Installing a Second HVAC System on the Upper Level of a Home

If you live in a multi-story home, you may have experienced the difficulty in maintaining a constant, comfortable temperature on each of your floors. In fact, you may even be considering adding a second HVAC system for your home. Here are some tips for making that all-important decision.

The Problems with Cooling or Heating a Second Floor

You may have noticed that your upper floor tends to stay warmer than the rest of the house. This is simply physics; warm air rises, and it’ll rise to the top of your home anywhere it can do so. In the summertime when the temperatures soar, you’ll find that to keep your upper floor cool, you’ll have to freeze on the ground floor. There are some ways to resolve this problem, and many homeowners are turning to installing separate HVAC systems for each zone. While this may be the best idea in some cases, there are a few other things you can try first.

Before You Buy a Second HVAC System

Before you make the choice to buy a second HVAC system for your upper floor, decide whether your current system is large enough to handle your home’s needs. If it seems like your upper floor just doesn’t get cool in the summer, no matter what you do, it could be that your unit isn’t large enough to pump out enough air. It might also mean that your ductwork wasn’t properly planned. If your entire second-floor ductwork branches off the ducts for the main floor, and those ducts aren’t the proper size, this may be the cause of your problem.

Buying a Second System

Buying a second HVAC system for one zone of your home can be quite complicated. First and foremost, remember that the new system will need to be rated for the square footage of the upper level. You’ll may also need to extend your plenums (air spaces between walls, floors, and ceilings) to make way for new ductwork since your second system will have ducts of its own. Finally, you’ll need to make sure you have room to install your new system; many homes weren’t designed for the installation of a second HVAC system.

Making the Decision

There’s no doubt that this is a complicated decision to make, but the good news is that professionals are only a phone call away. After a brief inspection, a trained HVAC tech should be able to give you some valuable insight into the best possible course of action. He or she may recommend rerouting your ductwork to make your existing HVAC more efficient, or it could be that your existing system just isn’t large enough to cool your entire home. Once you have a plan in place, you can get quotes and estimates.

Cooling a second floor can be difficult, especially when temperatures soar in the hot Florida sun. Fortunately, you have options available that will allow you to move more cooled air where you need it. A second HVAC system isn’t always the answer, but it may be your best choice – especially if you have a very large home.

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