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The Complete List of Basement Heating Options (Finished or Unfinished)

basement heating options ductless to heat a basement

With different basement heating options and methods to produce energy-efficient heat, what is the best way to heat a basement? There are many different ways that homeowners can approach the topic. Whether you have a finished or unfinished basement, you need to know to ensure your family’s comfort.

When planning your basement heating system, there are several factors to consider, including:

  • How much money you want to spend on your project
  • What type of environment do you live in (cold climate vs warm climate)
  • What is best fit for you and your family's needs?

So who exactly should consider these heating options above before deciding on one option over another? These basement heating options listed above were made specifically for general homeowners like you! Here's an in depth look at 9 different options to consider when it comes to basement heaters.

1. Ductless Heat Pump

For ductless heat pump systems, you need to make sure that your basement is completely finished before you install this type of system since they require hard-wiring into your electrical system. It may seem like a pain for homeowners who have already started their project but setting up the wiring for your ductless heat pump is crucial!

If you live in colder climates where temperatures reach subzero degrees then you will want to use this basement heating option because it can heat up your home without using too much energy.

2. Electric Radiant Floor Heating

Radiant floor heating is one of the best electric heating options for basements because it can easily be installed on any type of basement floor surface including concrete, wood or carpeting. This makes it an especially good choice for unfinished basements.

If you live in colder climates where temperatures drop below freezing then this is the basement heating option that you will want to use because it's more eco-friendly compared to other options. It provides you with heat evenly throughout your entire basement which gives off a very comfortable feel! You don't even need to use fans or blowers when using radiant floor heating and your family members won't suffer from dry skin or nosebleeds.

3. Extend Existing Ductwork

If you already have ductwork installed in your basement, then it's very easy to extend the existing ducts to reach other areas of your basement which is why this particular option is one of the most popular for homeowners that have finished basements.

Depending on the type of heating system that you may or may not have will determine if you need to hire a contractor or an HVAC company. Some people prefer to do their own work instead of hiring someone else which can definitely save them money!

4. Electric Space Heater

Electric space heaters are always a great choice for those who are living in warm climates since they are cost-effective but can heat up your basement quickly. Most basement heating options for homeowners who have an unfinished basement prefer to use portable space heaters since they're very easy to plug-in or move to different areas of the basement depending where you are spending the most time.

5. Install a Fireplace

If you already have a fireplace in place then it's definitely best for you to use this heating option. A basement fireplace installation will provide your family with the ambiance of being outdoors while still providing them with warmth which is why so many people love having fireplaces!

6. Electric Baseboard Heaters

Installing a baseboard heater is another great choice for people who want to prioritize the appearance of their basement over other factors. Both finished and unfinished basement heating options work well with baseboard heaters. Baseboard heaters use convection which allows hot air to rise and fill your basement since they're installed only a few inches from the ceiling!

7. Wall Heaters

If you have an unfinished basement that doesn't allow for the installation of floor or baseboard heating systems, then wall heaters are a great option. Wall heaters work great because they can be easily mounted to your basement walls.

You can even customize them by painting them whatever color matches your room décor. This is one of those options where it's a matter of preference whether you want to do it yourself or hire someone else to complete the task for you but either way, this particular type of basement heating system is good for basements that are located in areas where subzero temperatures are common.

8. Wood Pellet Stoves

If you're into having the rustic look in your basement then a wood pellet stove should be perfect for you because homeowners who have finished basement prefer to use this heating option since it provides them with warmth while adding an extra natural effect to their room!

It's important that you install a carbon monoxide detector when using wood pellet stoves because they release harmful emissions which can lead to negative effects if inhaled.

9. Add Insulation

Adding insulation helps keep heat within your basement which will make it either warmer or cooler depending on the season. It's also cost-effective and can be done in a matter of hours which is why homeowners who have unfinished basements find this option very attractive! Adding insulation to the basement ceiling and walls can help keep heat in the entire room and from escaping upstairs.

Why Should Homeowners Heat Their Basement?

The basement is a wonderful, under-appreciated space in most homes. It stores all of those items you only use occasionally, and sometimes the old toys your kids don't play with anymore. It can be a place to relax or an entertainment room for guests.

However, basements often have their problems as well.

Challenges to Considering Basement Heating Options

One of the big problems is that they are not heated. If you have a finished basement this means that there is no insulation on the floor and walls most of the time (of course depending on how much work went into finishing it). This leads to things like cold floors and humidity.

The reason more homeowners are looking at basement heating options has mostly to do with warm air rising up through the building which then leaves by way of windows and doors. It is also exacerbated by the fact that basements can occasionally be quite dark. This is especially true in the north where winters are very long and quite cold.

Basement Heating Options and Square Footage

No matter how large or small the basement of a home is, homeowners should put some effort into keeping it comfortable.

The first thing you need to know is that basements are cold because they're below ground level and have no insulation. You can insulate them from the outside to reduce heat loss but just as effective is finding a way to provide adequate heating. While this may seem like an unnecessary expense if your basement doesn't have any windows, for example, there are many reasons why homeowners should be proactive about providing their basement with heat.

