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Best Heating Options for Your Newly Finished Basement

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Finishing a basement is a great way to upgrade your home. Plus, you now have a fun place to hang out, play games, watch television, or get to work without interruptions. But what if it's the middle of winter and your new room is too cold to enjoy? Rest assured, you have options that will make your basement snug and warm, lightning fast. No matter your budget, here are four ways to easily heat your newly finished basement.

Space Heaters

These are obviously the fastest and least expensive tools (at least in the interim) to get your basement cozy and comfortable during the winter months. And nowadays, you have options galore, almost to the point of being overwhelming. Here are the more popular choices.

  1. Convection heaters are low maintenance, super quiet, and work by radiating heat outward. They come with a few drawbacks, like heating slowly and being hot to the touch—they are better suited for those with no pets or small children.
  2. Fan heaters are excellent at providing quick heat, and they're safe around children as they stay cool on the outside—though, they do make noise.
  3. Radiant and infrared heaters will warm your basement quickly, and they're quiet. Infrared styles boast a heating radius of 1,000 feet, so one may be adequate for your entire basement.
  4. Panel heaters can be wall mounted, and they use a mixture of convection and radiant heat to warm your space. While they are quiet, they do get hot on the surface, so they should be placed or mounted out of reach of small hands and paws.

Pellet Stoves

A pellet stove has the old-world charm of a wood stove without the mess. They are smaller yet more efficient than a fireplace, making them an easy and popular choice for heating up your basement, or any other room in your home.

The "pellets" are small bags of compressed sawdust, and they are considered carbon neutral because they burn at such a high temperature that they give off very little ash and have essentially no emissions. Therefore, they will not affect your indoor air quality or contribute to creosote buildup inside a chimney. In fact, you don't even need a chimney to use one. 

The two biggest things to consider before buying a pellet stove is their price—they run anywhere from $1,700–$3,000 —and the fact that you'll have to keep a stock of pellets on hand. If you live up north, finding stores that carry them is generally not a challenge.  

Baseboard Heat

Requiring more extensive work than space heaters and stoves but less than adding duct work to your existing furnace, baseboard heaters are a great option. They could almost be considered a type of space heater, but the thermostat is located away from the unit, usually on a wall near the room's entrance.

They use very little electricity to run and can heat up your basement fast. Most of them tap into your home's existing wiring, so it's best to speak with an HVAC professional or electrician before attempting to put them in yourself.

Existing Furnace

If you already have a furnace, you may be able to extend the duct work to your basement. But before deciding if this is a viable option, you'll have to take into account the size of your furnace and whether it can handle the additional load that will be placed on the system. If your basement is large enough, an upgrade might be necessary.

Another thing to consider is the location of your furnace. If it's in the attic, and you have a two-story house, the warm air may be cooler by the time it reaches your basement. You can overcome this by having a separate furnace put in for the basement alone.

The best way to find out if extending the duct work is doable or if you should have an extra furnace installed is to consult with companies like Shakley Mechanical Inc.