Basement Heating Options for the Winter
Having a finished basement is wonderful. It adds an entire floor of living space, and it can often be the perfect solution for families looking to improve their home. What many people neglect, though, is heating for the basement. In this article you will learn about different heating options for your finished basement.
Basements tend to be cold. Many homes are not built with ductwork in the basement and hot air rises. So, if there are no heating vents down there, the heater will have little to no effect on it. If you have remodeled your basement as extra living space without considering how to insulate and heat it, you are in for a cold winter.
You are also in for an expensive winter, because your heater will have to work harder to keep the basement warm. The best thing to do is to incorporate heating solutions into your remodeling plans, but even if you have already finished remodeling, these solutions are available to you.
Five Basement Heating Options
Extend Existing Ductwork
This is usually the best option. Your home most likely already has an internal heating system, including ductwork that runs through it. In fact, the ductwork is often visible and easily accessible in the basement. You should consult a professional prior to extending the ductwork.
Extending the existing ducts means that your current heating system will be heating a much larger area. You cannot simply have the heating system heat only the basement or only the upper floors. So, the heater will be heating the entire house, including the basement, all at once. Essentially, this means you are expanding the space that the heating system has to warm up by 30-50 percent, depending on the size of your home and the number of floors it has.
Your existing heating system may not be able to handle the increased load and, if that is the case, you will need to upgrade it. A professional HVAC technician can help you understand if you need an upgrade before you begin working on the ducts.
Hardwired Baseboard Heaters
Baseboard heaters can provide spot heating for the room you want heated. These are long, narrow heaters that, as the name suggests, run along the baseboards of the room. Many people do not like baseboard heaters, as they are not particularly attractive. That said, for others who are remodeling a basement, they serve their purpose fine. Even a finished basement is not usually held to the aesthetic standards of the living room upstairs.
Baseboard heaters are not easy to install. They are hardwired into the supply circuits, which means that they require a professional electrician.That said, they have the advantage of only supplying heat where you need it. Each baseboard heater can be tied to its own thermostat or shut on or off whenever you like. This way, you can heat your basement without simultaneously heating rooms you are not using.
There are two types of baseboard heater: convection and hydronic. Convection heaters are more typical, but hydronic heaters are becoming more common because they are far more energy-efficient. Convection heaters simply use an electric heating element to heat the air, which expands and rises, allowing denser, cooler air to flow across the heating element, thus creating an air current.
Hydronic heaters use the heating element to heat water or oil, which will then in turn heat the air. The advantage of this is that the water or oil stays warm long after the heating element shuts off, maintaining a warmer temperature in the room will use less energy. The liquid is in a sealed container that requires no refilling. Hydronic heaters cost more up front, but they will save a lot of money on your energy bill.
As with extending the ductwork, you will need to calculate how much heating power you need. Baseboard heaters come in different sizes and different amounts of power. You will need at least one baseboard heater per room, since the heat from one heater will not travel from one room to another.
Plug-In Baseboard Heaters
These are almost exactly like the hardwired heaters, except they are portable and use the wall plug rather than being hardwired into the circuit. While they are more powerful than most portable heaters, they take up a lot more space than a hardwired heater.
Wood Pellet Stove
These are a great choice for those who want to save electricity and use less gas. Wood pellet stoves use small manufactured pellets, not unlike those used in some models of barbecue smokers, to generate heat. They still need some electricity to keep the fire going and regulate the temperature, but they plug into a regular 110V outlet.
Because combustion generates carbon monoxide, you will need to vent the stove to the outside.
As an added bonus, the wood pellets are often made from recycled wood, or sawdust left over from other commercial operations, so no one is chopping down trees to supply these stoves with fuel.
These are the cheapest solution. They are also the easiest. Buy the heater, plug it in, and it will start blowing hot air. You do not need a professional electrician or an HVAC technician to set up a space heater, which is a big advantage.
They are completely portable, too, in case you want to use it in a different area (the garage, for instance). The downside is that they are very inefficient and may struggle to provide heat for a larger room. Space heaters may be a good choice if you have already remodeled the basement and need a temporary solution for the winter while you wait to install a more permanent heating system later.
Conclusion of Basement Heating Options
Before you make a decision on your basement heating solution, it is a good idea to consult with an HVAC professional. They can help you to determine which of these heating solutions will best suit your needs, and they can give you an idea of what it will cost to effectively heat your basement for the winter. Contact Presidential Heating and Air today to speak with an expert about your basement heating needs.