The first reason why heating your basement can mean significantly improving the quality of your life is that it makes the room more livable year-round. In humid climates, lack of air conditioning becomes a problem in the basement and in dry climates, without heat, this room can become uncomfortably cold.

Why Are Basements So Cold?

Does your basement feel like the arctic tundra in the wintertime? Or maybe it just seems too cold for comfort. No matter how you spin it, they are notorious for being chilly year-round and why so many homeowners search out a basement heating solution.

There are four main reasons why basements remain colder than every other room in the house:

  • Better living space
  • No insulation
  • Heat rises
  • No direct sunlight

Chances are, your basement is the largest room in your home and you use it as a living space to hang out with friends or watch tv after work so why not heat it up? Many basements still don't have any kind of insulation, which means that even though you may be comfortable upstairs, your basement is probably just as cold!

It's All About Location

Basements also tend to be located furthest away from the HVAC system like furnaces or air handlers, meaning that your heating method will keep it warmer upstairs than down below… Heat rises and cold air is heavier, after all!

And finally, basements very rarely get any sun exposure at all due to their limited windows. This means that they're often the darkest room in your home, which is why it seems even colder than everywhere else!

With all of these problems to take into consideration, you'd think that basements were doomed to be ice-cold no matter what homeowners did to heat them up. However, there are plenty of ways for anyone with a basement (or even without one!) to heat up their living space and feel comfortable year-round.

Choosing the Best Type of Heating

Most basements are very simple spaces that rely on forced-air heating systems. Forced-air heating works by using a vent or fan to push heated air into your basement room through the floor, walls and around any obstacles like rooms, pipes or support beams.

It's probably the most common type of home heating system in North America because it's relatively low-cost but also highly energy efficient when you consider how quickly this type of heater warms up a space. The downside is that it can't stand alone; if you want to keep your basement warm in the winter, you'll need to turn this feature on even when you're not there to enjoy it yourself.

Setting The Mood

If you like your basement as a private area or you'd like to reduce your dependence on this heater, an electric fireplace is a great option. These heaters generate very little noise and don't require any duct work so they're basically ready to use as soon as you install them. What's more, forget about imagining the flickering of a flame; some models even come with LED lights that can change colors.

Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating

Finally, if you want to keep things really simple and low-maintenance, installing radiant floor heating in your basement is one of the easiest ways to go. This type of system works by distributing hot water through tubes underneath the surface of your floors which will warm everything up nicely since floors are usually some of the coldest surfaces around homes anyway.

Plenty to Choose From

While no matter how you heat your basement, the main idea is to make this area a comfortable place to relax and wind down after a long day, it's also important to take other factors into account. For example, since basements are dark spaces by design you should consider installing some lighting fixtures as well as heavy curtains or blinds that will keep out as much sunlight as possible. This way, not only will your basement look inviting but you'll feel more relaxed when you're there too.

Keep Your Basement Warm with ARS/Rescue Rooter

Heating your basement is definitely worth the hassle because it can help improve the quality of life in many ways from adding value and comfort to increasing its usable square footage. With so many types of heating systems available and with all the advantages associated with each one of these, there's no reason not to consider this project. Just make sure to start with a radiant floor type of heating and avoid using your basement as additional storage space!

To schedule an appointment for one of our comfort specialists about heating installation for your basement, call 866-399-2885 or find your nearest ARS/Rescue Rooter location here.

Common Questions

What is the cheapest way to heat a basement?

The most affordable basement heating ideas depend on factors such as your budget, the climate where you live, and your personal preferences. For example, electric space heaters can be very cost effective if you live in a warmer climate. In colder areas, extending your existing ductwork might be a good idea if you already have a heating system for your home. You also might want to look at electric baseboard heaters or wall heaters. You might be able to add insulation to your basement to help it retain warmth.

What is the best thing to heat a basement?

The best basement heating options for your home will depend on your specific needs and circumstances. Energy-efficient options for cold climates include ductless heat pump systems and electric radiant floor heating. If you don’t want bulky equipment taking up space in your house, you might want electric baseboard heaters or wall heaters. If you already have a fireplace, you could use it more often, as long as you keep an eye on it.

How do I direct heat to my basement?

You have a number of options for directing more heat to your basement to make it comfortable. If you have an existing heating system with ductwork, you may be able to extend the ducts to provide coverage for your basement. You might try positioning electric space heaters in strategic areas of the room. For even heating throughout your basement, your options include installing electric radiant floor heating or mount wall heaters in areas where you need the warmth most. Whatever you choose, there are multiple options that are sure to fit into your budget and needs.

Calling us means our experts will work closely with you to determine the right solution. Our experts know more about heating systems than anyone else, meaning you’ll find the setup that works best for your specific home and provide you and your family with the comfort and security you need. To learn more about everything our expert technicians can do for you, reach out and talk to us today.

Searching for more knowledge to boost your indoor comfort? Sign up for our email newsletter and you'll receive expert tips and advice from our HVAC & plumbing pros. Plus when you sign-up. you'll be entered into a drawing to win a FREE 50 Gallon Gas or Electric Water Heater!

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