I have a split-level home, which is approximately 1600 sq.ft. Presently I have electric baseboard heat, with a pellet stove on the main level. I am looking to upgrade to a better, more centralized heating system, while also ditching the pellet stove (too many problems, too much work).

The main floor; which is one room, combining living room, dining area and kitchen is on a slab. Go up 6 steps to 3 bedrooms and a full bath. Go down 6 steps to a 4th bedroom/den, full bath, and a small laundry/utility room.

I have had a couple of different contractors in to take a look, and I am getting conflicting advice. One person said that since there is a natural gas line at the street, I should have a line brought in and go with a high output gas fireplace on the main floor, and use electric on the lower level. Then use window units for AC.

Another guy recommended mini splits. He said it would be too expensive to install a gas furnace for central heat. As he would either have to go up into the attic to run vents that would blow heat through vents in the ceiling, or run piping to baseboard heaters and the walls would be torn open. His advice was to forget the gas option, and just go with 4 mini splits (1 on the main floor, 1 on the lower level, 1 in the master bedroom and 1 in the medium sized bedroom - baby's room doesnt get one, he said to leave the door open and leave her with baseboard heat.) But I am a bit concerned that I still have electric heat.

Does anyone have experience with this type of home design? It is less than ideal, and maybe this is why the original builder put electric heat in the house. I believe the power company will run the gas line for free if I have a big enough appliance/s.

  • When you said "....the power company will run the gas line for free.." were you meaning to say the gas company? It seems highly unlikely that the power company would be supporting a path to get you onto gas.
    – Michael Karas
    Jan 19, 2016 at 2:28
  • Where do you live? Heating choices are highly regional.
    – Hank
    Jan 19, 2016 at 2:49
  • @MichaelKaras -- In many areas one public utility handles both electricity and gas, so people will commonly just lump them together when talking about them. For example, California's Pacific Gas & Electric, New York State Electric and Gas Corporation, San Diego Gas & Electric, Central Hudson Gas & Electric.
    – Johnny
    Jan 19, 2016 at 5:40
  • Sorry I didnt mention that I live in Norther New York State at the foothills of the Adirondack mountains. It gets pretty cold up here. I was told that National Grid, the company that supplies gas will put in a line from the street to my home for free, provided I am going to use a substantial amount of gas Jan 20, 2016 at 14:40
  • If thevgas line is already present in the street, then the connection to the house is usually cheap or free. If they have to rip up more of the street to get it that close, there may be additional costs.
    – keshlam
    Feb 18, 2016 at 8:56

2 Answers 2


You live in a state that's cold and has high electric rates, and electric baseboard heating uses a lot of juice. I'm guessing costs are your primary motivation, right?

If so, my recommendation would be to take the money you would spend on a whole new system (I'm guessing it would run $10,000-20,000) and instead buy a gigantic solar array capable of making your house net zero. New York state has a lot of incentives and subsidies, to say nothing of the 30% federal tax credit.

This approach will result in no disruption to the interior of your home, reduce your electric bill to zero forever, and be good for the environment. Depending on your current bill and the price of the array, this may be a financial no-brainer. Talk to some solar companies.


I'm in a front to back split that's exactly like yours & I have to say Forced Air is far superior to my neighbor's houses where baseboard was chosen...we're all on gas for heat.

Yeah, ductwork ruins my laundry/utility room & stair hallway for supply registers & then a similar Returns box run in my garage (a 1-foot deep soffit in your 4th bedroom), but they're all pass-through areas & not "rooms". Stud & Joist bays are my ductwork everywhere else.

However, the only real best bet is probably Mitsubishi's ductless heat pump systems. You get a 1' x 3' (or 2 in your living room) box in each room mounted on the wall up at the ceiling & each room is it's own zone for the most equal temperatures. Those boxes get A/C type lines run to outdoor compressor & evaporator small boxes (you'd probably have 3 boxes).

Heat pumps are the most efficient electric & allegedly beat oil or gas pretty good. I'm not selling Mitsubishi, it's still their patent so no one else is or can do that system. Definitely get rid of the Stove & Window A/C. Keep looking & get or make actual mock-ups of what goes where. Geo thermal is the best-best Heat Pump option that beats absolutely everything, but it's expensive-expensive up front.

  • Thank you Iggy. I will definitely keep looking and check out the heat pump system you recommend Jan 20, 2016 at 14:42
  • No problem. I hope you can find something that heats & cools efficiently & evenly.
    – Iggy
    Jan 20, 2016 at 14:49
  • 3
    Just a note, loads of companies make mini-split heat pump/aircon units, though Mitsubishi is one of the most reputable brands. I can't think of anything they've got exclusivity on. May 19, 2016 at 6:48

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