Unfinished basements are used infrequently, and ambient heating coming from above typically keeps the temperature above freezing. However, finished basements used as living areas need to be kept much warmer. Due to our cold climate, many Toronto finished basements require some additional basement heating.
In some cases your main HVAC system may be modified to also heat your basement. This requires additional duct work, and is probably best left to a professional basement finishing contractor or HVAC contractor. However, if expanding your existing heating and cooling system is impractical, there are other additional basement heating options.
Electric heaters are typically the easiest and cheapest to install of all basement heating options, although they cost more to operate than many other options. However, if you only require occasional heat or are heating a small area, electric heaters can provide comfortable and cost-effective heating.
Direct-Vent Gas Heaters
Because of our cold climate, for finished basements Toronto homeowners may require more efficient, even heating. Direct-vent gas heaters are energy efficient, and provide constant, thermostatically controlled heat. Direct-vent gas heaters use natural gas as an energy source, and distribute heated air throughout the room with a fan. A pipe exits the rear of the heater, and penetrates an exterior wall to vent exhaust gases and intake combustion air.
Fireplaces can provide both a cozy atmosphere and cozy warmth, although it’s important to select the right kind of fireplace for your basement heating needs.
Most standard wood-burning fireplaces suck lots of hot air out of the room, so aren’t necessarily efficient. Airtight wood-burning fireplaces can provide a reliable heat source, but must be regularly tended and can be a bit messy, so they’re not for everyone.
Direct-Vent Gas Fireplaces
Direct-vent gas fireplaces provide a view of the flames, and produce radiant heat. Some direct-vent gas fireplaces also have a fan to circulate warmed air, producing a more consistent heat source.
Ventless Gas Fireplaces
Ventless gas fireplaces release combustion products directly into the room. This makes them more efficient and easier to install, but they can deplete the room’s oxygen supply and produce hazardous fumes. This is particularly hazardous in basements, which are smaller and have less airflow than your ground floor. We recommend avoiding ventless gas fireplaces in basements for these reasons.
If you will use stone or tile for your finished basement’s floor, you can install a radiant heating system. A radiant heating system will not only warm the floor, but can also increase the overall temperature of the room, which can eliminate the need for an additional heat source.
When evaluating your basement heating needs and installing some of the more advanced heating options, it may be best to seek the help of a qualified professional. Fortunately for basement finishing contractors Toronto homeowners have many reputable home renovation professionals available.
Was basement heating a factor in your recent or upcoming basement renovation? If so, we’d love to hear your viewpoints on the best basement heating options. Please give us your input in the comments section.