What are the Advantages of an Upstairs and Downstairs Thermostat?
Having a two- or three-story home leads to frequent issues with temperature control and comfort in the house. Should you go to having thermostats upstairs and downstairs? Different people in different rooms on different floors make keeping a good temperature throughout the house difficult. Knowing a little more about an HVAC system and thermostats, and how they really work, can help you and your family be comfortable. It can also make your heating and air systems more efficient.
Going Back to Science Class for a Minute
Heat rises. It has probably been a while since you took a science course. Keep in mind hot air constantly rises. The nature of heat is activity and growth, so warmed air molecules push upwards as the colder air contracts and it in effect sinks. Because of this, the upper floor of your multi-story home will certainly be the hottest throughout the day. This should set the foundation for just how to keep thermostat settings that will make this situation better.
One Thermostat for each Floor
One way of accomplishing dependable, steady temperature control on multiple floors is to have a thermostat on each floor of a multi-story property. If you do not, it will be difficult keeping good climate control on each story, especially the top floor of a house. If you do not have two or three thermostats, then you ought to consider putting in an upgraded zoned cooling and heating system for the whole house or building. One of the latest zoned heating and air systems permits split, along with precise, control of the temperature level for different floors.
How to Use Upstairs and Downstairs Thermostats
Once you decide to go with one thermostat per floor, what’s the most effective way to use them? It changes with the season outside.
The first or bottom story should be the set temperature you want for the house as a whole. Once you set the first-floor thermostat to the temp you like, and the system has hit it, the upper floors should be set two degrees cooler. Any more stories over that should be two more degrees cooler and so on. This configuration lets warmer air rise from the first floor, naturally making the floors above it a little warmer than what the thermostat is set to. This makes the systems as efficient as possible.
Just think of this the other way around. Set the top floor’s thermostat to the temperature you desire. The next floor down should be set two degrees cooler. Any floor under that needs to again be two degrees cooler. Now think of this as a temperature waterfall. The cool air from the top of the building falls. The cooler air helps the system runs less trying to fight the summer heat. This is the best way to have a consistent comfort level in a whole house during the summer.
What Happens When Thermostats are on the Same Temperature?
Even with a thermostat on each floor, you could then set each thermostat to the same temperature. This isn’t suggested. Your top or bottom floors, depending on the season and weather, will be fighting the elements and nature. Throughout the day, and maybe even nights, your heating or air system will keep running and be inefficient. By the time you get your energy bill, you won’t believe it. You won’t like what you see. Utilizing the waterfall tricks, though, lets you get the result you want with much less power used.
Thermostats are the Most Reliable in the Area They are Mounted
Thermostats are best at managing the temperature where they are. Say yours is installed in your living room: when that space gets to the pre-set temperature level, the whole system will cycle off. Other parts of the house, upstairs or downstairs, in the sun or shade, and other differences, could well be off that temperature.
Solutions to Different Temperatures in Different Parts of Your House
* Discover and Fix Dripping Ductwork
Leaking ductwork is rather simple to solve. Locate the source of the leakages and seal them with air duct tape. That said, we recommend working with an expert. They’ll understand where to look. It’s most often at joints and installations along the ductwork. A professional will also have pressurizing equipment to help them find as well as seal leaks. If you’re the DIY type, there are how-to videos out there which may help.
* Put in Better Insulation
With any heating, air, or temperature issues, adding or improving your home’s insulation is recommended. Better insulation can minimize energy loss and can reduce the influence of environmental variables on the temperature level inside your house. The U.S. Dept. of Energy provides some good suggestions for installing insulation, but again we suggest working with a professional expert.
* Include a Zoning System
Room zoning systems allow you to manage the temperatures separately from thermostats set up on each floor. These thermostats are set to control panels throughout your home. They interact with dampers that are installed inside your ductwork. The dampers are designed to open or close instantly according to how you set each thermostat. In addition to assisting you keep the right temperature on different floors, a zoned system makes it easy to warm or cool specific areas as needed or shut off extra areas.
* Install a Second Heating and Cooling System
If your cooling and heating or ductwork are improperly sized for your house, you might need to add a second system or replace your existing one entirely. This is your costliest option. It can give you much better control over all floors or areas of your house. We advise having your system checked by an expert to see if this is the fit for you.
At South End Heating & Air we specialize in thermostats, call us for a free consult. We’ll evaluate your system and help make recommendations for optimum value. After all, we want to keep you cool all summer long and warm in the winter. Just schedule a visit with one of our technicians to talk about how we can help with your heating needs. Would you like to learn more options our techs can help you with? give us a call 704-684-5339