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If you’re looking for simple ways for how to cool upstairs of a 2-story home, you’ve definitely come to the right place.

We know firsthand just how stressful it can be to properly control the temperature of your house.

Especially when you’re dealing with two floors.

After reading this guide, cooling the upstairs of your home will never be a challenge for you again.

We’ve made a comprehensive list of the best 2-story house air conditioning tips to keep your upstairs comfortable and not feeling like a hot dungeon.

So, if you’re ready to put your cooling troubles behind you, keep on reading.

We guarantee that if you implement these strategies, you’ll see a big difference in how your home regulates temperature.

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2-Story House Air Conditioning Tips

Consider Using A Window Air Conditioner

If you don’t have one already, you should really give some thought to installing a window air conditioner on the second floor of your house.

If you strategically place a window AC unit in your two story-home, you can unlock some powerful (and cheap) cooling potential.

The trick is to do one of these two things when installing a window air conditioner:

  • Place the air conditioner in a window that’s in the hallway
  • Place the air conditioner inside a room that has a window directly across from an open door that leads to the hallway

Positioning a window air conditioner in those places will allow the unit to better regulate the heat on your second floor.

Window AC units are quite affordable too.

Depending on the size you get, you can spend as little as $150 or a good unit and less than $20 each month to run it every day considering how many watts does the window AC use.

Check out this window air conditioner reviews guide to find out how to choose the right one for your needs.

Another option is to use a portable air conditioner. How do portable air conditioners work? Essentially, the same way as a window unit. The difference is that a portable AC sits on the floor and ventilates out through a tube connected to the window.

You can see our portable air conditioner reviews here.

It’s also worth mentioning that there are window air conditioner models that can be installed inside a wall. That way, you can keep access to your windows as well as not worry about putting it up and taking it down each season.

The best wall AC units available come in a variety of sizes to meet your room size needs and budget. Consider getting one if you want a permanent solution for your cooling needs.

See all of Amazon’s Best Selling Window AC Units

Compliment Your Air Conditioner With A Fan

Regardless if you use your central air conditioner or a window AC unit, a well-positioned fan can take the cooling capabilities of these systems to the next level.

Essentially, running a floor-standing fan will help distribute the cold air generated by your air conditioner at a faster rate.

You can also direct the air wherever you feel it is not adequately being cooled.

Installing ceiling fans in your upstairs rooms is another option if they don’t have them already.

Ceiling fans work in much the same way as a floor fan in the sense that they’ll help to keep the air moving.

Thus, acting as a great complementary appliance to your air conditioning unit.

Both types of fans are particularly useful on the second floor as they can stop hot air from rising and settling in a room.

This will consequently reduce the amount of energy your air conditioner uses as it won’t have to work as hard.

Fans are also an easy way for how to cool a room with no windows.

Try a Ventless Air Conditioner

Depending on your needs, a ventless air conditioner (also known as a portable evaporative cooler) might be a good choice for you in comparison to other cooling appliances.

These devices are exceptionally good at cooling rooms of all sizes and don’t require a window to operate. That’s what makes them such an effective method for how to cool down your house without AC.

They work similarly to a humidifier but instead of producing warm air, they push out cold air to cool down a room.

The major advantage of ventless portable ventless air conditioners is that they can easily be moved from room to room and don’t require any setup.

If you’re looking for an efficient way to cool a 2-story house, you should consider this as an option.

On our best portable air conditioner without window access page, you’ll find out what key features to look for and how to get the best AC unit of this type for your needs.

Open—Or Possibly Close—Rooms You Don’t Use

This tip on how to cool upstairs of a 2-story home depends on if you’re using a central air conditioner or one of the supplemental air conditioning units we mentioned above.

If you’re trying to get the most efficiency out of a central air conditioner:

  • Leave all of the upstairs doors open. This allows cold air to flow more freely throughout the second floor and reduces stress on the unit.

If you’re trying to get the most efficiency out of a window or ventless air conditioner:

  • Close all of the upstairs doors that you don’t use often. That way you can direct the flow of the cold air being delivered by the AC unit into the rooms you do use.

This may seem too easy to be true, but something as basic a closing up unused rooms can have a major impact on how well your home is cooled when using a supplemental air conditioning unit.

See all of Amazon's Best Selling Portable AC Units

Get A Programmable Or Smart Thermostat

One of the easiest 2-story house air conditioning tips you can try is to replace an older thermostat with a programmable or smart thermostat model.

Doing so can save you about 10% or more on your yearly cooling (and heating) costs.

Programmable thermostats allow you to set up a schedule throughout the day (and week) with specific times for when your central air conditioner turns on and off.

That way you can control the amount of energy used without having to constantly touch it.

Smart thermostats take this control to a whole new level by allowing you to maintain your air conditioning through a smartphone or other mobile device through WiFi.

