Picture this: you’ve spent the past few hours on a recent summer evening relaxing in the downstairs living room in a comfy 72 degrees – exactly what you set your thermostat to. But when it’s time to call it a night and you begin to walk upstairs, you slowly notice the temperature starting to rise. By the time you make it to your bed, it’s downright balmy!

If this occurs in your multiple-story home, you’re not alone. During the summer, the upstairs often feels much warmer than the downstairs. This issue boils down to plain science – hot air rises. Top floors are also typically hotter because roofs take the brunt of the sun’s heat, and if your attic isn’t insulated well enough to serve as a buffer, the top floor will naturally feel hotter.

In our most recent blog, the heating and cooling professionals at Ravinia Plumbing, Sewer, Heating & Electric discuss why the upstairs often feels warmer than the first floor and what you can do to even out the temperatures.

Tip to Improve Second-floor Cooling

Here are some simple tips to improve the cooling on your top floor so you can have a comfortable night’s sleep.

Run or install ceiling fans

If you have ceiling fans in upstairs bedrooms, consider running them counterclockwise while you are in the room. Although ceiling fans don’t actually cool the room, they create a wind-chill effect which displaces stagnant and warm air that comes in contact with your skin. Just remember to turn the fans off when you leave the room so you don’t waste electricity. If you don’t have a ceiling fan, consider having them installed. Ceiling fans are relatively inexpensive and come in many makes and models.

Have the ductwork inspected

It’s estimated that as much as 25 to 30% of conditioned air is lost through air duct leaks from a result of ductwork that is old and deteriorating or was improperly installed. This could be a possible reason that your home is hot upstairs. Contact an HVAC system professional to inspect your leaky ductwork to see if it’s the problem.

Improve your home’s insulation

Insulation plays a crucial role in keeping your entire house cool and comfortable during the summer heat, as well as lowering your energy bills. If your upstairs is noticeably warmer than the downstairs, inspect your attic’s insulation, and consider adding more insulation to improve comfort.

Consider installation of a new air conditioner

Although a warm second floor can be the result of any of the previous issues we’ve discussed, it could also be the result of an inefficient AC system. If your air conditioning unit is more than 10 to 12 years old and has seen its share of breakdowns, consider upgrading to a new, more energy-efficient AC unit. A new AC can help you save money on home’s energy bills and provide more even, powerful cooling to all areas of your home.

Consider a ductless mini split air conditioner

A ductless mini split air conditioning system provides you with more control over the temperature in each of your home’s rooms. With a ductless cooling system, you can create temperature zones which are each controlled by separate indoor air handling units. This gives you the ability to control the zones separately so you can ensure your bedrooms upstairs are at the temperature you set them to. To learn more about ductless AC systems, contact Ravinia Plumbing today.

Adjust the dampers

Dampers are dials or levers in your air vents that move up or down and allow you to control the amount of air flow through the vent and into your living spaces. If your second floor is warmer than the first floor, keep the dampers on the second floor vents fully opened and partially open the vents on the first floor. This can force more cool air into the rooms on your home’s second floor.

Block the sun

For some temporary relief during hot and sunny days, close curtains and blinds in upstairs rooms to block some of the sun’s rays from creating excess heat upstairs.

Set the fan to run continuously

Your thermostat has two settings – “on” and “auto.” When auto is set, the HVAC fan only runs when the air conditioner runs. Consider flipping the switch to “on” if your system is struggling to keep the top floor cool. Even when your air conditioner isn’t running, the fan will continue to circulate air throughout your home to keep second-floor temperatures more comfortable.

Contact Ravinia Plumbing, Sewer, Heating & Electric for Heating and Air Conditioning Service

Unfortunately for the sake of your upstairs rooms, heat rises. If you’re struggling to keep the top floor of your home cool during the hot summer months, contact the HVAC professionals at Ravinia Plumbing. We’ve been in business since 1928, and we’ve made a name for ourselves as one of the most trusted and reliable plumbing, sewer, HVAC, and electrical companies in Chicagoland. Contact Ravinia Plumbing online, or give us a call today to schedule an appointment.