If you're planning on turning your basement into a cozy retreat for yourself or your family, there are many ways to heat it up without spending too much money. Here are 10 heating options for basements that won't break the bank.
1. Go Ductless
For saving big on energy costs, ductless heat pumps are one of the best options. They deliver conditioned air directly to the targeted areas, eliminating heat loss. This makes them ideal for basements, garages, crawlspaces, attics, and unheated spaces.
The indoor air handler connects to an outdoor unit through a pipe. During the cold season, the outdoor unit extracts the heat from the air outside and releases it inside the home through the indoor air handler.
You do not need to install ductwork because there is no ducting involved. Thus, the installation process is very simple, and you can even do it yourself!
2. Heat the Floor
If you are remodeling your home’s finished basement, radiant floor heating should definitely be on top of your list of heating options. This type of heating system delivers heat directly to your room via copper or aluminum pipes, which are embedded into the concrete flooring. These pipes distribute the heat evenly across the room, eliminating hot spots and cold pockets.
Radiant floor heating is one of the most energy-efficient ways to heat your home because it doesn’t require ductwork, fans, or circulating air. In addition, it eliminates the use of combustion appliances like furnaces and boilers and reduces emissions.
Moreover, radiant floor heating is quiet compared to forced air heating systems, making it ideal for basements where neighbors might complain about noisy HVAC systems.
3. Extend Your Existing Ductwork
If you don’t want to spend money installing a new furnace or air conditioning system, there are ways to make your current system work harder without buying anything new. One way is to install a heat pump in your basement. Heat pumps are used to provide both heating and cooling. They are often installed in basements because it provides a great location for the unit to operate. When combined with an efficient ducting system, heat pumps can help reduce energy bills.
The most common type of heat pump is called a ground-source heat pump. This unit uses underground pipes to transfer heat from the earth into the home. These systems are typically very expensive, however, and require extensive excavation. If you live in a cold climate, consider purchasing a portable unit to move around. Portable units are much less expensive than those installed permanently.
Another option is to extend your existing ductwork. While this requires some modifications, it does allow you to add more capacity to your system. There are several different options for doing this. Some homeowners choose to run the ducts farther down the wall. Others build a box where the ducts exit the house. Still, others connect multiple boxes.
4. Use Electric Space Heaters for Your Basement
Electric space heaters are a good choice for basements because they provide instant heat without the hassle of gas lines. They are easy to install and operate and don't take up much space.
You can buy electric space heaters that use convection, which blows warm air directly into the area you want to heat. These types of heaters work well for small rooms like garages and sheds.
Radiant space heaters are best for larger areas, such as living rooms, dens, and offices. They use infrared rays to emit heat, which penetrates deep into the walls and floors of the room. Radiant heaters are effective at warming large areas quickly.
You should buy a new space heater if you install one in your basement. Make sure you get a newer model than you already have that has up-to-date safety features.
5. Use a Baseboard
Baseboard heaters might be just what you need if you're looking for simple and convenient heating solutions. These small, sleek units are designed to fit flush against the walls of your basement, attic, crawlspace, garage, or even under your kitchen cabinets. Installation typically requires no wiring or venting, making it easy to install and maintain.
Baseboard heaters work by circulating warm air throughout the finished basement. Warm air rises, bringing warmth to the ceiling and floor above, while cooler air moves toward the floor. As the heated air rises, it warms the space around it. In addition, because baseboard heaters are located close to the ground, they provide immediate relief to nearby people.
6. Keep It Moving With a Portable Heat Pump
Portable heat pumps are versatile basement warming options and can easily be moved from one spot to another without much effort. They are ideal for basements because they don't require ductwork or vents. You plug it into an outlet and turn it on.
In the summer, a portable heat pump provides cooling and heating. It absorbs heat from the outdoors and ejects it indoors where you want to keep cool. It takes heat from the indoor environment during cold weather and ejects it out the door. This process makes your home warmer.
The whole heating and cooling system pack inside a small transportable box. A portable heat pump doesn't use electricity like traditional central air conditioning units. Instead, it uses fuel oil or propane gas.
The downside is that propane is a fire and explosion risk. If you want to run a propane radiant heater in your basement, you also need to look for a safe unit for indoor use. Some models emit carbon dioxide emissions that are not safe for you to breathe or the environment.
7. Use Basement Wall Heaters
Wall heaters are self-contained units that are permanently receded inside a wall. They are quite efficient for warming a small space and do not take up any floor space, unlike electric baseboard heaters. Wall heaters pull in the cold air and push warm air into your rooms. You can choose to use either gas or electricity to power your heater. Gas wall heaters burn natural gas or propane. These types of heaters are usually vented directly through the walls or roofs. There are some ventless options that are more suitable for basements.
8. Wood Pellet Stove
A wood pellet stove burns wood pellets and pushes out warm air with a little fan. This heating system relies on manufactured pellets as a fuel source and burns clean. They use recycled pellets that burn slowly and require only a 110V plug-in outlet to operate the motor that circulates heated air.
Unlike baseboard heaters, these stoves are not entirely internal. It would help if you vented directly to the outdoors because they produce carbon monoxide.
9. Combination of Heat Sources
If you are planning to spend some time in the basement during winter, installing a backup heating source might be worth considering. This could include turning off the thermostat in the home's living area or simply running the furnace longer to provide additional heat to the basement. If you want to keep the temperature in the basement comfortable, you may need to consider combining the heat sources. For example, you could turn off the thermostat and use the baseboard heaters to keep the basement warm.
What Are Your Needs?
Before choosing an option that best fits your basement, figuring out precisely what you need is crucial. You want to ensure that whatever system you choose will meet your specific requirements, including how often you plan to use it, whether there are rooms or bathrooms in your basement, and how much space you're willing to sacrifice.
Basement Heating FAQs
Why Should Homeowners Heat Their Basement?
Basements are great storage, relaxation, entertainment, and even sleeping spaces. But there are some things homeowners need to know about basements to make sure it stays safe and comfortable. Here are five things every homeowner needs to know about heating a basement.
Why Are Basements So Cold?
Basement temperatures tend to fluctuate throughout the year. They can even drop down into the single digits during the winter months. This makes sense because there isn’t much heat from the ground. Most homes don’t have enough insulation to keep the temperature above freezing.
The best way to combat this problem is to install radiant barrier insulation. This material creates a layer of air around the home that keeps the warmth inside. It works well in both new construction and remodels.
Benefits of Heating a basement
It can also protect your pipes from freezing and bursting, as 37% of freezing occurs in the basement.
With an insulated floor, you can save more than 50% of your energy bills regardless of the flooring.