Why is my second story hotter than they ground floor?

We all know that hot air rises, and that’s a key factor in a common household HVAC problem: a second story that’s hotter than the first floor. But it’s far from the only factor, and a close examination of your home and HVAC system could help you alleviate this costly and uncomfortable summertime problem.

Let’s take a look at some of the other major factors that can contribute to this issue:


  1. Your Air Conditioner

Replacing your air conditioner is a major expense, but it’s also an inevitability of home ownership. The average lifespan of a central air conditioning unit is 15 to 20 years, and with every year of use, your system loses a little of its efficiency. If your air conditioner is primed for replacement and you’re sweltering in your second story, it could be that your system just can’t keep up with demand anymore. You should have a thorough inspection from a licensed HVAC technician to be sure, though, because there are other potential causes.

If years of wear and tear aren’t dragging your air conditioner down, there are still other ways in which your HVAC system could be the source of the problem. It could be related to overdue maintenance or a broken part, and it could even be that your air conditioner is too small for your home, to begin with. If your installers didn’t perform a proper load calculation prior to recommending a system for your home, you may have ended up with an undersized air conditioner.


  1. Your Ductwork

The farther your air conditioner is from your second floor, the more ductwork it has to pass through to get there. And if that network of ducts is full of gaps and leaks, a lot of that cold air can get lost before it reaches your upstairs rooms.

Leaky ductwork can develop over a period of time, but it’s most commonly related to substandard installation. Joints in ductwork should not only be bolted together securely, but they should also be sealed with a compound called mastic to ensure that treated air doesn’t leak out. For maximum energy efficiency, they should also be insulated.

You may be able to inspect some portions of your ductwork yourself, particularly in your basement and attic. If you find leaks, sealing them with mastic is a simple DIY job. But the bigger problem is that leaks in your accessible ducts usually mean there are also leaks in the inaccessible ducts that run within your walls.

You can hire an HVAC technician to conduct a pressure test on your duct network to determine how leaky it is. If the test shows that you have significant leaks, that may be the source of your second-story stuffiness. Fortunately, you don’t need to tear into your walls to fix it — modern techniques allow HVAC technicians to circulate a mist of liquid sealant throughout your ductwork to patch leaks from the inside.


  1. Your Treeline

This isn’t a factor with all homes, but if your multi-story home is surrounded by young trees, you could be getting lots of shade protection on your ground floor windows and lots of direct sunlight pouring in upstairs.

While you wait for those trees to grow, consider upgrading your window treatments on your upstairs windows and keeping them closed more often. Reflective shades, blackout curtains and heavy drapes can make a big difference in blocking out unwanted daytime heat.

Figuring out which one of these factors is affecting your comfort — or whether it’s a combination of factors — is easier said than done. If you need help finding the answer and fixing the problem, reach out to the team at Camtec today!



What are thermostats?

Ask yourself, do you really know what your thermostat does for your home and for your energy use? Other than adjusting settings from time-to-time. Behind that interface, there is a range of things happening that directly impact your energy bill each month. Thermostats are an amazing technology to help you in your home.

Programmable thermostats help conserve energy during times you’re not home when you leave for work or go on vacation. As many of us forget to pre-program the thermostat each day as part of our morning routine, the smart part of smart thermostats is that they do the programming for you – automatically – by learning your behaviours and allowing you to take control remotely via your smartphone. They help to take out the extra, often forgotten, conservation steps that can save you hundreds of dollars each year.

Some manufacturers, like Nest, claim that for a 2,000 – 3,000 square foot home in Boulder, CO with central AC and electric heat, installing a smart thermostat could save you anywhere from $176 – $723 a year. Factors that go into this estimate include where you live, your home size, heating type and what kind of A/C system you have.

ENERGY STAR® claims, “with the proper use of a programmable thermostat (using four pre-programmed settings) you can save about $180 every year in energy costs.” This assumes a typical, single-family home with a 10-hour daytime setback of 8 degrees F in winter and setup of 7 degrees F in summer, and an 8-hour nighttime setback of 8 degrees F in winter and a setup of 4 degrees F in summer.

While smart thermostats may not be the right fit for every home, they certainly are a step in the right direction for most homes. There are some really cool thermostats on the market to consider when updating your home to be more efficient. Keep in mind, however, when shopping, no thermostat — smart or not — can cover up the inefficiencies of a poorly insulated home.



Air conditioning is just one major element to keeping your home cool and your air fresh, any time of the year. Its effectiveness will be magnified if you take a few basic steps to improve the rest of your home in conjunction with having your air conditioner installed.


