Cooling a 2 Story House: When to Install Another Air Conditioner

Graphic image of house showing the 2nd floor is too hot

Do You Live with a Hot Upstairs?

This is a common problem for a lot of large homes. The 2nd floor can never get properly cool in the summer. You may have to crank up the AC to get it to acceptable levels, meaning freezing out anyone on the first floor.

If you live in a 2 story house, you probably know this hot situation all too well. Here at Standard Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, we have heard from many Manhattan homeowners who have been suffering with a hot upstairs.

There are a lot of old homes in Manhattan. Being the HVAC company that has serviced Manhattan homes for nearly a century, we have run across every type of heating and cooling problem. And fortunately, there are more solutions to achieve true home comfort in all rooms today than they were a hundred years ago. So even if we are dealing with a drafty old house, you do have options to make all floors on your home cool and comfortable this summer.

Potential Cooling Problems

  • Does your home have sufficient insulation? Many older ones do not. They can be so drafty that it’s virtually impossible to get consistent temperature control throughout the house.
  • Is your roof absorbing heat? Not only can a poorly insulated a roof cause a warmer upstairs, a roof made from materials that absorb heat could also play a role.
  • Did your home undergo an attic renovation? If so, that may be a part of the cooling problem. If proper adjustments were not made to your home’s heating & cooling system to accommodate this new living space, that could be affecting comfort levels in other parts of your home. A system that was originally designed for 1 floor will probably not give you comfortable temperature everywhere.

Understanding Why a 2nd Floor Gets So Hot

Hot air rises. Without utilizing any air conditioning system, your upstairs should always feel hotter because of this basic scientific fact. But even with central air or other HVAC system, some homes’ 2nd floors will still get hotter than the main level. After all, your single cooling system (with components usually located on the ground floor and basement) has to do more work to get that cool air all the way to your 2nd floor.

As you head into another hot Kansas summer, facing the dread of how uncomfortable it’s going to be on your 2nd floor, you may think you’re not left with a lot of options.

You may think your choices come down to either getting a larger, more energy-efficient air conditioner or just give up. You think there’s no real way to fix it, so you’ll just avoid spending time upstairs.

It’s your home. You deserve to be comfortable in all your rooms. There are solutions to having a hot upstairs!

When you have Standard help you finally solve your hot 2nd floor problem, the first thing we do is to determine the source of the problem.  Some of the issues we will look for include:

  • Could you have an issue with your duct work?
  • Do you need better insulation?
  • Is your AC unit the proper size to handle your home’s square footage?
  • Is your cooling system in proper working order?

When to Consider Getting 2 AC Units for a 2-Story House

Photo of 2 AC units installed outside homeWhile upgrading your air conditioner to a newer, bigger AC unit may be a solution, some homes will be better served with a 2nd AC. Instead of replacing what may be a perfectly working air conditioner with a larger one to accommodate your 2nd floor, you should get an AC unit installed to specifically address cooling the 2nd floor.

There are a few things to consider when trying to decide if you need a second air conditioning system installed:



An additional unit may cost less than what you think. After all, this AC is not going to cool the entire square footage of your home. A 2nd AC unit that works to only cool your 2nd floor would be much smaller than one that would be needed to cool your entire home.

Standard, or any professional HVAC company, will be careful to calculate exactly what size AC unit your rooms upstairs need. The square footage of your 2nd floor will determine the proper unit size. Give us a call at Standard Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning at (785) 776-5012 and we will be able to determine exactly what air conditioner would be best for your home.



New installation isn’t the other money matter. How much do you spend on your energy bill each month? It might sound surprising but by having 2 air conditioners to cool a 2-story home may save you money.

If you’ve been dealing with a single AC system that wasn’t built to handle all your space, you are putting a great demand on your system. It’s working to put out more cool air than it was designed to do. If you are making your downstairs cooler than comfortable to make it right upstairs, then you probably already have realized you are wasting energy (and money). An additional air conditioner focused on cooling just the upstairs will take the work away from the other unit.



Having 2 air conditioning units provides you with some unique assurance. You may feel more secure in knowing that your chance of a summer HVAC disaster is greatly reduced. If one of your air conditioners were to break down, you will have another unit still operating. While this lone unit won’t be sufficient to cool your entire home, you will at least have some level of cooling in your home until an AC repair technician come out and fix the broken air conditioner.



Finding where to put a second AC system can be a challenge. This includes the inside unit (the evaporator) and the outside AC unit (the condenser). You may have limited space for installing a second air conditioner. In addition, a 2nd unit will need ductwork that is separate from existing ducts with your current unit. Our technicians can walk you through your options to make sure the best space is used for this installation.


DIY: Little Fixes for a Hot Second Floor

If you’re not ready to upgrade your homes system, or are still not sure that it is needed, you can try to remedy your problem with some smaller steps.

2 air conditioners installed at Manhattan, KS homeHere are some basic home maintenance tasks that can help solve some of the problem of overly hot spaces in a home:

  • Make sure your furnace filter is clean and is getting changed on a proper schedule
  • Make sure all of your vents are open and not being blocked by furniture or anything else
  • Close your window blinds and curtains in 2nd floor rooms to keep the sun from heating up the space

If these little steps do not provide enough relief to the heat in some of your space, give Standard a call at (785) 776-5012. We will be happy to come out and see what sort of cooling system work can be done to even out the temperature throughout your home.

Get Cool Relief Before Summer Strikes

Making a heating and air upgrade to your home is a big decision. Fortunately, it’s also an investment. This type of home improvement project can increase the value of your home.

Beyond a new AC or a 2nd AC, there are other great options to solving a second-floor temperature problem. A ductless mini split system could be installed to target the cooling in a room or particular space. Standard is Manhattan’s professional ductless mini-split systems installers. Our experienced team trained in ductless systems can help you determine if this is right for your home.

Call us at (785) 776-5012 and we will schedule an AC technician to come out and diagnose the cooling problems in your home. Or you can request a free estimate for service online. Let us help get you a cool and comfortable home on both floors before the summer comes!

Old AC and problem with discontinued R22 refrigerant