Achieving an overall comfortable temperature throughout the house depends on the ventilation of the house and how the air is mixed inside the house. Some common problems are easy to solve and bring immediate improvements. Here we bring you a guide on how to balance heat in a two-story house in Winter

Should the upstairs thermostat be higher or lower than the downstairs in Winter?

radiators and heaters

The two-degree rule for balance heat in a two-story house in Winter is a good way to adjust the thermostat. Simply put, this means that you should set the thermostat on each floor within two degrees Fahrenheit of the other levels.


During the summer you can set the top floor thermostat to the temperature you prefer. The thermostat on the lower floor will be set two degrees lower. In this way, you will avoid unnecessarily cooling the lower level of your home, which is already cooler. In addition, you won’t have to worry about the first floor being cold on the hottest days.


The same procedure you do during the summer but reversed. You must set the thermostat on the lower floor to the proper temperature. Increase the setting by two degrees from the upper floor thermostat. The extra heat generated on the lower floor will naturally gravitate upward to compensate for the slight variation in temperature settings.

How do I keep my heat from going upstairs in the winter?

Air currents work as follows: warm air rises and cold air falls. The simple fact that there are drafts inside the house makes regulating the temperature extremely difficult. Many people may be all too familiar with a freezing first floor during the summer and a blisteringly hot second floor in the winter. Luckily, you have options to keep both levels of your home comfortable all year round.

Keep the downstairs cool

The easiest way to keep the heat from rising is to keep the downstairs cool. On the hottest days, close the blinds, lower the shades or draw the curtains to keep reflected sunlight from heating the downstairs surfaces. By keeping the downstairs cooler, little or no warm air will be able to rise to the second floor.

Positive ventilation

This means pressurizing the upstairs to limit the exchange of warm air from downstairs. To do this, close all upstairs windows and run an air conditioner or the whole-house HVAC system. Close all downstairs vents. Since cold air sinks, any areas through which warm air can rise will be blocked. This action will limit or prevent warm air from rising to the upper floor.

Block the stairway

The stairway is both a pedestrian and ventilation corridor. It is a massive hot air transfer corridor to the upper floor. Blocking the stairway, either by hanging a blanket over the opening, using foam or wood paneling, or even building a frame with a functional door will help keep hot air downstairs.

How do I evenly distribute heat in my house?

space heater

If you can’t maintain an even temperature in your home, consider the following interventions:

Before messing with the thermostat, check and identify possible system problems. The first thing you should do is check the soffits, vents, and leaks.

Verify that vents under the eaves are not blocked

Soffit vents allow air to enter the attic. When blocked, air cannot flow properly through the attic, which can lead to condensation and other temperature problems. Protect your home and keep your soffits clear.

Check that the inner vents are not blocked

Check the interior vents. These pull and push the air in your home around your house and through the furnace. Make sure they are not blocked by furniture, curtains, or anything else. If anything blocks these vents, air will not be able to circulate properly through your home’s HVAC system.

Check for leaks in the air ducts

Air ducts in poor condition can leak 30% of your conditioned air, which is the equivalent of throwing money away. Be sure to repair any duct leaks so the air conditioner stays where it’s supposed to be, in your home.

Check the attic for proper insulation

Proper airflow in an attic is critical, and adequate insulation is also important. If ceiling joists are visible, you need to add more insulation. Properly insulating your attic prevents your home’s heat from escaping into the cold attic air.

How do you regulate the temperature of a two-story house?

If you have a two-story house, you’ve probably been there and know how incredibly difficult and frustrating it can be, especially in the winter, when it comes to keeping warm. This is immediately reflected in the electric bill.

There are ways to achieve how to balance heat in a two-story house in winter.  It will keep you comfortable wherever you are. 

1) Make sure your furnace is ready for winter

As the cold season approaches, make sure your furnace is working, furnaces should be checked annually for maintenance so they can function properly. A furnace Checkup should include:

  • Burners: monitoring and inspection.
  • Filters: cleaning of dust, dirt, or debris or replacement of filters.
  • Safe electrical connections.
  • Signs of rust on any exposed metal parts.
  • Thermostat: make sure it is working properly.
  • Examine the motor for signs of corrosion, leaks, or dirt.

If the furnace is old and has a fault, it is better to replace it rather than repair it, this will even reduce the electricity bill. New furnaces are usually more efficient than older ones.

2) Install smart vents for integral heating

These vents work like air vents but carry warm air. This way you will have an outlet for every room, bathroom, or kitchen. With these smart vents, there will no longer be situations where some parts of your home are hot and others are cold. Installing smart vents around warmer areas, such as bathrooms and kitchens, helps to evenly distribute heat from these areas to the rest of the house.

This will help you save money by reducing lighting costs by better distributing heat throughout the house. When smart vents are installed in each room and connecting ducts, they form a system that works together efficiently to control temperature levels throughout the house. Opt for floor, wall, or ceiling-mounted vents.

3) Adjust dampers to control airflow

Vent dampers can direct the air in your home. So you can move them where you need them and help heat the house evenly. By closing some of these dampers you can heat bedrooms, living rooms, bathrooms, etc. You can also use dampers to cool your house in summer. By closing some vents, you will prevent hot air from entering. This will keep your house cool and comfortable.

Dampers are ideal for solving air circulation problems in multi-story homes. Often, you will find that the upstairs is warmer than the downstairs. By closing some of the vents on the upper floors, you can direct the airflow to where it needs to go and keep your home comfortable for everyone.

4) Whole-house zoning

Adding a zoning system for each floor will ensure a uniformly warm home. What this system does is divides your home into separate zones, each zone with its own thermostat. This allows you to adjust the temperature in each zone to obtain a comfortable temperature. For a two-story house, this is undoubtedly paramount.

The great advantage of having the house zoned with its thermostat is that you can adjust the temperature by zones for specific requirements to ensure an even flow of warm air.

Read more: Zoned heating systems

5) Use ceiling fans more efficiently

Ceiling fans can help you distribute warm air throughout the rooms, just set the fan on low speed and switch the switch so that the blades distribute warm air. This will even out the temperature in your home.

6) Find and Repair Duct Leaks

Ducts are often one of the biggest culprits when it comes to uneven heating in your home. If there are leaks, warm air will escape from the ducts, causing cold spots in certain areas of the home. There are several ways to check for air leaks. For starters, check registers and vents, especially if there is visible damage caused by animals or rodents chewing on the ducts.

Use soapy water to detect leaks, at the leak site it will make bubbles if you can’t use a leak detector. You can use this small hand-held device in the ducts. Once you have found and repaired any duct leaks, you should start to see a more even distribution of heat throughout the house.

The recommended temperature

According to the Department of Energy, the most efficient home temperature is 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the warmer months of the year and 68 degrees in the cooler months. On especially hot or cold days, you can always increase the difference between plants to 4-5 degrees, but you should not turn off the thermostat completely.

When a house has a regular temperature, it is a more comfortable place to be. With these tips, we are confident that you can keep how to balance heat in a two-story house in winter. Consistently, saving energy, money, and peace of mind that the system is working.

How to balance heat in a two-story house in winter? was last modified: February 16th, 2023 by Vanessa Gallanti
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