What are the Best Ways to Heat a Finished Basement in Havertown, PA?
Years ago, all you needed to turn a cellar into a livable space was a drop ceiling and some carpeting. Now, these rooms are much fancier. Instead of rec rooms or play areas for the kids, they’re home theaters and man caves with flat screens, hardwood floors, and full bars.
But, before you get too far into picking out the perfect recliner, make sure you’ve added heat to your finished basement. After all, people want to see the TV — not their breath in front of them.
In this post, we’ll look at some of the best options for keeping your lower level warm all winter long. Whether you need the firepower or want to add more character to the room, we’ve got you covered.
Along the way, we’ll cover ideas for a room that’s already set up. And, we’ll look at ideas for when you’re planning a renovation.
How Can I Heat My Finished Basement?
- Get an Energy Audit
- Insulation and Dehumidification
- Electric Fireplaces and Pellet Stoves
- Add More Central Heating Vents
- Install a Ductless Mini Split
Your first step toward adding heat to your basement is an energy audit. In fact, it’s a good first step for the entire house. Also called an energy assessment, this is when a trained professional inspect your house to identify areas and ways where you’re wasting energy.
In the case of a basement, you’ll find drafty spots where thermal energy escapes. Old windows are common culprits. So are HVAC components and dryer vents that aren’t adequately sealed.
In any case, you’ll want to fix air leaks those before installing anything new. That way, you’ll get the most out of whatever you invest in.
Insulation and dehumidification
Now that you’ve identified and fixed your problem spots, you can work on retaining warmth generating more heat. Two ways to do this are through insulation and dehumidification.
Since the lower level is colder than the rest of the house, warmth escapes quickly. In a cellar, it’s absorbed through the cinder block walls and cement floors.
And, if all you’re adding is a thin carpet and some drywall, that thermal energy is still going to escape.
So, your first step for a remodel should be adding insulation. This keeps in whatever heat you have.
Next, add a dehumidifier. This part of the house is often damp, even in the old weather. That makes it feel colder. Getting rid of that excess moisture makes it feel warmer.
You’ll also prevent damage to furniture and other objects from all that humidity.
Heat a Finished Basement With a Pellet Stove or Electric Fireplace
Now, we can add heat — and some ambiance — to a finished basement. Two great options are a pellet stove or electric fireplace. These keep you warm, and you can find a model that fits the look and feel of the room.
The way you want to go on this depends on how big the room is, and how fancy you want to get. Be aware, also, that one option is more expensive up front, while the other has a more significant impact on your energy bills.
Electric fireplaces cost less to buy than a pellet stove. But, they’re not nearly as efficient. So, you’ll pay more on your electric bill when you’re using it.
However, it’s a smaller investment and one that can add character, especially to a smaller or more plain room. Plus, most models are portable. All you have to do is put it down and plug it in.
That means no installation. And, you can move it around if you want to rearrange the room.
A pellet stove is more of an investment. But it costs less to run. And, it looks fancier than an electric fireplace.
These run on small wood pellets. So, it’s an actual convection process, not an electric appliance dressed up to look like a fire. These are usually so strong that the first floor often benefits from a little extra warmth, too.
You’ll need a professional to install this one, however. It requires a venting pipe that doesn’t leak any fumes back into the basement. But, again, you’ve got your choice of styles to fit the room.
More Central Heating Vents
Rather than add a new fixture, you can tap into your central heating. You’d do this by adding a new register or vent on the ductwork connected to your furnace.
Usually, adding another outlet like this requires a professional to modify and add ductwork to add another register or vent. But, it’s often not as big a project in the basement.
Since the furnace and ductwork are already down there, we usually just add a register. There’s no need for more ductwork.
But, there’s a downside: Uneven heating.
Remember, your furnace cycles on and off according to the thermostat. But, that gauge is usually upstairs in the living room. Since it’s warmer up there, the thermostat reaches its call when the upstairs — not the colder basement — is at the temperature you want.
Install a Ductless Mini Split to Add Heat In Your Finished Basement
If you really want your finished basement to feel like a regular part of the house, a ductless mini split is the way to go. These systems combine the power of a central system with the flexibility and customization of a portable unit.
They’re also high-efficiency, so you’ll pay less on your electric bill than the other options. And, they’re whisper-quiet, so you’ll barely even know they’re there.
Before we go further, it’s worth noting that this is the most expensive option, at least up front. But again, you’re looking at lower energy bills. And, PECO has rebates available to make them more affordable.
The advantage comes in because you can install them virtually anywhere. All you need is an air handler that mounts to the wall connected to a heat pump outside. The units connect with just a few lines that we can easily run through the wall.
We talk a lot more here and here about they work.
But, long story short is that the air handler has a built-in thermostat. So, it regulates according to the temperature in its location. And, these units provide cooling in the summer as well.
They’re strong enough that you can treat an entire house with a few more air handlers. But, for your awesome new room, it’s a powerful finishing touch.
If you’re interested in a ductless system — or any other option here — give Cipollone a call. We’ll help you determine what kind of heating system will work best for your basement and your budget.