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How to Heat a Basement and Keep it Warm

Basements are usually the first remodeling project we take on after we get settled in our homes and realize we need more room. For many, the need for extra space happens when a parent moves in or when a young adult returns from college and requires a temporary home-base to get started.

If your basement has been an unheated storage unit, turning it into a warm and pleasant living space can double the usable square footage of your home and is less expensive than adding a room above ground. The exterior walls, windows and doors are already in place, and you won’t need a roof. However you will need a reliable source of heat.

4 Reasons Why Radiant Floor Heating is the Best Solution for Basements

Since a basement is naturally cool in the summer, the next expense is providing the right heating solution to make the basement comfortable in the winter. You could add-on to your existing HVAC system or install electric baseboards, but neither of these solutions can provide the clean, quiet and efficient heat that an electric radiant floor heating system provides.

In addition to being easy to install and competitively priced with most heating options, radiant floor heating provides:

1. Low Long-Term Costs

Electric radiant floor heating systems with zone controlling thermostats are economical to operate because they heat the entire room quickly and evenly. You can control the heat in each room individually, so there is no wasted electricity by heating areas that are not being used. This translates into lower utility bills over the long-term.

2. Minimal Equipment

Everything needed to operate the system is below the floor. There are no large, noisy outside mechanical units required to produce the heat, and no fans or pumps running inside the basement to keep you awake at night.

3. No Maintenance

Once the system is installed, there are no parts that require upkeep.

4. Reliable and Consistent Heating Source

Electric radiant floor heat is almost as simple as set and forget. With the right programmable thermostat installed, the system operates by itself, turning off and on as needed, maintaining your desired temperature range 24/7.

Tips for Keeping a Basement Warm

In order to maintain a comfortable temperature year-round in your basement, there are some basic concerns that need to be addressed while you are remodeling. The main issue is keeping the warm air your system has produced inside the basement. Here are some easy-to-implement ideas.

Keep Doors and Windows Closed

If you are not using a room, keep the doors and windows to that area closed. Open doors allow heat from one room to escape to another that is not being used, and therefore wasted. A radiant floor heating system with zone controls allows you to heat only the rooms you are using.

Ensure Proper Insulation

A basement has the best natural insulation of any area of your home – the ground around the exterior walls. However, that’s not enough to provide proper protection against air infiltration and heat loss through the walls and ceilings.

The basement walls should be insulated with rigid foam between the studs as a minimum. The ideal R-value in walls is R-13 to R-15. The exterior walls are always insulated, and adding batt insulation to interior walls will help maintain individual room temperatures and reduce noise transmission between rooms. The basement ceiling should be insulated to a minimum of R-30 to keep the heat from escaping to the rooms above.

Seal Windows and Doors

If there are windows and doors that were originally installed in the basement, they may not have been insulated and sealed properly, as they would have been in the finished rooms above. This issue can be easily remedied:

  • Ensure that the windows and doors have been caulked around the exterior trim with a high quality exterior grade sealant. Check your caulking every year and fill-in where shrinkage has occurred.
  • Any spaces between the window and door frames and the walls should be filled with non-expanding foam insulation or filled with loose fiberglass insulation before finishing the interior.

If your basement has single-glazed windows installed, consider replacing them with double pane insulated glass windows.

Ensure Ducts and Vents are Properly Sealed

The air ducts running through your home are usually constructed of paper-thin metal and should be replaced with insulated ductwork or wrapped with a no-gap insulation. Make sure the connection between the duct work and the vent is tight and sealed as this can be another area of energy loss.

Choose Radiant Heating-Compatible Flooring Materials

Radiant floor heating works with almost any type of finished flooring, but there are some materials that are better at holding and transferring heat than others. Tile and stone have a high thermal conductivity which means the heat created by the wires beneath it will transfer to the surface quickly. Stone and tile are dense and will store the heat better than most materials. In addition, they can be heated to a higher temperature which might be important if your basement has a high ceiling.

Make Your Basement More Livable with Radiant Floor Heating

When the time comes to remodel your basement and make it a full-time living space, choose an electric radiant floor heating system from Warmup. We are an innovator in the electric floor heating industry and can provide complete systems that will work under most flooring materials. We also offer a 3-in-1 subfloor insulation that will greatly increase the efficiency of your basement radiant floor heating system.

We can quote your entire system and ensure that you have everything you need shipped to one of our local outlets where you or your installer can pick it up. Contact us today to get started and have your questions answered by our experienced customer service team. We look forward to serving you!


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