Fix Our Cold Upstairs During Winter

Plan Your Project to Fix Your Cold Upstairs

Homeowners must eliminate air leakage in order to reduce heat loss upstairs. For example, air leaks exist through holes, gaps and penetrations in the attic(s). Otherwise, the warm air in our homes continuously escapes through these holes in the attic.

Air Seal & Insulate to Fix a Cold Upstairs

After air sealing as much as possible, add or increase insulation in the attic, exterior walls, floors over unheated spaces and kneewalls. Also, always install insulation with continuity and proper thickness.

Additionally, test the windows on the second floor for air leakage. Many widows yield excessive air leakage around the window unit (between the window itself and the rough opening of the house framing). Frequently, window gaps create air leaks. Finally, window gaps remain a primary source for air to enter or exit the home in the wintertime.

Many times, properly air sealing and insulating homes helps correct the uncomfortable conditions on the second floor without a need to do anything else. If, however, after minimizing the heat loss as much as possible by tightening the home and insulating, it is determined that additional heat supply is necessary, several possible options can be considered.

Add Additional Heating to Fix Cold Upstairs

Adding additional heating supply ducts to the second floor remains possible. This is never easy. For new supply ducts to be added, the new ducts need to be run from the existing heating system to the attic. In many existing homes, adding additional supply ducts is a very challenging task and best left up to an experienced contractor.

Similar to adding supply ducts, improving the return duct system often requires the physical space between the existing heating system and the second floor to install the return ducts. Improving the return duct system often improves heat flow throughout the second floor of the home by eliminating pressure imbalances.

Other options include adding a separate zone to the second floor (and a dedicated thermostat for the second floor). Also, installing a separate heating system on the second floor (also with its own dedicated thermostat for the second floor) such as a Ductless Split HVAC Unit.

Energy Audits Identify Underlying Issues That Cause a Cold Upstairs

Ultimately, improving the comfort of homes with cold second stories remains challenging. As a result, GreenHomes recommends getting a quality energy audit for your home. When done properly, an energy audit pinpoints the true sources of comfort problems. Plus, proper audits identify energy waste in your home. For example, audits find excessive air leaks or insufficient insulation levels. The energy audit provides your roadmap or plan for creating a more comfortable, energy efficient home.

Common Questions about Energy Audits by Homeowners:

Remember, a high-quality Home Energy Audit will be a critical step for determining your project for creating a more comfortable home. However, the energy audit by itself doesn’t improve the conditions of the home at all. Only when actually install the prioritized recommendations will you lower your heating cooling costs and feel more comfortable in your home.