I have a Customer that has a very open floor plan. 2 story opening in the middle of the house.
When you walk up the stairs you feel a dramatic temperature change when you reach a certain point up the stairs.
What causes this and how can it be corrected ?
Stagnation / inversion layer - common with radiant heated buildings where the heat stays low & it is cooler the higher you go - awesome in commercial & other areas as you aren't heating everything. The reverse can also be in effect also. I talked about it some in http://thehtrc.com/2012/common-sense-radiant-heat-faq
The cause - lack of airflow, bedroom or other doors closed up top which might be conditioned. How do you fix? Use a ceiling fan to stir the air, open doors, windows, etc...
Are these winter conditions, is it colder or warmer upstairs, is it forced air or radiant heat?
It could be a variety of things.
This scenario occurs in the Winter Months. It is warmer upstairs. This is a forced Air System.
Thank you, Kevin
I also should have asked where the furnace was located,basement,1st or 2nd floor. In any case the simplest solution is to close some of the supplies upstairs and make sure they are fully open in the lower levels. The previous homeowner may have adjusted the distribution of conditioned air so it would be cool upstairs in the summer,
We see this in the mid-Atlantic with ceiling feeds on a hot air system, and usually with a taller-than-average ceiling height. The duct design is poor and the warm winter air is not traveling fast enough to reach the floor to mix properly, and tends to accumulate at the top of the space. Having a return up high forces hotter air into the return side so supply air gets hotter and hotter until temperature at thermostat level is satisfied.
Solution - If it is a 2 story house with a system for each floor, be sure the upstairs system is set to the same or lower thermostat setting as the first. With just one system, first try speeding up the winter time fan speed which is usually set at a medium speed. If that does not work, make sure that both the air handler and the duct system are the right size to achieve a high enough velocity. You may be able to get that velocity with a change of register grilles. Also, make sure you don't ever install a duct system in an attic.
If it is radiant heat - I can't help - we don't use them much here
It is interesting that people respond to questions like this with answers that make some significant and often incorrect assumptions.
The OP did not state what type of heating system there is or whether the temperature rises or falls when ascending the stairs. It would also be helpful to know how cold it is outside when this is experienced.