Finished Basement Heat Options


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Old 03-25-09, 09:35 AM
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Finished Basement Heat Options

I am in the process of finishing my basement. The finished area will be about 330 sq. ft. and roughly rectangular. I don't want to add to the forced air gas HVAC as the basement will not be used constantly. I'd rather have an on demand heat source that can be used only when someone is downstairs.

My original thought is portable space heaters, but I'm thinking that's not a good long term solution. Baseboard heat seems like a good candidate. What other options are there?

Also, how do I size the heaters? Looking at baseboard heaters, they seem to recommend 10 watts per sq. ft. A 1000 watt heater says it's good for 100 sq. ft., for example. That means 2 6' 240V baseboard heaters for my room, which eats up a lot of wall space. Is that a good ratio, or are they just trying to sell more heaters?
 
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Old 03-25-09, 11:47 AM
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Based on that metric you could go with one 6' and one 5' but that probably won't save you much space. The other way to figure it is do a load calc to know your exact BTU needs (1KW = 3413 BTU) but I suspect you will need a fair length of baseboard needed. To save some space you could consider an electric wall heater, or alternative fuel such as wood, pellet, etc. if operating costs are a concern.
 
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Old 03-25-09, 01:18 PM
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Where you already have gas you could consider a gas wall heater.

Bud
 
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Old 03-25-09, 01:56 PM
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I have a gas furnace, but I don't think I want to mess with running gas pipe and venting. An electric wall heater sounds like a good idea, but what I'd like to find out is if the formula is appropriate. From what I've read since posting this, it seems so.

I'm thinking of starting with an unheated space and seeing how it works out next winter. Then I can add what I need.
 
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Old 03-25-09, 02:08 PM
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I can't say for certain, but I believe there are gas wall heaters that vent via PVC pipe and the gas company will connect the line for you.

Electric is easier if you have the space and capacity in your panel, and it's not too far away.

Bud
 
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Old 03-25-09, 02:18 PM
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Well, panel capacity is already an issue, so adding electric heat now or later is the same deal. I'll look into gas, but I'm skeptical.
 
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Old 03-25-09, 03:00 PM
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A heat loss calculation is essential. Since this is a basement I am assuming that it is at least partially buried. This will lessen the required amount of heat necessary. The "10 watts per sq. ft." recommendation would likely be far in excess of what you need.
 
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Old 03-25-09, 06:55 PM
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OK, so how does one do a "heat loss calculation"?

All the walls are engineered panels by a company named Temo (Styrofoam with an ABS backer and a 'dragonboard' face) and have an R11 insulation value, I believe. Ceiling is about 7'6" and all but the top 2' or so is under ground and 3 of the 4 sides of the rectangle are outside walls. There's about 1.5" of air gap between the block and the panels. I hadn't planned on insulating the ceiling, just suspended panels.

Not sure if any of that matters, but there you go.
 
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Old 03-25-09, 07:08 PM
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I think you should keep your original idea and go with baseboard heaters. But use hydronic baseboard heater. They are filled with oil and will keep heat much longer than your regular baseboard heater. It is a little more expensive but you get what you pay for. I purchased a 6foot heater for about $160 from local store. You can install a t-stat away from heater. Also 220v is more effecient than 115v.
 
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Old 03-25-09, 07:25 PM
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OK, I found some heat loss calculators online. I used the one at warmlyyours.com and got these results:
Room Type Other
Room Floor Area 330 Sq. Ft.
Estimated Coverage 75.0% , 247.5Sq.Ft.
Desired Inside Temperature 70 °F
Design Outside Temperature 5 °F
Existing Heat Sources 0 Watts
Flooring Area Losses 462.0 btu/h
Ceiling Area Losses 0.0 btu/h
Skylight Losses 0 btu/h
Exterior Wall Losses 909.0 btu/h
Exterior Window Losses 162.0 btu/h
Exterior Door Losses 0 btu/h
Infiltration Losses 1103.0 btu/h
Total Heat Loss 2636.0 btu/h
I'm not sure what that means (or if it's right), and their recommendation was to buy one of their radiant floor heating systems. One thing was that it didn't take into account the R11 wall between the finished and unfinished portions.
 
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Old 03-26-09, 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by salguod View Post
OK, I found some heat loss calculators online. I used the one at warmlyyours.com and got these results:

...
Total Heat Loss 2636.0 btu/h
That small a heat loss means a plug-in 1000W wall heater will do the trick. Have you tried that? I am a little suspicious of that. Just curious, without any heat, what temperature is maintained in the space given an outdoor temp?
 
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Old 03-26-09, 05:53 AM
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Well, the space isn't done yet. The walls are up but no carpet or ceiling. I'm planning my wiring and was wondering if I should go ahead and wire for baseboard heat.

I'm thinking no. I'll finish the space and see what the constant temp is. I have a small electric heater (1500 watts maybe) that I use in my camper, if it's cold I'll see if it keeps up and that'll give me an idea what I really need. Then I can add baseboard heaters or whatever later.
 
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Old 03-26-09, 06:12 AM
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The typical sources of heat loss in a basement that is primarily underground are: The above ground portions of the foundation (for which you have your new wall system) and the rim joist which conducts heat to the outside and most importantly leaks air like an open barn door. I blower door depressurization test almost always shows very significant leakage up there, thus while you have it open, invest in a few cans of spray foam and seal it up. Rigid or fiberglass insulation can be applied after it is sealed, but fiberglass does not block air flow. If the above has already been taken care of, congratulations and disregard.

Good Luck,
Bud
 
 

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