Creating a more insulated space means that your a/c unit will not have to work very hard to bring the inside air temperature down, or to keep it there. Even if you don’t want to make major improvements to the walls of your home, little things like plugging the spaces under doors or in windows as well as window coverings where there is direct sunlight can help keep the system working more efficiently and reducing energy usage.


Prior preparation also means knowing the intricacies of your home design. A number of factors, for instance, where sunlight hits to the pitch of the roof, will affect whether a split or ducted system is better for you.


The power you will need is another consideration. Some electrical boards need to be upgraded to allow space for an a/c to be installed. One room may absorb nearly all the sunlight during the day or have an enormous window which will require a lot more attention from the a/c than the rest of the house. Maybe you don’t even need cooling in every single room. If you don’t take these things into account before you begin, you will probably have to make expensive changes later on down the road.

Whether it is a ducted or split system air con you are after it’s incredibly important to prepare so that you don’t have to fork out money on systems or extras you just don’t need. We always recommend getting a professional to come out and inspect your property to ensure that you get the exact system you need so that you are comfortable all year around!

Call us to talk to our expert technicians about your new air con system!



Since an air conditioner does cool down the air, many people are not surprised to see that the indoor components of the air conditioner are frozen. Still, this is something that should alarm you. If you’re checking up on your air conditioner, it’s likely because you’re not getting the performance you expect from it. And if the inside coils are frozen, this could give you some indication as to why.

Today, we go over why air conditioners freeze up and why it is definitely a problem that needs repair. For more information, or to schedule your air conditioner repair in Alpharetta, GA, give us a call!


Why Air Conditioners Freeze

Air conditioners can freeze for any of several reasons. We’ll go into some of the specific causes of a frozen air conditioner when we help you to diagnose the issues below. Right now, we want to help you understand that a frozen coil means something has gone wrong.

A frozen air conditioning coil means that something is causing a temperature imbalance within the refrigerant flowing through the indoor evaporator coil. This coil is meant to absorb heat from the air moving in from your home in order to transfer that heat outdoors. If the indoor coil is frozen, either:

  1. There is not enough warm air or heat moving over the indoor coil, or
  2. The refrigerant is not doing a sufficient job of absorbing heat.

How Ice Gets in the Way of Cooling


If there is ice coating the indoor coil, then your air conditioner won’t perform as it’s supposed to. It may seem as though a frozen coil will be able to transfer cool air into the home better. But the fact of the matter is that if your indoor coil is frozen, it won’t be able to transfer heat—the way an air conditioner cools a home.

“Cooling” cannot be created, really: heat must first be removed. And an icy coil prevents the refrigerant moving through it from the heat transfer process that is essential to refrigeration

If your air conditioner is iced over, you’ll likely notice some issues. Your air conditioner may take longer to cool your home, or completely fail to reach thermostat temperatures. Bills are higher, and you risk the thawing ice leaking into your home!

Potential Causes of Your Frozen AC Evaporator Coil


There are a few things that could potentially cause your AC evaporator to freeze. A lack of warm air moving over the coil could stem from…

  1. A broken fan motor that isn’t moving enough air over the coil.
  2. A dirty air filter that’s blocking the airflow.

Short cycling, perhaps because an air conditioner is oversized and cannot move enough air during short cycles that come in frequent bursts.

Additionally, low refrigerant levels could cause your air conditioner to stop absorbing and releasing heat, which could also result in freezing.



Indoor air quality should be of concern to you if anyone in the household suffers from allergies, asthma, or even an immune system disorder. The quality of the air inside of your home might be even worse than the air outside, but choosing between these common installations can make a difference.


A quality air conditioner

First, to control the flow of particulate throughout the household, you also need to control the flow of air. A quality air conditioning system can do this for you, provided it’s installed properly and is the right size for your home, with a filter that is changed every few months.

When an air conditioner is a wrong size for your home, it’s not pulling in the amount of air it is designed for. And that means you’re not getting the level of filtration your home needs. Make sure your system is properly installed by calling in trained professionals only and ask about installing a filter with a high MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) so that you start getting cleaner air right away.



Most air conditioners are dehumidifiers, to an extent, but they cannot do the job as smoothly as a dehumidifier. This installation is available as a portable unit, but we recommend keeping one within your air conditioning system. A whole-house dehumidifier works along with your cooling equipment to remove moisture from the air.

How can this help to relieve your allergy symptoms? Less moisture in the air means fewer mold spores. Your air conditioning system is likely to develop mold and mildew over time, moving pollutants straight into your living space, so it’s a good investment to make in such a humid climate.


UV light air cleaning

A UV light air cleaning system is fairly simple: it’s a bulb of ultraviolet light that cleans the air naturally. Ultraviolet light is able to kill off and sterilize germs like bacteria and viruses. When germs are unable to reproduce, they are safe to breathe in. As air moves through your HVAC system and past the UV light, it is sterilized, like the air in hospitals and research laboratories.


