Upstairs Heat vs Downstairs Cool in Springfield, MO Homes

Have you noticed that your upper floor feels like a desert during summer, despite your air conditioner working non-stop, while your lower floor remains as cool as a breeze? This isn't uncommon in Springfield, MO, and many homeowners face this perplexing situation during the scorching months of summer.

Don't fret though; there are reasons for this and, importantly, solutions available. Let SS&B Heating & Cooling explain why this occurs and what you can do about it.

The core reasons why your upper floor turns into a furnace

Heat's natural behavior – The principle of thermodynamics dictates that hot air rises while cold air descends. Therefore, your upper floor will naturally be warmer than the lower levels, despite your air conditioner's relentless operation.

Heat absorption by your roof – Unless your roof is blanketed by shade, it absorbs a lot of solar heat, which then seeps into your attic and ultimately your top floor. If your roof lacks proper insulation or your attic is missing, the upper floor will unavoidably feel warmer.

Inadequate ductwork – Your ducts are responsible for absorbing cool air from your HVAC system and distributing it across your home. If they are old, improperly installed, or leaky, it can impair your air conditioner's capacity to cool your house evenly.

Relying on a single-zone system – Single-zone systems are independent air conditioning units that maintain the temperature in a single area in your home. They perform well when you need to manage the temperature in one particular space, but falter when you try to cool your entire upper floor. You might want to consider upgrading to a multi-zone air conditioning system, which gives you control over the temperature in various rooms or zones.

An aging air conditioner – Air conditioners usually last for up to 15 years. If your unit isn't cooling your Springfield home adequately, it might be reaching the end of its useful life. Replacing your old model with a new, energy-efficient one could not only cool your home more effectively but also help balance the temperature across floors and reduce your utility bills.

10 effective strategies by SS&B Heating & Cooling to chill your upper floor

  1. Shield from sunlight – Use blinds and shades to block excessive sunlight and UV rays. Consider heat blocking shades or UV blocking film, and ensure all windows are sealed to avoid air leaks.
  2. Insulate and ventilate – Insulation is essential for a comfortable and energy-efficient home. Try boosting the insulation in your roof or attic, use an attic fan to circulate air, and seal your attic to prevent heat ingress.
  3. Mend your ductwork – If your cooling problem is rooted in faulty ductwork, get it repaired. Your service provider can cover the leaks with insulation, aluminum foil tape, or mastic sealant.
  4. Limit the use of heat-generating appliances – Keep your lights off or dimmed, and reduce the use of appliances that generate heat like hair dryers, curling irons, dishwashers, ovens, and stoves.
  5. Replace air filters – Dirty air filters obstruct cool air flow and put extra strain on your HVAC system. Check and replace them regularly.
  6. Adjust your thermostat fan setting – Switch it from 'auto' to 'on' to maintain a consistent air mix throughout your home.
  7. Establish climate zones – Try closing a few vents on your lower floor to direct more cool air upstairs. You can further enhance this by installing a climate zone system, which allows remote control over your home's temperature.
  8. Utilize your fans – Both ceiling and floor fans can help disperse the cold air that accumulates near the floor.
  9. Manipulate your vents – You can adjust your air vents to control airflow in specific rooms. Keep upper floor vents fully open while partially closing those on the lower floor to push more cool air upstairs.
  10. Consider a secondary HVAC system – If nothing seems to work, your current HVAC system may be inadequate for your home. Consult with SS&B Heating & Cooling about upgrading to a larger system or installing a second system upstairs.

Final thoughts

A humid upper floor can indeed be uncomfortable. However, knowing how temperature functions can help adjust your expectations of indoor comfort. Remember, if the outdoor temperature is significantly high, your air conditioner may struggle to lower it substantially.

To manage this, learn to regulate your thermostat intelligently. This can help control the heat flow in your Springfield, MO home and cool your rooms systematically, possibly saving on utility bills too!

If you suspect your air conditioner is underperforming, don't hesitate to call SS&B Heating & Cooling for a seasonal inspection. Our experts can guide you on whether a climate zone system or an additional unit could enhance your home's comfort.

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