14 Practical Ways to Warm-Up a Cold Basement


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No matter how you utilize your basement, and even if it is a walkout basement, you know just how chilly it can get down there. Sometimes fuzzy socks and wearing your blanket like a cape just aren’t going to cut it. Fear no more because I have created your guide to practical ways that you can warm up your basement.

1. Install Insulation

One of the most practical ways to reduce the chill in your basement is to insulate it. Insulating the walls, windows, floors, and air ducts can make a world of difference.

By insulating your basement, you are trapping warm air inside while preventing any cold air from entering from the outside. You will end up using your AC less, saving you money on your electricity bills every month.

An insulated basement will affect the amount of moisture in the air in your basement, but it cannot effectively reduce humidity. That requires finding the reason for humidity and implementing a solution.

Depending on the type of insulation and how big your basement is, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1000 to insulate a basement (based on an average of $2,30 per square foot).

Owens Corning R-13 Faced Insulation Roll

Pros of Insulating the BasementCons of Insulating the Basement
Keeps warm air in and cold air outWill cost you a minimum of $1000 for installation
Saves you money monthly
Reduces the occurrence of mold due to moisture damage

2. Invest in Under Floor Heating

Installing under-floor heating in your basement will transform your entire experience. Not only will it allow you to actually make use of your basement, but it is also surprisingly energy efficient.

It allows for evenly distributed heating, making your entire basement a warm haven while using less electricity than other heating methods. In the long run, this means your monthly electricity bills will be reduced. However, the initial installation costs might hurt your wallet.

The average cost for installation starts at $600 for a 120 sq. ft. basement. The larger your basement, the larger the installation cost.

Pipefitter installing system of heating or underfloor heating installation. Water floor heating system interior.

The fact that this method does not circulate the air means less chance of draughts, and the subtle heat will reduce the occurrence of damp in the basement.

Pros of Installing Under Floor Heating in the BasementCons of Installing Under Floor Heating in the Basement
The warmth is evenly distributed throughout the roomWill cost you a minimum of $600 for installation
Uses less electricity than other heating systems
Reduces the occurrence of damp and draughts

3. Put Radiators in the Basement

A great way to get your basement feeling toasty is to install a radiator. Radiators are powered by a boiler that warms up the pipes of your radiator with steam. This makes the radiator very hot, which in turn warms up the space around it.

Radiators do not make any noise, so you won’t be putting up the volume on your TV to drown it out. Newer radiators come in different styles, sizes, and colors, so you are sure to find one that suits the style and floor plan of your basement.

You can expect to pay around $1500 for a radiator, including installation.

If you already have a radiator, make sure there is nothing blocking it, as this will prevent the radiator from functioning efficiently.

Pros of Putting Radiators in the BasementCons of Putting Radiators in the Basement
Warms up the space Hot to the touch – could be a risk for young children
They are very quietBe prepared to pay $1500 to put one in your basement
Radiators come in a variety of designs

4. Give the Basement a Heating Vent

Another way to effectively warm up your basement is to make sure there is a heating vent available that is linked to your home’s HVAC system.

Doing this will definitely warm it up as the hot air will be released into the room. However, in order to be functioning optimally, you need to have a returning vent to release any cold air outside. Install these at foot level (cold air sinks) opposite to the warm air vent.

You might need to add a duct to your existing HVAC system, which can work out costly when it comes to initial installation. You will also need to ensure that your HVAC system can handle another vent because otherwise, you risk damaging the system.

The more ducts you have, the more the air circulates and removes pollutants. However, the more ducts you have, the less energy efficient your home will be as you will be using a lot more electricity.

Pros of Giving the Basement a Heating VentCons of Giving the Basement a Heating Vent
Super efficient at warming up the roomA lot of effort and money to add a duct
Fresh air can be circulated effectivelyMore ducts = more electricity
You have to make sure your HVAC will cope with an additional vent

5. Replace Your Basement Windows

Basement windows tend to be smaller than the windows in the rest of the house, which means they let in less light and less warmth. If you notice that your basement windows are starting to let in a cold draught, it might be time to replace them.

Avoid replacing them with steel or wooden basement windows as these lose heat very easily. Rather look into double-paned glass windows as the space between the panes reduces heat loss in your basement. These don’t come cheap, though; you can spend nearly $600 for materials and installation.

ODL Exterior Door Glass Replacement - Entry Door 24" x 38" Insert Glass Kit with Energy Efficient Low-E Double Pane Tempered Clear Glass - Home Improvement - White Frame

Pros of Replacing Your Basement WindowsCons of Giving the Basement a Heating Vent
Less chance of cold air seeping throughCan be costly to install
Certain windows prevent heat loss better than others

6. Build a Fireplace

A fireplace transforms any room into a toasty oasis. If you are lucky enough to have a pre-existing chimney in your basement, you could consider building a fireplace. Be sure to check if your state laws allow one, though, as there may be certain codes that prohibit it.

