The 10 Best Ways to Heat a Basement/ Man Cave


Having a basement in your house can be a place for warmth and protection against extreme weather conditions and natural calamities. The structure of a home is held intact by the extra levels of the foundation built from the grounds sub-level. Because a basement is located underground, people might think that you are safe from the cold and rain when they take shelter in the basement. However, without the proper finishing and tools, you might not get the accommodation you are looking for in a living space.

Here are the ten best ways you can heat your basement. To save you time and money, I suggest you make any of these suggestions before finishing off the basement for your man cave. You are deciding which of the solutions you will choose will depend on your budget and the ability to do the work yourself. However, you can always hire a professional, but it will be more expensive.

  1. INSTALL OR EXTEND EXISTING HVAC SYSTEM
  2. FIREPLACE OR STOVE
  3. LIGHT BASED HEAT
  4. BASEBOARD HEATERS
  5. PORTABLE SPACE HEATERS
  6. RADIANT HEAT FLOORING
  7. PLUMBING AND VENT INSULATION
  8. WALL INSULATION
  9. CLOSE OFF THE SPACE
  10. LET NATURAL HEAT INSIDE

You can also decide on the way to heat the basement based on power efficiency. Some of these choices are not as energy-efficient as the others. The size of your basement can also be a factor. If you have a small space, it is easier to get enough heat using portable space heaters or to install warm flooring. Some of these solutions are easier to install than the others, but I am sure you’ll find which way is best suited for you and your man cave.

There are several ways to keep your basement warm and safe from extreme weather conditions. You must finish the basement with systems that battle the cold, the rain, and humidity. You will need to plan, prepare, and get all the necessary requirements before finishing a basement. Once you have all of this, the next thing you will need is the budget and skills if you plan to do it yourself.

EXTREME WEATHER

One of the main reasons for heating a man cave is for protection and shelter from cold weather. If you live in a place with a rainy season, you might experience flooding and a wet basement. A damp basement is not ideal for a man cave because typically, insurance does not cover any water damage.

You will put a lot of expensive things in a man cave, such as a home theater system, and the furniture. Some people put gaming consoles, arcade games, and a lot of expensive gadgets that will get damaged if any floods happen. That is why extreme cold is not the worst thing that can occur in a basement. Do not lose hope. There are several ways to battle excessive wetness.

COLD

Unlike extreme rainy weather, there are a lot more ways to battle freezing weather in a basement. Because the basement is located underground, it is inherently colder and prone to moisture, especially in the winter. The cold may come in through the cracks, the concrete floors, and the unfinished ceilings. A poorly ventilated laundry room will release vapor down in the basement, so without properly insulating these ducts, a basement will most likely feel a lot colder.

The elements that make a basement colder is the fact that it is located below grade, the dampness, and the cold vapor coming from the ducts from the piping system. Waterproofing your basement alone can help heat a basement. Adding additional heating devices will definitely help as well, but effectively heating works if you eliminate the cold elements primarily.

HEAT

In the summer, the natural way to have a more cooling breeze in the basement is to open up the windows if you do not have an air conditioner. Heat is far easier to battle than cold because dampness is not usually the case in the summertime. If you finish your basement and turn it into a man cave, it is best if you add an air conditioner that can control the temperature in the room.

OTHER NATURAL CALAMITIES

It is a good idea to treat and finish the basement thoroughly so that you can use it as a shelter for any other natural calamities. Depending on where you live, some areas are more prone to these natural calamities than the other. If your home is located near fault lines, you are likely to experience earthquakes. A sturdy finish of a basement can shelter you and your family from these types of instances.

Let’s hope that it does not come down to any calamity, but it is best if you are ready for anything that comes. In the meantime, you can use your finished basement as your man cave where you can enjoy and relieve your stress. I suggest that you finish everything with all the legal permits and pass inspection, so you can ensure your safety, as well as the others who live with you.

EXPLAINING THE METHODS:

1. INSTALL OR EXTEND EXISTING HVAC SYSTEM

Adding new piping and ductwork in an older house might be more challenging. Some old piping might be faulty because of the wear through time. If you want to add an HVAC system to your old basement, you might discover more problems. But do not look at this instance as a problem. Instead, look at this as an opportunity to fix and refurbish all the old pipelines in your basement.

