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Multi-story homes face a pretty common problem when it comes to heating comfort. You will need separate thermostats for upstairs and downstairs, and it is crucial these are set up correctly for optimal comfort.

Upper stories are warmer than lower ones, so you want to adjust the temperature depending on the season to properly set up upstairs and downstairs thermostats. During the summer, set your upstairs thermostat to your desired temperature, and the downstairs unit two degrees warmer. During winter, set the downstairs temperature to the ideal level, and upstairs two degrees colder.

During the winter, this isn't as much of a problem, because you want a warmer home. But it's always helpful during those winter months to set your thermostat to around 72 to 75 degrees. The warm air will naturally rise and push cooler air downstairs. During those summer months, when you run your air conditioner, you probably notice that your upstairs rooms always feel cooler than your downstairs rooms, and you’re probably not sure what to do with it.

Below we dive deeper into how to properly set up upstairs and downstairs thermostats depending on the season and any other concerns we often hear.

Split Up Your Thermostats

If you have a multi-story home, you probably have a multi-zone air conditioning system as well. This gives you individual temperature control over each floor in your home and having this control can allow you to be more comfortable in your home and save money on your energy bills.

Many homeowners mistakenly believe that they should keep both of their thermostats set exactly the same at all times. This is a mistake: the air upstairs will almost always be warmer, and as a result, you wind up with a downstairs area that’s comfortable and an upstairs that’s frustratingly warm. Instead, use this independence to your advantage.

During summer, you’ll want to give your upstairs rooms a bit more of an advantage, so you’ll want to actually set them at a cooler temperature. Naturally, the cool air will fall, keeping your downstairs rooms cool as well. Here’s what you do: set your upstairs thermostat to your desired temperature goals, and then set your downstairs unit to be two degrees warmer. For most homes, this naturally encourages a temperature balance that’s comfortable and right at your desired temperature goals. Likewise, with how long it takes for the hot and cold air to change places, it will likely hold this equilibrium for longer, which means less time running your system and less money out of your pocket on energy bills.

During winter, your upstairs rooms will still continue to receive the heat, and your downstairs floor will probably feel cold. In this situation, you simply reverse the process. Set your downstairs thermostat to be your desired temperature, and set your upstairs unit two degrees cooler. This way your downstairs floor will get a little bit of an extra heat boost that keeps them warm and comfortable. Likewise, the rising air will continue to provide warmth to the upstairs rooms without having to run your heater that often. This works to balance out the heat throughout your home and prevent both your upstairs and downstairs thermostats from having to switch on as often.

Other Multi-Story Tips

Of course, setting your thermostats properly only does so much. Other issues can exacerbate the problem of inconsistent temperature between floors. Check your windows and doors for air leaks periodically, and replace any rubber or silicone seals that have worn out or become cracked, as they’re a huge source of unwanted heat loss or intrusion. Second, make sure the insulation between your attic and the house below is sufficient and free from leaks that could allow even more heat loss or intrusion. Finally, make sure all vents are left open and your air conditioner and heater can run at their fullest capacity. This will not only help your system complete its job faster but reduce the frequency with which your system needs to turn on and off.

Call the Sterling HVAC services team from Donmar Heating and Cooling today at (703) 457-8676 to request more information or get help with temperature inconsistency in your home.
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