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.

  • 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


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.


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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