HVAC Word of the Week: Stratification

“Earth to Fahrenheit HVAC, do you copy? You’re entering the stratosphere now.” No, this week’s HVAC knowledge doesn’t involve a spaceship, but it does involve an atmospheric concept of our planet. During our last post we reviewed what a SEER rating is and this post examines the phenomenon of stratification. Stratification seems like a fancy concept, but is actually very common. If you are familiar with different stories to your home being at different temperatures, then you are familiar with “fancy” stratification.

What is Stratification

Stratification is caused when two different temperature air masses meet and create two different temperature zones. The issue arises when hot air rises, cold air sinks, which creates dramatically different levels of temperature from floor to floor within a home. This happens very frequently in older homes, which are very common in Fahrenheit’s local areas like Elkins Park, Mt. Airy and Jenkintown, PA.


Pictured to the left you can see a visualization of how stratification occurs. The home pictured is a single level home, but you are able to see the temperature difference in the high ceilings. There are a number of solutions that can be proposed when you are experiencing stratification in your home and would be dependent upon the home, system and set up. This simple concept can leave those with older multi-level homes with wildly varying temperatures from room to room.

If you have a home that is experiencing stratification then you know how frustrating this can be. Even when you have a new air conditioner system installed, you can feel as though that money was put to waste when any upper-level of your home is unusable. Talk to a local HVAC professional in your area and explain that you are experiencing stratification! They will surely be impressed with your “fancy” industry terminology! Once this professional looks at your current home comfort system and determine how to provide an even comfort throughout the entire home.

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