A finished basement can be a big upgrade to any home. You can use the reclaimed space for a family room, an office, an extra bedroom or even a separate apartment to rent out. However, it takes a lot of work to bring an unfinished concrete storage space up to speed, and the most complicated part is extending your vital home systems to the underground room. But once you add features like a bathroom and heat and air conditioning to the basement, it truly becomes a livable part of the house. Read on for tips on how to bring the heat to your finished basement.

From Baseboards to Floorboards

Heat rises, so unless you want to spend the winter shivering in your basement, you need to find a way to hook it into your heat and air conditioning system. Ideally, you will build in your heating concurrently while working on other aspects of the basement, since it's a lot easier to install a system when the walls and ceilings are open as opposed to retrofitting a finished room. Here are a few popular heating options for your basement:

  • Keep it Portable: The simplest option is to simply set up an electric space heater in your basement. This is a decent plan if you only use the space infrequently, but if someone is using the basement as a bedroom, you may want a more permanent solution. Space heaters can present safety issues and generally aren't as efficient as your household furnace.
  • Extend Your Ductwork: Tapping into your existing heat and air conditioning system will provide the basement with reliable heat and prevent you from having to maintain separate heaters. However, make sure you consult with a ductwork specialist to ensure you aren't throwing off the balance of your system or taking it beyond what the furnace can handle by adding extra heat registers.
  • Go for a Stove: Installing a stand-alone heater like a gas fireplace or a pellet stove can provide warmth for your basement while adding some aesthetic charm. The downsides are that these stoves require a bit more maintenance than some other options, and you have to cut a vent to the outdoors through your wall.
  • Use the Baseboards: Electric baseboard heaters are easier to install than new ducts or a fireplace, and they provide a more permanent source of warmth than a space heater. They do require a special 220-volt circuit, so you will need an electrician's help to install them.
  • Heat up the Floor: If you are redoing your basement floor, you can take advantage of the construction to install radiant floor heaters, which heat the room evenly from the ground up. These units are more expensive than baseboard heaters but are less obtrusive.

Taking Heat and Air Conditioning Underground

No matter what method you use to bring the heat to the underground part of your home, make sure the installation is done safely and complies with local building code.

If you need help figuring out how to heat your basement, contact a heat and air conditioning expert today.