We’ll start off by explaining just why a finished basement is often difficult to heat. Then, we’ll give you the pros and cons of five ways to do it. That way, you can make the best decision for you and your project.
Finally, we’ll give our recommendation for the best option and why we chose it.
Why A Finished Basement Is Difficult To Heat
Because basements are partially or fully underground, they are notorious for being damp. The walls are always cold. When choosing a solution to make your basement more comfortable, be sure to consider the humidity factor!
- Ground-Level Cold
Because basements are below grade, they run 15 degrees cooler, on average than rooms above grade. This is true year round.
Most basements are poured concrete, making the floors hard and inherently less warm to the touch than wood or carpet. Concrete also tends to hold its temperature for longer periods of time, taking a long time to warm.
Five Ways To Heat A Finished Basement: Pros & Cons
1. Basement Fireplace
Gas, electric or wood fireplaces can create a great atmosphere in a basement. Gas and wood fireplaces will require a chimney, which would not be necessary for an electric fireplace. Installation costs can be high.
The big disadvantage of a fireplace is you can’t leave it unattended. Fireplaces can also be issues if you have pets or kids, and this can add to the potential danger. Wood fireplaces are often not suited for basements. Fireplaces of all sorts can also be fire hazards, so think carefully about using this option on a lower floor that may get less traffic than main floors in the home.
Requires adding a chimney; can’t be left unattended; fire hazard, does not evenly distribute heat through the room
2. Baseboard Heaters
Electric baseboard heaters are options many people use for heating portions of their home. They can be turned on and off as needed. Electric baseboard heaters can take a long time to heat up a room. Unlike fireplaces, no external venting is required. Many baseboard heaters can be hardwired. There are plug-in portable options that work like other portable heaters.
Baseboard heaters and portable electric heaters have to be monitored and you have to be careful not to place furniture, curtains, blankets, or other potentially flammable items too close to the heaters.
Baseboard heaters also use a lot of energy, and tend to be costly on monthly energy bills.
Read More: Baseboard Heating Vs. Ductless Mini Splits
Can be turned on and off as needed. Some can be plugged in like space heaters.
Takes a long time to heat the room; fire hazard with furniture and curtains; expensive and inefficient.
3. Extend Ductwork
There’s always the option to extend the ductwork from your current HVAC system to cover the new rooms in the finished basement. One of the issues this raises is whether your current system is sized to take on the extra demand of heating and cooling the finished basement. Additionally, this option may not help you control the humidity issues that can make a basement feel clammy.
Uses your existing system with only the expense of extending the ductwork already in place.
Required additional ductwork and construction; may put stress on your current system and cause heating problems in other parts of your home. Does not deal with the humidity issues that can make basements uncomfortable.
4. Pellet Stove
Pellet stoves work by burning manufactured pellets to produce heat, and then a fan circulates warm air through a room. Pellet stoves will require you to regularly purchase pellets to feed the heater, and they tend to look like old-fashioned wood stoves. They can get quite hot on the outside, which can pose a hazard for pets and small child
Like a fireplace, a wood pellet stove requires venting to the outside since they produce carbon monoxide.
Read More: Save Money And Energy With Ductless Mini Splits
Pellet stoves can fit a vibe; they provide good heat.
Have to regularly purchase pellets to have heat; can be a fire hazard and dangerous around pets and small children; can create carbon monoxide issues if not properly ventilated and maintained; requires venting
5. Mini Split
Mini splits or ductless heating systems are great options for spaces like finished basements. Mini splits are high-efficiency heat pumps that can both heat and cool your space, and they also monitor and help remove humidity. Because of their high energy efficiency, mini-split systems often have rebates and with the new inflation reduction act, additional tax incentives are coming into place to make them more affordable than ever. A standard head or cassette is usually mounted up on a wall, putting it out of the way and away from pets and kids. The system is designed to evenly distribute heated air throughout the area, eliminating hot and cold spots. The systems are also flexible and it’s easy to create zones by just adding an additional cassette if you have a large area that might need separate heating and cooling
Great heating; 70% more efficient than electric baseboard heating; located out of the way; provides even heating throughout the space; monitors humidity to help bring extra comfort. Can be both a heater and air conditioning system. Flexible and expandable. Not a fire hazard. Does not require separate fuel. Will not tax your current HVAC system. Can create zones of comfort.
Costs are upfront.
Our Recommendation: Mini Split
A mini split system can be the perfect option to heat your finished basement. The design is flexible, with options that can work with your decor, but still deliver heat evenly throughout your space. But best of all, the systems are so highly efficient, that they can save you significant money on your energy bills every month while delivering top performance you and your family want.
How Mini Split Heat Pumps Work
Minisplit systems have two fundamental parts- an outdoor condenser unit, which is then attached to an indoor cassette or head. The system is a highly efficient heat pump, using inverter technology that helps maintain a constant level of comfort while using very little energy to do it. The head contains state of the art sensors that monitors both heat and humidity in a room and can adjust the comfort level as needed, distributing air evenly throughout your space. Some models even come with options to control the system from your smartphone, or automatically turn on and adjust when people are in the room.
Single Zone Vs. Multi-Zone
Depending on your space, you may just need a single zone of ductless to be perfectly comfortable. For large finished basements with multiple rooms, you might want to consider more than one zone or head to deliver comfort. The best way to find out what would be best is to contact the experts here at Synergy3, We can come out to your home and help design a system to deliver the comfort you want, at a price you can afford.
Minisplit ductless heat pump systems can be installed almost anywhere. Controlled by a handheld remote, or by a thermostat on the wall, or even by an app on your phone, options abound to make sure the system adapts to your needs.
Best of all, mini split systems are highly efficient. Using up to 70% less energy that baseboard electric heating, these systems can deliver the comfort you crave while keeping your energy bills low- something every family can appreciate.
These systems are also incredibly quiet. Some systems have modes that can operate as low as 16- 23 db- whisper quiet- quieter than most libraries! That can be particularly great if you are using the finished basement as an entertainment space, recording studio or in home theater- the system and fans won’t interfere with anything you are doing!
Mini Split Installation In Jenkintown, PA
If you are considering heating your basement in Jenkintown, and considering a new mini split system, give us a call at Syngery3. Our experts can help you select a system that will deliver you cost-effective heating and comfort, that wont break the bank every month on energy bills. And with the new rebates and tax incentives, high-efficient ductless mini split systems are more affordable than ever before. Get the comfort you crave, while keeping your budget intact- just give us a shout at Synergy3 and we’ll help you out!