HVAC Upgrades for Your Finished BasementFinishing your basement is a great way to expand your living space, but there are a few HVAC considerations you (and your contractor) need to address before work begins.
- Will your existing HVAC equipment be able to effectively heat and cool the new space? This is especially important if you're dividing the basement into multiple rooms. Circulating conditioned air through several feet of additional ductwork takes power your existing HVAC probably wasn't designed to deliver. A professional HVAC technician can help you evaluate your equipment and the extra demands it will face, based on your basement's proposed layout, duct dimensions and insulation, as well as your area's climate.
- If your HVAC isn't sufficient, will you add a second unit or replace your system? The decision is fairly simple if your equipment is more than fifteen years old, needs frequent repair or isn't right-sized for your home anyway. Newer, satisfactory equipment may be harder to justify replacing, but you may have to consider it for the sake of space—or, look into alternatives to forced-air heating and cooling, like radiators or underfloor heating. Discuss your options with a pro, so you can make an informed investment.
- Where will the ducts go? In many cases, the headroom you’ll have will hinge on the type and placement of your ductwork. Depending on your system and available space, you may need to consider installing slim ducts, rerouting existing ducts or drywalling around them.
- Will I need multiple thermostats? Chances are, you’ll want separate temperature controls for the basement. Because they're underground, basements naturally stay cooler than the rest of the house. That's great in the summer, but not so comfortable once the winter chill sets in. Depending on the type of equipment you’ve chosen, you may be able to install a multi-zone thermostat or a second thermostat to provide independent control for this area.