When Your Upstairs is Cold
LESLIE: Theresa in Virginia, you’re on The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
THERESA: I have a problem with my upstairs being colder than downstairs.
LESLIE: What type of heating system do you have at the house?
THERESA: Gas forced air.
TOM: And is it one zone?
TOM: Do you have a return duct in the hallway on the second floor, Theresa?
THERESA: Yes, I do.
TOM: Is it in the hallway or is it in each individual room?
THERESA: No, it’s in the hall.
TOM: A couple of things that you can do.
First of all, you’re probably not getting enough return air there, so I would want to make sure that the return duct is working properly. A good way to check that is with your heating system on, or at least the fan on, take a tissue and hold it right near the return duct and make sure it sticks to it because it would be sort of sucking in.
The second thing is, with all of the rooms upstairs, you want to make sure that if the doors are closed they have a very good sized gap underneath them. You need about an inch under the door for the air that’s supplied to the rooms to be able to recirculate back to the return duct. And only by recirculating that way will you be able to have enough temperature build up in the air to warm it up.
And then lastly, the thing you should be checking is insulation. The attic ceiling above that has got to have 10 to 15 inches of insulation; otherwise, all of these things will be for naught.
So take a look, Theresa, and see if any of that makes sense to you. But you’re probably not getting enough return air upstairs and that’s what’s going on.