It’s one thing when your bedrooms are too cold in the winter. That’s a common enough problem in plenty of homes, from townhouses and rowhomes to singles, twins, and especially older homes. But what happens when you try to crank up the thermostat to fix the problem? The first floor becomes way too hot. And, that problem can even lead to the basement feeling overheated. 

That’s right: The one part of your house that never seemed to get warm enough before is now too hot. And all because you don’t want to wake up in the morning with cold toes. 

The good news is that there are much better ways to solve the problem upstairs without making the downstairs feel like a sauna. The secret is “zoned” heating. Or not having one thermostat control the entire home. 

How Do I Heat Upstairs Without Making The Basement Too Hot?

To explain it, we’ll go through: 

  1. Why Your Upstairs Needs More Heat Than Downstairs

  2. “Zoned” HVAC And How It Helps 

  3. Three Ways To Zone Your Heating

  4. Why Your Upstairs Needs More Heat Than Downstairs

  5. Our Recommendation

And, if you have any questions or want to learn more about how to make your home in Manchester, York, or anywhere in South Central Pennsylvania more comfortable in the winter, reach out to us here at Air Comfort Technologies. We offer free consultations to help you decide the best solution for your home and your preferences.  

Schedule A Consultation

Read More: How Can I Heat A Finished Basement?

Why Your Upstairs Needs More Heat Than Downstairs

So let’s start with the root of the problem: Why, exactly, is the upstairs colder than the first floor (or basement?). Some of it has to do with basic physics. Then, there’s the layout of the house and the ductwork. We’ll cover that all here. 

Heat Rises (Sort Of)

Okay, let’s make a minor correction to the saying, “heat rises.” More specifically, hot air rises. So, anything coming out of the vents goes up as far as it can. The problem occurs when it reaches the roof and keeps on going. 

That’s because heat does something else: move toward cold areas. In the winter, that’s outside. The warmth you’re pumping into the house gets to the top floor and finds any way it can to escape your house. 

Ductwork Limitations

You Need Your Ductwork Properly DesignedForced-air heating with ductwork only does the job so well. You inevitably lose pressure along the way. Open vents and even just the distance the air travels means the circulation gets weaker along the way. 

In many homes, it’s really weak when it gets to the top floor. That’s right: Your bedrooms don’t even get the same amount of heat as downstairs to begin. And, it never will when you have one thermostat. 

When the temperature gauge is in the living room or dining room, the furnace shuts off when that room is warm enough. It never takes the second (or third) floor into account. 

And, all these problems get even worse if you have high ceilings or large rooms with a lot of open space. So, what can you do about it? 

Read More: What Is Static Pressure In Your HVAC System?

“Zoned” HVAC And How It Helps 

The way to overcome uneven heating problems is with “zoned” HVAC. If you’ve ever used window air conditioners or baseboard heaters, then you know what it is. But, we can do much better than that. Let’s start with what it means, though. 

“Zoned” heating and cooling simply means you create different zones in the house and treat each one with a separate thermostat (the window AC and baseboard heaters have their own gauges). 

This way, your heater on the second floor will stay on longer than the one on the first floor. This way, you don’t end up with a first floor and basement that are way too hot.

Ductless Vs. Baseboard Heating In York, PA Homes

Three Ways To Zone Your Heating

  1. Two Furnaces 

  2. Baseboard Heaters

  3. Ductless Mini-Splits

Two Furnaces

The “biggest” solution is to get a second furnace. This was the way to go for a long time in larger homes. You can treat the bedrooms, study, or other rooms separately from downstairs with a second heater upstairs. 

The drawback here is the expense. Furnaces aren’t cheap. And, in most cases, you need to purchase both at the same time. That way, you have models that are made to work in tandem. So, you’ll probably have to replace your current heater, too. That’s double the cost. 

For all that, you only get two zones: Upstairs and downstairs. It’s a significant investment for just a bit more customization. 

Baseboard Heaters

Baseboard heaters cost a lot less than a second furnace. And you get more customization. Since each unit has a thermostat on it, you can control the temperature in every room a little differently. 

However, these use a lot of electricity to work. And, sometimes, they take a while to heat a room. You also only get heat — no air conditioning. 

Ductless Mini-Splits Are Our RecommendationDuctless Mini-Splits 

Ductless mini-splits give you the best of both worlds: The power of a central unit with the flexibility of baseboards. You can finally add extra heating and cooling upstairs without messing up the first floor and overheating the basement. 

You can read more about ductless here and here

Our Recommendation

If you have the budget, go ductless! It starts at $3,500 for a single room and goes up from there. The benefit, however, is that you only treat the rooms you need. Then the entire house is comfortable. And, you don’t need to overheat different spots to make it happen. 

Read More: How Big Is A Ductless Mini-Split?

Mini-Split Installation Near Manchester, PA 

Do you want to learn more about ductless heating and cooling? Or are you ready for a mini-split installation in your Manchester, PA home — or anywhere in South Central Pennsylvania? Either way, Air Comfort Technologies has you covered! Call us to book an appointment or free consultation.

Aircomfort Man Blog