You have a few options when it comes to fireplaces: you can opt for a traditional wood-burning one, or could go for an electrical or gas fireplace. Gas fireplaces utilize less fuel than wood fireplaces and are more efficient at providing the utmost warmth.

Electric fireplaces are an easier option as they don’t require direct ventilation. All you require is an electrical outlet and you are good to go!

Dimplex 26" Multi-Fire XHD Firebox With Logs

Although your fireplace can instantly warm up the entire basement, when it is not active you might experience cold draughts coming in through the chimney which puts you back at square one.

Pros of Building a Fireplace in the BasementCons of Building a Fireplace in the Basement
An instant ambiance shiftNot all states allow fireplaces in the basement
A handful of optionsYou might experience a cold breeze when your fireplace is inactive
Super effective at warming up the whole basement

7. Seal Cracks

The cold breeze you constantly feel in your basement could be coming from fine cracks in the walls. In very cold states, this is even more common as the freezing temperatures can cause cracks or exacerbate existing ones.

40′ Contractor Polyurethane Foundation Crack Repair Kit-Seal and Stop Water Leaks Through Concrete Wall Cracks. for use on Concrete Basement Cracks

Fixing these cracks can be as simple as doing it yourself or hiring a professional to fill the cracks using low-pressure injection of epoxy or polyurethane foam material. However, if the cracks are too deep or run in foundation walls, you may be required to contact a waterproofing contractor for more extensive sealing.

Sealing cracks doesn’t come cheap. The labor and materials can cost you up to $1500 depending on the damage and size of the cracks.

Pros of Sealing Cracks in the BasementCons of Building a Fireplace in the Basement
Eliminates cold breezes from seeping throughCost depends on the size and severity of the cracks
Increases structural integrityLarger cracks may require extensive work
Small cracks can be DIY-ed

8. Remove the Moisture

Sometimes your basement can feel cold because of excess moisture. If you buy a dehumidifier, you can reduce this as well as potential mold growth and infrastructure damage. Your air will be drier, and the heat extracted from the machine will make the room instantly warmer.

However, you will have to deal with the noise from the machine and remember to change out the water and filter regularly.

Since the basement is usually the main spot of the home with humidity, you can get a small dehumidifier, like the Pro Breeze Electric Dehumidifier (amazon link) or even the Eva-Dry Wireless Mini Dehumidifier (amazon link) if you have a smaller basement.

ALORAIR Commercial Dehumidifier 113 Pint, with drain Hose for Crawl Spaces, Basements, Industry Water Damage Unit, Compact, Portable, Auto Defrost, Memory Starting, 5 Years Warranty, Sentinel HD55

Pros of a Dehumidifier in the BasementCons of a Dehumidifier in the Basement
Less moisture means reduced growth of moldNoisy
A lot of options to purchaseRequires regular maintenance.
Can produce warm air around it

9. Portable Heaters

Portable heaters are an affordable, effective tool for warming up your basement. The Amazon Basics 1500W Ceramic Personal Heater with Adjustable Thermostat (amazon link) is a great and affordable choice. You could also opt for the larger and more innovative Dreo Space Heaters (amazon link), which would heat up a bigger portion of your basement but at a higher purchase price.

If you only use your basement to do laundry or for storage, then these would be ideal. However, if you convert your basement into a livable space that you use all the time, portable heaters might not provide the warmth that you require.

They won’t be able to heat up the entire room as well as other heating methods and as they can be a fire and safety hazard, you cannot leave them on overnight. This can make for very uncomfortable and freezing winter nights.

Pros of Portable Heaters in the BasementCons of Portable Heaters in the Basement
A variety of affordable optionsCannot use for prolonged periods/unsupervised
Heats up room enough for small periodsWon’t heat your entire basement efficiently

10. Ceiling Fans with Built-In Heaters

Ceiling fans are great in Summer when you just need that extra waft of air. Ceiling fans that have built-in heaters, however, will elevate your winter experience!

You can adapt the temperature to match your preference. The fan prevents the rising hot air from gathering at the ceiling, distributing the warm air around the room.

Related article: Can You Install Ceiling Fan Anywhere?

Reiker Ceiling Fan Heaters are available in various designs, making choosing the right fit for your basement a breeze. However, as these fans usually come with light fixtures, you might not be getting as bright a light as possible. They can also be a mission to clean as you have to get a step ladder in order to dust the blades.

Any DIY-er can install these fans, and they also use very little electricity, so you will be saving money monthly.

Provided you are okay with the background noise that comes with the territory, ceiling fans with heaters will be a great choice.

