Cape Cod homes are shaped like boxes with a full downstairs and an upstairs that's basically built into the attic space. Because of their shape, the upstairs is always a challenge to keep cool. There are several reasons for this. First, the upstairs floor is right under the roof with little to no attic space to act as a buffer from the heat. Second, the slanted ceilings and small corners in the upstairs can restrict airflow, allowing heat to get trapped in these corners.
Keeping the upstairs of a Cape Cod home cool is undoubtedly challenging. However, there are some ways to make the temperature more tolerable.
Close the doors.
Hot air rises. If the doors between your upstairs and downstairs rooms are open, the hot air will keep flowing into the upstairs while the downstairs gets cooler and cooler. Close the doors between the upstairs and downstairs, and the top floor should stay cooler.
If you do not have doors between your floors, at least keep all of the doors to individual rooms on your second floor closed. This will at least keep the cool air circulated by your AC system inside these rooms.
Use window units.
In some cases, your air conditioner alone may be incapable of keeping up with cooling the upstairs without super-cooling the downstairs. Putting a few window air conditioning units in your upstairs can help. Then, you can keep the central AC thermostat turned up a little higher. Your central unit won't have to work as hard, which will make up for some of the extra energy that the window units use.
Add more insulation to the attic.
Because there's so little attic space and so much heat ends up traveling into your upstairs, you may need more attic insulation than you'd need in another style of home. Unrolling another layer of fiberglass insulation on top of your existing insulation won't hurt. This should help keep your ceilings cooler when the sun beats down on your roof, which should in turn keep your whole upstairs cooler.
If your upstairs is still too warm after following these tips, then reach out to your HVAC contractor. There's a chance that you need a larger, more powerful air conditioner to keep your entire home cooler. Your HVAC specialist may also need to add extra ducts and vents to direct more cool air towards the upstairs floor of your Cape Cod home. Click here for more recommendations.