Air filtration systems and air purifiers

An air filtration system is separate from your air filter. You’ll still need to change your filter regularly and replace the filtration media from time to time. But it has a larger surface area to catch more of the particulate that you’d like out of your airflow.

Alternatively, an electronic air cleaner could offer the purification you need. This system is innovative in that it poses no risk of blocking air from moving into your home. Rather, it uses ionization to give particles a charge. Then, they can cling to a surface with the opposite charge. Ask your technician which system is right for your home!

So if you are suffering because of allergies it’s a good idea to purchase some of these products so you can breath more easily in the comfort of your home!

If you have any questions about your air con or possibly installing a new one then give us a call!



Even when an air conditioner makes it through a summer with little trouble, your monthly bills throughout the season can be quite high. While you’re happy that your air conditioner is functioning well, it drains energy, and it might seem like you have to shut it off completely if you want to try to save money.
There are better ways. An energy audit is an investment in the future of your air conditioner and the energy efficiency of your home.

A home energy audit, or sometimes also known as a home energy assessment is the first step to assess how much energy your home consumes and to evaluate what measures you can take to make your home more energy efficient. An assessment will show you problems that may, when corrected, save you significant amounts of money over time.

Energy Audit is different to an energy assessment

Many suppliers and installers of energy efficient lighting and other technologies offer ‘Energy Assessments’. Be warned an Energy Assessment is not an Energy Audit. An Energy Audit must be conducted to the Australian Standard (AS/NZS 3598:2000); it should offer independent, impartial advice. An energy audit should not try to recommend or sell one particular product.

How a professional energy audit works
An energy audit is a service offered by some local HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) contractors in order to help you figure out why your air conditioner is not working as efficiently as it should. Energy audits involve a thorough assessment of your home, not just the air conditioning system itself (although an inspection is usually included).

After testing and inspections of your HVAC equipment, insulation, ductwork, and more, your technician will report back to you about the findings. They might find that you need to make some changes around the home, big or small, if you want to improve the amount of energy used with each cycle and how comfortable you feel.

  • Adding blown-in insulations.
  • Sealing the ducts.
  • Cleaning the ductwork.
  • Adding indoor air quality equipment.
  • Sealing minor air leaks around doors and windows.
  • Updating or replacing AC equipment.

In any case, you should take the initiative to schedule these services with your technician and make sure your home is more efficient for many years to come. Do this before the summer, so that you don’t have to deal with efficiency problems all season long.

Types of energy audits

The Australian Standard (AS/NZS 3598:2000) outlines what an energy audit should cover. The standard specifies 3 levels of energy audits:

A level-1 energy audit is a lower cost, entry-level assessment for your site providing a lower level assessment of energy use and energy saving opportunities. It is useful as a first step investigation into energy saving opportunities. Accuracy: should be within ±40%. Outcome: an abbreviated report with a short list of key energy saving opportunities with rough figures on savings and costs. Next step: you should now have a better understanding of your sites energy usage and options to reduce your energy usage and costs. Further investigation is required to properly cost and assess options. This may be done by seeking quotes from suppliers or conducting a level-2 audit.

A level-2 energy audit provides a more detailed assessment of your site’s energy usage and a more comprehensive analysis of energy and cost savings. It is intended for sites that have some knowledge of energy efficiency and require a detailed assessment of opportunities to reduce their energy consumption. A level 2 energy audit includes a number of items not included in a level-1 audit such as: identifying how and where energy is used, a load profile analysis (instantaneous demand profile for your site), developing an energy performance indicator (e.g. MWh/unit), and measuring light levels to check if areas are overlit and wasting energy. Accuracy: should be within ±20%. Outcome: a full analysis and report providing a prioritised list of energy saving opportunities with estimates on costs and savings. Next step: you should now have a good understanding of your sites energy usage and a prioritized list of options to reduce energy usage and costs. Now you need to decide what options you would like to pursue, seek quotes from at least 3 suppliers, re-assess costing and implement.

A level-3 energy audit provides the most comprehensive assessment of energy usage and a detailed economic analysis of energy-saving opportunities. It may cover an entire site or may focus on one area or process. It requires energy metering and logging which may significantly increase the cost of the energy audit. Accuracy: should be within +10% for costs and -10% for benefits. Outcome: an in-depth analysis and detailed report providing a firmly costed list of energy-saving opportunities. Next step: you should now have all the practical and financial information required to justify implementing an energy saving opportunity. Time to implement.


