What is the Best Way to Add Air Conditioning to a Basement?

The Best Ways to Add Air Conditioning to a Basement in Havertown, PA?

At Cipollone, we usually recommend a ductless cooling system to add air conditioning to basements in Havertown, PA. But, they’re not the only option, and there are other steps you should take to make it comfortable.

A finished basement adds value and more living space to your home. But, if you don’t add cooling, then the room won’t be comfortable all year round.

Then, you’ll not only lose out on time down there. You also run the risk of electronics or other items getting ruined by dampness and humidity.

Dampness And Humidity

So, if you’ve just renovated a cellar, or even if you’ve used that space as a rec room for years, it’s never too late to make it more comfortable.

In this article, we’ll go into a few steps you can take before going right to a cooling system. Then, we’ll outline a few options and give you our recommendation.
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Energy Audit

Your first step should be an energy audit. That’s a professional assessment of the airflow in the basement. It identifies any leaks, drafts, or other factors that would affect the heating and cooling down there.

It’s actually a great idea for your entire home. And, you can get one at a steep discount direct from PECO.

Their offer is called an “Energy Assessment,” but it’s the same thing. They’ll send an energy adviser out to identify any places where your home is wasting energy by letting in warm or cold air from outside.

Energy Assessment

Then, you’ll get a report with ways to save energy in your home. It’s customized for your house, and PECO estimates you can save up to 20 percent on your energy bills by following these tips.

That makes the assessment an important first step when you’re trying to make a space like your finished basement more comfortable.

This way, you can take some steps to make the most of whatever you install down there. The better you insulate and seal the area, the more effective your system will be.

Dehumidification

Dehumidification is the next step toward making your basement more comfortable. And, comfort isn’t the only consideration here. You’ll also protect your electronics and other valuables this way.

When it comes to moisture and humidity, basements can be double trouble.

First, there’s the universal problem of humidity in the summer. By nature, warmer air holds more moisture, so it’s more humid.

Dehumidification

Water vapor in the air traps heat around you and on your body — you can’t get rid of heat through sweat because the humidity insulated you.

On top of that, basements are notoriously damp. Since they’re underground, they’re surrounded by all the moisture just below the surface of your home.

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That moisture easily seeps through the foundation into your basement.

And, that problem becomes much more pronounced after heavy rain and downpours.

All that extra water often makes its way into your home this way. Even if there’s no flooding, you’ll feel that clammy dampness downstairs.

More than just making you uncomfortable, it’ll eventually ruin your stuff. Inner components in your electronics can corrode. And, posters, records, books, baseball cards or similar items will eventually warp.

You also run the chance of mold and mildew taking root somewhere. And, it’s much harder to root out once you’ve got flooring and walls up.

Mold And Mildew

So, an important step toward adding comfort here is removing that excess moisture. You’ll protect your investments and stay cooler.

Depending on how hot it gets down there, this may be all you need. But, there are plenty of ways to drop the temperature even further.

Traditional AC for a Basement

If you have central air in your home, it’s possible to run extra ductwork, so it treats this area, too. Or, you can go the portable route. Depending on your needs, this may work. But, each of these has some drawbacks.

Central Air

As we mentioned, it’s possible to pipe in central air to this area of your home, too. After all, it’s already treating the rest of your house.

However, adding ductwork is costly. And, it’s often difficult to get enough circulation to really do the job. Meanwhile, your condenser is sized for the job it’s been doing. You may be adding more work than the system can handle.

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Window Air Conditioner

A cheaper option is the old-fashioned window air conditioner. Depending on what you need, you can pick one up for under $100 or make a larger investment.

With a dedicated unit, you’ll probably get better dehumidification this way, too.

Problem is, the basement is mostly underground, so window space is at a premium. You’ll likely lose any natural light down there during the day. Plus, they’re expensive to run.

Window Air Conditioner

Portable Air Conditioners

Portable air conditioners are newer and hold a few advantages over window units. They’re much, much quieter and easier to move around. Also, they take up much less window space.

But, they also cost a lot to run — sometimes more than those older setups. If you’re trying to keep your energy bills down, this isn’t the way to go.

And, unfortunately, most aren’t nearly as powerful as older models. If you’re dealing with a lot of dampness or exceptionally high temperatures, these may not do the trick.

Advantages of Ductless Cooling in Finished Basements

This leads us to ductless cooling for your finished basement. It’s a much larger upfront investment. But, the advantages include much better comfort and saving money in the long run.

Ductless Mini Split In Bedroome

You don’t lose window space or need extra ductwork with this solution. Instead, we mount an air handler on the wall, usually in a corner near the ceiling. Then, we connect it to a heat pump outside using a few lines that we can run through the wall.

That makes installation easy and out-of-the-way. The air handlers have sensors and specialized fans that locate hot spots in the room and circulate the air where it’s needed.

So, we can tuck the unit away almost anywhere.

Next, they make almost no noise at all. Compare that to a central system, or especially a window or through-the-wall model. And, since a basement room usually isn’t all that large a space, it’s especially useful to make sure you can hear your TV, stereo, or conversation.
Mitsubishi Ductless In An Ardmore Home

Finally, there’s a bonus: supplemental heat.

Unless you’re also treating your finished basement for the winter, it likely gets too cold at some point. But, your ductless cooling system can also offer warmth.

Heat Your Sunroom

The heat pump also works the other way. Most models can provide heating any time the outside temperature is above freezing. This way, you can add a little extra warmth in the fall and early spring. Or, invest in a Hyper Heat model that can work even in subzero temperatures.

Finally, there’s the cost. We mentioned the investment is substantial: Usually at least $3,000 for one unit. But, the comfort is unparalleled. And, there’s almost no impact on your electric bill.

So, if you’re replacing a less efficient unit, you’ll see savings every year.

If you want to learn more about how a system like this would work in your Havertown, PA, basement, reach out to us here at Cipollone. Starting with a free consultation, we’ll get your home ready for summer with a system that’s just right for your home.
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