Pros of Ceiling Fans With Built In HeatersCons of Ceiling Fans with Built in Heaters
Circulates warm air throughout the basementCan be a hassle to clean
Useful all year roundExpect a bit of background noise
Cheap to runLighting options are limited
Easy to install

11. Use Rugs and Carpets

Lower level family room in new construction home

One practical way to warm up your basement that won’t cost you too much is placing rugs around the basement, or the slightly pricier option of installing carpet.

Placing large rugs around your basement will keep your feet warm throughout your entire visit downstairs. The great thing about this is that you can totally customize the space to your desire. Match your rugs to the couch, bedding, or storage baskets to create a cohesive look.

Related article: Pros and Cons of a Basement Master Suite

There are hundreds of places to buy affordable rugs and the possible designs and sizes are endless.

If you have about $1000 to spare, you can look at installing carpet along your entire basement floor. This will keep every inch of your basement warm while adding a cozy feel.

Pros of Rugs and Carpets in the BasementCons of Rugs and Carpets in the Basement
A large variety of affordable optionsInstalling carpeting can be a laborious job if done yourself
Warms up the whole roomYou can expect to pay over $1000 for your carpet installation
Can be customized according to your preference

12. Hang Thermal Curtains

Thermal curtains are an incredible creation—they are designed to prevent the transfer of heat and can therefore keep your home toasty in winter and cool as a cucumber in Summer.

Thermal curtains are made of either wool, cotton, or polyester and can be customized to your basement window specifications.

FLOWEROOM Room Divider Curtain, 8.3 ft Wide x 7 ft Long, Grey – Blackout Curtains for Bedroom Partition/Living Room/Shared Office, Large Thermal Grommet Privacy Curtain Panel for Sliding Door

They are a great way to add a design element to your basement while also reducing energy costs as you won’t be spending as much on other heating methods because your basement won’t be losing as much heat. You will also love the additional benefit of reduced noise as the thick foam of the curtains subdues any sounds from outside.

Thermal curtains are not dry-cleaner friendly though, so you will have to take some time every few months to handwash the heavy curtains.

Pros of Thermal CurtainsCons of Thermal Curtains
Super effective at keeping your basement at a comfortable temperatureCannot be dry cleaned
Blocks out noisy neighbors and loud traffic
Adds a stylish edge to your basement

13. Wall Hangings

Wall hangings—essentially rugs for your walls—are another way to create warmth in your basement in an effective way.

With a wide range of hangings available, you are sure to find a style that not only fits in with the décor of your basement but also adds warmth to the cold walls. They do not come cheap, though, as some wall hangings are considered art pieces and are priced accordingly.

Trippy Mushroom Tapestry Moon and Stars Tapestry Snail Tapestry Fantasy Plants and Leaves Tapestry Wall Hanging for Room(51.2 x 59.1 inches)

If you are using your basement as a bedroom, wall hangings will be a great way to express individuality and take the room to a new level of sophistication. However, dust can accumulate and you will need to wash them by hand.

Pros of Wall HangingsCons of Wall Hangings
A variety of options in unique designsNeeds to be hand washed
Creates a warm ambiance Can be expensive

14. Keep the Basement Door Shut

Lastly is the most simple way to warm up your basement. Simply keeping the basement door closed prevents cold air from the rest of the house sinking into the basement and any warm air from the basement from rising out.

This method requires no additional construction, costs, or even that much effort. However, it does not necessarily warm up the basement. It really just traps any heat that is already there, so you will probably have to use this one in conjunction with other methods to really make a warm space.

Pros of Keeping the Basement Door ShutCons of Keeping the Basement Door Shut
Traps warm air in the basementNot effective on its own at warming up the basement
Prevents cold air from entering the basement
Free and easy to do

Related article: Should Basement Door Be Open or Closed During Winter

Related article: Basement Door Open or Closed During Summer

Sources

https://insulationguides.com/home-insulation-prices/basement

https://www.warmup.com/underfloor-heating/basement

https://www.warmlyyours.com/en-US/posts/How-Much-Does-Floor-Heating-Cost-2574

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiator_(heating)

https://www.thisoldhouse.com/manchester-house/21015116/this-new-radiator

https://www.onehourheatandair.com/articles/expert-tips/furnaces/bringing-heat-to-your-finished-basement/

https://www.priddyclean.com/fireplace-in-basement/

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/differences-between-blackout-curtains-thermal-curtains-101876.html

https://www.hunker.com/12491933/pros-cons-of-dehumidifiers

https://baileylineroad.com/basement-heating-qa-should-i-move-heating-ducts-to-the-floor/

https://www.a1foundationcrackrepair.com/foundation-crack-repair-basement-waterproofing-blog/winter-cold-causes-basement-cracks-to-grow-in-foundations-boston

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