You don’t even have to be inside your house to make adjustments.

What’s even nicer is that some smart thermostats have access to your local weather forecast and can automatically change your AC unit’s temperature based on those conditions.

Install a Separate Thermostat Upstairs

The problem with only have one thermostat for the entire house is that may not give you the correct reading for what’s happening on the second floor.

For example, your ground floor could have all of the curtains closed and/or no direct access to sunlight.

Conversely, a lot of sunlight could be filtering through into your second floor.

This difference will affect how hot each floor is and consequently cause your home air conditioning unit not to compensate properly for the heat upstairs.

For that reason, you should consider installing a thermostat on the second floor so that your central air conditioning unit can get a more precise reading of the floor’s temperature.

Ventilate Your Attic

A tip for cooling a 2-story house that may be a bit more involved is to ensure that your attic is properly ventilated.

Doing so will get rid of unnecessary moisture and heat that may settle up on the second floor.

Two of the top ways for how to keep attic cool include:

  • Attic vent installation
  • Attic fan installation

Installing attic vents and fans are best left to the professionals, or at the very least to get an opinion on which option is better for your house.

You may need one or the other, or both for adequate ventilation.

But essentially, an attic vent allows the hot air that rises inside your house to flow outdoors.

An attic fan aids in speeding up this process.

You can also add a thermostat to attic fans so that they only turn on when your attic reaches a certain temperature.

As mentioned in a previous tip, you could also try to vent the hot air with an air conditioner. Some people try a cheap unit at first to see if this fixes the problem before going through the process of installing a permanent attic fan.

Check out our best budget air conditioner reviews to see if one of these units may work for your needs.

Invest in a Mini Split Air Conditioner

If all else fails, you may want to invest in a mini split air conditioner system.

While this is the most expensive option on the list, the advantage here is that you can spot cool any number of rooms in a 2-story house.

You can even cool areas that don’t have windows.

Mini split air conditioners come in two types: wall-mounted units and ceiling cassettes.

Wall-mounted air handlers are the easiest to install and can be up in running in about 30 minutes.

Ceiling cassettes require you to cut a hole in the ceiling which takes much longer to do.

Regardless of the air handler type you choose, a separate compressor unit is installed outside to power the indoor unit.

The only thing connecting the two components are a small set of tubing.

The installation only requires a small 3-inch hole in a wall to get the tubing from the outdoors and into the house.

You can find our review of the best mini split air conditioner units here.

That guide explains everything you need to know about these systems, including how they work, the benefits, and the top products you can buy today.

And if you were considering a window air conditioner from our first tip, you may want to check out our ductless mini split vs window unit page to compare the differences.

One AC Unit for Two Story Home?

Having one AC unit for two story home can be done. You will need a dual zone AC with one unit that powers both air conditioners. Having two AC units in your home (upstairs and downstairs) can help balance out the temperature. The best option here is a mini split air conditioner.

Recap of How to Cool Upstairs of a 2-Story Home

Just to recap, here are the essential tips you should look at when trying to cool a 2-story house.

  • Consider investing in a window air conditioner or ventless (evaporative) air cooler
  • Use a floor fan (or ceiling fan) to improve (or direct) cold air flow upstairs
  • Open doors on the second floor so air is more evenly distributed (when using a central AC system)
  • Close doors that lead to rooms where cooling isn’t a priority (when using a supplemental AC unit)
  • Upgrade your thermostat to a programmable or smart WiFi version
  • Consider adding a second thermostat on the upstairs floor
  • Ensure that you’re attic is well ventilated with attic vents or an attic fan (or both)
  • If none of the above work, try a mini split air conditioner

If after trying out these tips you still find that your house just isn’t cool enough, you should consider hiring a qualified HVAC technician to determine the underlying cause of the problem.

Sometimes your house may have cooling issues for a number of unrelated issues, including:

  • An overly hot roof: Your roof might be absorbing heat from the sun which will eventually seep into your attic and involuntarily heating the levels in your house; making your AC unit work double-time.
  • Faulty ductwork, sealing, or insulation: Whether it’s on the first or second floor, if you have any type of shoddy ductwork or sealing issues, you’ll find that your cooling system is being worked more than it should be.

We hope you enjoyed this 2-story house air conditioning tips and found one more of these ways for how to cool upstairs of a 2-story home useful.

Suffering from uneven cooling indoors doesn’t have to burden you anymore as long as you take the necessary steps to maximize your air conditioner’s cooling power.

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About Katherine Dyson

Katherine is the lead Staff Writer. She conducts in-depth research and interviews with industry experts in order to produce a wide range of content for the site. Her main role is to write helpful articles that aid people who are seeking to improve their indoor air quality and comfort. (See Full Bio)