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After I installed my mini split with a heat pump in my city rowhouse in the Midlantic region last winter, I noticed that the hot air from the wall mounted heads were not warming the floor on the first floor. I could turn on the heat from the basement, but that would be a waste and terribly inefficient. As I see it I have three options - really two as I don't want to lose room space with baseboard heaters. I have complete access to the wooden original floor from underneath in the basement. I was thinking hydronic but was wondering if I would get a real return on heating a floor that is only like 250 sqft. I do have a natural gas tankless water heater but looking at a recirculating pump etc.. I don't know. The other option would be using wire-based electric system underneath would be easier but the common knowledge says electricity is more expensive-but is it that more expensive? My understanding is that the larger the floor the smaller the cost per sqft because the equipment cost are diminishing.

My dilemma is that @ 250 sqft would hydronic really pay off in the long or even short run or would it make more sense to go with the electric. I would like to get working on this project and need to start planning one way or the other.

Thanks in advance for any feedback/input.

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  • I think you meant hydronic, not hydroponic. There's a critical difference. Unless, of course, you're growing vegetables in your heating system. ;)
    – FreeMan
    Nov 10, 2021 at 13:32
  • haha - thanks I will make the edits.
    – ecco88
    Nov 11, 2021 at 23:54

2 Answers 2

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I'd venture to guess that turning on the basement heat pump at 300+% efficiency would beat running electric resistance heat at 100% efficiency, and requires no additional install expense.

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There's also the solution of simply insulating the basement ceiling. Note that this won't have much effect on your energy use, but will keep the floor a bit closer to the living-space temperatures.

Older and cheaper solutions: Rugs and slippers.

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