base board heater vs furnace heat

11 Replies

I have a property that I have gutted and will be updating electrical and wanted to know if I should go with the cheaper option of baseboard heat or stay with a gas furnace. The property is not in the most desirable location.


Do you mean electric baseboard or hot water baseboard? 

If it already has a gas furnace and the duct work is all there you're better off sticking with the furnace. You can also add air conditioning now or later relatively easily. 

if you want to add hot water baseboard the boiler pipes and time to install will cost you. 

if you want to do electric baseboard you might have to do service upgrade to support the additional circuits and amps they draw. 

If it was my house and there was existing duct work, I'd put in a new furnace.  I have put a baseboard heater in one room of a rental.  That house had a heat pump and the room in question was at the far end of the house, so it was often a bit cooler.

You can do a furnace that also has heat pump with 2 stages of heat; heat pump and gas as a backup (when outdoor temp drops below a certain temp). The more bells and whistles you put on a furnace the more it costs to both install and fix. 

I think it would be best for just a gas furnace then. It looks like they tend to last longer and cost less to maintain. I think  that if there is base board heat that it would potentially be too high of energy cost for tenants to pay and retain.

@Dave Neeley electric BB makes your electric bill super high. I wouldn't put it in if I had a set up to put a furnace into. I just had a gas furnace installed in a 1200 so ft place last week for $1,650 out the door.

@Dave Neeley depending on where you are if you out in electric baseboard you're probably going to get tenants complaining about the bill and demanding a bailout because they didn't know what it would cost. Mini-splits are also an option. Much lower maintenance costs, half the price of baseboard electric to run and also provide air conditioning.

Furnace is the way I would go. I've been buying my own from a HVAC supply company for $500 to $950 depending on the size/ configuration. And installing them myself. Usually takes 2-3 hrs to install.

Electric baseboard heat has its pros, but generally a forced-air system is the best bet, seeing as you can run heating and cooling through the same system. Electric systems usually cost less (wiring for them is more, but you are already gutted, so no big deal there) and last a really, really long time - they do tend to cost more to operate, but keeping the heat low can be a good thing too. My very first house had a tenant from the south (this is WI) and they turned the heat up to about 80, which in-turn made all the wood windows I had just redone mold up to the point I needed to replace them - lol. So, making tenants as cozy as possible is not always the best case in all cases!!!