When Arizona temperatures begin to rise in the middle of the year, and daily average highs from June through September are in the triple digits, homeowners turn to their homes for relief!
Any home in the greater Phoenix area, including Chandler, Tempe, and Scottsdale, should be able to offer cool indoor temperatures and protection from the harsh summer sun throughout every room. But as you may already know, many don’t!
Generally, there are three main factors that contribute to hot rooms upstairs – insulation, ductwork or your HVAC system, or it can be a combination of all three of those!
If the second floor of your home is a no-go zone in the afternoon due to insufferable temperatures, and you spend the PM hours quarantined downstairs until the upstairs temperatures finally begin to drop at night, you’re not alone! But did you know that a hot upstairs isn’t just part of the unavoidable reality of living in the Southwest?
What Causes Hot Second Floors in the Summer?
You may not realize it, but how comfortable you are in your home, whether it’s temperature, humidity, or just something that seems off with the air, is often closely tied to your insulation, ductwork or air conditioning system. Common causes include:
Old or Improperly Installed Insulation
Insulation helps slow the transfer of heat between the building materials that make up your home’s building shell. Insulation needs to be 100% aligned with a continuous surface (such as ceiling drywall) or it will not function at its full intended R-value and essentially becomes ineffective at slowing heat transfer (which means a hot upstairs!) If there are gaps and voids in the insulation installation, it will always cause issues with hot rooms. Not to mention, if there simply just isn’t enough insulation installed in the attic there will be issues with hot rooms as well.
As wall and attic insulation ages or is exposed to elements like moisture (think monsoon season in Phoenix!), it becomes less effective at preventing outdoor heat from making its way into your home. Insulation installation or replacement can lead to more consistent temperatures throughout your home and reduced heating and cooling waste. SRP and APS can help you offset the cost with insulation rebates!
An HVAC system that’s too big or too small
If your HVAC sizing is off, you could be suffering not only from additional heating and cooling costs, but comfort issues as well. An oversized air conditioner can short cycle and have trouble making some of the areas in your home completely comfortable. Contrary to what most people think, the longer your system runs, the more airflow can get to areas in your home that are too hot, such as the upstairs. The only way to ensure proper AC sizing is to complete a full load calculation. Let our expert efficiency and comfort advisers help you have peace of mind that you’re installing the properly sized AC system for your home!
An air conditioner that needs to be serviced
Sometimes the fix is as simple as calling to schedule AC repair. Air conditioners are just like any other mechanical equipment—they need to be inspected and tuned-up to continue seeing high efficiency and performance. For example, an AC refrigerant leak can cause the air blowing out of your supply vents to be lukewarm or just hot, which will obviously have an impact on home comfort (and your electric bills!). Remembering to schedule regular AC maintenance before every cooling season can go a long way towards avoiding expensive air conditioning issues.
Air leaks in your home
Tiny cracks and gaps in your building’s envelope can develop over time, and extreme outside temperatures can highlight the negative effects of those air leaks. Air movement through a home in the summer flows downward, with hot air pushing in through the top of your home and forcing cooler indoor air out through its bottom levels.
Air sealing fills in air leaks, making your insulation more effective and helping to prevent indoor moisture problems as well.
Poorly designed or leaking ductwork
Did you know that the typical ductwork system loses 25 to 40% of the energy produced by your furnace or air conditioner through duct leaks and duct insulation issues? Additionally, too many turns or complex ductwork design flaws can make it difficult for conditioned air to reach every room in your home, especially if ductwork is kinked or smashed. Think of air flowing through your ductwork like water flowing through a garden hose – if you kink a garden hose, no water will come out of it. The same concept applies to ductwork! If you have kinked or leaky ductwork that’s feeding your upstairs bedrooms, this could be one of the culprits. With Ideal Energy’s duct design and duct sealing services, we can help get more of the energy you pay for to where it needs to be! Our team can help you offset the cost of the duct sealing repairs with SRP and APS’ duct sealing rebates.
An HVAC system that needs to be replaced
Sometimes the best solution for a furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump that’s just too old is simply to replace it. On the bright side, replacing an aging HVAC system will almost certainly come with a significant increase in efficiency, and if you’re working with the whole home experts at Ideal Energy, you can feel confident that your new system will be sized correctly and installed properly to deliver years and years of comfortable indoor temperatures all summer (and winter) long.
Trust Your House to Phoenix’s Home Comfort Experts
Whether it’s replacing your AC filters or reviewing the different HVAC replacement options that would work best with your home, Ideal Energy has solutions both big and small for you and your family. Using our whole-home approach, we’ll find the exact cause of your problems and offer professional advice on how you can make your home comfortable again.
Put your air conditioning in good hands—reach out to Ideal Energy and tell us more about what’s going wrong in your home.