How to Fix Uneven Cooling In a Two-Story Home

August 4, 2017

It’s common for two-story homes to suffer from uneven temperatures. In general, when the ground floor is comfortable, the second floor is sweltering and the basement is freezing. Other more localized temperature differences may also occur in your home.

Why is uneven cooling so common, and what can you do about it?

Causes of Uneven Cooling In a Home

Various factors make certain rooms warmer or cooler than others. For example:

  • An old or undersized air conditioner can’t keep up with cooling demand, making it difficult to maintain a comfortable temperature in any room.
  • Unsealed ductwork allows hot air from the attic or other unconditioned space to enter your home, heating up some areas more than others.
  • Closed supply registers restrict airflow and cause the HVAC system to get out of balance.
  • Leaky windows and doors allow hot air from outside to infiltrate your home.
  • Insufficient insulation makes it easy for hot summer air to heat up your walls and ceilings.
  • Sun exposure increases exterior heat gain in some rooms more than others.
  • Interior heat gain from activities such as cooking and working on the computer heats up some rooms more than others.

Ways to Fix Uneven Cooling In a Two-Story Home

Fortunately, you don’t have to deal with uneven cooling in your home. With a few changes and some help from Rick’s Heating & Cooling, you can make your entire home feel more comfortable. Here’s how:

  • Replace the air conditioner if it’s over 10 years old or can’t seem to keep up with cooling demand anymore. A new AC unit with a variable speed motor helps circulate air better for more even cooling.
  • Seal and insulate the ductwork to improve airflow. When conditioned air is able to travel from the cooling equipment to every supply register throughout your home, you end up with fewer hot and cold spots.
  • Check the supply registers and make sure no more than one-fifth of them are closed. If you want to limit the air conditioning in a particular room, consider closing the vent only partway to prevent creating a system imbalance.
  • Seal window and door leaks with weatherstripping and caulk. Also, install blinds or curtains over windows on the south and west sides of your home. By keeping hot air and direct sunlight out, you improve cooling efficiency and reduce uneven temperatures.
  • Increase insulation to prevent heat from entering through the walls and ceiling. Attic insulation is particularly useful for keeping the second floor of your two-story home as cool as the ground floor.
  • Add a zoning system so you can independently control the temperature in different areas of your home. With a thermostat on each floor, you can increase the amount of air conditioning on the second floor and decrease the amount of air that circulates in the basement without throwing off the system’s balance by closing air registers.
  • Limit interior heat gain during the day. Wait to bake and run the dryer until the evening. Turn on the exhaust fan in the kitchen and bathroom when you cook and shower to carry hot, humid air outside. Use a laptop instead of a desktop computer whenever possible to keep your home office cooler.

Get Help Fixing the Uneven Temperatures in Your Cincinnati Home

Many of the methods for combating uneven cooling in a two-story home require help from a licensed HVAC technician. Whether you need help sealing the ductwork or installing a new air conditioner, Rick’s Heating & Cooling is here to help. We have been serving the Cincinnati area for over 30 years.

Contact us today to schedule the HVAC services you need!