Summer makes the air conditioner your home’s best friend. Those of us who have a two- or three-story home know that heat rises and as a result, keeping the upstairs cool is a special challenge. Unless you have a zoned cooling system, fiddling with the thermostat is not going to keep the upstairs cool without over-cooling the finished basement and main floor. Here are a few tips to help you when you are trying to balance out your cooling needs.
1) Check your windows for leaks. If you have single-pane glass, you might consider using coating systems available at your local hardware store to help keep the solar heat outside in the summer. If you chose not to apply coating, keep your drapes and shades drawn to block direct sunlight. No one wants to live in the dark, so choose a light color for your drapes.
2) Your ability to keep the upstairs cool also means managing the heat in your attic. Your attic should have proper insulation, especially on the floor, and the soffit vents should be clear so the excess heat in the attic can escape. Try using ridge vents since they create a better airflow. Air leaks between the attic and living spaces should be sealed, and use weatherstripping to seal the attic hatch or door.
3) To keep the upstairs cool, make sure your cooling system is running smoothly and efficiently. It should have clean air filters, and ductwork should be sealed and insulated where necessary.
4) Make sure that furniture, drapes or rugs are not blocking your registers. Use your registers appropriately as well. Partially close the downstairs registers and open the upstairs to force the airflow upwards. Use ceiling fans to create a wind-chill effect in upstairs rooms. Keep the outdoor condensing unit clear of leaves and dirt.
5) During hot weather spells, compensate for the heat by keeping your thermostat at a constant lower temperature by a couple of degrees than you normally would. Also be sure to turn your fan from “Auto” to “On” during this time period. Leaving the fan in the “On” position will make the home more comfortable for the 2nd floor as the result of the constant air movement in the home. However, be sure to reset the fan mode on the thermostat back to “Auto” during normal air conditioning temperatures to prevent higher humidity levels in the home.
If none of these tips still provide the amount of cooling comfort you are wish to achieve, please contact us at Hoff Heating & A/C. We have a number of solutions to handle the 2nd floor summer cooling challenge such as adding zoning controls, a mini-split system for the upstairs, or adding a complete dedicated system.