Heating Your Basement

Whether you're looking to safeguard storage items from chilly winter temperatures or keep a finished basement toasty, here's what you need to know about basement heating.

Basement living room

Basement living room

By: Caroline Shannon-Karasik

If you require a sweater before setting foot into your home's basement, then it is necessary to consider how your living space might benefit from proper heating. There are many options for heating a basement, including using your existing HVAC or adding a fireplace, from gas to ventless.

Basement Remodeling Ideas From TV

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AFTER: Guest Suite Fireplace

As seen on HGTV's Elbow Room, this basement was renovated by licensed contractor Chip Wade to include a new guest suite for visitors, home beer-brewing area and entertaining space for the whole family. This is the suite's modern lounging area with a deep fireplace. The space has clean, modern feel that is warmed up by the wood accent walls.

Photo By: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Before: Guest Suite Fireplace

Before, the unfinished basement was uninviting and mainly used for storage and the homeowner's makeshift beer-brewing area.

Photo By: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Before: Living Room Area

As seen on HGTV's Renovation Raiders, the seating arrangement in this basement was awkward, forcing people to sit at opposite sides of the room to watch television.

After: Living Room Area

A new seating arrangement allows for the family to sit together with the flagstone fireplace and TV as the focal point in the room.

Before: Desk Area

The basement is a nice size, but wasted space that is rarely used. This dingy old desk looks neglected and very plain against mustard yellow walls.

After: Desk Area

The sleek new desk rolls easily to make for additional space and fits the style of the library area. The color of the built-in bookshelves breaks up the yellow.

Before: Bookshelf

The bookshelf is a similar shade to the mustard walls and does nothing for the space.

After: Bookcase

The color is a vast improvement, but the real upgrade is the super-cool secret passageway from the bookshelf.

Before: Under the Stairs

As seen on HGTV's Cousins Undercover, the basement of this home was damaged during a flood, making it unsafe. It was partly gutted and used for storage. This space needs a full overhaul.

Photo By: Chris Amaral

After: Under the Stairs

Post-makeover, the basement is once again a family hub full of modern cottage style. The new staircase provides an open wall that separates the living room from the dining room. The stairs are stained to create a warm contrast between the two rooms.

Photo By: Chris Amaral

Before: Staircase

The original stairs were damaged by water and were too weak. Since they were a hazard, they needed to be rebuilt.

Photo By: Chris Amaral

After: Staircase

The custom open stairs are a bold and strong addition to the basement. Not only are they a wonderful design element, but they also serve a as room divider for the living room and dining room.

Photo By: Chris Amaral

Before: Family Room Area

Boxes of assorted storage items took up all the available space, but even if they didn't, the water damage from the flooding made this an unsafe space.

Photo By: Chris Amaral

After: Family Room Area

Once the basement was cleared, a family room area was placed next to the new staircase. There's a great open flow to the space and the soft palette and lighting bring out the brightness of the room.

Photo By: Chris Amaral

Before you decide the best option for heating your basement, consult an experienced contractor. He or she will be able to provide recommendations for the heating units that will work best for your situation.

If you choose to use your existing heating unit, then you will need to install ductwork and air ventilation that feeds off of the main heating source and into the basement. You can also consider installing a gas fireplace. A gas fireplace works optimally if a chimney is already available, but if your basement is not equipped with a chimney, then a ventless gas fireplace might be a good option.

Many homeowners also find success with heating a basement by using a radiant heater. Radiant heaters can be installed below the floor or along baseboards.

If you are seeking a budget-friendly option for providing basement heat, then consider space heaters that are easily plugged into a wall.

See also: HVAC Buying Guide

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