Heat Basement and put up a room divider?

ekling211November 18, 2008

I recently built a log home with a basement. The basement is 900 sq ft and my son has made an entertainment "room" down there using about 250 sq ft of it. Now that it's winter it's chilly, probably about 58-60 and a little cold to hang out in for long periods. There is pink insulation attached to the cinder block walls and we put carpet down. 2 questions: we need to have a separate heat system because upstairs in the living room when the wood stove is on, it works so well that the forced air system goes off completely and the basement gets even colder (we have one vent in the basement which does help a little when the wood stove isn't running, we also have a cold air vent). He tried plugging in an electric radiator 1500 watt and it did nothing. We only have curtains separating this "room" from the rest of the basement. Question 1: what would be a good, inexpensive heater that would work (I won't be able to install a wood stove down there without alot of effort since I'd have to make a chimney of sorts) and #2 what would be a good way to divide the room to help keep the heat in a little more until I can save enough money to build a real wall (I did just build this house so I'm a little broke at the moment). Thanks.

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Sounds like you want to hold-off any construction so try this:

How are the basement windows? Most are single pane. Install some of the plastic window shield over them (the stuff you shrink with a hair dryer).

Run the circulating fan from the furnace continually. This will keep the basement near the house temperature while refreshing the air there.

Possibly add another heat vent - duct it over a window or to an outside wall.

Our basement is finished with 2" XPS insulation against the concrete. It too drops to the low 60's but doing the above raises the temperature. We installed an electric fireplace as auxulary heat to make the space more comfortable in the spring/fall when the furnace is not running to heat the house. I don't believe there is a "good, inexpensive" solution. Water heaters are not efficient or intended for use as a boiler. Good luck.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 7:55AM
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Is anything over your XPS, ie drywall? Also, I am curious, how big is your space and what increase did you see to your electric bill (how many percent did it go up)? Also, do you leave the elctric fp on all the time or just when you go down there? If only when you go down, how long does it take to heat up?

I have a similar situation in my home. Nothing is finished and the temp drops as low as 55 in the extreme cold. I have no heat down there and always wondered if I finished off the walls/ceiling, if adding a duct or two would make a difference or would I really need a baseboard or something.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 5:03PM
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Yes, studded and drywalled. Ceiling drywall too. No idea about increase in electric bill - as mentioned when responding to OP - mainly use the auxulary heat seasonally and then when we're using the basement. I'd say it warms in 10-15 minutes. Our electric FP is 220 volt and 10,000 BTU.

Linked below is our basement with a schematic. About 700 sq. ft. finished and 950 total.

Here is a link that might be useful: Our Basement

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 5:22PM
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Thanks for the info. I'm going to try running that fan and see what happens. I've been told that I can try to put a damper on the ducts coming out of the furnace/boiler (not sure what u call it for forced air LP) and run another duct with it's own thermostat for not too much money.

A 10,000 BTU FP does sound like it would increase the electric bill considerably.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 2:02PM
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If you could zone like you describe that would be a great solution. Have not heard about that for forced air but there are so many new products.

The breaker for the FP is 30 amp - same as the cooktop. Used so intermintently that it's not an issue.

Hope the zoned damper solves your need.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 4:45PM
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