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The Best Way to Air Condition a Two-Story House


Balancing indoor temperatures in a two-story house can be challenging, especially during the summertime. However, you can create a comfortable and enjoyable environment on both home floors with the right strategies. 

In this article, we’ll explore a range of practical techniques to effectively air condition your two-story house, ensuring maximum comfort for everyone.

What are the Things to Consider Before Air Cooling a Two-Story House? 

Before air conditioning a two-story house, there are several important factors to take into consideration:

House Size and Layout

Evaluate the size and layout of your two-story house. The number of rooms, their arrangement, and the total square footage will influence the cooling requirements and the type of air conditioning system that would be the most effective.

Building Orientation and Sun Exposure

Consider the orientation of your house and how it’s exposed to the sun. Sunlight can contribute to indoor heat gain. Utilize shades, blinds, or window films to reduce solar heat gain, especially for east and west-facing windows.

Insulation and Sealing

Check the insulation in your home, including the rooftop and walls. Proper insulation prevents heat transfer, helping to maintain a cooler indoor environment. Additionally, ensure that windows, doors, and other openings are properly sealed to avoid air leaks.

Energy Efficiency

Look for energy-efficient air conditioning options. Modern systems have various energy efficiency ratings, impacting your comfort and energy bills.

Given the warm climate in the Philippines, air conditioning can contribute significantly to energy bills. Opt for energy-efficient systems with high SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) ratings to ensure efficient cooling without excessive energy consumption.


The Philippines has a tropical climate with high humidity levels. Choose an air conditioning system that can effectively handle both temperature and humidity control to ensure optimal comfort. Dehumidification features or systems that can handle the humidity are particularly important.

Existing Infrastructure

Determine if your house has existing ductwork. If it doesn’t, ductless mini-split systems might be a more suitable choice, as they don’t require extensive duct installation.

Zoning Needs

If your two-story house has temperature imbalances between floors, consider systems with zoning capabilities that allow you to control the temperature separately in different areas.


Assess your budget for both installation and ongoing maintenance costs. Different air conditioning systems come with varying price points.

Long-Term Planning

Anticipate how your cooling needs might change in the future. Consider whether the chosen system can be expanded or modified as your family’s requirements evolve.

Smart Technology

If you’re interested in smart home features, explore air conditioning systems with smart technology for remote control and automation.

Environmental Impact

 Consider the environmental impact of the AC system. Opting for energy-efficient systems with minimal environmental footprint aligns with sustainability goals.

What Kind of AC Should I Use to Cool a Two-Story House?

Choosing the right air conditioning system for a two-story house requires careful consideration to ensure optimal comfort and efficiency. With varying options available, finding the suitable AC type that caters to your home’s specific needs and layout can make a significant difference in maintaining a comfortable indoor environment. Here are your options:

Window Air Conditioner 

If you don’t have one yet, try installing a window air conditioning unit on the upper level of your two-story house. You can tap into efficient and cost-effective cooling capabilities by strategically placing a window AC unit in your two-story residence.

To optimize the installation of a window air conditioner, you should follow one of these two approaches:

  • Position the air conditioner in a window located within the hallway.
  • Place the air conditioner inside a room with a window directly opposite an open door leading to the hallway.

Opting for either of these placements enables the air conditioning unit to regulate the temperature on the second floor effectively.

Moreover, window AC units are cost-effective choices. Depending on the unit’s size, you might only spend 20,000 PHP for a high-quality model and less than 1000+ PHP per month when running it daily, factoring in its energy consumption.

Ventless Air Conditioner

Ventless or evaporative coolers offer multiple benefits for efficiently air conditioning two-story houses. These advantages arise from their innovative cooling mechanism and eco-friendly design. 

Firstly, ventless coolers are highly energy-efficient. Unlike traditional AC units that rely on power-intensive compressors and refrigerants, ventless coolers use water evaporation for cooling, resulting in notably lower energy consumption. This leads to reduced electricity costs while maintaining indoor comfort.

Furthermore, ventless coolers are well-suited for dry climates. In areas with low humidity, these coolers excel by introducing moisture into the air during the cooling process. This not only cools the air but also addresses discomfort caused by arid conditions. 

Their straightforward cooling process also translates to lower maintenance demands than conventional systems. Regular water pad cleaning and occasional filter replacement are sufficient for optimal performance.

Lastly, ventless coolers offer a cost-effective cooling solution for two-story homes. With their minimal energy use, homeowners can achieve substantial long-term savings. These coolers appeal to environmentally conscious individuals, aligning with sustainable living practices due to their reduced environmental impact. 

Ventless coolers emerge as a practical and efficient option when seeking efficient and eco-friendly ways to air condition a two-story house.

Central Air Conditioner

Central air conditioning systems are a popular and efficient choice for larger homes, including two-story houses. These systems operate by utilizing a network of ducts throughout the entire residence, allowing the distribution of cooled air to every room. Opting for a central AC could be a convenient and effective solution if your home already has existing ductwork.

One of the primary advantages of a central AC lies in its ability to provide consistent and even cooling across all areas of the house. Unlike standalone units that target specific rooms, a central AC ensures that every corner of your two-story home experiences the same level of comfort. 

This uniform cooling is particularly beneficial in addressing the temperature disparities that can often arise between the two floors of a multi-story dwelling.

Another notable feature of central AC systems is their controllability. These systems have a thermostat that allows you to effortlessly regulate the indoor temperature to your preferred setting. 

This level of convenience extends beyond temperature control – central AC systems also offer the benefit of humidity control, helping to maintain a comfortable and healthy indoor environment. 

Furthermore, the centralized nature of these systems eliminates the need for multiple units cluttering your living spaces, contributing to a cleaner and more streamlined aesthetic.

