In finishing my basement I am planning to install a heat pump. My dealer proposes a Trane 1.5 ton heat pump with a variable speed air handler that would enhance dehumidification also. The system would use a Trane Comfort Control thermostat that also senses humidity and has dehumidification controls. Since my basement stays around 72 in the summer the cooling cycle wouldn't be called for except when the humidity sensor triggers it. In the winter the temperature is typically in the upper 50's to low 60's. The finished and conditioned part of the basement will include three large rooms plus a bathroom and a walk-in closet and is approximately 1200 SF. It is a walkout basement so most of the rear wall is above ground. The whole basement is approximately 2000 SF. I live in western North Carolina so the winters are fairly mild.
I currently use a stand alone frost-free dehumidifier which I run year-round. This is adequate now without sheetrock on the walls but not once the rooms are closed in. The basement is very dry with no mold or mildew and the exterior foundation is covered with the Delta-MS system with French drains. But I want to be proactive in lessening the typical "basement smell" that may develop over time once the walls are closed in. So I want to provide for forced air circulation. I plan to insulate the exterior walls according to the latest recommendations to avoid mold and mildew problems.
In summer when the humidity sensor triggers the cooling cycle (with the fan running at low speed) it seems the basement would cool below the already too cool temperature and be uncomfortable for some people. Will this setup actually do the job without cooling too much? Any thoughts on this?
P.S. I found a Lennox Humiditrol Whole house dehumidification system that reheats the air after it passes over the air handler evaporator. I don't have any quotes on this, but I know it would jack up the price a few $K. Does anyone have opinions on this?