Are you looking to add heating to a previously unfinished or unheated basement? Maybe your current heating system simply doesn’t provide sufficient heat to keep your basement warm? The average basement tends to be at least 10 to 15 degrees cooler than the ground level or upper floors, which makes heating a must. You have a wide range of options when it comes to heating your basement. Nonetheless, it is important to understand the differences among the various options in order to determine which is best for your specific situation.
Expanding Your Home’s Existing Heating System
Generally speaking, one of the easiest and most effective ways to add heat to your basement is to use your home’s existing HVAC system. This is especially true when remodeling or finishing a basement as this tends to make it fairly easy to add additional ductwork and vents. However, there can also be drawbacks to this option and situations where it simply isn’t practical.
Many older homes have suspended ceilings and ceiling tiles to allow easy access to ductwork, plumbing, etc. In this situation, adding additional ducts and vents tends to be fairly easy and straightforward. However, this project can be much more complicated if your basement has sheetrock ceilings. In this case, you’re looking at a larger construction job that could require cutting out parts of your walls or ceilings and then patching and repainting.
If you’re looking to add on to your existing heating system, it is important to make sure your furnace and ductwork can handle the additional load. If your furnace isn’t big enough or powerful enough, you’ll either need to have it replaced or choose a different method for heating your basement.
Using a Ductless Heat Pump
Of all the various methods, installing a ductless heat pump tends to be the best, easiest and most efficient. These systems can either be used as a main heat source or to provide supplemental heating anywhere it’s needed. Installing a ductless heat pump involves cutting a small hole in an exterior wall and then installing the condenser unit on the outside of the building and the air handler on the inside of the room.
The ease of installation is one major advantage of this type of system. Another benefit is that you can also use this same type of system to cool your basement by opting for a ductless mini-split that provides both heat and cooling. Although they do run off electricity, ductless heat pumps and mini-splits are far more energy efficient and provide more effective heating than any other type of electric heating.
Unfortunately, this option isn’t suitable or even possible in every situation. Depending on the size of your basement, it may be necessary to install multiple units in various rooms or parts of the space. In addition, each ductless heat pump can only be installed on an exterior wall.
Installing a Gas, Pellet or Wood Stove
Another option is to have a stove installed in your basement. Natural gas or propane stoves, pellet stoves and wood-burning stoves are all potential options, and all of them can provide a good amount of heat. Gas or pellet stoves tend to be much more effective at heating than a wood stove since these units usually include a blower fan to help circulate heat around the space.
Stoves tend to have the same drawbacks as heat pumps, however. Namely, they can mostly only be used in a space with an exterior wall. Stoves produce carbon monoxide and other combustion gases when they burn fuel, and these gases must be vented directly outside of the house. In addition, they also require much more maintenance and upkeep compared to ductless heat pumps.
Electric Heating Options
You can also find baseboard heaters and other electric heating options, but these should really only be used as a last resort. Electric heaters tend to get extremely hot, which means they can be a major fire risk and can potentially ignite furniture, clothing or other items that are too close to the heater. They also use far more electricity than heat pumps. At the same time, they tend to be far less effective at heating larger spaces.
Expert Heating Service and Support
If you’re looking for more information on ways to heat the basement in your Vancouver home, Northwest HVAC Heating & Cooling is here to help. We specialize in ductless heat pump installation and repair and also offer a full range of furnace repair, maintenance and installation services. Our team of NATE-certified technicians can also handle any of your air conditioning and cooling needs.