Ductless heating and cooling is an excellent way to heat the finished basement in a York, PA home. Ductless is energy-efficient, powerful, and customizable to treat just one part of the house. And, the same system also offers cooling.
The only drawback here is the price to have one installed. But as we’ll see a little later, there are ways to bring down that cost. And, these offer more benefits than you might imagine.
In this article, we’ll see how ductless stacks up against other options for keeping a finished basement warm in the winter. Then, we’ll go over that cost question and discuss ways to reduce the price.
Meanwhile, if you have any questions, or are curious about how a system like this would work in your York, PA home — or anywhere in Central PA — call or email us here at Air Comfort Technologies.
But, before we get into all that, let’s take a look at how it works.
How Ductless And Cooling Works In A Finished Basement
You often hear ductless heating and cooling referred to as a “mini-split.” It gets the name because of the two components that appear unattached: A heat pump outside and an air handler in the house.
Without getting too technical, the outdoor unit draws in heat during the winter, amplifies it, and sends it inside. The air handler draws in the air from the room where you install it. Then it warms that air and re-circulates it through the room.
This system works in reverse in the summer: The air handler draws in the warm air from the room and sends the heat to the outdoor unit. Then, it dehumidifies and re-circulates the cool air.
All that connects the indoor and outdoor units is a thin, flexible line carrying refrigerant liquid back and forth. It runs in a closed-loop, carrying heat in and out of the house. That makes it easy to install: We can run the line through the wall without taking up a lot of space for ductwork.
And, the air handler has a built-in thermostat. That way, you get the best treatment for that specific part of the house. One air handler is usually all you need for a basement — they do a fantastic job of circulating the air. But, you can add up to eight air handlers on a single heat pump if you want to expand to the whole-house.
Mini-Splits Versus Other Basement Heating Options
Now that you know how these work, let’s see how a mini-split stacks up against:
- Space Heaters
- Extending Ductwork
- Baseboard Heating
Space Heaters Vs. Mini-Splits For A Finished Basement
Space heaters are the cheapest to buy. You can head over to pretty much any big box store and grab one for $50 to maybe $200. And, there’s no installation. Just plug it in and turn it on!
But, in many ways, you get what you pay for — and then, you keep paying.
At best, these will heat a very small space. It’s okay if you’re going to sit on one spot, and that’s it. But they’re not radiant enough for much more than that. And, that small space costs you a whole lot on your electric bill: These guys are far from energy-efficient.
Finally, you can’t leave them on when you’re not there. Space heaters can tip over or short out and cause a fire. That means letting the area cool back down when you’re not there and then heating it back up when you go down.
Extending Ductwork Vs. Going Ductless
If you have forced air, you have the option of extending your ductwork. It makes sense— there’s a powerful furnace heating the rest of the house. Why not use it downstairs as well? In some cases, it can work out. But, those are rare and can sometimes cause more problems.
Let’s start with the possible advantages. If your ductwork runs through the finished space, it’s not too much work to have an HVAC tech install a few extra vents in it. Or, they can run a small ducted line from it to treat the basement.
But, your furnace wasn’t sized to include that space. So, now you’re taking air pressure and heat away from the upstairs. It could upset the balance for the rest of the house. And, the thermostat is upstairs too. That means you’re not regulating anything based on the temperature in the basement.
For all that, you may end up with weak heating in the basement, diminished heat upstairs, and a sizable bill — maybe even $1,000 or more — for the efforts.
For a long time, baseboard heating was your best bet for a finished basement. A strip or two is relatively inexpensive and easy to install. And, since they use their own thermostats, you can customize the temperature in the basement.
But today, ductless technology has blown so far past baseboards that we recommend a mini-split whenever the budget allows for it. It’s true that years ago these weren’t great for heating. Usually, people bought them as alternatives to air conditioners.
Now, however, you can get a model that keeps you warm even when it’s negative 13 degrees Fahrenheit outside. Or, choose a less expensive model that works in conjunction with your heater. Either way, you’re now also adding air conditioning.
Meanwhile, it will heat (and cool!) that space faster than baseboards. And, it uses way less electricity. This way, you can maintain the climate year-round without seeing much of an impact at all on your electric bill.
Sounds great, right? Now, let’s address the price.
Mini-Split Cost And Rebate Opportunities In York, PA
Mini-split systems start around $3,000 for a single-zone. That’s one heat pump and one air handler — pretty much what you’d need for any basement. From there, you can add up to eight air handlers to a heat pump to treat more of the house. The average price for an entire York, PA home setup goes up to $17,000.
You can read more about the pricing in the article below. But, we know that $3,200 is way more than the other options. But, once again, you get what you pay for: Superior heating and cooling, with almost no increase on your electric bill.
And, you rarely pay full price! Ductless heating and cooling systems usually qualify for rebates from Met-Ed. Depending on your setup, you can knock a few hundred dollars or more off the price.
We also help people time their purchase to take advantage of manufacturer rebates during certain times of the year. That brings the cost down even more.
Mini-Split Installations For Basements In York, PA
If you’d like to learn more about mini-splits and if a setup like this is the right choice for your finished basement, call or email us here at air Comfort Technology. Starting with a free consultation, we’ll help you make the right choice for your York, PA home.