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Ask the St. Louis AC Experts: Why is My 2nd Floor So Hot?

July 22, 2015

You may have noticed this phenomenon in your home this summer: the first floor gets nice and cool when you have the AC running, but the second floor stays hot! When you try to turn up the AC to make your second floor more comfortable, you wind up making the first floor too cold and paying too much on your energy bills.

Why does this happen, and more importantly, how can you fix the problem? The SmartHouse Home Performance specialists are here to help you understand.

The 4 Most Common Causes of a Hot 2nd Floor

There are actually 4 common reasons why the top floor of a home may be harder to cool. Sometimes, two or more of these reasons work in conjunction to cause this problem. You’ll discover that there are many options for cooling a hot second floor, but the solution for you is simple: just call SmartHouse for St. Louis AC service! Our expert technicians will determine the cause of your problem and give you an upfront quote.

Generally speaking, here’s why your top floor stays hot:

  1. Improperly Designed AC System- Air conditioning is all about airflow, and every room has a need for a certain volume of air to be supplied in order to cool correctly. We frequently see houses whose systems have not been properly designed and do not supply enough air. To solve this, we start by calculating how much air the room needs to cool properly and compare that to the existing capacity. We then design a way to run larger or additional ducts to the area.
  2. Hot air wants to rise. It is important that your system be designed to draw in the hottest air from the ceiling and return it to the air conditioner for cooling.  Otherwise, the cold air supplied to the top floor will just run down the steps and the hottest air will always be trapped on the top floor. During a SmartHouse installation, we look for ways to install return ducts as high as possible on the top floor wall to bring hot air back to the system.
  3. Your air conditioner may not know it is hot on the top floor. Many houses do not have a thermostat upstairs, and the thermostat located on the main floor is not detecting the upstairs temperature. As a result, it doesn’t adjust correctly, and it may turn off while there are still rooms to cool. In these instances, we may consider installing a “Zone Control” system that includes a thermostat for independent control of top floor temperature.
  4. Poor insulation. If your attic is not well insulated, then the amount of work your system needs to do to cool the top floor may exceed its capability. You can have your insulation upgraded or inspected by calling a professional.

You don’t have to suffer through summer with a top floor that just won’t stay cool — SmartHouse can help you fix this problem to give you more evenly distributed and efficient air!

Fixing a top floor temperature problem requires analysis of causes and development of one or more engineered solutions.  Contrary to popular belief, the fix almost never includes buying a larger air conditioner, so if that is your contractor’s recommendation then you might want to keep looking. If it is not practical to run additional ducts, we will sometimes recommend a “Mini Split” system to provide cool air to just the challenging areas.

Call SmartHouse for your own AC consultation today!

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