Most technicians recommend changing an air filter once every month, or at most, every 2 or 3 months. You might assume that this is because you need to keep your air clean. And this is true—partly. A technician’s number one concern, though, when it comes to your air filter, is keeping your air conditioner from being damaged.

That’s what your air filter is there for in the first place: damage prevention. But the wrong air filter can do way more harm than good.


How your filter protects your AC system

The air filter in your AC system is primarily there to protect your air conditioning system, although today’s filters are also effective at reducing allergens. If there were no filter present, your indoor blower fan could suck in large particles of debris as it sucked in the air, which could, in turn, damage an air conditioner.

However, you do still need a sufficient amount of airflow to move through the system. That’s why you are supposed to change your air filter regularly. If it’s too dirty, it could stop air from flowing into the system, not just debris.


Thinking of upgrading your home’s air filter?

Just as a dirty air filter can inhibit airflow, so too can an air filter that is the wrong size and rating for your air conditioner. The fibres that are meant to trap particulate in the air may be so tightly woven that they stop air from moving into the HVAC system altogether.

The MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) of your air filter is a good indicator of how well it filters. Most air conditioners come with a filter of about 1-4 MERV, but may be able to hold a filter of up to MERV 8. However, if the filter is too strong, you put your air conditioner at risk. Consider a whole-house air purifier instead!


Air filters and your health

Getting the correct air filter is also incredibly important as your health can be affected by it. Air filters are the one that filter dirt, dust, moulds and other particles in the air making your indoor air as healthy as possible. That’s why it’s important to know;


Which Air Filter Fits Your Home?

There are different types of air filters and it’s very important to know which one best fits your home and your system. There are less expensive fibreglass filters which primarily functions to protect your system. They are economical but may not be good for homeowners with respiratory issues since they do not help improve the air quality of your home. If you are prone to allergies and breathing difficulties, high-efficiency filters will work best for you.  They are more expensive but can protect your system and filter small particles better than low-priced air filters.


Your Air Conditioner is an important and expensive asset to your home, which is why taking the time to understand and learn about your appliance is so important. Always make sure to get the correct filter for your unit so that your unit stays as good as new and keeps you and your family stay healthy and cool during summer.

3 Step Process


One of the most common air conditioning problems is improper operation. If your air conditioner is on, be sure to close your home’s windows and outside doors. For room air conditioners, isolate the room or a group of connected rooms as much as possible from the rest of your home.

Other common problems with existing air conditioners result from faulty installation, poor service procedures, and inadequate maintenance. Improper installation of a central air conditioner can result in leaky ducts and low airflow. Many times, the refrigerant charge (the amount of refrigerant in the system) does not match the manufacturer’s specifications. If proper refrigerant charging is not performed during installation, the performance and efficiency of the unit are impaired. Unqualified service technicians often fail to find refrigerant charging problems or even worsen existing problems by adding refrigerant to a system that is already full.

Air conditioner manufacturers generally make rugged, high-quality products. If your air conditioner fails, begin by checking any fuses or circuit breakers. Let the unit cool down for about five minutes before resetting any breakers. If a central air conditioner’s compressor stops on a hot day, the high-pressure limit switch may have tripped; reset it by pushing the button, located in the compressor’s access panel.

Refrigerant Leaks
If your air conditioner is low on refrigerant, either it was undercharged at installation or it leaks. If it leaks, simply adding refrigerant is not a solution. A trained technician should fix any leak, test the repair, and then charge the system with the correct amount of refrigerant. Remember that the performance and efficiency of your air conditioner is greatest when the refrigerant charge exactly matches the manufacturer’s specification and is neither undercharged nor overcharged. Refrigerant leaks can also be harmful to the environment.

Inadequate Maintenance
If you allow filters and air conditioning coils to become dirty, the air conditioner will not work properly, and the compressor or fans are likely to fail prematurely.

Electric Control Failure
The compressor and fan controls can wear out, especially when the air conditioner turns on and off frequently, as is common when a system is oversized. Because corrosion of wire and terminals is also a problem in many systems, electrical connections and contacts should be checked during a professional service call.

Sensor Problems
Room air conditioners feature a thermostat sensor, located behind the control panel, which measures the temperature of the air coming into the evaporator coil. If the sensor is knocked out of position, the air conditioner could cycle constantly or behave erratically. The sensor should be near the coil but not touching it; adjust its position by carefully bending the wire that holds it in place.

Drainage Problems
When it’s humid outside, check the condensate drain to make sure it isn’t clogged and is draining properly. Room air conditioners may not drain properly if not mounted level.

Please be advised that we do not recommend a non-licensed technician to inspect and or repair your unit. Units that are inspected or repaired by unlicensed persons can void warranties and escalate the issue with your unit.