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The Best Ways To Heat The Bonus Room Above Your Garage In The Winter

Two people bundled up, trying to stay warm

Heating a room above the garage can be a challenge. The garage typically isn’t insulated, because it’s not a spot that people spend time in, and doesn’t have the same comfort concerns. The only problem is when it affects the rooms it is directly connected to. One of the trickier places is a room over the garage, typically a bedroom. Because the cold air is present under the room, it can be difficult to keep it comfortable!

Read More: Adding A Ductless Mini Split To A Pocono Home

Why The Bonus Room Above The Garage Gets So Cold In The Winter

There are a few main reasons why a finished bonus room over the garage has a hard time staying warm in the wintertime. I have listed a few below and many can be addressed with very little effort or expense. Let’s take a look:

  • Lack of Insulation vs. Other Rooms
  • Unheated Area Below the Rooms
  • Weak Airflow From Ducts

Lack Of Insulation Vs Other Rooms

Most bonus rooms or rooms over a garage are above a non-insulated or temperature-controlled space. These rooms frequently are the victims of an insulation layer that is inadequate for these conditions. And if these are “accessory” rooms – or rooms that are not expected to be occupied or used on a regular basis, then the builder just may view this area as a way to cut some expenses. Until recent years, home offices were not a regular feature in new construction. Now they seem to be a part of everyday life. So making certain that your bonus room or “home office” is adequately insulated is a must.

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Unheated Area Below The Room

If your bonus room is above a non-insulated garage or other non-insulated space, then the opportunity for cold air to seep in is pretty high. And that means that your bonus room is probably not doing a very good job of holding in heat in the winter or cool air in the summertime.

Weak Airflow From Ducts

Many bonus rooms are quite a distance away from the heat source. In this case, two things can happen. As heat or cool air travel along the ducts to the call location, the warm air will cool and the cool air warms slightly. If you add to that an inadequate duct layout, then even if the temperature-controlled air makes it to its final destination, there is not enough of it to cool or heat to the desired setting. So the thermostat is always calling for more air. Compounding the problem may be high ceiling heights – well above the 9ft standard making it difficult to reach the desired temperature.

Read More: The Best Ways To Heat A Finished Basement

Heating Options: Pros and Cons

Luckily there are a few available options to address the problem of a “cold” bonus room. Let’s take a quick look at some of the pros and cons of these options.

Space Heaters

Space heaters come in a variety of types and styles. There are a few different types to choose from, and each is designed to heat up your space through a different method. There are three main types of space heaters: radiant, convection, and combination. Each comes with benefits and drawbacks.


Space heaters do a fairly good job of heating a small area in a reasonably economic way. The ability to turn them on and off whenever you need them can save you money as you do not need to heat large unoccupied areas for extended periods.


Space heaters need to be constantly attended to when in operation. Plus they can be a burn hazard to small children and pets, as they can get very hot while in operation.

Depending on the type of space heater, they can pose a fire and carbon monoxide hazard. Kerosene heaters are known for this.

Rooms with poor insulation, drafts, or high ceilings are very difficult to heat with a convection space heater. The warmth they generate seeps out into the surrounding environment or gets spread out over an area so large that it either can’t be felt or becomes wasteful. Air is a poor heat conductor.

Radiant heaters provide pinpoint warmth making it hard to move about a room in comfort.

Read More: Mini Splits VS. Baseboard Heating

Radiant Floor Heating

Radiant heating systems supply heat directly to the floor or to panels in the wall or ceiling of a house. The systems depend largely on radiant heat transfer — the delivery of heat directly from the hot surface to the people and objects in the room via infrared radiation.


Radiant heating has a number of advantages. It is more efficient than baseboard heating and usually more efficient than forced-air heating because it eliminates duct losses. People with allergies often prefer radiant heat because it doesn’t distribute allergens like forced air systems can.


Air cannot hold large amounts of heat, so radiant air floors are not cost-effective in residential applications.

Mini Split

Neatly mounted ductless unit

A mini split is a wall-mounted heat pump unit that can provide targeted heating and cooling as needed as a stand-alone heating and cooling source or as a supplement to an existing HVAC system.


The main advantages of mini-splits are their small size and flexibility for zoning and cooling individual rooms. Many models can have as many as four indoor air handling units (for four zones or rooms) connected to one outdoor unit. The number depends on how much cooling is required for the building or each zone.

They also don’t require any ductwork. This makes it much easier to install without needing to interfere with your current system. They work as a perfect supplement.

The operating cost of a mini split is economical and can help to offset some of the upfront costs. Plus as a result of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, rebates and incentives are available in 2023.

The mini split operates with a room indoor wall-mounted unit. They hang conveniently out of the way and come in different colors and styles to fit your room. More recent models can even be recessed into the wall to virtually disappear.


We hinted a little about the upfront cost of a mini split. But with generous rebates and reduced operating costs, the mini split proves to be a cost saver over time.

Bonus Room Heating And Cooling Units: Best Recommendation

When it is all said and done, the most efficient, safest, and cost-effective way of heating or cooling in a bonus room is a ductless mini split.

More Benefits Of A Mini Split

Energy Efficiency

Because your ductless mini split operates without major ducts or forced air there is less air leakage and all of your conditioned air gets to where you want it to go.

Easy Installation

Your ductless system can be installed in as little as a day. And because the mini split does not require expensive ductwork installation, there is very little cleanup or disruption in your home.

Heating and Cooling

Your ductless mini split is a two-for-one deal providing both heating AND cooling to your bonus room. Not only will you be cozy in the winter, but cool and comfortable in the summer months too.

Read More: Benefits Of Ductless HVAC In Third-Floor Bedrooms And Attics

Mini Split Installation In Jenkintown, PA

If you are lucky enough to live in the Jenkintown, PA area you have access to some of the best HVAC experts available. At Synergy3 we can help you to assess your situation, and make the best recommendation for your home comfort. Reach out to us today. We will be happy to provide you with a free consultation to help you find the best solution for your bonus room and every room in your home.

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