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How to Increase Airflow to Second Floor

Your air conditioning system is supposed to keep your entire home at a comfortable temperature, even on the hottest summer days.

But if you live in a two-story home or have even more floors in your house, you may know the pain of having a comfortable downstairs temperature and sweating bullets as soon as you hit the top landing. And no amount of ceiling fans in the world can make a hot upstairs cooler without a stronger air conditioner.

If you're looking to bring down the temperature upstairs, we have the tips you need.

Why Is the Second Floor So Hot?

You may have heard before that heat rises. This is true in your house, even with an HVAC system installed. Your system should circulate out the hot, stagnant air and bring conditioned air. But if all the hot air rises to the second floor, the AC may not be working as hard to cool because the first floor is the ideal temperature (or cooler).

Additionally, the top floors are closer to the roof. The roof gets all the sunlight and heat. And if there isn't enough distance or insulation from your attic crawl space to your upstairs bedrooms, your AC will have to work twice as hard to make up the difference.

How Do I Improve the Cooling on My Second Floor?

Don't settle for a hot upstairs. Use these techniques to improve the airflow throughout your second or third floor and enjoy your home year-round.

1. Turn the Fan on to Increase Air Flow

One of the ways air conditioners remove warmer breezes is turning your thermostat fan setting to ON. When you keep the fan mode on, you increase airflow.

However, this may not be the solution if you're not getting any breeze from your system. If you are stuck asking yourself, "Why are my upstairs vents not blowing air?", you may have a more severe problem on your hands. A faulty fan could be the cause of all your upstairs cooling woes.

Turn off the system, then turn on only fan mode. If you can't hear the fan powering on, you may have a problem, and it's time to bring in a professional.

2. Increase the Size of the Second-Floor Return Duct and Vent to Remove Hot Air

If you have a large upstairs with hot rooms and a small return air vent and duct, it may not be large enough to get the job done efficiently. This smaller air return vent and duct have to work harder than they should just to remove warm air upstairs. By making them bigger, you may be able to combat poor airflow in your cooling system.

3. Put Smaller Return Vents and Ducts in Each Room

If the current return vent setup isn't enough to remove the warm air from the upper floors, then more second-floor vents may be the ideal solution. This won't work with every home, so you should consult with an AC vent professional before you get to work on smaller vents in your upstairs rooms.

4. Invest in a Dual Zone Setup to Control the Cool Air on the Second Floor

This is perhaps one of the most foolproof solutions but also one of the most expensive. But if there seems to be nothing that keeps your top floor cool, this will ensure your central air system is best suited to your entire home.

A dual zoned HVAC system relies on two separate AC units — one for upstairs and one for downstairs. This ensures that each unit works independently to keep each floor cool, no matter how comfortable it is downstairs. And by working independently to function as needed, it can also cut down on energy usage and the cooling cost of your home.

5. Have a Professional Inspect the Ductwork

While you can inspect the air ducts leading upstairs yourself, an HVAC professional will be able to spot the problems you might miss in faulty ductwork. First, they will ensure that dirty filters aren't the problem as dirt can restrict airflow in one room or all upstairs spaces.

They will also check for leaks or gaps in the ducts running upstairs. They may offer duct tape or foil tape as a temporary solution until more can be done.

6. Purchase a New Air Conditioner

No HVAC system is meant to last forever. Eventually, your air conditioning unit could be restricting airflow. At that point, there's no hope for an extra ceiling fan. A new central air system is the only way to effectively improve cooling upstairs.

Before you buy a new system, call ARS/Rescue Rooter. We can inspect and verify if a new system is the best way to go and how to get the best value.

Additional Tips for Cooling the Second Floor

In addition to caring for your HVAC unit, these tips help create the ideal environment for your AC to succeed. So before you start investing in bigger air vents or replacing you air filter, try a few of these tips to keep upstairs cool.

  • Reduce Sunlight — In the hot summer months, give your air conditioner a hand by making the cooling process easier. By putting up shades on the windows on the second floor and reducing the sun's heat, the AC system can better do its job.

  • Properly Insulate — Your attic space is typically the hottest part of the house. To ensure only the cooler air remains in your interior space, check that there's plenty of insulation keeping hotter breezes out.

  • Install an Attic Fan — Similar to insulation, this addresses the problem of hot attics. You can cool down a hot roof with a fan. This allows for more air coming that's fresh to displace the stagnant air. This makes it easier to keep an upper floor cool as it isn't covered by a stuffy attic.

  • Close First-Floor Supply Vents — Your AC can focus on airflow for the top floors by closing vents for the lower floors.

Contact ARS/Rescue Rooter to Keep Your Second Floor Cool Year-Round

If you're tired of a stuffy upstairs, it's time to let the heating and cooling professionals step in. Call ARS/Rescue Rooter. We improve airflow in your home, ensuring comfortable temperatures and excellent indoor air quality with clean, new air filters.

If these DIY tips don't do the trick, schedule a home evaluation and we'll ensure you're ready for all the summer weather, even upstairs.

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