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.
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:
- 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 to run it every day. Check out our guide on the best rated window air conditioner models to find out how to choose the right one for your needs.
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 and you can direct the air wherever you feel it is not adequately being cooled.
You can also consider installing ceiling fans in your upstairs rooms (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.
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. They work similar to a humidifier but instead of producing warm air, they push out cold air to cool down a room.
The major advantage to ventless portable evaporative coolers 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.
Our guide on the best portable evaporative cooler models shows you what key features to look for and how to get the best one 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.
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.
You can ventilate your attic in one of two ways:
- Installing attic vents
- Installing an attic fan
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.
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.
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.