Ductless Mini-split System

Ductless mini-split systems offer a practical solution for homes without ductwork, making them particularly well-suited for two-story houses. Thanks to the outdoor compressor unit and indoor air handlers, these systems allow for independent control of each indoor unit. 

This enables the creation of individualized temperature zones, efficiently addressing varying cooling needs between floors.

The energy efficiency of ductless mini-splits is noteworthy. By delivering cooled air directly to the intended spaces, they avoid energy loss associated with ductwork. This can translate into potential energy savings and cost reduction. 

Installation is also straightforward, as it doesn’t require extensive ductwork. The flexibility in positioning indoor units ensures both efficient cooling and aesthetic integration.

A ductless mini-split system offers tailored comfort and efficiency for two-story homes. Their ability to create specific cooling zones, energy savings, and easy installation make them a practical choice for achieving consistent and customized cooling throughout your home, even in areas without windows.

Hybrid System

Hybrid systems offer a flexible solution for cooling two-story houses by combining different AC technologies. For instance, you can integrate a central AC system with ductless mini-split units strategically positioned in specific areas. 

This approach allows you to maintain consistent overall cooling with the central AC while providing targeted cooling in zones that require extra attention. Hybrid systems offer personalized comfort, efficient energy use, and effective temperature control for a well-balanced indoor climate.

What are Some Tips for Cooling a Two-Story House?

Heatwave so hot that a woman is considering buying an air conditioner in the Philippines

Ensuring efficient and effective cooling for a two-story house involves more than selecting a suitable AC unit. Here are some tips to optimize the cooling process while also promoting energy efficiency:

Optimize Thermostat Settings 

Pay attention to thermostat settings once you have the right AC unit. During hot days, set your thermostat to a temperature that maintains comfort without overworking the system.

Programmable thermostats are especially helpful, as they allow you to adjust temperatures based on your schedule, preventing unnecessary cooling when you’re not at home.

Add a Second Thermostat on the Upstairs Floor

Adding a second thermostat on the upstairs floor can enhance temperature control. This is particularly effective in addressing temperature imbalances between the two floors, as you can regulate the cooling separately for each area.

Open Doors on the Second Floor (Central AC)

When using a central AC system, leave doors open on the second floor to encourage even air distribution. This prevents temperature disparities between floors and ensures a consistent indoor climate throughout the house.

Close Unnecessary Doors with Supplemental AC Units

Suppose you’re using supplemental AC units, like window air conditioners, close doors leading to rooms where cooling isn’t a priority. This directs the cool air to the areas that need it the most, maximizing the efficiency of your cooling efforts.

Utilize Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are invaluable in promoting air circulation and enhancing the efficiency of your cooling system. Set them to rotate counterclockwise during summer to create a cooling breeze.

Fans don’t lower the room temperature, but they make you feel cooler due to increased air movement, allowing you to set the thermostat a bit higher without sacrificing comfort.

Energy-Efficient Windows

Consider upgrading to energy-efficient windows that can help keep your home cooler. Windows with low-emissivity (Low-E) coatings reflect heat while allowing light to enter. Double or triple-pane windows also provide better insulation, reducing heat transfer indoors and outdoors.

You can also use reflective window film or shades to manage sunlight and heat effectively. These solutions can deflect incoming sunlight, reducing heat gain and helping maintain a cooler indoor environment, thus enhancing comfort and energy efficiency in your home.

Close Blinds and Curtains

Sunlight can rapidly warm your living space. To counter this, shut blinds and curtains when temperatures peak to prevent excessive heat infiltration. This simple step can significantly reduce the load on your cooling system.

Control Heat-Producing Appliances

Appliances like ovens, stoves, and dryers generate heat. Avoid or sparingly use these appliances during the hottest parts of the day. Opt for energy-efficient lighting, as traditional incandescent bulbs can contribute to indoor heat.

Regular Maintenance

Proper maintenance of your AC unit ensures it operates efficiently. Clean or replace air filters regularly to maintain airflow, and schedule professional care to check for refrigerant levels, leaks, and overall system performance.

Consider Smart Technology

Invest in smart home technology that controls your cooling system remotely. Some systems can learn your preferences and adjust cooling accordingly, maximizing energy efficiency.

Keep the AC Fan Setting “On” Instead of “Auto”

Selecting the “On” setting ensures a more consistent and balanced air distribution throughout your home. This is particularly beneficial for a two-story house, where temperature variations between floors can be more noticeable. The continuous air circulation helps eliminate pockets of hot or cold air, creating a more uniform indoor environment on both levels.

Can I Use a Single AC to Cool My Two-Story House?

Using a single air conditioning unit to cool a two-story house is possible but might come with challenges. A single AC unit would need to be powerful enough to adequately cool both levels of the house, which could be challenging due to the temperature variations between floors.

Additionally, even cool air distribution might be difficult to achieve, potentially leading to uneven cooling and discomfort in certain areas.

Final Thoughts

Air conditioning in a two-story house effectively requires innovative technology, strategic planning, and proper maintenance. You can create a cool and comfortable environment throughout your home by implementing zone cooling, using programmable thermostats, promoting air circulation, and addressing insulation issues.

With a little investment in time and resources, you can enjoy a balanced indoor temperature while keeping energy consumption and utility bills in check.

JP Reyes

JP has been in the aircon industry for almost as long as he has been alive. As a child JP would help his tatay fix aircon units at their junk shop in Cavite. After graduating UP in the early 2000's, JP then started his own Aircon servicing business and within 5 years had 10 shops in 8 different cities. Fast forward to today and JP brings all his experience and expertise online to give readers trustworthy advice and reviews about Air-conditioning buying, servicing, cleaning and repair in the Philippines.

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