How To Heat An Unfinished Basement

During colder seasons, leaving a basement without heat causes a massive drop in a home's overall heating efficiency, especially when it's unfinished. Besides a cooled home, these circumstances usually increase the heating bill. To prevent these from occurring, you might be thinking of heating the basement, but how should this be done? We've looked into this concern and summed up the solutions in this post.

Unfinished basements are more likely to spread coldness throughout the home due to the lack of insulation. Here's what you can do to heat a basement under these circumstances:

  • Install adequate insulation.
  • Use basement-specific heating devices.
  • Install a gas fireplace.
  • Add radiant heating.
  • Keep doors and windows closed.
  • Seal off air leaks.

When insulating a basement, it's essential to know how cold the room can be without heat and the level of warmth to maintain. Keep reading to get further insight on heating a basement.

Interior of a modern and unfinished basement with wooden walls, opened wooden framing, and recessed lighting, How To Heat An Unfinished Basement

How Do I Make My Basement Floor Warmer?

Temporary insulation and adding heating appliances are a few ways to heat a basement floor. Warming the floor plays a role in maintaining warmth throughout the whole room as well.

Finished basements are less likely to experience temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, but unfinished basements are the opposite due to the amount of exposed concrete.

Keeping an unfinished basement warm is crucial since they aren't properly insulated yet. Thus, it may create a passage for the cold to spread throughout the higher levels of the house.

Beautiful basement entertaining room with LED lighting in tray ceiling

How To Keep A Basement Warm

When it starts affecting the overall temperature around the house, it could lead to additional problems involving heating costs and efficiency and triggering mold growth.

Here are a few ways to retain warmth in a basement:

Install Adequate Insulation

Insulation is a recommended solution to warm a basement floor, next to installing heating equipment and optimizing ventilation. It's vital to insulate a basement before using other methods to maximize efficiency and save on energy costs.

If you're not looking to finish the basement any time soon, you can apply temporary insulating methods. A few examples include layering carpets and blankets on the floor or adding insulation batts combined with boards or foam sprays to the walls.

Be sure to resolve concerns with moisture levels and dryness in the basement before installing insulation.

Get insight on how to finish a stone-base basement in this post: Can You Finish A Basement With A Stone Foundation? [And How To]

Use Basement-Specific Heating Devices

A wide choice of heaters is available to add in basements. Popular options include space heaters and baseboard heaters.

An electric space heater is an affordable device that provides adequate heating to keep a basement warm. Although it requires electricity, it is energy efficient and capable of covering large spaces.

The downside to these heaters is that they only produce heat instead of heating the air. So, the room quickly cools once you turn off the device.

Baseboard heaters are either portable or require installation. These do not use a fan, so they spread the heat around the room naturally, causing them to take longer in warming a room.

While they are effective, they use more electricity and may cause an increase in electric bills.

Install A Gas Fireplace

As opposed to a wood-burning fireplace, gas fireplaces are more energy-efficient and make less of a mess. It comes in different variants, including insert-type, standalone, and both vented and non-vented options.

Gas fireplaces bring various benefits in terms of use and control and power consumption. They are inexpensive because they run on gas, providing a quick and constant output of heat.

You can also adjust the supply of gas it uses and turn it on or off without much hassle.

Add Radiant Heating

Radiant heating coils hidden under the basement tiles

If you have the time to make an installation, consider radiant heating. Experts regard it as more efficient than baseboard heating and supply heat directly around panels on the floor, walls, or ceiling.

Note that radiant heating relies on how heat circulates within a room. And so, it would be best to get help from a professional during installation.

Although they lower overall energy costs, it is costly upfront from materials to installation.

Keep Doors And Windows Closed

Simple methods include properly closing off doors and windows around the basement. To maximize its efficiency, add a heating system or unit to the room after applying this. That way, cold air inside the room will be warm.

If you have vents, read this post to know how to deal with them during winter: Should Basement Vents Be Open In The Winter?

Seal Off Air Leaks

Another easy countermeasure is to seal any air leaks. Air can pass through cracks, potentially making efforts to warm a basement ineffective.

Locate any cracks or drafts in the foundation and close them off with caulk or spray foam as soon as you can. If there are gaps on the window, be sure to fill these in too.

How Much Does It Cost To Add Gas Fireplace To Basement?

The typical range for installing a gas fireplace in a basement would cost around $400 to $4,000 on average. It may vary depending on the size of the fireplace and how much work would be required.

If you're looking to get high-end options, the price usually starts at $2,3000 and can go as high as $10,000, including installation.

It's crucial to make sure a gas fireplace is installed correctly to make it functional and safe. Contacting a professional would be best if you are unsure how to connect it to the gas supply and the like.

How Warm Should A Basement Be?

It's ideal for a basement room to be at least 58 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, with 50% relative humidity. A basement is likely to stay cool during the summer, but you should still keep it at a temperature of lower than 80 degrees Fahrenheit to stabilize humidity levels.

Unfinished basements have more exposure to the changes in weather and so should be treated with care when maintaining temperatures.

How Cold Will A Basement Get With No Heat?

A previous report states that the average basement is less likely to drop any lower than 40 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter. However, several factors may influence how cold a basement gets without any heat.

It's a given that outside temperature is a major contributor to the coldness of a basement, but you can counter these with the appropriate measures in keeping the room warm.

Unfinished basements without any insulation may reach colder levels if you leave them this way. It could also affect the rest of the home by spreading the cold air upwards through the walls or ceiling.

Another result of this cooling is moisture buildup, leading to mold or mildew and other bacteria growth due to the usual basement conditions.

In Closing

Interior of a modern and unfinished basement with wooden walls, opened wooden framing, and recessed lighting

There are several ways to heat a basement, finished or unfinished. One of the most important methods is to ensure the room has sufficient insulation. Additionally, insulating will efficiently sustain warmth that comes from different devices.

Warming up a basement is essential during cooler weather because of the effects coldness brings, from energy expenses to moisture regulation. And so, sustaining the recommended temperature helps prevent these issues.

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