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Why Does My Third Floor Not Get Enough Air Flow?

The third floor always seems to be a problem when it comes to cooling in the summer. It’s probably a familiar feeling walking up the steps to a third floor bedroom or loft and feeling the wall of heat as you go up the stairs. It’s one of the complaints we hear the most when people are calling us in the summer. 

In some cases, it’s because of the AC installation, other times, it could be the ductwork There are a few reasons, and we want to walk you through why the third floor doesn’t get enough air flow, and how to fix the problem.

My Upstairs Is Too Hot

There are several reasons why your upstairs is too hot, compared to your basement and living room. Let’s address the most obvious reason. Heat rises! Heat will always drift up, and it always makes the upstairs part of a house harder to cool. That doesn’t mean you should just accept hot and uncomfortable bedrooms though. 

If you have an air conditioner that is functioning properly, you should be able to cool every space in your home. If your third floor isn’t getting enough air flow, these could be the issues: 

  • Your AC Is Failing
  • Your Filter Is Clogged
  • Your Thermostat Isn’t Working Or Misplaced
  • Your Ductwork Is Failing

As you can see, the first and most important issue could be a failing AC, but there is more than just your AC that cools and helps with airflow around your home. 


Your AC Is Failing

If there is poor air flow on your third floor, the problem could simply be a weak and failing AC system. If your system is 10+ years old, it may just be giving out and struggling to reach the toughest parts of your home. 

Also consider if you have had regular maintenance on your system. If you haven’t had your AC serviced this season, it could be time for a visit from a professional. Servicing your system will help maintain your efficiency, and prolong the life of your AC system. 

If you think your AC is old and failing, call a professional. They should be able to diagnose your problem and let you know what the best option is. Oftentimes the AC is just fine, but there is another problem preventing the air from getting to the third floor, which you’ll see in the following points. 


Your Filter Is Clogged

If you haven’t changed your air filter in a few months, it could be clogging up your system. The air filter catches debris and airborne particles that flow through the AC system. These particles are captured in your filter before they can get out into the air, and eventually build up. 

If you aren’t changing your filter regularly, it becomes a roadblock for the air coming from your AC system. Not only is this stopping the flow of air, but it also creates dirtier, unhealthy air to breath. 

Changing your air filter helps your home, your AC system, and allows the air to flow easily around your home. When you block the air, it will still likely get to the closest places like the living room, but won’t be able to flow upstairs into the bedrooms as seamlessly. 


Your Thermostat Isn’t Working Or Is Misplaced

When you set your thermostat to a certain temperature, it reads the temperature of your home, and sends signals to your air conditioner on how hard it should be working. If your thermostat isn’t reading these temperatures correctly, it will send the wrong signals. 

Your thermostat may not be accounting for the heat on the third floor, and then it doesn’t send any signal to the AC to fire up and cool that space. 

Upgrading your thermostat can help you keep the house cool. Smart thermostats today are designed to pay attention to every part of the house, and even have sensors that can be placed around your home as well. Have a technician look at your thermostat to see if it’s still reading properly and sending out the right signals. 


Your Ductwork Is Failing

Tons of homes use ductwork to carry the air from their system, and distribute it throughout the home. If your ductwork is improperly installed, or potentially leaking, it could be the reason air isn’t getting to every spot of your home the way it should. 

Ductwork can be tricky, and if you don’t have an expert installing it, they may set you up with a system that simply isn’t conducive for proper air flow. We have gone into homes that have perfectly fine AC systems, but the contractor who installed the ductwork did a poor job of installing it. Constructing a proper duct system for easy air flow is the key to making sure even the tough places feel cool in the summer. 

You may also have leaks or cracks in your ductwork. On average, systems leak 15% of air due to poor sealant at the seams of your ductwork. This can happen over time, and if the original ductwork is not sealed with mastic, this could definitely become an issue. 


What Should You Do?

The first thing we recommend is to change the air filter. If you have an old, clogged air filter, this could do the trick and you may see increased air flow. If your filter is fine, call an expert. 

You likely won’t be able to tell without the proper tools if your AC, ducts, or thermostat are the problem. You may also just have a house that has poor insulation, and the cool air keeps leaking out. 

A professional will be able to diagnose your situation, and give you the best advice on how to fix it. 


Adding A Ductless Mini-Split System

There are some instances where a professional may recommend a supplemental system to help take care of problem areas. We’ve seen many homes that have a traditional, whole home HVAC system, but still use window AC units or space heaters to take care of rooms in the winter and summer. 

We love ductless mini-splits for this situation. It helps take the pressure off of your AC or heating system, and makes the space more comfortable. Instead of stressing your HVAC system and working it harder to reach every room, you can install a ductless mini-split which has the ability to heat and cool, FAR more quietly than a window unit can. 

Ask your HVAC contractor if a ductless mini-split is the right solution for your third floor cooling issues! 


AC Installation In Chalfont, PA

Synergy3 is an expert AC Installer In Chalfont, PA, and the surrounding areas. We have installed heat pumps, ductless mini-splits, furnaces, and traditional AC systems for years, and want to make sure that everyone in our community is comfortable in their homes and businesses. Give us a call at (267) 686-6004 or click here to visit us online