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Heating a Basement?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Dean Martin, Jan 31, 2004.

  1. Dean Martin

    Dean Martin Well-Known Member

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    Perfect cold weather topic right?

    Currently I have a fake, electrical based Fireplace and I turn that on a while before we go down and watch a movie just to warm it up a bit but I was looking for a good 'built in' heating solution for my basement.
    Safety of course would be an important issue.
    Anyone have any recommendations? I'm going to need a similar soultion for my garage because next winter I'm going to have a vehicle stored in there that requires the temperature to remain above freezing.
     
  2. MichaelDDD

    MichaelDDD Well-Known Member

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    Well, the first question is "how much do you want to/are you willing to spend?"

    Does your home currently have a heat-pump or similar system? Maybe you could have it extended to include the basement and the garage?

    Unless your basement is huge, I would imagine that a big, electric heater would work fine...but that gets expensive really quick.
     
  3. Jack Ferry

    Jack Ferry Well-Known Member

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    Electric baseboards are (relatively) easy to install, but Michael is right about the expense. Actually, it is operating electric heaters that gets ridiculous. Purchase and installation are cheap.

    If the only time you need heat is for a couple hours a week to watch a movie, then electric might not be too bad. If you are looking for a solution to always have the room and garage at 68 or 70, you need to go back to Michael's first question and then consider expanding your current heating system.

    Since the best choice for type of heating system varies depending on where you live, I'd ask others in your area and try to get some quotes from reputable contractors.
     
  4. Glen C

    Glen C Well-Known Member

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    the easiest, cheapest and most effective method would be to tap off the heat from floor-1 and add a few heat ducts or baseboards. for example if you have steam/hot water heat upstairs, get a plumber to tap in on a feed and add two 8' radiators that will heat the basement with the rest of the house. no need for "zones". a plumber can determine if your furnace can handle this... it should be a no-brainer unless your heat system is poorly designed for the home. Pretty inexpensive and negliglible expense to run. good luck.
     
  5. Dean Martin

    Dean Martin Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately I have forced-air heat. Since the thermostat is upstairs it would still only activate when the upstairs temperature dropped to a certain temp unless one was installed in the basement I don't see how this would change much.
    Like I said, I currently have an electric heater in the basement, one of those fake wood stove models and if it is switched on ahead of time it is helpful. The problem is really mainly going to be December through feb-march.
    My bigger concern would be my Garage. I know this isn't Home Theater related but I know people do heat their garages for this purpose. I mainly just need to keep it above freezing.
    My other alternative is to tap into the gas pipe and install a gas type heater.
     
  6. Frank Zimkas

    Frank Zimkas Well-Known Member

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    Dean,
    Is your home a newer or older home? A properly sized furnace should be able to heat the entire house without any problems at all. Assuming that the furnace is sized for the tolal square footage, it's simply a matter of installing the proper sized ducts to the areas that need heat. As far as the thermostat location is concerned, it's really not a problem. A properly installed Heating/Cooling thermostat will allow you to use the fan switch for continuous fan operation. This has 3 major benefits.

    1) Constant airflow will mix all of the air in the home providing for an evenly heated/cooled space.
    2) Anytime that that the fan is on your system will be cleaning the air, provided that you are using a high quality filter of course. The cheapo $.75 filters won't cut it.
    3) A constant flow of air throughout the house will allow for better temperature control by eliminating stratification and/or hot/cold spots. The thermostat will be able to more acurately maintain the temperature of the home because it is sampling the mixed air temp instead of just the air at it's location.
     
  7. Chuck Bogie

    Chuck Bogie Well-Known Member

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    1. Why does your garage need to be heated? Diesel? You can use fuel additives, or a plug-in block/fuel tank heater.

    2. I'm looking at several different houses - and one of 'em is in a rural area. I'm semi-seriously considering installing a subfloor radiant heat system in the basement (basically run the tubing, then install cement over it). It'll cost about $1,500 for what I'm considering for the "radiator," and I'm going to plumb it so that I can use both a water heater for the heat source, and for when it gets cooler outside, I'm going to blow a few thousand bucks, and install an outside wood-fired boiler/water heater, and run it into the basement and to a heat exchanger in the garage. I've got some friends who did this, and it's incredible. You've got to feed it a couple of times a day, but once the system warms up, it _stays_ warm.
     
