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Basement Heating and Cooling

Heating and cooling are important aspects when finishing a basement. Many options are available for both. Expense, complexity, and whether you are trying to cool or heat small, segmented spaces or a large, wide-open space all must be considered.

Both Heating and Cooling

Bring in an additional HVAC unit. This is an expensive choice and professional installation is required.

Utilize your current HVAC system.

                  Need to establish whether or not it can handle the additional demand.

                  Requires additional ductwork and adding of vents/registers.

                  For most people, professional work is required.

A third option is to add components but compatibility is of utmost importance and this choice can be complex and expensive. If your current system is older, it is best to upgrade to a larger, energy-efficient system that can handle the added space.

Mini-split heat pumps

                  Ductless, energy efficient and excellent for humidity control but expensive to buy

The condenser unit sits outside and the indoor portion is place on a wall or ceiling. A small opening must be made in the wall to allow the power cable and the refrigerant and drain lines to connect the two units.

Most people will require an HVAC professional to install this choice.

Heating

Add carpet or flooring. The extra layer acts as insulation, keeping the cold away from your feet.

Add insulation if the walls are not insulated.

Replace old windows with energy efficient versions.

Install a vented, stand-alone system like a pellet or wood-burning stove.

                  Require a stone or concrete floor area to sit the unit on.

                  Ash needs to be cleaned out regularly.

                  These stoves need to be vented outside.

                  These options can be used during a power outage

Electric heaters are, generally speaking, inexpensive to buy and often have fans to help disperse the heat. There are no harmful emissions and newer versions don’t get hot on the outside. The biggest downfall for this option is that they tend to be the most expensive to run.

Large, portable versions can be bought with built in thermostat and timer options. They require a large draw of electrical current. And are good for larger spaces, i.e. 1200 square feet. Small, portable space heaters heat a minimal area, i.e. 150 square feet. Most use around only 400 watts and options with thermostats are available. There are also flat, space savings options that affix to the wall, and are safe to touch.

Ceramic space heaters use a combination of ceramic plates and aluminum sheets to spread heat. They are considered safer and more efficient than other types of space heaters. There are advanced features available such as built-in safety mechanisms.

Baseboard heaters operate on regular household current but it is not as simple as attaching them to the baseboard and plugging them into an outlet. It is best to hard-wire these heaters into supply circuits due to the amount of electricity they pull. No venting or ductwork needed and they are quiet. They are installed at floor level and heat the cold air near the floor which then rises and heats the area. They are ineffective for larger areas, limited range and can take up to 30 minutes to warm up. These heaters can present safety hazards. You must keep flammable materials such as curtains and furniture away from them.

Liquid filled heaters operate on electricity but use oil or water to spread heat through convection. They take longer to heat an area than electric heaters and storing the heating oil can present a hazard in and of itself.

Radiant Heaters operate on electricity and use metallic heat elements or quartz to radiate heat to surrounding objects which then spread the heat to surrounding area. There are in-floor and wall panel versions are available. This is an expensive option but less so when done before any finishing work has been done. Some work with water. You install tubing underneath the flooring and warm water is circulated through the pipes to heat the floor. These should not be installed under hardwood floors because of the poor combination of nails and plastic tubing. This version works from its own water heater and pump, not your home’s appliances. There is also an electric version where cables are run inside mats that are installed beneath flooring.

Direct vent gas fireplaces warm with radiant heat and some have a fan to push out the warm air. They connect to existing gas lines and require venting to the outdoors with a 2-in-1 pipe so fresh air is pulled in and combustion byproducts is pushed out.

Cooling

Basements tend to have naturally cooler ambient temperature than the rest of the house but air conditioning can help keep moisture and resulting mold and mildew at bay. If utilizing your current HVAC system isn’t feasible, you could invest in a portable air conditioning unit. These provide cool air and need to be vented outside. They are placed on the floor and use an adapter kit to change hot air to cool air. Other options to regulate cooler temperature in the basement are window air conditioning units, floor, box, or ceiling fans, or a dehumidifier to help decrease moisture and maintain a more constant temperature.

You’ll find that a combination of resources often works best. For assistance in heating or cooling your basement or any other HVAC needs, contact GV’s Heating and Cooling today.