If you plan on adding a Heating Ventilating and Air Conditioning system or HVAC to an old basement, make sure that you prepare a budget to deal with old piping. The primary job of an HVAC system is to gather the unconditioned air from your home, run it through the HVAC return duct, then release the filtered air. The HVAC system will filter all particulates and pollutants in the air.

An HVAC system will not only clean the air in your basement. It will also lessen the cause of condensation and dampness, especially in areas that experience extreme weather conditions. Make sure you have enough space in the basement to add the HVAC system that can be used for your entire home as well as your basement.

  • PIONEER WYS012 DUCTLESS AIR CONDITIONER

(Price: $800)

This HVAC inverter system is a more compact system that you can use for your man cave. There is no need to connect this to your ducts, so it is easy to install. It is tranquil and very efficient to use. However, this system is only applicable to one room, such as your basement. If you do not want to go through all the trouble of adding extra ducts for your basement with your existing HVAC, you can opt to purchase this device. You can easily mount this system on your wall to save space.   (Product Dimensions: 31.5 x 7.5 x 11.5 inches for indoor/ 21.5 x 13 x 22 outdoor)

Specifications:

  • Attractive flat front panel with LED display
  • Automatic swing air
  • Permanent washable air filters
  • Multi-speed fan
  • Ultra-quiet and energy efficient
  • Easy to install
  • Large LCD remote included
  • Variable speed DC inverter compressor
  • Suitable for both cooling and heating
  • DELLA PORTABLE AIR CONDITIONER/ HEATER/ DEHUMIDIFIER

(Price: $400)

This portable air conditioner is much more natural to install and use than the Pioneer AC system. It is portable so you can move it anywhere in the room. Using this for your basement will not require you to obtain any building permits so that you can use it off the bat. It is both a cooling and heating system that is perfect for your basement, garage, or any room in the house. It also functions as a dehumidifier that is suitable for your man cave.

Specifications:

  • Can heat or cool a room from 550 to 700 sq. feet in size
  • Multi-functional system
  • LED display and timer
  • Self-evaporation technology
  • You can easily connect it to the existing ventilation pipes in your home
  • SENSICLASSIC WI-FI THERMOSTAT

(Price: $99)

This thermostat is an ENERGY STAR certified product that can save you about 23% on your HVAC energy. It is easy to install with step-by-step instructions and even a video tutorial. It will only take about 30 minutes to pair with your HVAC. This product works with most HVAC equipment people use in most homes.

Specifications:

  • Smart home compatible (Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Home Kit)
  • Control from anywhere using your Android or iOS mobile device
  • Smart alerts when the device detects temperature and humidity levels out of the ordinary
  • 7-day flexible scheduling for energy efficiency
  • Extensive compatibility

2. FIREPLACE OR STOVE

There is nothing cozier than building a fire to heat a place in the home. For most famous man caves, a furnace will fit the theme. A fireplace will not only give the heat that you need, but it is also very relaxing to the eyes when you stare at it while enjoying the warmth. When choosing a fireplace, make sure you want an efficient one that is easy to start up, so it will not be very troublesome for you.

Modern fireplaces have features that deal with safety, accessible toggle, and temperature control with a push of a button on the remote. However, if you are somewhat old-fashioned, you can choose to get a manual fireplace that requires a chimney that crawls all the way up to the roof. Traditional fireplaces will be harder and more expensive to install. Newer stoves have heat dump features so you can use the fire all year round.

3. LIGHT BASED HEAT

Light-based heat comes from the old incandescent light bulbs. These light bulbs are not as efficient as the new CFLs and LEDs. However, a simple light bulb can help heat your cold basement. It cannot heat the place alone. You will need other devices. But, using an incandescent light bulb for the task of helping to heat your basement is suitable.

If you have finished your basement with different lights and you already did task lighting. You can add this one light bulb for the specific task of helping to heat the cold room. It can add a little warmth to the place in terms of the light appearance as well. It is like tricking your mind with the visuals to feel warmer and cozier.

