Basement Heat

I need an opinion on my basement heating. I have a 1200 sq. ft. basement. 2/3 is finished. I have 3 heat vents. I can’t get the basement to stay warm. My home is 65 years old, the finished area is paneling installed on 1x2 inch boards conected to cocncrete block walls, no insulation in the walls. There is no return vent in the basement. My question is do you think it would help if I put a return vent in to get rid of some of the cold air? I may take the paneling down and insulate the walls at some point in the future. Curious for your opinions. Thanks, Stan

You pretty much answered your own question.

The thermostat will cut off the warm air before it has effect on the coldest room , if that room has no return I am sure.

You could add the return ,but remember that your bill will go way up with the furnace running longer.

Insulation is defiantly needed.

Easy way would be to install a baseboard heater.

You could add a small hydronic system boiler or a electric baseboard.

Do you plan on occupying the basement regulary? If not, Bob is correct, baseboard heaters are the way to go. Off when not needed.

How much of the foundation wall is above ground?

And where is the furnance, not in the basement.?

My boys have been using the basement for years. X-box and computer central. My wife and I use it all the time to work out. I’ve thought about baseboard heat. I would have to add a sub-panel. The furnace is in the unfinished section of the basement. New high efficiency type. The basement is totally underground. I’m wondering if installing a return down close to the floor would help get rid of some of the cold air at the floor level. I’m sure another cause is the thermostat is on the main level of our home and does not read the basement temperature. I’m trying to warm it up with what is there (existing furnace) before I install baseboard heat or insulate the walls etc.

I will say this again…

HAVC forced air systems “SUCK” not "BLOW!

If you don’t remove the air from the space and treat it in a properly sized HVAC unit and put it back in the correct proportion, it will not work!

You also can not condition two floors with the same system without a zone system installed.

You do not have the same heating and cooling loads in the basement as you do in upper levels.

Dave, I understand all of that. My furnace is properly sized. I know that basements are figured different than above ground floors. I know zone heating would also do the trick. I’m looking for friendly conversation on the matter. It’s Sunday and I’m kicking the thought around. You could of said, a return air vent would be your next logical step. That would of been fine with me. Thanks for your comments guys. Stan

Stan, check out this link;

Almost sounds like a similar situation.
I would contact a HVAC contractor local and ask for some advice and options that won’t break the bank. Something like Works, Good, Better, and Best.
Good luck. :slight_smile:

You’re on the right track Stan. A return air would definately help. You would have to adjust the supply registers seasonally because you would not need as much air flow in the summer to keep the basement cool.

Three air vents does not seem enough to me. It needs to be more like five for 1220 sq. ft. I am not much on installing return air in the basement. If the main level is big enough it will work. If you do install a return air in the basement, make it where you can close it shut during the summer or you will have a very cool basement.

Three air vents are more than enough.

Here again we are talking about supply, not the return.

And again, the heating/cooling load in a basement is not the same as 1200 ft.² on the first floor above! As well as only two thirds of the basement is finished.

Adding five registers in the basement will really screw things up on the first floor!

Let’s skip the facts and just have a friendly discussion about what’s going on.

We want to heat the basement with the HVAC system on the first floor. We are “cutting in” to the air duct that happens to be located in the basement (for the first floor).

Our goal is to push enough hot supply air into the basement to perform multiple complete air changes per hour to warm things up.

The air in the basement is cold, the supply air registers are located up high, hot air rises…

No return located in the basement.

How can we expect to force hot air into the basement and expect “cold air to rise” up to the first floor where the return air register is located and leave the hot air behind? Cold air doesn’t rise. Hot air doesn’t mix with cold air.

If we don’t get the cold air back to the return register we will pressurize the basement and force the cold air out, however air leakage in a basement happens up high (because most of things are underground) so instead of blowing the cold air out (at the floor)and replacing it with hot air from the furnace, we blow the hot air (that is stratified at the ceiling) out the band joists and other openings located above grade.

I’m sorry I only pointed out specific facts for you to consider without having a “friendly conversation” on Sunday afternoon.

Considering how much you understand about your HVAC system, I don’t understand why your “kicking the thought around”.

“A return air vent would be your next logical step”.

Would it not be logical that no matter if the area is finished it still needs heat. Heat rises so the heat would not be wasted and would compensate the drop of air flow upstairs. You would want to run a separate trunk for the two vents added and not just tap off the upstairs ducts. In central Missouri we seldom run returns in basements and we are not experiencing any problems. I guess everybody has their way of doing things.

Hey Stan, Dave is an HVAC guy. He’s pretty close and may be able to help you out on a boring Sunday. Give him a call, he’s got a mean bark but he don’t bite.