Many homeowners want to make use of every room in their house. Some people convert the basement to a movie room, office space, or playroom for the kids. But the basement also tends to be the coldest section of your home. Luckily, you can use plenty of basement heating options to warm the space, whether you have a finished or unfinished basement.
While you have many basement heating options to consider, the best solution depends on your home. Space and baseboard heaters are widely available for anyone. But you may consider more drastic measures, such as installing a fireplace or extending the existing ductwork.
In this article, we’ll list all the ways you can heat your basement and explain who each option is best for. Use the information to find and compare the perfect heating measure for your home.
Contents (Jump to Topic)
- Basement Heating Options and Solutions
- 1. Oil-Filled Radiator
- 2. Propane Radiant Heater
- 3. Baseboard Heater
- 4. Infrared Space Heater
- 5. Ceramic Space Heater
- 6. Convection Wall Heater
- 7. Radiant Floor Heating System
- 8. Wood Pellet Stove
- 9. Wood Cast Iron Stove
- 10. Fireplace
- 11. Extend Existing Ductwork and HVAC System
- 12. Floor Insulation
- Combine Several Heat Sources
- What’s the Most Efficient Way to Heat a Basement?
- What’s the Best Way to Heat a Finished Basement on a Budget?
- Why Should You Heat the Basement?
- Does Basement Heating Keep the House Warmer?
Basement Heating Options and Solutions
The best heating option for your basement depends on your needs and your home. Not all heating options will work for every space. Here are the most common heating solutions to consider.
1. Oil-Filled RadiatorAn oil-filled radiator uses convection heating to warm an entire room slowly and steadily. The design is similar to a space heater, but they don’t dry the air. The design is a safe and healthy way to heat your basement. It’s primarily a fantastic idea for you if your basement has adequate insulation fitted in the floors and walls.
This radiator type works by warming the oil inside the unit to the temperate you set. Then, thermal energy carries the heat into the room. Most heaters like this have adjustable thermostats that cycle on and off as needed. They’re highly energy-efficient for this reason. People also love these heaters because they require little maintenance and no installation.
The best part about using an oil-filled radiator in your basement is that it helps keep the area dry and warm without costing you big dollars. A suitable unit for you depends on the square footage of your basement. Some heaters are free-standing, while others mount to your wall. Whichever you decide, make sure to look for a unit that suits your basement size.
However, a large model will be cumbersome if you have a large basement. Many radiators are also hot to the touch, making them a safety hazard for young children.
The Best Oil-Filled Radiator
The Aireplus 1500W Oil-Filled Radiator has it all! The electric model has a digital thermostat, 24-hour timer, and a remote to make sure you’re comfortable. Plus, the portable space heater is on wheels so that you can move it from room to room.
You can set the radiator to three heating modes or go with a special ECO mode to save energy. The unit appears elegant, with large and easy-to-use touch buttons for convenience. When this space heater runs, it’s quiet and entirely safe. It even offers a child-lock feature for those with small children.
2. Propane Radiant HeaterA propane space heater runs on liquid propane instead of electricity. The advantage to using this fuel type is that propane produces the hottest level of heat achievable. They’re slightly cheaper to run and much more portable than an electric space heater. You don’t have to worry about long power cords or massive heating bills.
The downside is that propane is a fire and explosion risk. If you want to run a propane radiant heater in your basement, you also need to look for a unit that’s safe for indoor use. Some models emit carbon dioxide emissions that are not safe for you to breathe or the environment.
The Best Propane Radiant Heater
The Mr. Heater MH18B Propane Heater is a portable propane radiant heater that’s safe for indoor use. The 4,000 to 9,000 BTUs means the heater is ideal for basements up to 225 square feet, or you can use it outdoors or at altitudes up to 7,000 feet above sea level. For safety, the unit shuts off over this altitude, when the heater tips over, or if the pilot light goes out.