  • VINTAGE INCANDESCENT EDISON LIGHT BULBS

(Price: $14)

If you want to make your room look warm and cozy, you can try this vintage-looking pack of Edison light bulbs. You can use any dimmer switch to adjust the brightness of these lights so you can use different lighting modes for your man cave. Incandescent light might not be the most efficient, but they can surely make your dark basement look very cozy.

4. BASEBOARD HEATERS

Baseboard heaters are a type of heater that you install under the windows. The cold draft coming through the windows will sink to the floor, and the baseboard heater will release hot clean air. If you choose to buy a baseboard heater for your basement, make sure you install them directly below the window for maximum efficiency.

However, there are a lot of downsides in using baseboard heaters. They may not be as energy-efficient as HVAC systems, but they are easier to install. If you have carpet flooring, baseboard heaters may not be the best choice for you. The microfibers of the carpet will sometimes block heat from circulating the room.

Despite being less energy efficient than most heaters, baseboard heaters are safer to use because they are unlikely to tip over, such as the portable space heaters. When you are hosting parties in the winter, you might have a lot of people in the man cave. Having a lot of people increases the risk of someone tripping over the heater.

5. PORTABLE SPACE HEATERS

Being ultra-compact than most portable air conditioners, these portable space heaters are more energy efficient. Because portable space heaters are only designed for one task, this makes them an inexpensive solution for heating an area in your basement. Make sure you use space heaters properly in the house to ensure safety.

Make sure that you keep space heaters away from anything that can burn such as, furniture, carpets, or curtains. Some space heaters are not designed for damp areas such as the basement, so make sure you buy the right space heater for your basement.

Modern space heaters have safety features such as a tip-off switch that automatically turns off the heat if the heater is accidentally tipped over. They also have an overheat sensor and a touch sensor that automatically shuts off the unit when the grill is touched. These safety features will decrease any fire hazards.

  • MOONFLOR 750W to 1500W CERAMIC SPACE HEATER

(Price: $27)

This portable space heater is an example of a safe to use a heater. It has several safety features so you can use it for areas such as your basement man cave. This heater cannot heat an entire room, but it will work perfectly for heating space in the room. It is also energy efficient because you do not have to crank up the heat on your HVAC system. (Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 7 x 9.2 inches)

  • AMAZONBASICS CERAMIC SMALL SPACE PERSONAL MINI HEATER

(Price: $19)

If you want a smaller space heater that you want to use personally, you can choose this ultra-compact space heater. It can heat your personal space while you are enjoying alone time in your man cave. This product features tip-over safety. It comes in four different colorways, so you can choose what fits your space. (Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 3.2 x 6 inches)

6. RADIANT HEAT FLOORING

This type of flooring is somewhat of a luxury to have in most homes. It is one of the best ways to make your cold man cave warmer and cozier. However, finishing your basement with this type of flooring will cost you a lot of money.

One of the better advantages of radiant heat floorings in a basement is the elimination of large radiators for heating. You can use the extra space for more man cave activities. It works for all floor coverings such as hardwood, vinyl, or carpet.

Radiant heat flooring may be expensive but is a better way to improve the air quality in your basement. Using radiant heat flooring will minimize dust circulation, which lessens dust mites and allergens in the air.

7. PLUMBING AND VENT INSULATION

Cold air in the basement usually comes from the vents and pipes found in the basement ceiling. Pipe insulations do not only protect the water from freezing in severe weather conditions, but it can also reduce heat loss in your basement. Pipe insulation is straightforward to install. You might need a ladder to do this operation, so be careful.

You can purchase pipe insulations that can easily stick without using tape. Before installing the pipe insulation foam, make sure you wipe all the dirt from the pipes with a rag and mild cleanser. Allow your pipes to dry for a couple of hours completely.

Pipe insulators come in different types and sizes so it can fit with the different shapes, angles, and dimensions of your tubing. You can purchase these insulation materials at your local hardware stores such as Home Depot or Lowe’s.

8. WALL AND CEILING INSULATION

Another way to reduce the cooling temperature in the basement is by insulating the walls and ceilings with materials such as fiberglass blanket insulation. By the use of fiberglass insulation, you can reduce energy utilities in the home because of its heating characteristics, especially in the winter.

