Finished basements are getting increasingly popular in Toronto, and it’s no surprise at all. Asides from the monetary value finishing your basements add to your home, it also makes your basement a much more comfortable place to be. Another plus side to having a finished basement is that it increases the aesthetic qualities of your home. In short, you stand to gain quite a lot by finishing your basement.
However, a finished basement in Toronto is not the final step to maximizing your basement space. It would be best if you got some essential amenities there. One such necessity is a heating system. The need for a heating system in your basement cannot be overemphasized, especially in Toronto.
Without a doubt, Toronto experiences freezing weather, with temperatures often going well below zero in winter. As such, if you intend to enjoy the fruits of your basement-finishing labours, then it’d be a great idea to get some heat in there. This is especially important if you intend to use your basement as living quarters, a getaway den or maybe as a lounge, of sorts.
We understand it may get slightly confusing trying to decide how to heat up your basement post-finishing. Either that or you are not even sure how to go about it. Irrespective, we will help you by walking you through all you need to know about choosing a heating system for your finished basement.
However, before we get into the details about the best heating options for your basement, let us first take a look at why you must find a way to heat your basement.
Why Your Finished Basement Needs Heat
Many people think that it is not necessary to heat a finished basement because they rarely use it. However, this is not the case. Asides from the fact that you will always have a warm basement to go to whenever you need it, finishing and heating your basement will also go a long way improving the overall living conditions in your home.
Here are a couple of reasons why you should get some heat into your renovated basement.
Extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold, are not comfortable. If you do not make available a source of heat in your basement, it can quickly become a frigid and uncomfortable area, especially during the winter. The basement in many homes is usually one of the coldest rooms.
This means that without an adequate system in your finished basement, it can cause temperature control issues not only in the basement but also in the general house above. Cold air can be drawn from the basement to the floor levels above and cause cold feet, moisture problems and HVAC irregularities. Rather than contend with these problems, why not just heat that basement and keep yourself very comfortable.
Safer living conditions
Spending extended periods in a cold room can cause the flu or a bad cold. However, there are more health risks associated with cold finished basements.
It may come as a surprise to find out that colder temperatures can encourage the growth of mould in your basement after finishing. This is because warm air from the rooms above can spread and collide with colder air in the basement wall, which in all likelihood will create moisture.
This moisture will encourage the growth of mould, which is a health hazard you do not want in your home. However, if you heat your basement, its walls will remain warm even in the winter. Therefore, the risk of mould infestation will be minimal.
Better energy efficiency
You may think that installing a heating system as part of your basement finishing project may rack up the heating bills. Well, that may be true. However, there is another side to it.
What about the energy you may waste or the other bills that may increase without proper heating in your finished basement? You see, if the air is too cold, it can lead to the loss of heat from the water pipes in your basement and also the air ducts. Now, this may not seem like a critical problem, but it is. The loss of heat in your air duct can cause it to draw in cold air from outside.
This will result in lower temperatures not only in your finished basement but also in other rooms in your Toronto basement. Eventually, you’d have to crank up the heater causing increased heating bills. So why not heat the basement instead?
Heating options for Your Toronto Finished Basement
Now that you know why you need to heat your basement, let’s cut right to the chase. There are several options you can explore to solve your basement heating needs. They include:
Expand your existing HVAC system
This is one of the more commonly chosen options. Expanding the HVAC system that you already have in your home is a great option, especially when you want to make use of the entire basement space.
The HVAC system option will only involve you adding registers in the basement, provided you already have the ductwork in place. Otherwise, you’d have to do that too.
This will then allow the HVAC system you already have in place to control the temperature in your newly renovated basement just as it will the rest of your home.
If you want, you can also expand the HVAC ductwork and make room for more registers. This is necessary if you’re going to upgrade the system to cater for the additional space and the extra work that comes with it. This heating option means that your finished basement and the rest of your Toronto house will enjoy similar temperatures.
Install a wood pellet stove
If you do not want to expand your HVAC, then a wood pellet stove is another heating option for your basement. A heating stove makes use of condensed wood pellets as its source of fuel and pushes the resulting warm air using a small fan. The advantage of the wood pellet stove over the traditional fireplace is that its dry fuel causes it to burn hotter, thereby creating more heat. It also burns cleaner. Therefore, pollution will not be a problem.
However, this source of heat requires special installation. You will also need to put in place a vent that will connect that stove to the exterior. On the plus side, the wood pellets fuel come in mulch size bags, which make them easily accessible when the time comes. The bags also make for easy storage.
Use an electric space heater
With the almost ever prevalent cold temperature in Toronto, electric space heaters are a common household appliance. And you can also make use of this technology in your finished basements.
Compared to the other heating options in this article, the electric space heater is the most affordable in terms of upfront purchase costs. Other benefits include its portability and the fact that you do not require the services of a professional to install. All you have to do is buy it and place it wherever you want it.
However, if you have a large basement, the electric space heater may not be the best option for you. This heating option for a finished basement is very useful for providing heat exactly where you want it and is therefore only ideal for small spaces. Also, an electric space heater is less energy-efficient and may only be used in a relatively enclosed area or better still, as a supplement to other heating systems.
Install a baseboard heater
In a city like Toronto, where heating is vital when you are finishing your basement, a baseboard heater is another option for you. With a baseboard heater, you will incur cheap installation costs. This is because they are simple to install.
However, it does not have a very long range of action, and it cannot be moved around as it is a permanent installation. If you are using your finished basement as a living area, you may have to have a baseboard heater in every room for optimum effectiveness. Also, you need to bear in mind that the heater takes a while to warm up, about 30 minutes, so you will need to also plan for that.
Radiant floor heaters
Radiant floor heating is a relatively more expensive heating option for your finished basement, but it is arguably the most effective. The reason for the higher installation costs is that you’d have to install it beneath the flooring of your basement. Radiant floor heaters make use of the permeability property of the concrete slab to conduct the heat that the surroundings of the basement absorb.
Essentially, radiant floor heaters heat your basement from the ground up, leaving the entire finished basement dry and warm. This heating option is the most energy-efficient. It is also the least obtrusive and is very effective at maintaining consistent warm temperatures over more extended periods.
Finishing your basement in Toronto does not have to be complicated. Now that you know the various heating options for a finished basement in Toronto, you can choose the most ideal one for your unique needs.
Wondering how to choose the best heating option for your finished basement? It will help if you make the choice based on the size of your basement, its style and your heating needs. If you need help deciding what heating option to go with, please contact us. Our experience and expertise mean we can pick the best option for you!