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Interior Stairs of a Home

How to Keep Upstairs Cool in Summer

April 3, 2024

As the mercury rises, so does the challenge of keeping the upper levels of our homes comfortably cool. Many homeowners find themselves puzzled by an all-too-common scenario: the upstairs AC not working but downstairs is perfectly chilled. If you’re grappling with how to keep upstairs cool in summer or seeking inexpensive ways to cool upstairs, you’re in the right place. From understanding why your AC is not cooling upstairs effectively to implementing strategies for a cooler upstairs, we’ve got you covered.

The Upstairs Heat Dilemma

Heat naturally rises, and this basic principle of physics is the primary reason your upstairs feels like a sauna compared to the lower floors. When your upstairs AC is not working as efficiently as it should, the situation worsens, leaving you in a constant battle against the heat. But fear not—there are numerous strategies to make upstairs cooler without breaking the bank.

Inexpensive Ways to Cool Upstairs

1. Improve Air Circulation: One of the simplest methods to cool any space is to enhance air movement. Ceiling fans or strategically placed oscillating fans can help circulate the air, making the room feel cooler without necessarily lowering the temperature.

2. Use Window Treatments: Sunlight streaming through windows can significantly increase the temperature. Blackout curtains or reflective window films can block out a substantial amount of heat, keeping your upstairs area cooler.

3. Optimize Your AC Use: Regular maintenance of your HVAC system is crucial. Ensure that air filters are clean and the system is serviced regularly to prevent issues like the AC not cooling upstairs adequately. Additionally, consider setting your thermostat to a constant temperature to avoid overworking your system.

4. Seal Leaks and Insulate: Small drafts and leaks can let in warm air, undermining your cooling efforts. Seal any gaps around windows and doors, and consider adding extra insulation in your attic to prevent heat from penetrating your living spaces.

How to Keep Upstairs Cool Without Overburdening Your AC

1. Install Attic Ventilation: A well-ventilated attic can significantly reduce the amount of heat transferring from your roof to your living spaces. Consider installing attic fans or vents to help expel hot air and reduce the temperature upstairs.

2. Upgrade to a Zoned HVAC System: Zoned systems allow you to control the temperature in different areas of your home independently. This can be particularly effective if your upstairs AC is not working but downstairs is, as it lets you direct more cooling power to where it’s needed most.

3. Use a Portable Air Conditioner: If certain rooms are hotter than others, a portable air conditioner can be a quick fix. They’re especially useful in situations where the central AC is not cooling upstairs sufficiently.

4. Invest in Thermal Curtains: Thermal curtains not only block sunlight but also help insulate your rooms, keeping the cool air in and the hot air out. They’re an affordable solution to help make upstairs cooler.

Embrace Technology and Nature

In the quest for a cooler upstairs, don’t overlook the power of smart home devices and natural solutions. Programmable thermostats can optimize your cooling schedule, ensuring your home stays comfortable without wasting energy. Additionally, planting shade trees strategically around your property can provide natural cooling over time, shielding your home from direct sunlight.


Struggling with an upstairs AC not working but downstairs is no longer needs to be your summer norm. By applying these tips on how to keep upstairs cool in summer, you can enjoy a more comfortable living environment and potentially lower your energy bills. From enhancing air circulation to investing in smart home technology, each strategy offers a piece of the puzzle in the quest to beat the heat.

Remember, keeping your upstairs cool doesn’t have to be a costly affair. Many of these solutions are not only inexpensive but also simple to implement. And if you’re facing persistent issues with your AC not cooling upstairs effectively, it may be time to consult with a professional to explore more advanced solutions like upgrading to a zoned HVAC system.

Don’t let the summer heat dampen your comfort. Take action today and transform your upstairs into a cool, inviting oasis. And for more insights and assistance on cooling solutions, remember, Lickety-Split is here to help. Reach out to us for professional advice and services that ensure your home stays comfortable all year round.

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