Here is a guide on the most efficient finished and unfinished basement heating options.
Have you ever walked into your basement and felt a bit of a chill, most especially during the winter months?
This is very common with basements, all thanks to the fact that they receive the least light, and they are located at the very bottom.
How To Heat Basement In Winter
If you use your basement as a living or workspace, it means you spend a lot of time there. Of course, you wouldn’t want to freeze while you’re in there, which means you’ll have to take steps to warm the place up.
Don’t panic if you don’t know how to do this, I am here to help. This is why I’ll be discussing with you how to heat a cold basement.
All you have to do is read to the very end!
We will be reviewing the best ways to heat a basement.
Why Are Basements Cold?
Let’s leave the winter season aside, as that can be a general reason for any part of your home to be cold. As for the basement itself, there are several reasons why the area feels chilly, and I’ll be discussing them with you below.
Ground-level chill: Many of you may be unfamiliar with the term, but the ground-level chill is as real as it gets.
Underground spaces are known to trap and recirculate cold air, and your basement is one of such spaces.
Let’s not forget that the basement does not receive as many sun rays as the higher parts of the house, simply because it is buried under.
Moisture build-up: As Basements are located at the lowest point of the house, it is only normal that it is prone to moisture.
There is water in the soil, and it can seep through the pores of the concrete foundation wall into the basement. Besides the concrete pores, the cracks in the basement walls and floor can also allow moisture to come in.
When this happens, the water trapped within the walls and floors can make the entire room feel colder than normal.
Rising heat: If you paid attention in your science classes, you should remember the teacher taught us that warm air keeps going up.
This means that whatever heat exists in the basement will keep rising to the upper parts of the house. And when the heat is expelled, the basement becomes colder.
Cracked windows: The last thing you need during the winter months is a cracked basement window. The spaces will allow the cold winter breeze to come in and chill the room.
How To Make A Basement Warmer
Now that you understand why your basement is cold, here are a few tips you can use to get it warmed up.
Build a fireplace
In many homes, a fireplace is the most efficient way to heat a basement.
What would indoor heating be without the good ol’ fireplace?
This small indoor innovation has been used to heat homes for hundreds of years, and it is still a viable heating option up to this day.
In fact, I can say with all confidence that this is the most efficient way to heat a cold basement.
If you don’t already have a fireplace, then you should invest in building one.
Of course, you will need a masonry professional to help you with this, and it will cost you a significant sum of money, but you’ll be glad you did anytime you sit in front of it and rub your hands together.
One of the main beauties of a fireplace doesn’t just lie in its ability to produce heat, it also has a visual appeal, since you can physically see the fire. This keeps you warm both physically and psychologically.
If you don’t have an idea of the kind of wood to use for your fireplace, then allow me to recommend some great options.
Hardwood like Oak, Maple, Birch, and Ash are all excellent choices. Most fruit trees also produce good wood, so you can also give them a try.
The good thing about using these kinds of wood for a fireplace is that they burn slow and hot, so they can keep you warm for longer hours.
They also produce low amounts of pitch and sap, which makes them very easy to handle and clean.
Maintaining fireplaces is also fairly easy. Just ensure that you replace the burnt-out wood when due, and keep the smoke exit point clean at all times.
I advise you to stock up on the firewood once winter starts approaching. Ensure that you have enough stored to last you the whole season so you wouldn’t have to worry about running low and driving out to get some more.
Remember, it’s winter, so there’ll be a high demand for firewood, hence a market rush. The price of firewood may also go up around this time, so the earlier you stock up, the less you will spend.
Make sure your basement is properly insulated
One of the best ways to keep your basement warm is to keep it insulated. A good option for this is foam board insulation, especially for unfinished basements.
For finished basements, I suggest you use spray foam insulation.
Fix the window leaks
As I have mentioned before, cracks in your basement windows can allow cold air in, especially during the winter months.
Stopping this from happening is easy. As long as the cracks aren’t too severe, then all you have to do is to fill the cracks with a sealer. This can be done with the aid of a pointed tip caulking gun.
With this tool, you can aim directly at the cracks and apply the sealer in-between them.
In a case where the cracks are too wide to be sealed, then you’ll have to replace the entire glass. You can also apply a sealer around the perimeter of the window frames to make sure cold air doesn’t sneak in.
This is not the ultimate heating solution, as it cannot produce the kind of heat generated by a fireplace, but it helps keep a significant amount of cold away from your basement.
Seal air leaks
Apart from the cracks in your basement windows, there can be air leaks from other areas. One of such areas is the gaps between your foundation and the basement.
These small air leaks can let a good amount of chilly air come into your basement.
The good news is, you can plug these leaks all by yourself. If the gaps are small, then you can use a sealer applied via a caulking gun to fill the gaps. Spray foam can also work well in this regard.
If the gaps in the foundation are too large for a small caulking gun to handle, then you can use a waterproofing membrane to fill the spaces. I advise you use a liquid membrane, as they adhere nicely to masonry.
They are also very durable and elastic, which makes them resistant to contractions caused by heat or cold.
Get rid of crawl space drafts
Leaks don’t just appear in windows and foundation gaps, they can also appear in the crawl space.
Do a thorough inspection of your crawl space and make sure they are properly insulated and sealed.
Install an extra heating system
Looking for how to heat a basement efficiently?
Installing an extra heating system with your already-existing ductwork can do you a lot of good as far as heating a basement is concerned. Another approach is to buy a couple of space heaters.
Whatever form of electrical heating you choose, you can rest assured it will help reduce the chill in the room.
Just ensure that the electronic heating system you choose is sufficient to handle the size of your basement.
Use radiant in-floor heat
If you’re looking to have some heat stores inside your basement floor, then you should consider using radiant heating.
This device doesn’t just warm up the air in your basement, it also keeps under your feet warm. This is great for those who have fluffy rugs laid across the floor, as you can sit on it and enjoy the warmth directly.
Ensure that the radiant you buy is adjustable, so you can tweak it down if it starts getting too hot.
Stock the basement with as much as you can
This has to be a no-brainer – The more things you have in the basement, the warmer it would be.
Why don’t you try bombarding your basement with as many fluffy and cozy items as you can think of?
Buy and lay thicker rugs then scatter some fluffy pillows across it. You can also lay blankets and duvets across the bed, the sofa, and on the floor.
How about some stuffed animals? Buy as many as you can and strategically place them around your basement.
Combine this with a fireplace and your basement would be as warm as you’d like, even on the coldest winter days!
So, guys, that’s how to heat a cold basement. If you’re not a fan of fireplaces, then you can install the electronic heating systems discussed in this article.
Thanks for reading!