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5 Tips for How to Cool Upstairs of a 2-Story Home

It happens at least a few times a year: the day is done, it’s time for bed, and as you climb the stairs to your bedroom … where you realize the temperature is 10 degrees warmer than downstairs.

At the very least, it’s inconvenient since you want to sleep in a nice, cool environment. Maybe there’s a simple explanation. Perhaps it happened because you didn’t notice the weather had turned warmer, and you haven’t turned on your air conditioning for the year. But it could also be worrisome—why is the house still too hot when you’ve cranked the AC up all the way?

There are some key reasons the second floor is so much warmer. Remember that heat rises, so it will always naturally be just a little bit warmer anyway. Also, your roof can absorb the energy from the sun. This means that you might feel some heat radiating down from the roof or attic on sunny days (unless you have tree cover or other shade). Another factor might be the age of your ductwork. If it isn’t airtight or if it was installed poorly, your air conditioning unit might have a hard time circulating cool air properly. Sometimes, discovering the source of the problem could be the key to solving it.

Below are some pointers to help you save some degrees and some cash: 5 tips for how to cool the upstairs of a 2-story home.


1. Use the Fans

Sometimes the old ways are best. Since heat rises, there may be cooler air on the floor of your second story. Using a fan will stir that up and circulate the cooler air through the rooms more evenly. It doesn’t even matter what kind of fan you use in this instance. It can be a ceiling fan, floor fan, or even box fan that’s stored away the rest of the year.

If you’re trying to save some energy, though, remember that fans cool people rather than rooms. All the fan does is replace the hot or humid air with cooler and drier air, giving you a little reprieve from the ambient temperature. You can give the fan a little time to work its magic while you’re in the room, but turn the fan off when you leave. A fan isn’t like an air conditioner—it doesn’t actually make a difference as far as the temperature goes.

Want to up your fangame? Set a bowl of ice in front of your fan and then sit in front of the ice. As the ice melts, the cold air and water vapor will be blown at you for a nice, cool breeze. You won’t get a benefit from this if you’re moving around the room, but it works nicely if you’re sitting in front of the fan and if you’re super sweaty, such as after a workout.

2. Check Out Your Filters

Air filters reduce allergens and other contaminants in the air you breathe, but those particles can build up on the filter itself or in the ducts. If you haven’t changed your filter in a while, it could be that the cool air isn’t circulating properly because your ducts are blocked. Once you clean your ducts and replace your air filters, you will also experience better air quality, so make sure this is part of an annual or semi-annual bit of maintenance you do on your HVAC system.

If you’ve lived in your house for a long time and haven’t changed your filters (or if you don’t even know where they are), it’s a good idea to contact us today so we can help you with that. Your lungs and your allergy symptoms will thank you.

3. On a Hot Day, Don’t Run Your Appliances

In the heat of the day, running your washing machine and dryer, oven, curling irons, or dishwasher can contribute to a higher temperature within your house. Even the appliances on the first floor of your house can contribute to that since the heat will rise to the second floor. If that heat gets trapped inside, your upstairs will be much warmer than it should be. Save doing your laundry or washing your dishes for early in the morning or late at night, when it’s cooler. Your house will be easier to keep cool that way.

Similarly, if it’s hot outside, maybe enjoy a cool dinner that doesn’t require cooking, such as a salad or sushi rolls, or try grilling outside, where the heat won’t affect the temperature inside the house. Just make sure to close the door when you’re going in and out of the house because you can let the hot air in.

4. Seal Your Air Ducts

This one requires hiring a professional. We would love to help you. Entek is the leading duct sealing expert, and we can help put some pizzazz back into the efficiency of your ducts. Not only does sealing your ducts help with temperature control (both hot and cold), but it can also help with your air quality. If your leaky ducts let in outside air, it means you can be experiencing more allergy symptoms and that fumes from garden and kitchen materials may not be filtered out of the air you breathe all day in your home. Ask us about Aeroseal—it’s a newer technology in duct sealing, and it could also help you save on energy costs.

5. Reduce the Sunlight Coming In

This is most important in the afternoon. Be sure at least by lunchtime that you have closed all the blinds you can to block out sunlight and UV rays on both your first and second floors. There are heat-blocking shades and UV-blocking film available that can help you with this too, especially if you have a large set of windows that face south and get a lot of sun throughout the day. Lastly, if you have plans to upgrade your windows, consider installing energy-efficient double-pane windows.

Entek is the longest-serving Carrier provider in the Pacific Northwest for residential, commercial, and industrial HVAC systems. Our certified professionals proudly serve the greater Portland area and surrounding counties since 1946. We can help you figure out how to the upstairs of your 2-story home. Contact us today!

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