation, preventing the heat from settling on lower floors. Installing an attic fan can improve air circulation, which will help to chill things off.

3. Consider a White Roof

It will be much easier to deal with issues with heat upstairs and cold below if the roof is light in colour. The roof retains heat in the summer, which rises to your second story. Painting your roof white is a smart move since it will reflect the heat rather than absorb it.

4. Block the Sun

Closing the blinds is another method for keeping your second floor cool and avoiding the heat. Heat gain and loss through windows account for around 25–30% of domestic heating and cooling energy usage. Thus, closing the curtains may greatly save AC expenditures and aid in keeping the upstairs cool in the summer. You may spend money on window awnings and UV-blocking window coverings for a longer-term fix.

5. Limit the Use of Appliances That Generate Too Much Heat

By producing excessive heat when using electrical equipment like ovens, your second level will get even warmer. Find acceptable substitutes, such as barbecuing, and switch off any unused appliances.

6. Replace Incandescent Lights With Compact Fluorescent Lamps

Incandescent lamps consume a lot of electricity and produce a lot of heat. If you have trouble keeping the upstairs cool, think about converting to compact fluorescent lighting. Additionally, this will lower your energy expenditures.

7. Turn on Fans on the Second Floor to Increase Airflow

While fans may not lower the temperature, they are far less expensive than HVAC systems and contribute to better ventilation. Your body will also feel cooler thanks to the fan's air.

The fans work best when combined with your air conditioner. To force air straight down and produce a windchill effect in the heat, turning your fans counterclockwise will be helpful. The airflow of the conditioned air will rise.

Do not forget to clean your fans frequently. Fans can become less effective due to motor overheating caused by dust on them. Cleaning your fan helps decrease drag and enhance air circulation. Dust may be eliminated with a moist cloth. Spraying an all-purpose cleaner on kitchen towels may be effective for removing oil.

Your fan could be wobbly and unstable if some of the screws are loose. This might make it work far harder than necessary and decrease its capacity to push air. Your fan's performance will be greatly enhanced by tightening or replacing any loose screws.

8. Turn on the Exhaust Fans

The operation of your upstairs air conditioner may be greatly facilitated by bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans, which remove hot air and enable cool air to replace it. They also aid in lowering the high levels of humidity there.

9. Place Electric Fans In The Second-Floor Windows

Place floor fans pointing outward in any second-story windows that may be opened. This will aid in drawing hot air from your room. If your exhaust fans aren't operating properly, electric fans are a handy backup.

10. Get Creative With Your Fan Placement

Play around with where you put your electric fan to see if you can generate a cross wind. To bring cool air into your home, place one electric fan facing inward close to a window that receives the greatest shadow. To force hot air outside, position a second fan next to a window on the other side, pointing outward.

Place the outward-facing fans on your second level and the inward-facing fans on your first floor to make the upstairs cooler.

11. Heat-Proof Your Bed

Heat-proofing your bed is a great energy-saving trick if your room is on the second level and the heat is keeping you up at night.

Choose bedsheets made of breathable, light fabrics like cotton. You may also spend money on heat-absorbing cooling mattress pads.

12. Retreat to the Basement or First Floor During Peak Summer Days

If all else fails, you can move to the first level or the basement by taking advantage of the fact that cold air sinks (if you have one). You'll notice a big change and feel lot more at ease.

That, however, is a last option. You have a variety of options for cooling a two-story house's upstairs.

In the height of summer, a cool second story could seem like a far-off fantasy. With these suggestions in hand, you'll be able to unwind and beat the summer heat without a doubt.

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