Uneven Cooling Fixes for Multi-Story Homes

Uneven Cooling Fixes for Multi-Story HomesUneven cooling can make upstairs rooms feel like they’re located at a different address. Even with an effective, efficient central air conditioning system, it often seems that upper levels are uncomfortably hot. Push the thermostat setting lower to compensate and—you guessed it—somebody somewhere else in the house is too cold.

Turns out, a number of factors can cause uneven cooling and the higher costs and diminished comfort that go along with it:

Hot air rises.

Can’t get away from the natural fact that heat rises up from the downstairs and accumulates upstairs. Therefore, a temperature discrepancy is literally built-in to multi-story homes.

Attics get hot.

During summer, a typical attic can reach temperatures as high as 135 degrees. Upstairs rooms with ceilings just below the attic may be at least 10 degrees higher than rooms on the lower level.

Ducts leak.

If your house is 10 years old or more, you can assume that ductwork is leaking at least 20% of cool conditioned air it conveys and the upstairs isn’t getting its share.

Even Out The Comfort

It will always be a challenge to keep every room in a house at a consistent temperature, 24/7/365. However, certain steps you can take can definitely improve uneven cooling most of the time.

Consider a zoning system.

Zoning incorporates electrically operated dampers installed in ductwork to create two or more independent temperature zones with dedicated thermostats. This allows lower temperature settings in an upstairs zone to compensate for rising heat or heat radiating downward from the attic while the system maintains a separate comfortable temperature zone on the lower level.

Mitigate attic heat.

Make sure the attic is well-ventilated and insulation level meets current DOE standards.

Seal the ductwork.

Have your ducts pressure-tested to determine extent of leakage and pinpoint the location of leaks, then sealed to restore full volume of circulating cool air.

For help resolving issues with uneven cooling, ask the professionals at Paitson Bros. Since 1922, we’ve been the Wabash Valley’s source for trusted HVAC advice.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Terre Haute, Indiana about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 812-645-6859. 

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