upstairs ac not working but downstairs is

Upstairs AC Not Working But Downstairs is Working: Causes and Solutions


Is your upstairs AC unit not keeping up with the hot summer days? You’re not alone – many homeowners run into this problem, and luckily for you, there may be an easy solution. Find out what could be causing your upstairs AC to not work, while the downstairs is still going strong!

Quick Summary

The cause of an upstairs AC not working while the downstairs is working could be due to a few different reasons. The most likely culprits are a blocked/dirty air filter, blocked air vents, issues with the thermostat or issues with the outdoor AC unit. Cleaning a clogged air filter or vents can help improve air circulation and restore AC performance. If the thermostat appears to be malfunctioning, check the batteries and ensure the settings are accurate. Issues with the outside unit could be caused by a faulty compressor or loosened connections. It is best to call a professional technician to inspect the unit. They can diagnose the problem accurately and provide a solution quickly.

Solve the Mystery: Why Upstairs AC Not Working But Downstairs AC Works: Causes and Solutions

Common Causes

If you notice that your upstairs AC isn’t working while the downstairs is, the most common reason is a lack of airflow caused by a clogged filter, duct, or fan. This restricts the AC from receiving the proper amount of air needed to cool the upstairs effectively.

Other Potential Causes

Other issues which can lead to a lack of air upstairs include a lack of return ducts in the upper level, a disconnection from a duct system, or a blockage in the condensate drain line.


  • If the filter to your AC appears to be clogged, replace or clean the filter.
  • Check to see if the ducts are properly connected to the AC unit and ensure that they are not blocked.
  • If you suspect a blockage in the condensate drain line, contact a professional to help resolve the issue.

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Personal Experience

  Solve the Mystery: Why Upstairs AC Not Working But Downstairs AC Works: Causes and Solutions

I recently had an experience where my upstairs AC wasn’t functioning as expected, but the downstairs AC worked just fine. After I consulted a professional and had the system inspected, it became clear that the unit upstairs was clogged with debris and wasn’t able to properly circulate air. After clearing out the debris, and having the system serviced, I was able to unlock the full potential of my AC system and the upstairs was once again held to the same standard as the downstairs system.

Issues such as this can often be resolved with regular maintenance and inspection of the AC system, which can help identify potential blockages and other issues before they become large problems. The important thing is to take action as soon as you notice something isn’t quite right with your AC system. A simple repair or replacement at the right time can make a huge difference in the longevity and efficiency of your system.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my AC work downstairs but not upstairs?

Air circulation plays an important role in a home’s air conditioning system, and it’s likely the cause of your issue. If the registers are blocked or have dust and debris, air may not circulate properly. You can check the registers for blockages and clean them with a vacuum attachment. You can also close some vents on the first floor to redirect air and improve circulation on the second floor and beyond.

Why isn’t my upstairs getting cool?

Answer: The reason why your upstairs isn’t getting cool is likely due to your A/C or HVAC system not being sized to efficiently cool all the rooms in your home. If your home has been modified to include additional rooms since you moved in this could also be the cause of the issue. To ensure all rooms in your home are evenly and efficiently cooled, you may need to upgrade your HVAC system.

How can I cool my upstairs without AC?

To stay cool without air conditioning in your upstairs, try rotating your ceiling fan counter-clockwise, blocking the heat with your curtains, and opening your windows in the evening. Additionally, opt for cotton sheets, create a DIY ‘air conditioner,’ turn on your kitchen exhaust fan, drink more water, and create a cross breeze. These measures can help to keep your upstairs area comfortably cool.

Should a two story house have two AC units?

Yes, a two-story house should have two AC units. Having two separate AC systems is more cost effective as it allows each system to only manage one floor instead of both. This reduces the amount of strain on the cooling systems and allows them to run more efficiently. Additionally, two separate AC systems provide better climate control for different levels of the home.

Why is my air conditioning working upstairs but not downstairs?

The problem may be due to inadequate ductwork. When ducts aren’t sealed properly, positive pressure is created, forcing air to flow away from the downstairs and upstairs floors and towards other areas of the home, like the attic and crawl spaces. This is why your air conditioning may be working upstairs but not downstairs. To fix this problem, check your ductwork and make sure it is properly sealed.

Why is my dual zone AC not working?

The answer to why your dual zone AC may not be working could be because of a faulty thermostat, sensor, or a malfunctioning damper. It is possible that these issues can be quickly resolved, but it is also possible that they require the expertise of an HVAC professional. In either case, it is important to diagnose the exact issue so that it can be fixed correctly and efficiently.

