How Can I Keep My Upstairs Cooler?

woman using fan to stay cool

Is the upstairs of your home several degrees warmer than the downstairs during the summer? Is sleeping upstairs unbearable during this time of the year?

It stinks. So what can you do?

We’ll give you 4 different solutions (some of which can work together) that will help your upstairs chill out.

1) Get Your Air Ducts Examined

Here’s something most homeowners don’t know: Much of the cold air your air conditioner supplies through your air ducts does not make it to your upstairs, much less to the rest of your home.

According to ENERGYSTAR, the typical home loses 20% to 30% of the air that moves through the duct system because of:

  • Leaks
  • Holes
  • Poorly connected ducts

The result? You have higher utility bills and difficulty keeping your house comfortable. So any issues with your air duct system may be one reason your upstairs is so hot.

Have a professional air conditioner contractor examine your ducts and seal them if necessary.

2) Add More Insulation to the Attic

Attic insulation acts as a barrier to keep heat out of your home during the summer.

But if the upstairs is unbearably hot, your home may not have enough insulation. This problem is common in an older home, according to the U.S department of Energy.

Use this ENERGY STAR guide to determine:

  • If you have enough insulation
  • How much insulation you should add
  • Which type of insulation to add

3) Use the “Zoning” Method

Let’s assume your ducts are fine and you have enough insulation. Now what?

Consider zoning. It’s a method that lets your current central air conditioner separately cool different parts (or “zones”) of your home to different temperatures. Each zone gets its own thermostat.

For example, let’s say you’re sleeping downstairs and your guests sleep upstairs. You can have a thermostat upstairs set at 72 degrees and the thermostat downstairs set at 78 degrees. A zoned air conditioning system can supply air to each of those areas until both those temperature settings at met.

So, how does zoning work, exactly?

Simple. A zoned system uses a damper (it’s like a valve) installed in the ductwork to separate air supply to each zone. So let’s say your upstairs needs cooled air but the downstairs does not. The damper will close off air to the downstairs and only direct it upstairs.

4) Install a Window or Mini-Split Air Conditioner

Installing a window or mini-split air conditioner can directly cool the rooms without messing with your duct system. In a sense, this is also “zoned” cooling.

Not sure which type of air conditioner you should buy? Find out in our blog post: Window Air Conditioner vs Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioner: Which is Better?

Which Solution Should You Choose?

First, examine your air ducts and attic insulation. There could be underlying problems that prevent your upstairs from staying cool.

If the ducts and insulation aren’t an issue, consider a zoned cooling method—the one you choose depends on your home and budget. To determine what solution you need, talk to a professional air conditioning contractor about it.

If you live in the Framingham-area, Nicholson Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning can help. Contact us today to see how we can keep your upstairs cool!

Our level of commitment to our customer and superior service is the reason you can find comfort in choosing Nicholson Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning.

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  • Francis from Nicholson Plumbing and Heating was excellent. He was here to evaluate HVAC in our home. He was very patient and answered all my questions. He is also polite and easy to communicate with him. He explained technical concepts to me in layperson terms!

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