Heating/cooling options in a basement


Old 03-26-03, 01:52 PM
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Heating/cooling options in a basement


We recently bought a small house w/ a basement of about 1000 sq. ft. The basement has a small utility room (washer/dryer & furnace), 2 12x20' rooms and one small 12x10' room for my workshop. Their is one vent in one of the 12x20' rooms (duct) that does not keep the room warm enough in winter. The 2nd 12x20' room has no duct work. We want to make that room into a den and do a better job heating the room w/ the existing vent.

1. We live in Maryland, temp. ranges from 10 to 100, depending on the year.
2. Ideally we won't have to loose much, if any ceiling space due to duct work. The duct work in the one room takes away lots of headroom.
3. We will be replacing the existing furnace in the near future with a new one, plus an A/C unit.
4. The main (only) floor of the house is about 1,000 sq. ft. At some point, we want to add another 300-400 sq. ft. with additions.

1. Any ideas on how to heat/cool the 2 larger basement rooms? Wait for the new units & have duct work done then?
2. What about ductless systems? Worth it if we are going re-do our main unit?
3. If we use the new system, is there other ways of 'ducting' the space so we don't loose so much headroom?

I'll be consulting a HVAC person soon, but I thought I'd get some ideas first.

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Old 03-27-03, 01:14 AM
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Dear Bob--

Being familar with some homes in Maryland (aberdeen area) very similar to what you are describing, I offer the following advice.

If you are going to be upgrading your current system in the near future (within 1-2 years), have all the work done at one time. The investment in a ductless system to assist you now is not worth the cost unless you plan on incorporating it as part of your upgrade.

As far as ducting goes to limit the loss of headroom, consider having the ducting run against the ceiling where it meets a wall and enclosing it in a soffit as part of the overall design of the room. Additional consideration for such an installation is to use locations where only one duct run is needed to service multiple rooms. Properly sized and installed ducting can be done in as little as a six inch depth.

Another option for limited space as well as remodeling/additions can be seen at www.spacepak.com (this type of ducting may serve your needs best)

Be sure to have a load analysis done for your home and make sure to get several bids on the work from licensed REPUTABLE EXPERIENCED contractors who specialize in retrofit/remodeling(ask your friends, neighbors and co-workers who they've used)

Hope this helps you somewhat...let us know what happens
Old 03-28-03, 12:42 PM
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Lightbulb Think about electric radiant heat for these rooms

While I don't want to sound blatantly like an ad for our company, we do a lot of basement heating, both primary and supplemental, using our electric ceramic radiant heaters, which is an option your haven't considered, but should. Here's why:

No ducting and the easiest possible installation. Simply run the needed circuit, mount the thermostat(s) and heaters and you are done.

Economical operation. Heat the space when you need it heated, set it back to a lower temp when you don't. Keep the area tempered and get comfort when you want it in about 5 minutes. Ceramic radiant heating panels typically deliver the comfort you seek at about a 25-35% reduction as compared to other electrical heating solutions. Minimal air movement means cleaner operation as well.

Warmth at the floor. One of the most common complaints we hear about basements heated by forced air or convection systems, regardless of fuel used, is that the floors are always cold. Because radiant heat heats objects, the floor is warmed along with all objects in the room.

Just thought you would appreciate hearing about a solution you hadn't considered.

Eric - Radiant Electric Heat, Inc.

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