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How to Cool & Heat a Basement

Heating and cooling a basement

Whether it’s a rec room, extra living room, or other space, basements can be a great place in the house to hang out. However, when it comes to heating and cooling during different times of the year, it can be a little bit tricky to know the best way to control the temperature in a basement.

Because basements, in general, tend to be colder than other parts of the house, special adjustments are often needed to make the space a comfortable place to spend time. If your basement was not already equipped with the proper setup when it was built, you will have to take the time to install a system that will help you heat and cool it effectively and efficiently.

We will look at a few of the ways that you can heat and cool your basement well so that you can enjoy it no matter what time of year it is.

Figure out your needs first

Since most of these strategies require significant installation or remodeling, it is best to consult a contractor before you take on a project of this scale. They will be able to help you review your different options so that you can make the best choice for your basement, as well as note anything unique about your particular project, such as air quality or humidity concerns.

However, you can start to get a sense of what you’ll need in advance of your first meeting by figuring out how powerful of a unit you need for your space.

One way to gauge this is to calculate the British Thermal Units (BTUs) for the space first. Finding this number will guide you in determining which products are the right fit.

Best Ways to Heat a Basement

When deciding how to heat your basement, depending on your budget and needs, you may opt for a more or less extensive option.

  1. One obvious choice is to extend your existing in-home HVAC system. Electing this option would require that you run additional ductwork so that the air flow reaches your basement. Alternatively, you could also purchase an additional HVAC system for only your basement. However, depending on how much space you have available to you, this may or may not be a viable option.
  2. If you already have a chimney available in your house, another option is to add a fireplace to your space, be it wood-burning, gas, or electric.
  3. One newer way to heat spaces that you might consider is radiant heat –– or paneling that is installed in your walls or floors that emits heat. This option may be more cost effective, and is known to make the heating of the air in these spaces particularly consistent.
  4. Vent free gas heaters are another great choice. They only require a gas line and are a quick and easy way to add heat to a space.
  5. Or, if you are looking for a quick, budget-friendly option, space heaters are also an easy way to immediately heat up a space without needing to completely remodel, and could also be a stopgap while you work on one of these more involved projects.

Heating your basement can be done in many different ways, so it’s important to explore the different options and find the one that will work best for your situation.

Top Picks for Heating a Basement

Here are a few systems we believe work great as basement heating solutions:

Best Ways to Cool a Basement

You’ll notice when determining how to cool your basement, the cooling options available are somewhat similar to those for heating.

  1. Extending your existing in-home HVAC system may make the most sense –– especially if you want the versatility of being able to use the system for both heating and cooling. You will want to look into whether or not your current HVAC unit has the capacity to also cool your basement in addition to the rest of your home. If not, upgrading the system may be necessary.
  2. Ductless mini split systems are also worth taking a look at for cooling your basement space. These systems do not require the installation of ductwork, and are convenient to install, as the condenser unit sits outside and the indoor part is placed on a wall or ceiling.
  3. If you are on a budget, you may also consider getting a portable basement air conditioner, which is placed on the floor and uses an adapter kit to transform the hot air to cool air.

Top Picks for Cooling a Basement

When it comes to keeping your basement space cool, here are some of our top picks for systems:

Weigh Out Your Options

As we mentioned above, the choice of which kind of system to invest in for heating and cooling your basement is an important choice, and one that is best guided by a trained professional contractor.

In addition to advising you on the type of system that will be best for your particular situation, contractors can also advise on how to address any air quality concerns, such as dehumidifying the space and regulating the temperature.

There are many options available to you for heating and cooling your basement. As you start the planning process for this project, do your homework first, and determine what level of functioning capacity is required for your basement by calculating the BTUs.

The best heating options for a basement include:

  • Extending or upgrading your existing HVAC system
  • Adding a fireplace
  • Installing radiant heat
  • Purchasing space heaters

Cooling options for a basement include:

  • Upgrading your HVAC system
  • Getting a ductless mini split system
  • Buying a portable air conditioner

Since every basement is a little bit different, there is no one right way to heat or cool yours. For whatever unit you might be looking for, Total Home Supply has a wide range of both heating and cooling products available to fit your needs, whether you’re aiming to turn the temperature up or down.

Mickey Luongo

Mickey is the resident heating and air conditioning expert with over 15 years of experience in the industry.

4 thoughts on “How to Cool & Heat a Basement”

  1. Window AC vs Wall AC - Which Air Conditioner is Right for You? says:

    […] you’d like to buy, start with the room or space you’d like to cool, whether it’s a basement, attic, sunroom, addition, or the like. Measure the square footage, and use our BTU calculator to […]

  2. Home Heating Options - Best Way to Heat Your Home says:

    […] want to inspect the roof of your home to make sure that it’s in good shape and sealed. If you have a basement, keep in mind that air from below will rise so heating this space could be a good […]

  3. I wish I could figure out how to cook my basement sewing room. My machine needs to be along the window, with no room for an in window unit or vents from a few feet away. I don’t think it is worth cutting a hole in the wall. and here in Atlanta, I don’t want to add more moisture to the already humid air. Fans just blow my fabric and pattern pieces to Kingdom Come. I guess I don’t have much of a choice, as we have already put about $60K into the house this spring. Oh well.

    If anyone has any ideas, please share them!

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