need a good way to warm a basement

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Old 01-11-06, 12:14 PM
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need a good way to warm a basement

I have a fairly large partial basement im fixing up to make an apartment for my grandmother. I want to find a way of keeping the basement warm in the wintertime, right now its just not warm enough down there. It is about 1500sq ft. Its not just 1 big room. The rooms are divided into 2 bedrooms, utility room, hallway, 2 bonus large rooms that im going to make into a living room and dining room, a room to create a good sized kitchen, and finally a bathroom. its partial in that 2 sides of the basement is above ground, with its own outside door and 5 windows. So yeah a big space with alot of room to warm up. I want to keep her comfortable, any way you can think of keeping it warmer down there?

And as far as insulation i dont know how insulated the walls are but they do all have wood paneling or drywall on them, no concrete walls. The ceiling is a drop ceiling with panels. Any idea how i can check insulation without tearing into the wall? Thanks for any help in advance.
 
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Old 01-11-06, 01:40 PM
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need a good way to warm a basement

Depending where you are, you may want to consider minimal floor insulation or some sort of thermal break. You probably have more square footage in the floor than the walls. Older people notice cold floors more than younger people. - Perhaps they should be hired as experts on heat loss.

Often, people worry about the method of insulation, vapor barriers and moisture control at the bottom of an external wall and never think about the adjacent floor that has the same conditions.

Usually, in colder climates the basement walls are over-insulated and the floors are under insulated. This is not a problem in more temperate climates where a cool floor is and advantage when it comes to cooling if you have circulation.

I discovered this in my own townhouse when I used my laser digital thermometer. It is a very handy and economical ($75) tool for anybody to find out what is going on.

Dick
 
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Old 01-11-06, 01:52 PM
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Mereann,
this is the very same concern I had when planning my basement finishing project a few months back. I think it's a good idea to supplement your heating system down there if possible. Otherwise, your basement may not be as enjoyable in the winter. I have a gas furnace central heating system in my house, but I still needed something extra for the basement.

I just completed my basement project. I added a 40K BTU natural gas stove and I couldn't be happier with it's performance. My basement is 1000 sq ft, divided up into a large rec area, bedroom and bath. I only use my stove when I'm downstairs, and heats up the space fairly quickly. I have it connected to a tstat so I can control it just like the furnace.

There are many other viable options to choose from, but I feel my gas stove was best fit for me. I like warm cozy fires, plus convenience, i.e. no wood to mess with.

Anyway, good luck with your project.

-jasper
 
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Old 01-11-06, 03:52 PM
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1500 Sf is a fir sized area.
I just finished 850 Sf, and I installed a forced air heat pump.
I am extremely pleased.
I can not tell any difference between the upstairs temp, and downstairs temp.
Just another area of the house now...no basement feel at all
 
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Old 01-12-06, 06:47 AM
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Mereann -

How high is your ceiling? If price is not such a concern, you could add something like dricore and put a new floor down. The dricore itself adds less than an inch plus whatever floor you put on top of it. That would create a thermal break and add 3-4 degrees to the room(s).

Do you have central heat down there? If so, where are the heat registers? Most builders just run them down the central trunk through the middle or inside wall part of the basement. Since you say you have a drop ceiling, you should be able to move and/or add some registers along the outside walls. And finally, is there a return air vent down there? That's another thing that builders often "forget" to add down there.

Good luck!
Tom
 
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