Heating is often the final touch — or, sometimes, the overlooked item — when it comes to finishing a basement. Depending on how you use the space, you may get away with a space heater, whatever your ductwork already provides down there. If you need to add more heat, two of your best options are baseboard heaters or ductless heating and cooling.
Both will get the job done. But, these solutions work very differently, so there are quite a few pros and cons to consider for each. And, that’s the topic for this article: ductless vs. baseboard heating.
If you’re looking for the best way to heat the basement in your York, PA home, we’ll walk you through what to expect.
In our opinion, one outweighs the other. But you may feel differently. We just want to make sure you have as much information as you need to make the right choice for your basement and lifestyle.
Meanwhile, if you have any questions about these, or want to learn more about installing them in York, PA, call or email us here at Air Comfort Technologies for a free consultation.
Baseboard heating has been common in Central Pennsylvania homes for decades. It’s a simple setup: You install the heaters along a baseboard in each room and plug them in.
Then, set the thermostat on each unit. When you need more warmth, the coils heat up and radiate warmth.
Benefits Of Baseboard Heating In Basements
Benefits of baseboard heating include:
- Inexpensive to Purchase And Install
- Customized, “Zoned” Heating
- Silent Operation
Inexpensive to Purchase And Install
Depending on the size of your basement, you’ll likely have only one baseboard. A 1,500-watt unit can heat a 10-by-15-foot room. If your space is larger, you can add more units.
But, even a high-end unit costs less than $75. Most are around $30. And, installation is easy. You may need a professional to run the wiring, but it’s straightforward and quick.
Customized, “Zoned” Heating
The significant advantage is that each baseboard uses its own thermostat. If you tried to run ductwork, you’d never get the place warm enough because the furnace runs based on the first floor’s temperature or wherever you placed your thermostat.
Instead, you’re getting the exact amount of heat you need for that area.
Finally, at most, you’ll hear a “click” when the heater turns on. After that, it’s silent — much different from the loud, whooshing sound of forced air coming through the vents.
Drawbacks Of Baseboard Heating In Basements
- Expensive To Operate
- Affects The Room’s Layout
- Only Offers Heating
Expensive To Operate
Each unit may not cost a lot at all to purchase and install. But, you’ll notice a significant change on your electric bill. Each heater uses a lot of power to keep the room warm. They’ll get the job done for sure. But they cost a lot to do it.
Affects The Room’s Layout
Since these heaters sit near the floor, they need space to operate correctly. You can’t put couches, tables, entertainment centers, or anything in front of them.
Fortunately, they’re not too big. But, you’ll definitely have to maneuver your layout around the one or two you installed.
Only Offers Heating
Forced-air systems and, as we’ll see, ductless mini-splits can provide both heating and cooling. Baseboards only offer warmth.
Ductless Heating And Cooling
Often referred to as “mini-splits,” ductless heating and cooling uses a heat pump outside to move heat in or out of the house. Inside, an air handler circulates the air in the room, warming or cooling it as it does so.
All you need to connect the two is a narrow lineset that runs refrigerant in a loop between the components. The line is often easy to run behind the wall, so you never see it.
Benefits Of Ductless Heating And Cooling In Basements
Ductless heating and cooling is great because:
- It Offers Zoned HVAC
- You Can Install Them Anywhere
- Energy-Efficient Heating And Cooling
Each air handler has a built-in thermostat. So, once again, you’re getting zoned HVAC. The unit in the room is working according to the exact requirements of that space. It’s not a matter of one thermostat attempting to control the entire house — even when the temperatures are different in various parts of your home.
You Can Install Them Anywhere
All you need in the room is a single air handler. Each one uses sensors and fans to circulate the air quickly and effectively. You can choose between high-wall units up near the corner by the ceiling or one that mounts low to the ground.
And, like baseboard heaters, they barely make a sound.
This way, you don’t have to move furniture around your heating and cooling. A wall-mounted unit doesn’t need much space around it. ANd it’s usually up higher than you’d need for shelving or pictures.
Energy-Efficient Heating And Cooling
Finally, a mini-split offers both heating and cooling. One setup does both. That’s a significant advantage over baseboard heating. With ductless, you get year-round climate control.
And, once you’re up and running, you’ll barely notice a blip on your utility bills. The trick here is that the heat pump moves thermal energy from one place to another. It never burns expensive fossil fuels to warm the place. And, the cooling process is way more efficient than even central air.
Drawbacks Of Mini-Splits In Basements
There are two main drawbacks to mini-splits — and the first one can be a doozy:
- Cost To Purchase And Install
- Not As Much Circulation
Cost To Purchase And Install
Unlike baseboard heating, a mini-split comes with a significant price tag: $3,200 for a heat pump and single air handler setup. You can add up to eight air handlers on a heat pump. So, the cost doesn’t go up too much more with each room. But, you still have to contend with the initial expense.
Of course, if it’s in your budget, then you’ll love the results. And, we can help you apply for rebates from MetEd and direct from the manufacturer. Put together, these can take up to a thousand dollars or more off the price.
Not As Much Circulation
The only concern we sometimes hear is that the air feels “stale,” or at least not as fresh as people expected. It happens because you’re never moving air from one room to another. As a result, there’s not as much circulation as, say, forced-air.
This is also an issue with baseboard heating, but sometimes we hear people pick up on it more with a mini-split.
Baseboard heaters were an excellent option for basements for a long time. And, in a lot of ways, they still are. But, in terms of performance and efficiency, you can’t beat ductless heating and cooling.
Yes, the upfront cost for a mini-split is significantly more than baseboard heating. But, you can bring down a lot of that with rebates.
Mini-Split Installations In York, PA
If you’d like to learn more about ductless heating and cooling, or if you want to see if a mini-split installation is the right choice for your York, PA home, call or email Air Comfort Technologies for a free consultation.