You can run this propane radiant heater for up to three hours, which is perfect if you only need a short-term heating solution for your basement. It’s also excellent as an emergency heating option for a workshop, porch, garage, or camper.
3. Baseboard HeaterBaseboard heaters are not the most elegant heating solution, but they’re excellent for spot heating only the rooms you need. They sequester heat into the areas you want. Most baseboard heaters are convection or hydronic electric systems that are hardwired into your electrical system.
The best part about baseboard heaters is that you have options. You can place a baseboard heater in each room of your basement or line the whole basement to heat it when needed. You don’t have to line the entire length of each wall either. You can place the heaters in strategic locations and run each unit at a different temperature.
Installing baseboard heaters takes careful planning for this reason. You need to consult with an electrician before completing any work. The larger baseboard heaters must be hardwired into the supply circuits instead of simply plugging them into the wall. You may be able to screw other, smaller, electric units into the wall and plug them into an ordinary outlet, however.
The downside to baseboard heaters is that they take up wall space. The long, prominent metal units span along your walls. These heaters are also not energy efficient unless you purchase the newer hydronic heaters.
Finally, baseboard heaters are not physically appealing. The aesthetic is more acceptable in the basement. Many people don’t mind the appearance because the heaters work so well. In the basement, baseboard heaters disperse heat better than space heaters.
The Best Baseboard Heaters
The electric baseboard heater fromCadet Manufacturing is a 240-volt, six-foot base electric heater. It’s an all-metal unit that you hardwire and mount to your wall. Installation is easy enough for beginners, and the model comes with a safety shut-off switch when it reaches high temperatures.The Fahrenheat PLF liquid-filled baseboard heater is also electric. However, this unit uses a hydronic design that allows you to use it anywhere, around anyone. The safety grill remains cool to the touch, keeping the radiant heat from burning pets or young children. It’s easy to mount to a wall, but you can also lay the heater flat on the floor to use it anywhere.
4. Infrared Space HeaterPortable space heaters are a standard cost-effective option to heat small areas. An infrared space heater works by warming the objects nearby without heating the air. Anything that does not reach the rays will remain cool, though. It’s a popular heating form today because the heat is instant. The heater also doesn’t alter your air quality.
Infrared space heaters come in many designs, and you have options like propane, natural gas, or electric models to choose from. Some models may even offer realistic-looking, flickering flames to simulate a fireplace.
However, infrared space heaters become extremely hot. This makes them a severe fire hazard. The units also can cause skin issues like blotchiness if you sit in front of it for too long.
The Best Infrared Space Heater
The Dr. Infrared Heater is a 1,500-watt portable infrared space heater. The electric heater has a cord that plugs into your basement wall, and it can heat an ample space. The heater shuts off after 12 hours to save energy, thanks to an automatic timer. At only 24 pounds, you can move the heater around if needed too.
5. Ceramic Space HeaterCeramic space heaters are electric options, and they’re available in many shapes, types, and sizes. Some models allow you to choose between setting the heater on the floor or installing them on your basement wall. Either way, you can expect a ceramic space heater to produce effective and efficient heat.
These heaters work in a couple of different ways. Some models may use convection heating. Others use a fan to push the heat into your room a bit faster. People love both types of ceramic heaters because they require no installation. Simply plug the heater into an outlet and set the temperature you desire. It’s even lightweight and portable enough to move.
However, ceramic space heaters are not ideal for heating large areas. A model without a fan will also take much longer to heat a room.
The Best Ceramic Space Heater
This Portable Electric Ceramic Space Heater is safe and quiet. It can heat a space up to 200 square feet, which may work if you have a small office room in your basement. The heater comes with a fan to help heat the room faster, and you can choose from two heat levels. The thermostat will even kick the heater back on when the temperature dips below your setting.
6. Convection Wall HeaterThe ceramic convection heaters that mount on the wall are often called wall heaters. They run in a similar way to ceramic space heaters and come in just as many options. Wall heaters are a newer, more popular basement heating solution. They don’t take up your valuable floor space, and they come in many models.
