The late summer days in South Central Pennsylvania can be some of the worst for home comfort, when the hot muggy days seem like they’ll never end and homeowners in York, Harrisburg, and Carlisle are looking everywhere for relief. One of the most common complaints we hear in our area is that people’s second floors, particularly their bedrooms, get so much hotter than the downstairs and are difficult to cool down. If you’re losing sleep because of the heat in your hot bedroom, and you’re thinking your ineffective air conditioner is to blame… you’re not alone!
Do you suspect your upstairs is too hot compared to the downstairs because it’s closer to the sun? That’s a good guess, but here’s what is actually happening in your home, and what you can do to fix it.
The Building Science Behind a Hot Second Floor
To understand your hot upstairs bedroom in the summer, it’s important to understand how heat and air move through a house. We won’t get too technical, here, so very simply there are two main things going on.
(1) On a summer day, the sun is beating down on your shingles, and they’re getting hot (a study in Florida measured shingles reaching a temperature of 180°F!). Some of that heat transfers through the shingles and the building materials of your roof, and into your attic, then through your attic space, through your attic floor, and into the upstairs rooms of your home.
(2) Hot air has a lower pressure than cool air and is more buoyant because it’s less dense. If there are small cracks and gaps in your home (and there are—it’s just a matter of how many), the difference in pressure leads to hot outdoor air forcing its way into the home, pushing cooler, denser air down and out the very bottom of your home. This is called the stack effect.
What Can You Do to
So how can you fight back against heat and hot air entering your home? You need to slow the movement of heat and air in and out of your home with upgraded insulation and air sealing.
Insulation and air sealing work together to keep your home comfortable. Insulation slows heat transfer in and out of a house, while air sealing prevents air movement. A home with proper insulation and air sealing also saves you money by being more energy efficient, as your heating and cooling systems will not need to work as hard or as long to maintain desired indoor temperatures. Insulation and air sealing are a year-round solution, and just as effective in keeping the summer heat out of your home as they are in keeping the heat from your furnace inside during a cold winter night.
Schedule Your Home Energy Audit Today
One of the best ways to confirm that the uneven temperatures in your home are the result of poor insulation and air leaks is with an energy audit from the professional insulation contractors at Energy Smart Home Improvement.
Our comprehensive audits measure air and heat movement in your home, and using tools like blower doors and infrared thermal imaging, we can get a better idea of exactly where the problem areas are. Using the results of an energy audit, your home auditor can recommend the best home improvement solutions for your home, including: