Basements are about as unique as a unicorn in our area but we wanted to still give you some sound advice and tips on what you can do if you or someone you knows has a basement and needs an HVAC. And trudging through the mountain of info on HVACs in basements can be overwhelming. After all, that is what our blog is all about here….helping those in our community!
Do you have an unfinished basement? Is your family living cramped in the rest of your home? Just because your basement looks like a dungeon now should not stop you. A few weekend DIYs to add that space to the rest of your home and gain the space you have always wanted.
Finishing your basement can be a great investment for your home, and much less expensive than building an addition. Want to add more room to your home via the basement? Make sure to keep your heating and air needs in mind.
Containing Your System
Typically, unfinished basements house your HVAC components, such as air handlers and furnaces. It is a good idea to enclose those appliances as you design a floorplan for both functional and aesthetic reasons. You can do this easily by incorporating a mechanical or utility room to hide the equipment.
You will also need to properly ventilate the enclosure, especially if you have a gas furnace or other appliances that use gas. The amount of ventilation you will need will depend on the BTU output. Be certain to look at the national fuel gas code.
Local building codes tend to vary. There are certain codes you’ll need to follow if you plan to finish your basement to create a living area. Many of these codes will include considerations for heating and cooling, especially when a gas furnace involved. You may be required to install a mechanical ventilation system if there are no windows in your basement. This will ensure safety for your occupants.
It is likely your basement will need to have ductwork ran to supply heating and cooling. Your local Tomball, TX permit office may require you to provide detailed drawings. They will show existing lines running through your home and blueprints showing where you plan to install the components. It is also possible that your local municipality may require you to purchase a building permit before you expand your heating and air-conditioning system.
Determining System Size
An experienced heating & A/C contractor in Woodlands, TX can help you determine the size system you need for heating & cooling your basement area. They will be able to determine the BTUs necessary to heat and cool the space.
Can You Use Your Current System?
When you finish your basement, there will be an additional several 100 square feet added to the living area of your home. That means there is a lot more space to heat and cool. You must determine if your current HVAC system can handle the extra space. Otherwise, your current system will need to be upgraded or you will need to add a supplemental system.
Many times, you can determine the size of your current system by referencing the model number listed on your system. Once you know the size of the system you have, a quick online search can help you determine if it has enough power to heat and cool the additional space. Are you currently having issues with your air-conditioning system keeping your home cool enough? If so, you may need air conditioning repair to get your system running the way it should. This will help your system perhaps handle the extra space.
What if Your System is at Capacity?
If your current HVAC system is at capacity already, there are two options you can consider. You can upgrade your existing HVAC system to one that has a larger capacity. Or you can add a second HVAC system just for the basement. Your personal situation will be the determining factor. If your current HVAC system is relatively new, an upgrade may be your best bet. Are you finding yourself in regularly need a furnace or AC repair? It would make more financial sense upgrade your system to a higher capacity one that has improved performance and efficiency.
Even if you decide to upgrade your current system, ductwork will still need to be ran into your basement living area. If you add a second air-conditioner or furnace for only the basement, you will also need to run ductwork. With this, though, you may run out of space to house the additional HVAC components and duct system in your mechanical room. Because of this, ductless mini-split systems have become a popular option for finished basements. There are no ducts for this heat pump system, so you conserve space and cut costs. Adding several indoor units that are connected to a single exterior condenser & place the air handling units anywhere in the room you have space.
Issues of Air Quality in Your Basement
Basement areas are well known for their issues with moisture. Because of this, it is important for you to install moisture control solutions that protect the health of your family and the hard work of finishing your space below ground. Moisture problems cannot be solved by simply installing a dehumidifier. In fact, a dehumidifier may create worse moisture problems in your basement as the moisture is pulled through the basement walls. Instead, you need to incorporate waterproofing measures and proper drainage in your basement area as you finish it to help prevent the growth of mold. Your local HVAC professional can help you find the best way to dehumidify your basement area. If you have a kitchen or bathroom in your basement, you will likely need to add an exhaust fan to help expel the excess moisture.
Your family can be given much-needed extra square footage by simply finishing your basement. This would give them the space they need to relax and enjoy fun activities together. If your heating and air conditioning systems in your basement are overlooked during remodeling, though, they will not be enjoying that space comfortably.