A convection wall heater typically remains cool to the touch, making them safe for pets and young kids. Some models even come with WiFi.
However, most convection wall heaters require installation to hardwire the unit. You need tools and a little technical knowledge to install the unit yourself.
The Best Convection Wall Heater
The Stiebel Eltron 074057 Heater is a 240-voly, 2,000-watt heater. It mounts to the wall, which does require you to hardwire the unit. Stiebel models have quality construction, making the unit quiet as it operates. The heater uses forced air to heat the room. It also has a built-in thermostat for reliable performance and comfort.
7. Radiant Floor Heating SystemA radiant floor heating system involves installing panels in your walls or floors to keep the basement warm. This method works, even in the coldest months. However, you have to be willing to remove and replace your current flooring to consider this heating solution.
There are two radiant heating options: electric or hydronic floor heating. A hydronic system is water-based. It runs a tub of hot water under the floor to heat the entire surface. Each line holds onto the heat for a long time. Electric options use an electric coil, which stretches across the floor. The tube connects to an electric heater and warms your entire basement.
Many people prefer electric radiant floor heaters because they keep the basement warmer than hydronic systems. On the other hand, hydronic is more eco-friendly.
Radiant floor heating systems are among the most energy-efficient options and effortless to run. They won’t take up any floor or wall space, and they’re entirely safe. This type of heater is an easy way to boost your comfort level quickly.
The only downside is that installation requires you to lift your flooring. The process can take a while and become costly.
The Best Radiant Floor Heating System
The Electric Radiant Floor Heating System is a 15-square-foot mat that sits under the tile. The 120-volt mat comes with double-sided tape to stick it to your floor for an easy, at-home installation process. The Honeywell thermostat is programmable and digital. The unit even comes with a 25-year warranty.
8. Wood Pellet StoveA wood pellet stove does not use electricity or gas, making them an excellent option if you have an unfinished basement or cannot extend the ductwork to your finished basement. These stoves burn wood pellets and push the warm air into your basement using a fan.
It’s a greener option because a wood pellet stove does not require a sizable electrical draw. Instead, the stove relies on manufactured pellets that burn clean. All you need is a 110-volt plug-in to run the fan and circulate the warm air.
However, pellet stoves are not entirely internal. Unlike a baseboard or space heater, pellet stoves produce carbon monoxide. You must include a vent to the exterior of your home for safety.
A wood pellet stove also isn’t for everyone. For example, the stove will not add to the aesthetic of your basement if your home design is ultra-modern. It’s better in a rustic theme.
The Best Wood Pellet Stove
The Cleveland Iron Works PSBF66W-CIW Bayfront Pellet Stove is one of the best options available on the market. This heater is WiFi-enabled so that you can hook it up to your smart home technology. Use the wood pellet stove to heat up to a massive 2,500 square feet. The blower pushes heat into the room silently. You can even control the unit with a remote.
9. Wood Cast Iron StoveA wood cast iron stove is an excellent way to add a rustic aesthetic and heat your comfy basement at the same time. Cast iron is a highly durable material, so you can expect this heater type to last you a lifetime. A decent wood cast iron stove will last anywhere from 15 to 25 years.
However, a cast iron stove is an investment. The stove itself can be expensive, and the installation often requires a professional. Incorrect installation could cause massive safety problems or even cause the cast iron to crack.
The Best Wood Cast Iron Stove
The US Stove US1269E Log Wood Cast Iron Stove works for spaces up to 900 square feet. It offers a classic cast iron construction with modern technology. The two-piece safety handle even stays cool to help keep you from burning your hands. All you need to provide heat are wood logs. It holds logs up to 19-inches long. You can even cook on top of the stove.
Adding a fireplace to your basement can boost the visual appeal while warming the space. You have options when you install a fireplace in your basement. You could choose between gas, electric, or the traditional wood-burning models.