  8. Chuck Bogie

    Chuck Bogie Well-Known Member

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    Oh yeah - with radiant heat from the floor, you don't have to worry about noise from blowing heat ducts...
     
  9. Adam Bluhm

    Adam Bluhm Well-Known Member

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    If you consider tapping into your gas line and install a propane heater, consider a Rinnai heater. Our company was just introduced to them and I find them to be phenominal. I have little experience with the vented models (which is what you'd want to go with), but the ventless model we have on display throws a good amount of heat and is very quiet!

    These heaters are feature-rich. They are very quiet, have advanced climate controls (large btu range, if you want to run it all the time), have daily/weekly programmable contols, and vent with two small tubes. That makes heater location very easy.

    If you can, stop by your local propane dealer and ask about them. I can send you brochures if you'd like. [​IMG]

    http://www.rinnaina.com/products/hea...aces/index.asp

    .. just another option.
     
  10. Douglas Scott

    Douglas Scott Member

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    I had the same concerns when finishing my basement. I looked at different heating option and settled on a gas fireplace. It heats the basement (600 square feet) in about 10 minutes and is also pleasant to look at.
     
  11. Dean Martin

    Dean Martin Well-Known Member

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    First off, thanks for the replies.

    I'm not sure if my furnace would be considered adequate as it came with the house and the basement was unfinished at the time. My home is approximately 7 yrs old. I can easily add ducts but I thought I might be wasting my time because of the Thermostat concern I listed earlier.

    As to my Garage needs, I am going to have a service vehicle parked there that utilizes water so freezing would be a concern. Of course this means that really, only the inside of the vehicle will require heat. I just figured with the chilly basement I would knock out both rooms at the same time.
     
  12. Frank Zimkas

    Frank Zimkas Well-Known Member

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    Yes your furnace is adequate to heat the basement and the upper levels. All you need is the ducts.
     
  13. Dubauskas

    Dubauskas New Member

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    A thought just occurred to me... what about a "false" floor, then run the heating ducts under them... that coupled with running the fan should work for you?

    Also I understand a false floor is good to have in a basement HT for the bass.
     
  14. Glen C

    Glen C Well-Known Member

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    i would look first to add 1-2 ducts tapping off the upstairs forced air (and 1 in the garage if possible). it sounds like a separate thermostat is ideal (but not practical w/ cost), but the ducts will warm the basement day and night (whenever the "heat" is on) so you won't need such extreme warming before going down there. the cost of operation will be alot less than what you have now.

    at the same time, you could raise the upstairs thermostat 1-2 degrees if the basement is especially cold for a few days.
     
  15. Dean Martin

    Dean Martin Well-Known Member

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    Would creating a duct for the garage do anything other than waste heat? My garage has only one outside wall and my garage door is an insulated door.
     
  16. Frank Zimkas

    Frank Zimkas Well-Known Member

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    You'd be much better off with one of these.
     
  17. Christo Ramo

    Christo Ramo Well-Known Member

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    I don't mean to hijack the thread, but has anyone ever considered using the electic fireplaces? Any opinios out there?
     
  18. Dean Martin

    Dean Martin Well-Known Member

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    I bought an Electric Fireplace and it is what I use in my basement now. I just have to make sure I turn it on rather early and let it run pretty much constantly to keep it at a temperature I am comfortable with. I don't have a big one, I suppose there are larger one's that can do a better job. I wouldn't use it in my garage though.

    Another thing that works well is the fireplaces that use canned heat if you like a real flame, but you really have to monitor those more than you would an electric heater.
     
  19. Glen C

    Glen C Well-Known Member

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    Just waste heat (but not energy/gas/oil). Assuming your furnace is capable, it would just outlet one duct of continuous heat into the garage whenever your home is being heated (ie. furnace triggered on by the thermostat). Sort of like leaving a 1500w space heater running 8-10 hours a day. It would warm the garage several degrees at no extra heating cost (unlike the noisy space heater).
     
  20. Todd L.

    Todd L. Member

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    I was pondering this same question a month ago when I started building my Home Theater in my basement and ultimately decided to place a Gas fireplace with remote control in the one corner. It is not located in the theater, but I have an open archway I am building between the theater and the other room. It should suffice rather nicely.
     

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