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Old 05-19-2014, 11:18 PM   #1
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Basement Heating recomendation


Have 2 story in Chicago area with separate gas forced air plus AC for main floor and upstairs.

The basement is finished and always cold. Basement has supply runs from main floor system plus a few returns near the floor.

I had considered zoning one furnace for basement and 2nd floor during construction but was on a tight budget then so went with some baseboard electric and the cold air returns.

In summer I run a dehumidifier down there and it helps warm things up but not great and it's a noisy beast.

Wondering if there are clever ideas to redirect heat from AC condenser to warm basement in summer?

Also in spring and fall furnace runs seldom in daytime (solar gain of upper floors) so basement is cold. Any clever schemes to bring in warmth without tearing basement all apart (drywall ceiling).

Ironically coldest part of year is best since system cycling most often.

Any ideas would be great. Don't really like baseboard heaters....

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Old 05-20-2014, 04:27 AM   #2
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Basement Heating recomendation


Ductless mini split.

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Old 05-20-2014, 05:10 AM   #3
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Basement Heating recomendation


We have a gas wall heater in our basement that requires no purchased electric for operation. After living with it for 30 years I wouldn't ever consider building another house without one.

During power outages due to ice storms neighbors are concerned about freezing pipes and all that goes with that but we can live a fairly normal life with it and a 2000 watt honda generator.
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Old 05-20-2014, 06:16 AM   #4
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Basement Heating recomendation


Quote:
Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
Ductless mini split.
^^What he said.

Down here you would be REQUIRED to provide AC as well.
Maybe up there too?
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Old 05-20-2014, 06:50 AM   #5
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Basement Heating recomendation


If the area was not too big I would just go with a fireplace. Your basement will stay cooler in the summer anyways. A nice little stove would make a difference. Also most can run during power outages
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Old 05-20-2014, 08:41 PM   #6
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Basement Heating recomendation


Your post mentions that you have supplies and returns from the main floor system in the basement. These of course (without that system being zoned) rely on the main floor thermostat to bring on the heat/ac before any conditioning is delivered to the basement. A possible thing to try would be to turn the furnace fan to continuous on. This "might" mix/move enough air between the basement and the main floor area to achieve a temperature average between the two.

This suggestion is of course made without seeing your home. This suggestion also assumes that there are sufficient supplies and returns in the basement to move enough air volume to achieve a better level of comfort in the basement.

Finished basements are often times done with the thought of "It's below grade and shouldn't need any heating or cooling.". Trouble is, if the math isn't done in the form of a heating and cooling load all the thinking you do is nothing better than guessing.

If running the fan idea doesn't work there is always adding a ductless system or possibly modifying your existing main floor/basement system to make it a true zoned system.
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Old 05-20-2014, 09:04 PM   #7
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Basement Heating recomendation


Thanks some good ideas from all of you.

A couple points.

1) there is a masonry wood burning fireplace. I installed a sealed combustion insert upstairs and love it. Maybe I put one in the basement too. Already have gas in the fireplace for a log starter.

2) three return air ducts with 6x12" grill connected with 6" round duct to return plenum each grill located on wall at floor level. Supply side is five 4x12" registers in the ceiling again fed by 6" round duct from warm air plenum. Approx 1000 sq ft of space.

3) thermostat is upstairs on main floor. Running fan full time helps but never seems to fully balance out.

4) wished I had split one furnace into a zoned system but with a drywall ceiling, changing now is big surgery.
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Old 05-20-2014, 09:51 PM   #8
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Basement Heating recomendation


A ductless mini split will handle both heating and cooling.

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