The most asked questions to the Air Doctors Heating and Cooling, LLC are, why is the upstairs of my home so uncomfortable. You have the top-of-the-line, super-efficient heating, and cooling system, but the upstairs of your home is either a blazing inferno in the summer or a frozen tundra in the wintertime. This situation can be extremely frustrating, especially since the upper level of a 2-story home is usually where people sleep. Some studies have revealed that we typically speed about 40% of our life in bed. This article will take the mystery out of the problem and provide some solutions to make the upstairs more comfortable.
Multiple story home is set up to fail from the very beginning. For starters, homes with upper levels are fighting against physics. Heat rises naturally due to the difference in density of warmer air versus cooler air. As a result, all of the warm air hangs out in your home’s upper levels, which is usually where people sleep. Typically, the residential hvac system generally tries to operate as a single zone system, which means the system is working to keep every room in the home at the same temperature. What generally happens is that the thermostat is located on the 1st floor, and the first floor is usually comfortable, but the 2nd floor is not. The average home will have an 8 – 10-degree differential between the 1st and 2nd floors.
To make matters worse, the average 2’’x4? wall construction does not accommodate the appropriate size piping to deliver the required amount of air to the upper level. With a shortage of airflow, the warmer upstairs will always have a tough time keeping comfortable. For example, an average 2000 sq. ft home may need an 8-inch diameter duct to deliver enough air to a particular room on the 2nd level. What generally gets installed is a duct with an internal diameter of about 60% percent of what is required. Lastly, exiting homes were built before there was a requirement to seal ducts, so you lose 30% of the 60% you are delivering to the 2nd floor. This is probably upsetting you and before you throw your phone across the room, hang tight! There is hope.
Well, after we explain the bad news, we like to offer some solutions. You can tear your walls out, install a deeper stud cavity and rebuild your home, but that is expensive and not practical. One option is to supplement the existing cooling system with another. A dedicated second system is by far the best way to maintain complete comfort. A supplemental system can be a traditional heating or cooling system or a ductless system. This route comes with a higher initial cost, increased utility bills, and more equipment to maintain, but it is completely doable.
Many will go for booster fans or duct sealing. Booster fans will help the air overcome the resistance of the smaller, more restrictive ducts. This is a cheaper solution that does help with increased airflow; however, booster fans are notorious for failing. Additionally, booster fans must be wired and set up to operate with your heating and cooling system.
Duct sealing is another option. If you can seal up the ducts and keep the leakage down to a minimum, this will help to keep the upstairs a little bit closer to the downstairs. We have mastered this technique, and we use the aeroseal process. We seal the ducts from the inside. In a traditional home, we can seal the ducts well into the 95 – 98% range. More airflow means more heating or cooling is delivered to your upper level.
Zoning is another excellent way to keep the upstairs comfortable. Remember that the traditional house is set up to run as a single zone or attempt to keep every room at the same temperature. Zoning an HVAC system means grouping the dwelling areas or structure and allowing the system to control that specific area individually. What zoning accomplishes is allowing only a specific area of the home to receive the conditioned air and only when it’s needed. For example, if you an air conditioning on the 2nd story of your home during the evening and the 1st-floor is unoccupied, essentially to can send the conditioned air just to the areas where you need it. Zoning has been proven to save energy and make the customers more comfortable. Zoning is an excellent option for solving the 2nd-floor issue.
Air Doctors Heating and Cooling, LLC are a fully licensed and insured heating and air conditioning company that serves most Southeast Michigan municipalities. Our staff is fully certified and pre-screened to provide our customers with a safe and satisfying experience. With over 100 years of combined industry experience, we take pride in solving all of your comfort needs. We are a family-based business that has been providing quality service to our neighbors for over 40 years. Contact us today to get started.