Why is My Upstairs Very Hot in the Summer blog header image
August 30, 2022

Many families are all too familiar with the dreaded hot second-floor syndrome in the summer, when a scorching afternoon can leave you with hot bedrooms upstairs while your downstairs remains much more comfortable.

Most people don’t realize what causes this common comfort issue in multi-story homes and how to fix it. Today we’re going to explain a building science principle called the “stack effect” and show both how the stack effect can be exacerbated by poor home performance and how you can fix it with upgraded insulation and air sealing.

What Is the Stack Effect?

At Home Energy Medics, we really get into the weeds with building science (hey, it’s our job, and we love what we do), but we understand that many homeowners don’t want to read a science textbook—they just want to know why their homes aren’t as comfortable as they’d prefer!

Very simply: the stack effect describes the movement of air in a building that results from differences in outdoor and indoor temperatures. In the summer, hot outdoor air, which is less dense than the cooler air in your home, forces its way into your attic, pushing the denser cool air down to the lower levels of your house and out through your basement or crawl space.

How is Heat Getting Into My Attic and the Top of My Home?

How do heat and hot outdoor air get into your home in the first place? There are two main sources of air and heat infiltration in the average house:

  1. Air leaks and cracks in your attic, including recessed lighting, holes created by utility companies for wiring, and more

  2. Insufficient, damaged, or missing attic insulation

The worse shape your home is in, the easier it will be for outdoor temperatures to enter your home and the more uncomfortable you’re likely to be on hot summer days and cold winter nights. The good news is: you don’t have to continue suffering! Upgrading the insulation in your home and air sealing protects you from outdoor temperatures. With proper insulation and home performance upgrades, you’ll benefit from:

  • More even indoor temperatures

  • Fewer outdoor air pollutants in your home

  • Lower energy costs

  • A quieter, more comfortable home

Schedule an Energy Audit with Your Local Insulation Contractor Today

If you’re serious about lowering heating and cooling bills and improving indoor comfort in your Arlington or Metro DC area home, we recommend a home energy audit before starting any home improvement work.

Energy audits help identify the underlying causes of many common problems homeowners experience, from high energy bills to comfort issues and much more. With the results of your audit, you’ll also receive our tailored recommendations for services that will make the biggest difference to your home—improvements you can actually feel!

Losing sleep because of the heat? Contact us today for relief from your local home performance experts.

Stop the summertime suffering!

Solve your hot bedroom problems with Home Energy Medics.

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