Options for Radiant Heat in Basement
A number of sources can provide radiant heat basement warmth for your home. Many of these use combustible fuels such as wood and gas fireplaces, and wood stoves. Freestanding ceramic heaters can provide warmth in a limited radius around them. One of the best sources of radiant heat for your basement is radiant heat flooring. Learn more about each of these, their benefits and drawbacks below.
Radiant heat flooring is the most efficient heat source for a basement. It keeps the entire floor warm and provides direct heat to anything in contact with it. In an enclosed room that is well-sealed, any kind of fireplace will provide efficient radiant heat to people and objects directly in front of it. Beside or behind the fireplace, the radiant heat effect is lost. A gas fireplace with a direct outdoor vent will warm a room quickly and keep it at an even temperature when equipped with a thermostat. A wood stove with vents on all sides is significantly more efficient, when placed in a central spot, at heating a room than a fireplace. Setting up a network of four ceramic heaters in the corners of a room will warm it effectively. These heaters are well-insulated, and produce heat while using little electricity.
Cost to Operate
If your electricity costs are low, consider the ceramic heaters or a purely electric radiant heat flooring system. Because both of these can be turned on and off as needed, you can use them at off-peak times for electric service. The low ambient temperature setting of a radiant floor compared to a furnace also means energy consumption is reduced. Hydronic radiant heat flooring uses much less natural gas, oil or electricity than standard heating systems. Wood-burning fireplaces have many costs connected with them. such as cleaning creosote buildup from chimneys, the cost of logs for fuel, and fireplace tools such as pokers and screens. Wood stoves are less expensive because their pipes can be cleaned easily and cheaply. However, their fuel consumption and cost are the same as a fireplace. Gas fireplaces cost less to run than a gas furnace depending on the frequency of use. Purchase a fireplace that generates a suitable BTU rate for the space. Too large a fireplace will waste energy in frequent starts and stops.
Electric radiant heat flooring and ceramic heaters cause little or no environmental damage, depending on the electrical source. Wood fireplaces and wood stoves generate air pollution in the form of smoke. Hydronic radiant heat flooring generates little or no pollution at its energy source, which can vary between natural gas, oil, or even solar energy. Gas fireplaces are up to 80 per cent energy-efficient, cutting down dramatically on the pollution they add to the environment.
If you use your basement as day-to-day living space, install hydronic or electric heat flooring or a gas fireplace. If you spend a few evenings a week there, a wood fireplace or wood stove will be an enjoyable and effective heat source. For laundry time in the basement, plug in some freestanding ceramic heaters.