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Heating & Air Conditioning

Air conditioning: Dealing with uneven temperatures.

Summer is coming, which means it’s time to get the good old AC up and running. We’ve already shared lots of tips about how to get your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system ready to keep your home cool this summer … but what if you follow all the advice and still find that the temperature inside your home isn’t consistent? 

Hot air rises, so during the summer, upstairs floors naturally feel warmer than downstairs, no matter how high you crank the central air conditioning. But if it’s more than just a minor difference, it can make upstairs bedrooms really uncomfortable. And let’s be honest, there’s no worse feeling than not being able to sleep at night because of the heat. 

So, what should you do if you find your home is much cooler down below and hotter up above? First, let’s examine why your upstairs is so toasty. Hot air is attracted to higher floors for a couple of reasons:

Hot air rises

Hot air naturally rises, which is just basic physics. Since your HVAC system is likely installed in the basement or on your first floor, it has to work hard to push cool air up through the ducts. Higher density cool air will naturally want to settle on your lower floors while lighter, warmer air will rise … and make those upstairs bedrooms feel warmer. 

A hot summer roof

During the summer months, the sun beats down on your roof, causing the temperature inside your home to rise. Without excellent ventilation, this heat will become trapped in the upper levels of your home and contribute to sweltering temperatures. Consider installing a lighter coloured roof, beefing up your attic insulation, or adding natural shade from trees to your landscaping to help keep your roof cool.

Improperly maintained or installed ducts

If you don’t already schedule regular duct cleanings, you might want to start. You can’t imagine the dirt, dust, allergens, and other debris that accumulates there over time. Dirty ducts limit airflow, and the circulation in your home will be less efficient. This makes it harder for your system to overcome the physics of hot air rising. You may also want to have an HVAC specialist take a look at how your ductwork is installed to ensure that it encourages good airflow within your home.

So how can you help your house cool down from top to bottom? Help keep those temperatures more even by following these tips:

• Get your ducts inspected and cleaned

One of the first things you should do if your air conditioner isn’t circulating cool air properly is have your ducts cleaned. This could be an easy fix to improve air circulation and encourage cooled air to reach the higher levels of your home more easily.

• Reconfigure vents

Closing vents downstairs could direct more cool air upstairs. Be strategic about where you close the vents so that you know the air will flow to the rooms where it is hottest. This isn’t a permanent fix though – closing vents restricts air flow throughout your home and could make your HVAC system work harder, increasing wear and tear over time.

• Install a heat pump

Heat pumps are a great way to give your central air conditioning the little boost it needs – and in some cases, can even replace an air conditioner altogether. Despite what the name suggests, a heat pump doesn’t just heat. During the summer months, it will take the warm air from your home and transfer it to the outside. In the winter, heat pumps work in the opposite way to help your home stay warm and reduce heating costs. It’s a win-win.

• Replace your AC unit

If you’ve maintained your HVAC system and ducts, but still find that your home is cooling unevenly, it could be an indication that your AC unit is beginning to quit on you. Central air conditioning units don’t last forever, and even with proper maintenance, you’ll only likely get 15-20 years from one. This may be overwhelming, but Whyte Ridge’s reliable HVAC specialists can help you to select and install a new system. 

If you’re feeling the heat this summer, book an appointment to have one of our technicians visit your home. We’re committed to honest, reliable service so you know you can trust Whyte Ridge to diagnose and resolve any issues with your HVAC system – and help you keep your cool.