Has the heating system in your home left you a little, well, out in the cold? It’s especially frustrating when one part of the house feels fine, but another is freezing in the wintertime. 

(We’re looking at you, cold bedrooms that leave us with ice blocks for toes in the morning!)

Uneven heating has always been a problem for just about any type of house. But now, we here at Snowflake Air are getting more and more calls about this from homeowners in places like Donnelley, Cascade, and McCall, ID. 

It’s not the houses — or even the weather — that have changed. Instead, more and more people are now using cabins and other homes in these towns as their year-round residences.

In the past, these were vacation homes or rentals. Sure, everyone always wanted to be comfortable. But, when you’re only there for a few days or even weeks at a time, it’s easy to overlook some minor inconveniences. 

Especially when there’s so much to do when you leave the house

Now, as these become year-round homes, it’s time to make them more comfortable from top to bottom. 

And no, you don’t need to add ductwork and vents, invest in an electric furnace, or wait until natural gas is available in the area. In fact, you’ll get better comfort — and save money and energy! — when you zone your heating. 

In this article, we’ll explain what that means, exactly. Then, we’ll look at three ways to do it and offer our recommendation on the best out of those options. 

And, if you’re looking to make your Treasure Valley home more energy-efficient and comfortable, call or email us here at Snowflake Air for a free consultation.

  1. What Is Zoned Heating? 
  2. Zoned Vs. One Thermostat
  3. Three Options For Zoned Heating
  4. More Mini Split Benefits
  5. Ductless Heating And Air Conditioning Near Donnelly, ID

Case Study: MIni Split Adds Cooling (And Better Heating) To A Cabin In Donnelly, ID

What Is Zoned Heating? 

Zoned heating is when you have separate heat sources for different areas — or zones — of your home. This is the opposite of central heating. That’s where you have a single thermostat controlling a single HVAC system for the entire house. 

While just about all central heating uses a furnace or boiler, you have quite a few options when it comes to zoning your HVAC system. We’ll get into those choices a little later. 

For now, let’s talk about the advantage of one thermostat versus a zoned setup. 

Zoned Vs. One Thermostat

Adjusting The ThermostatWith a zoned system, you can customize the temperature in different parts of the house. It’s an excellent way to finally warm up those bedrooms on the second floor that are always too cold. Or keeping a room with cathedral ceilings as warm as other parts of the house. 

That’s because there’s a big limitation with a single thermostat: It only measures the temperature in the room where you install it. It doesn’t matter when other parts of the house are colder. Instead, your system turns on and off based on the reading in that one zone. 

Of course, zoning can be a larger expense. You’ll need to install more units in different parts of the house. That could mean more upkeep than dealing with a single thermostat and furnace. 

But, if you’re tired of waking up with cold feet or feeling chilly in different parts of the house, it’s time to consider an upgrade. And that could mean either supplementing your existing central system or getting rid of it altogether. 

Or, if you have an outdated zoned HVAC setup, we’ll tell you about a new-and-improved system that works great.

Three Options For Zoned Heating

Many homes and cabins in Donnelly, ID and nearby towns use electric baseboard heat or pellet stoves for heat. These can be used for zoned heating, but they have their limitations. We’ll talk about these options and then discuss a newer solution that’s becoming popular in the Treasure Valley:

  1. Electric Baseboard Heat
  2. Pellet Stoves 
  3. Ductless Mini Splits

Electric Baseboard Heat

Since natural gas has never been widespread in Idaho, you’ll find plenty of homes and cabins with electric baseboard heat. Since each room has a different panel, you can set them all to regulate the heat independently of the others. 

But, they can take a while to kick on. And, they use a lot of electricity. If you’ve turned a vacation house into your year-round home, you may be surprised by how much you pay on your bills in the winter. 

Pellet Stoves 

Pellet stoves are popular for cabins on Donnelly, Cascade, and McCall. They can keep a small house warm. Or, you can combine them with baseboard heat (or other solutions) to get even heating throughout the house. 

But, it’s tough to regulate the temperature to within a few degrees like you can do with more modern solutions. And, you have to stock up on supplies. Unlike gas or electricity, those pellets don’t arrive at the house on their own. 

Ductless Mini Splits

Ductless Mini Split

Mini splits with Hyper Heat heat pumps can keep your home toasty and warm even when it’s negative 13 degrees outside — and that’s colder weather than we ever see here in the Treasure River Valley. 

The way it works is that you attach indoor air handlers to a heat pump outside. Since each indoor unit has a built-in thermostat, you can set the temperature separately in each room. 

While these use electricity, they require way less power than baseboard heaters. You’ll see a major drop-off on your electric bill if you get rid of your old baseboards and go ductless instead. 

Read More: Mini Splits Vs. Baseboard Heaters

And, the benefits don’t stop there. 

More Mini Split Benefits

We’ve got more articles about ductless heating and cooling here and here. But for now, here’s a quick overview of some more mini split benefits: 

  1. Year-Round Comfort
  2. Easy Installation
  3. Whisper Quiet 

Year-Round Comfort

If you’ve ever heard of a ductless air conditioner, it’s the same thing! A heat pump transfers heat from one place to another. So, the same system that keeps you warm in the winter also keeps the house cool all summer. 

Read More: Why Is My Bedroom Too Hot In The Summer?

Easy Installation

With a mini split, you won’t have to worry about ripping through walls or installing ductwork that takes up a lot of space in each room. 

Instead, we mount the air handlers on the walls where you want them. Then we run a few lines connecting them to the heat pump. They barely take up any space. 

Whisper Quiet 

There’s no more turning up your TV to hear what’s going on over the sound of a window AC. Nor will you notice the sudden rush of air coming through the ductwork when the heater kicks on. 

The air handlers are whisper-quiet. That makes your mountain home even more peaceful. 

Ductless Heating And Air Conditioning Near Donnelly, ID 

If you’d like to learn more about how ductless heating and air conditioning can make our home more energy-efficient and comfortable, click below or call Snowflake Air at (208) 205-9078 for a free consultation. Or check out our case studies from homes in Donnelly, ID, and other areas. We’re excited to help you make your home feel better all year long!