You can also personalize the look to suit your home or find cost-effective, prefabricated fireplaces. Fireplaces, where you burn wood or recyclable pellets, are a clean, slow-burning option.
For many people, the downside to using a fireplace is cleaning the ashes. Ash can become a massive problem under moisture. For this reason, it’s best to remove ashes from your basement fireplace regularly. Remove ash and debris from the grate weekly.
Installing a fireplace is not for everyone. Using this heating method requires you to include a chimney to transfer the carbon dioxide outside. The fireplace itself is easy to install, but it cannot heat a large space. If your basement is large or has lots of separate rooms, a fireplace may not be enough to heat the entire area.
11. Extend Existing Ductwork and HVAC System
Depending on your climate, your home probably already has an internal heating system. You can extend the heating system from your house into the basement area. Doing so may even increase your home’s resale value. Most HVAC systems can handle heating the added load without problems.
However, extending the existing ductwork is challenging. You may need to talk with an HVAC professional to get started. An HVAC professional will calculate the heating load, size, and configuration of the project. They also take the age of your system into account to determine if your system can support the extra load.
Old or small HVAC systems may not be able to take on the extra capacity. If you’re in this position, you might want to update your HVAC system.
Adding to your ductwork also changes your home’s entire heating system. Because it’s difficult to direct the heat upstairs or down, you need to run the heat through the entire house to heat the basement. Large basements may not receive much heat from this solution alone.
12. Floor Insulation
Insulation is one of the easiest methods for boosting the energy efficiency of your basement. However, it won’t heat the basement alone. Use floor and wall insulation to seal in the warmth you produce from your other heating solution.
You can find insulation in many types, finishings, and styles. Look for options like:
- Mineral wool
Also, consider adding Dri-core insulation to your finished basement. This type of subfloor helps prevent moisture and leaks, which are common basement problems.
Combine Several Heat Sources
Often, the best technique to heat your basement is to combine several heat sources. Many people find this is especially true if the HVAC system does not supply enough heat to the basement. For example, you might be able to combine your HVAC system with electric baseboard heaters to heat the basement when you use it.
What’s the Most Efficient Way to Heat a Basement?
Convection heaters are the most efficient option. Look for an oil-filled convection radiator, ceramic space heater, or wall-mounted heater that uses convection heat and a fan to warm a space. Most of these options have adjustable thermostats with automatic shut-offs.
What’s the Best Way to Heat a Finished Basement on a Budget?
Many homeowners have success heating their finished basements with a budget-friendly radiant space heater. You can install them as baseboard heaters and only turn them on when you need basement heat. However, a space heater is the best budget-friendly option if you need a portable option.
Why Should You Heat the Basement?
There are a few reasons you should heat the basement, including:
- Better living space: A heated basement is a better living space for your family to enjoy together. Or, you could transfer the space into a bedroom, playroom, or office to get the most out of your home’s square footage.
- Poor insulation: Basements are naturally cold, and many are made with concrete and poor foam insulation (both of which do nothing to prevent heat loss. A heating solution could help you save on energy costs and keep your home warmer.
- Sunlight: Most basements have little to no direct sunlight. Running a heater could help prevent mold by warming the air in rooms with no natural light.
Does Basement Heating Keep the House Warmer?
If your floor feels cold, it could be that you have a cold basement. Heating the basement may allow you to prevent the cold air from cooling off the floor above, especially when freezing temperatures hit. A simple basement heater enables you to keep the main floor level warm without turning the furnace up.
With many ways to heat your basement, finding the best heater for you depends on your budget and space. It’s about more than just the design. Convection heaters are great for the basement because they’re energy-efficient and provide instant heat, while oil-filled radiators are ideal for delivering constant heat throughout a larger space.
Did you find the information you needed to locate the perfect heater for your basement? Let us know in the comments, and share this article with your friends.