Should I Heat My Basement In The Winter?

Should I Heat My Basement In The WinterWhether or not you have a finished basement, the question of heating or not is still an important choice to make. If you’ve never added any HVAC service down there, you’d be surprised at the difference it can make.

Three Reasons To Heat Your Basement In The Winter

  1. Better Comfort Throughout Your Home
  2. Increased Energy Efficiency
  3. Reduce The Chance Of Mold And Mildew

Better Comfort Throughout Your Home

Even if you don’t spend a lot of time in the basement, keeping it warm will make a difference in other parts of the house — particularly the rooms right above it.

We talked about the same phenomenon when we looked at bonus rooms above garages. In both cases, the room below you affects the temperature of the one you’re in.

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When one room isn’t heated, the one next to it doesn’t warm up as easily as in other parts of the house. That’s the case with a cellar or even an unheated finished basement.

That giant cold spot makes it harder for the system to keep the floor above it warm. IF you’ve ever walked barefoot in the dining room or kitchen in the winter and noticed the floor is cold, this is the reason.

The vents in those rooms are working extra hard to heat the space. And, take note that your feet get cold even though the vents are on the floor.

Sure, hot air rises. But, the warmth on the floor is also getting drawn downward by the cold air below it. So, before you’re heating the first floor, you’re heating the basement near its ceiling.

In a case where your heater can only just about keep up — maybe it’s an especially cold day, or your system is getting older — all that cold makes a huge difference.

So, the solution here is to heat the basement. That way, it’s sucking the heat from the floor above it. Along with the underground part of your home staying warm, you get less chills in the kitchen, dining room, and living room.
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Increased Energy Efficiency

Of course, adding more heat to your home costs more money. But, not as much as you may think. And, in some cases, really none at all.

This point ties to our previous one: heating your basement keeps the floor above it warmer. But, where we were thinking about comfort there, we’re considering dollars and cents here.

In this case, it’s about energy efficiency: Heating the basement helps your system do its job better. And that means it doesn’t need as much fuel — gas, oil, or electricity — to keep your home warm.

When it uses less energy, you pay less on your utility bills (or go longer without needing an oil delivery).

The thermostat in most homes is on the first floor — usually in the dining room or living room. When that gauge shows it’s too cold, the HVAC system clicks on. So, the faster you heat that room, and the longer you keep it that way, the less time your system runs.

And, the less energy you pay for.

Meanwhile, now the old “hot air rises” works to your advantage. The heat from the basement reaches the first floor and helps keep the living space even warmer.

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Reduce The Chance Of Mold And Mildew

One often unexpected upside of a warm basement: Less mold and mildew in your home. This goes against common logic: Mold spores, fungus, and similar nasty stuff need dark, moist, and warm places to grow. That’s what you get with a humid, dank cellar in the summer. Why make it like that in the winter, too?

After all, cold air on its own prevents mold and mildew from taking hold. It’s too chilly for the spores to thrive. And, there’s less humidity in the winter — that takes out another factor.

But, adding heating turns the tables back in these microorganism’s favor, right?

Well, not quite.

First of all, most of the time, you’ll reduce the relative humidity when you turn on the heat in the winter. It happens because you add heat but not moisture. Now, the cold air that’s already less humid than in the summer becomes extremely dry.

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Next, you’re getting rid of the clammy effect you get in the basement. Here’s what often happens in the winter:

The cellar gets some heat from upstairs. But, the walls and foundation are cold. In this scenario, you get condensation — moisture — when the warmth hits that cold surface. That creates a fertile breeding ground for mold.

But, by keeping the entire basement warm, you’re getting rid of those hot and cold spots that result in moisture building up.

Basement Heating And Cooling In Havertown, PA

Whether your basement is a finished rec room or an unfinished cellar, adding warmth in the wintertime offers you a lot of benefits. And there are quite a few ways to do it. The best heating and cooling option for you depends on the size of your Havertown, PA home and whether or not the space is finished.

Portable heaters are an option — they’re cheap upfront but cost a lot to run. You can add ductwork and vents from your furnace, but it’s very expensive and not always effective. Since the thermostat is upstairs, you never get the right treatments.

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For a long time, that made baseboard heaters a strong option. They’re easy to install and zone in on the room where you put them. But, there’s a new-and-improved option to that: Ductless heating and cooling.

You can learn more about ductless here and here. But, long story short is that this system brings the power of a furnace with the precision of a zoned baseboard system. But, it’s more effective and uses less energy than both.

If you’re ready to find the right option for you, call or email us here at John Cipollone for a free consultation.

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