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How Do I Heat My Finished Basement?

Basement Heating

Electric baseboard heaters, shown here, are one of several ways to add heat to your finished basement. See below for how to calculate how many feet of electric baseboard heaters you’ll need for your basement.

Not every remodeled basement will require a heating system. Often a portable electric heater or two will do the job, especially in temperate regions and when care has been taken to insulate and air-seal foundation walls.

For basements in cold climates, however, there are several ways to heat a finished basement. A woodstove is a popular choice. The fuel is often free for the labor of cutting, stacking, and lugging. They look great, especially the units with glass windows. As a nice bonus, they can supply heat to the entire house when the power goes out.

Similarly, a thermostatically-controlled, freestanding natural gas fireplace will do a good job of keeping a basement comfortable in winter or warm during power outages.

Total Basement Finishing can help you find the right basement heating option for your finished basement. To schedule a free estimate for basement heating, contact your local dealer today!

How much electric baseboard would I need?

The rule of thumb for determining how much heater power you’ll need is 10 Watts per sq. ft. of finished basement. For example, if the total area to be heated is 300 sq. ft, you’ll need 3000 Watts (300 sq. ft. x 10 Watts). If each foot of electric baseboard can produce 250 Watts of heat (check with the manufacturer as this number can vary), you’ll need 12 feet of electric baseboard (3000 Watts divided by 250 Watts) to heat the finished portion of the basement. You may split the 12 foot of electric baseboard into two 6-foot sections or even three 4-foot sections if the layout of the basement calls for it. Try to install electric baseboard under windows whenever possible for an evenly heated room.

If you are dividing the finished basement into 2 or more rooms, your TBF designer will use the same electric baseboard calculation method for each room. Installation is quick and easy, with minimal disruption.

Options for Heating the Basement

Another smart option for heating the basement is extending your current heating system. Many furnaces and boilers have the capacity because HVAC contractors tend to install oversized units. In addition, many homeowners have diligently added insulation to attics and walls, reducing heating loads and causing heating equipment to have even more over-capacity.

By adding supply and return ducts to basement rooms, you can heat the basement in winter. In summer, cool conditioned air that naturally sinks to the basement floor can be recirculated throughout the house, resulting in a drier basement. Boiler-based, hydronic systems can also be extended with an additional zone if needed.

The easiest and least expensive way to add heat to a finished basement is with an electric baseboard heating system. They are compact, thermostatically-controlled, function as an independent heating zone, and don’t require expensive modifications to an existing heating system. The downside is that electricity is the most expensive source of heat, but if the walls are well insulated and air-sealed, demand for heat will be minimal in most regions.

Based on this knowledge, Total Basement Finishing can suggest the best choice for basement heating in your home. Schedule a free estimate with your local TBF dealer today!

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