Every summer, your air conditioner works tirelessly to keep the entire home cool and breezy. From the basement to the attic, you expect the crisp cold air to flow freely, reaching every part of the house. Unfortunately, there is a common phenomenon where your AC unit doesn’t seem as effective upstairs. Your house may feel pleasantly cool on the ground floor, but the temperature gets much warmer as soon as you go up the stairs.
If you live in a two-storey home, you may have noticed a difference in the temperatures between the first and second floors. This is happening because warm air, which has less density, tends to rise above cold air. As your AC unit produces cool air on the first floor, the hot air is getting pushed upwards, so the heat lingers on the second floor of the house.
During the summer, a powerful air conditioner will cool the whole house from top to bottom. However, if you feel like the indoor temperature is still too warm, check out these seven methods on how to make the AC colder upstairs:
1. Clean the air filter in your AC
No matter where you are in the house, your air conditioner should be running at maximum efficiency. After all, you are less likely to make the AC colder upstairs unless the unit has been properly optimized.
A good place to start is by cleaning the air conditioner filter on a regular basis. When the air filter becomes clogged, this will decrease your AC’s cooling power significantly. If the problem persists, it may lead to further deterioration of the AC system. Cleaning or replacing a dirty air filter is an important task, and it should be one of the ongoing maintenance tasks for your air conditioner.
2. Install a window air conditioner upstairs
When the second floor feels too warm, this may indicate that your central air conditioner isn’t strong enough to cool down the entire house. In these instances, you can bring in reinforcements by installing a window air conditioner around the hot spots of your house. This small window unit can be placed near some of the commonly frequented rooms, such as the second-storey bedrooms.
Once installed, the AC unit will give a boost of cooling power, and the nearby areas will feel colder almost instantly. If you have a small window air conditioner upstairs, shut the doors in the rooms that you are not using. This way, the AC unit will focus its efforts on cooling only the important rooms.
3. Replace the AC system
An air conditioner is supposed to cool down your entire home, including all the rooms upstairs. If it doesn’t seem to be cooling the second floor effectively, then you need to assess whether your current HVAC system is still adequate.
Over time, air conditioners tend to malfunction, break apart, and perform less efficiently. A professional air conditioner inspection will reveal if the unit simply requires maintenance, or if the existing damages are beyond repair. In some situations, your old air conditioner may have deteriorated so much that a replacement is necessary.
When replacing the air conditioner, make sure you consult with the HVAC professionals to ensure you’re upgrading from your current model. Ideally, you’ll want a new air conditioner that is sized properly and has enough cooling power for the entire home.
4. Use your air supply registers efficiently
The air supply registers control the flow of cool air produced by your AC unit. A neat trick is to open the upstairs registers, while closing some of the ventilation points downstairs. By doing this, the airflow is being guided through a certain direction, which may make the temperatures colder on the higher floors.
Another helpful tip is to make sure these registers aren’t being obstructed by furniture. Move any potential clutter out of the way to improve the air circulation.
5. Seal the windows and open the doors upstairs
Improving the airflow in your home will help to make the AC colder upstairs. Start by checking each of your windows around the house. One or more windows can potentially be leaking, which means the cold air is escaping through the tiny cracks and gaps around the enclosure. Make sure you seal your windows properly, or you can replace them with energy-efficient windows to keep the house cooler.
In addition, you should leave the upstairs doors open as much as possible. By opening the doors, you create a passageway for the air to flow freely, which will help to make the AC colder upstairs.
6. Close the curtains and turn off the lights upstairs
To feel the full effects of your air conditioner, you want to minimize the heat sources in your home, especially on the second floor. When sunlight enters through your windows, it brings some heat inside the home. On hot sunny days, you should keep the shades and curtains closed to reduce the indoor temperature.
Another potential source of heat may be the lights in your home. When you have all the lights turned on, the lightbulbs could be emitting heat into the room. Try to keep the lights off to cool down the temperature upstairs. If you need some functional light inside a room, considering using energy-saving LED lights instead.
7. Insulate your attic
The attic is probably the most elevated room in your house, so this is the room that attracts a lot of heat. You can make the attic cooler by adding some insulation, which keeps the heat outdoors all summer long. Since this task requires extensive labour, it is recommended that you contact a professional to insulate the attic properly. Once the attic has been insulated, this can help the AC unit to cool the upstairs more efficiently.