Why Is The Upstairs So Hot? | R. A. Styron | Hampton Roads HVAC Specialists

Live in a two story home with one HVAC system? If so, you’ve probably found that keeping both floors at an even temperature is easier said then done. Especially during the heat of the summer! You are not alone, R. A. Styron has helped thousands of Tidewater residents with this same problem.

There are many factors when trying to balance temperatures on multiple floors. Duct work issues, insulation, and the age of the system all affect its ability to function properly. If you find yourself with this problem there are some steps that you can take to avoid this headache. Some are easy and cost effective DIY projects!


All thermostats have at least two fan control options, “on” and “auto”. One thing you can try is toggling your thermostat fan option from “auto” to “on”. When the fan is set to auto the fan will only run when the system kicks on to heat or cool your home to the desired set temperature. Once your home reaches that set temperature the fan will cut off along with your system. When the fan setting is changed to “on” your fan will stay on continuing to circulate the air throughout your home. With the continued circulation the temperatures between floors will even out. You may not get the complete result you are looking for but it should help.

Now, running the fan will add to your monthly energy costs but it shouldn’t be by much. Depending on the type of furnace you utilize you will be looking at approximately $5.00 – $20.00 per monthly bill.


The air vents can severely affect the air flow in your home causing uneven heating and cooling. Start by first checking all of the vents to ensure they are not blocked or dirty. If anything like bulky furniture is blocking the vent, move it to allow the air to flow as designed. Any dirty or clogged vents can be cleaned easily with your standard vacuum cleaner.

There are several problems that closed off or blocked vents can and will cause to the system itself. Our blog here lists the reasons you should never fully close your vents for any reason. That being said, it is okay to partially close a vent to redirect some air flow from one floor to the other.


If your attic lacks the proper amount of insulation you will notice a big difference in the temperatures between floors. The amount and the type of insulation will both play a vital role in keeping inside air in and outside air out. Insufficient insulation also causes your system to run harder and longer leading to higher utility bills and unnecessary breakdowns. If you do not have the proper amount/type of insulation you’d be surprised how much of a difference can be made by replacing or correcting it.


The duct carrying the air to different parts of your home is an extremely vital part of your HVAC system. A massive amount of air can be lost with small leaks here and there. This air loss can not only cause uneven temperatures in your home but can lead to system failures. The tears and holes in your duct will make your system work harder and longer to compensate for the missing air.

Inspecting and repairing your ductwork of some small tears can easily be done on your own. Most homeowners think duct-tape is the best route for repair because of its name, but that just isn’t the case. If you decide to go the DIY route, purchase a foil tape made especially for this type of repair. You can find foil tape at most local hardware stores. Should you find any ductwork with large holes, unattached, or hanging you should probably call in a professional to make sure repairs are made properly. Our blog can further explain why it is sometimes good to call in a professional.


While zoning systems can be a large investment, it can also be the most effective way to deal with uneven temperatures. With zoning systems you will have a different thermostat for each zone. This affords you the ability to set a different temperature for each floor or area.

Zoning systems can be complex with multiple configuration options. Make sure you have a professional and knowledgeable service company set up and install any kind of zoning system you chose for your home.


If your system is older you may be experiencing these problems because it simply cannot keep up. Systems lose their efficiency over time. Units that are 10 years or older are often on the last phase of their life expectancy. They will start to show signs with breakdowns, higher energy bills, and overall inefficiency.

When properly installed and sized, newer systems will heat and cool much more evenly. Purchasing a new system is a huge decision costing thousands of dollars. Make sure you do your homework when choosing a company, brand, and size of system. This is something that you and your family will have to live with for the next 10-15 years. There are many factors to consider in order to properly replace your current system. Do not be afraid to ask questions and get multiple estimates. Replacement estimates should always be free so get as many as you need. We always suggest getting no less than three. Our blog, here, should help point you in the right direction to ensure you are hiring the right service company.

If you find that you need professional help with any of the above, R. A. Styron can help. We have serviced all of the Hampton Roads area for the past 60+ years. It doesn’t matter the type of system you have we can repair or replace it with complete customer satisfaction. We even replace and repair ductwork! Contact us today to schedule your appointment with one of  our talented technicians. You will not be disappointed.

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