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Dalton Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, Electric and Fireplaces, Inc. Blog

Why Is It Hotter Upstairs Than Downstairs?

Well, this is an interesting question, but one that would be irresponsible to just answer in a simple few words. While it might sound like your air conditioner is encountering problems that require AC repair in Cedar Rapids, IA, that might not necessarily be the case.

For instance, the laws of thermodynamics dictate that heat rises, no matter what. So, on a hot day, your upstairs rooms are just more likely to get hotter than the downstairs ones. But if your home is well insulated and your AC is in good shape, that might not necessarily be the case.

Sound confusing? Don’t worry, we’ll cover this naturally occurring phenomenon and more down below. Just be sure to call our team if you think the problem stems from the fact that your air conditioner is running incorrectly.

It’s Not So Simple

We know that the phrase “heat rises” makes sense, we see it happening all the time. But in truth, that’s not really how it works under the hood. Heat moves from areas of high temperature to areas of low temperature, which is what the laws of thermodynamics tell us.

So why does heat rise? This is due to an effect called convection, which is basically when the less dense, cooler air that’s naturally above us tends to attract the heat that needs to go somewhere. As the day gets hotter, the heated air travels upwards to areas of lower pressure, where it might be released in the atmosphere or get trapped.

Trapped Heat Upstairs

So, when the convection process occurs in your home, this natural amount of hot air ends up getting stuck in your well-insulated attic or top floor. Unless you’ve got a vent to clear that hot air, or an air conditioning system that wards away the heat in the first place, there can be a big problem.

This is how temperature differentials between floors can happen, and it’s an issue with air conditioning systems that deal with extremely hot temperatures.

What Can Be Done?

First things first, we need to stop the air from getting hot inside of your home in the first place. This requires insulation and air conditioning.

  • Make sure your home is well insulated, by keeping windows and doors closed and tightly sealed. As long as it’s harder for air conditioning to escape your home, you won’t have to worry about super hot temperatures infiltrating the upstairs. Keep in mind that every floor of your home should be insulated if it’s being air conditioned.
  • Then, make sure your air conditioner is working properly. Change the air filter, get it maintained every season, and invest in repairs when you think something is wrong. This will keep your home from getting too hot, or your AC from getting overwhelmed during a heatwave.

The laws of thermodynamics are unrelenting. But with some professional help and a little bit of human enginuity, your home doesn’t need to be too hot.

At Dalton Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, Electric and Fireplaces, Inc., your comfort is our promise! To set up an appointment in the Cedar Falls area, give us a call at the number above, email or schedule an appointment online.

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