Warm air rises, cool air falls, and warm goes to cool. Basement comfort is always compromised. Adding electric heaters into your basement adds BTU’s, but, they’re very expensive BTU’s. Remember, heat rises, so, those BTU’s will migrate upstairs, where they aren’t really needed.
In worst case situations, those electric BTU’s can actually overheat the upstairs, thus interfering with thermostat cycles. If the thermostat is controlling gas BTU’s (which are less expensive than the electric BTU’s), then your gas bill will go down, while your electric bill goes up!!!
Zone your home! Zone your basement! Zoning is about putting comfort where it is wanted. It also means having a thermostat in each zone. In other words, the basement becomes a separate zone from your home’s main level. Each will have its own comfort settings, independent of the other. This is especially practical if the basement is a rented revenue space. But, it’s beneficial to just provide more enjoyable living for the entire family. And, you can also “zone within” your basement. You may want a slightly cooler temperature in an exercise room than you would in your child’s playroom, laundry room, bathroom, home theatre, hobby room, or guest bedrooms.
Generate just the right amount of BTU’s! Heat lost vs. heat gained! One BTU out requires one BTU in. Lowest heat temperature produced by a system to match BTU heat loss, is the most energy and cost effective way to maintain comfort.
Different strategies to basement heating: There are several ways to heat basements. But, this isn’t just about “heating” a basement. It’s more about doing it with minimum BTU’s while gaining a comfort benefit without wasting utility $$.
1. Add more “high temperature” forced air? Sure, you can add hot air ducts, apply air balance, and a variable speed furnace fan with relief by-pass and thermostatic zone dampers. This is also expensive because it gets mechanically complicated.
2. Add separate high temperature heaters? Yes, you can install electric baseboard heaters or force flow units along the basement walls. Note: this “convection” (not radiant) air quickly rises toward the ceiling. It doesn’t stay where comfort is wanted.
3. Radiant Floor Heat: Yes, you can retrofit “radiant floor heat” to each basement zone. Except, you may have to tear up the concrete floor to insulate against the earth before installing the radiant tubes. If they’re installed over the existing floor, you may sacrifice up to 2 inches of ceiling height. Note: this retrofit often requires trimming door bottoms that lead to separate rooms.