How do you evenly cool a split level house?

Evenly cooling a split level house can be a tricky task. The best way to ensure the entire house is getting cooled evenly is to use air vents to redirect and control air flow, switch the fan from “auto” to “on,” and add more insulation in the attic. Additionally, if possible, installing a zoning system can help to control different areas of the house as needed.

Why is my split air conditioner running but not cooling the house?

Answer: The likely cause of your split AC running but not cooling your house is a blocked or clogged condenser coil. When in operation, the condenser fan draws air into the outdoor unit to remove heat energy from your home. If the condenser coil is clogged, the air flow is reduced, preventing the AC from cooling your house.

Why does my central air work sometimes and not others?

The answer to your question is that there could be a variety of reasons why your central air works sometimes and not others. Commonly, this is due to dirty or blocked air filters which can cause issues with the compressor or refrigerant. This, in turn, leads to your air conditioner not blowing air, not turning on, or not working properly. To ensure optimal performance, ensure to check your air filters frequently and make sure they are clean.

Why does heat work upstairs but not downstairs?

The answer is: Heat works upstairs because the thermostat is located in a central part of the house. The furnace will kick on when the thermostat senses the temperature is falling below the desired threshold. Downstairs, however, the thermostat is in a room such as a basement with the door closed. As such, the thermostat is not able to sense the changes in temperature, meaning the furnace will not kick on and the temperature becomes cooler.

How do you balance the heat in a two story house in the winter?

For winter heating, balance the heat in a two story house by setting the thermostat downstairs 2°F degrees warmer than the thermostat upstairs. This will help keep both floors comfortable while conserving energy and reducing waste. By allowing the heat to rise from the first floor, energy consumption is minimized.

Why is my house so cold downstairs but hot upstairs?

“Your house may be hot upstairs and cold downstairs due to leaking ductwork. Your ducts could be losing air before it reaches your living space in the cold areas of the house. To determine if the issue is ductwork, check for any air leaks. This could be the cause of your temperature differences between upstairs and downstairs.”

How do you force hot air downstairs?

You can force hot air downstairs by adjusting the dampers. Keep the first-floor vents fully open and partially open the vents on the second floor to direct more of the warm air to the first-floor areas. This will ensure that the first floor of your home stays warmer in the winter months.

Why is upstairs so much warmer than downstairs?

The upstairs of a two-story home typically experiences warmer temperatures because heat rises. As heat naturally moves from lower to higher levels, the upstairs rooms of a home become warmer than those below. This temperature difference can be up to 8-10 degrees depending on the home.

How do you circulate warm air from upstairs to downstairs?

With the use of ceiling fans, warm air from upstairs can be circulated downwards. Setting the fan to rotate clockwise can bring down warm air that has risen to the ceiling. Additionally, reversing the direction of the fan to counter-clockwise can lift cooler air from the ground and spread it up. Using ceiling fans to circulate warm air from upstairs to downstairs is an effective way to help keep your home comfortable.

Why is my AC not cooling upstairs?

If your AC is not cooling upstairs, it could be because the fan setting on your thermostat is set to “auto” instead of “on”. Turning the fan on will help to create an even mix of air throughout the house and will ensure that your AC is cooling the whole home. To fix this issue, change the fan setting from “auto” to “on” on the thermostat.

Is it hot upstairs or downstairs when HVAC unit is on?

It is hot upstairs and cool downstairs when the HVAC unit is on. The temperature upstairs is much higher than downstairs as the HVAC unit has to push out hot air and introduce cold air to the second floor. This setting will lead to a hot upstairs and cool downstairs.

Is your upstairs air conditioner zone not working?

Yes, our upstairs air conditioner zone is not working. Unfortunately, there is no easy fix to the issue, and it may require hiring a professional service. We also cannot guarantee what the exact problem is, so often times repairs can be costly.

How can I Make my upstairs air conditioner more efficient?

To make your upstairs air conditioner more efficient, turn on the exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom. This helps remove hot air and allows cool air to replace it, reducing humidity. Additionally, place electric fans in the second-floor windows to further improve air circulation.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, an issue with the upstairs AC not working but the downstairs is can stem from various causes ranging from a malfunctioned thermostat to clogged condensate lines. Regardless of the cause, homeowners should always enlist the help of a certified HVAC technician to diagnose and properly fix the problem. In addition, proper regular maintenance is essential to ensure the efficient and safe operation of the AC unit.