Multi-story homes tend to suffer from uneven cooling throughout the summer, but with a few changes entire home cooling is possible. The reason for the problematic cooling is due to a simple principle in physics in which hot air rises. In turn, the conditioned air that does make it to the upper levels through the existing ductwork will quickly flow back down to the first floor.
Small Fixes to Keep Your Second Story Cool
The most common reason for uneven cooling are the presence of air leaks in the home. One of the major culprits for air leakage are windows and doors. Gaps and openings in a window or door can let cold air escape during the warm summer months meaning homeowners are throwing money out the window. Shutting the blinds, shades, or curtains can also help prevent sunlight from heating up the home. Sometimes, however, air leakage and heat sources are not the problem. If cold air is flowing but it is not reaching the higher level floors it may mean that the upstairs registers are either closed or blocked. Make sure any furniture is not in front of any register openings.
Attic Insulation and Ventilation
A poorly insulated attic may also be the reason for uneven home cooling. Insulation keeps the cool and conditioned air inside the home and the hot summer air outside. In addition, blocked attic soffit vents prevent excess heat in the attic from escaping, making the attic feel like a sauna. Attic heat can increase the temperature of the floor right below it to an uncomfortable degree. A powered attic fan operated by an HVAC system's thermostat will also help to regulate the temperature in the attic by expelling hot air and drawing in fresh air.
Zoning Systems to Keep Your Upstairs Cool
Although a zoning system requires homeowners to invest a bit more into their existing HVAC system, it is by far the most effective method for cooling specific areas in the home. Without a zoning system, some homeowners may resort to setting the temperature too low or too high or closing off vents in order to condition the far reaches of the home.. A zoning system, which requires a system of dampers in the duct work as well as remote thermostats, gives homeowners the option to have complete control over the temperature in specific areas of the home, including a second story.
If none of these potential solutions solve the problem of uneven cooling, it could be a sign that it is time for a replacement system. While HVAC systems tend to last a considerable amount of time, there comes a point where they begin to lose efficiency. For more information on the benefits of a zoning system, give Burgeson's a call at (909) 792-2222.