Because of the energy efficiency of fiberglass insulation materials, it has environmental benefits as well. It reduces the combustion of fossil fuels because of the reduced need to heat and cool buildings and homes. It can reduce the emittance of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Insulation does not only work for keeping your basement warm. It will also work to make the place cooler during the summertime or in areas that experience extreme heat. Before deciding on other alternative options, you can benefit a lot by insulating the walls and ceilings first.

9. CLOSE OFF THE SPACE

Closing off the space to trap heat inside the insulated room is another inexpensive way to heat a cold area such as your basement. Make sure you seal off and keep windows, and other openings closed so that you can trap the heat inside the room. As simple the process may seem, it can significantly reduce the coldness in your man cave during winter.

You can purchase a thermal camera to find the areas where drafts can originate. Sealing the open gaps will also keep the warm air inside your basement. You can also wrap yourself up with jackets, scarves, and thick comforters.

10. LET NATURAL HEAT INSIDE

Another inexpensive method to heat the basement is by letting sunlight pass through. You can do this by strategically installing windows where the sun can reach. You can also achieve this by installing sun tubes that will lead directly into the basement.

Basements are usually above ground level, so windows can still be relevant. When you are finishing the basement, make sure you install sufficient windows. Place the windows strategically will maximize the light and get some fresh air flowing inside the room. Natural light can give a brighter and lively ambiance, and you will save money on your electricity bill.

RELATED TOPICS:

LEGAL PERMITS

Getting a permit is different in every state or county. What you need to obtain a license is a rough sketch of your design, fill out the necessary forms, and pay the fee. Take the forms to the county clerk for review. You can get the permit on the same day depending on which county you live in, and the project itself.

If you are doing the electrical and plumbing work by yourself, you will need to get a separate permit for those. However, if you decide to hire someone else to do it, it is the contractor’s job to get the required licenses. The fee will be included in the invoice they will send you.

INSPECTIONS

After you get the permit and do the job, a county inspector will check to see if your work met the requirements. It is not so hard to obtain a license. It will only take time and patience. Getting in line at the county clerk’s office might be the only thing that you do not want to do.

Inspections come in a series of individual checks. Once you get approved, you will be able to do the first phase of work. The county inspector will do a rough inspection for period one. This process will go on until you reach the final examination.

MECHANICAL SAFETY

You will need a mechanical permit for installing any appliances associated with air conditioning and ductwork. When finishing a basement, you will need proper ventilation to prevent any mold build-up and to protect the integrity of the appliances you will store in the basement. In your draft, indicate the location of your existing furnace and air ducts. You will also need to mention any new tubes you are planning to add.

  • Mechanical Permit Requirements:
    • All of the additional ducts and water heaters should be easily accessible for inspection and repairs
    • Water heaters should be easily replaceable without removing any permanent construction
    • A furnace room should have an opening door that is big enough to move the most significant piece of equipment in the place
    • Fuel-burning appliances should be supplied with an air combustion
    • You will need to indicate the opening space of any vertical and horizontal windows
    • You can exhaust a half-bath or bathroom to the attic

WATERPROOFING

Before installing any heaters and ventilation systems, you will need to waterproof the room. If you do steps to waterproof and insulate your basement, hanging out there could feel warmer and more comfortable. There are several inexpensive strategies to treat a wet basement. But first, you have to find the problem. If you have visually inspected the foundations of your basement, you may do these steps to figure out the problem:

  • Use tinfoil and duct tape to figure out where the condensation originates

If you have a raw concrete finish, you can use this step to find out if the condensation builds up from inside or outside the walls. After identifying the spot where moisture is building up, use duct tape to stick a piece of foil on the walls. After it rains, you will see condensation building upon the part of tin foil. If condensations build-up on the wall side, the problem comes from the outside of the foundation. But if it is the opposite, it is coming from the inside.

  • Solve the problem in or outside the wall foundation

If the problem is originating outside, make sure you check the downspouts. You can get extenders to make sure water is flowing away from the soil next to the foundations. If the problem is coming from the inside, make sure you check the air ducts and wrap the holes with foil tape.

  • Getting rid of the excess humidity

To help dry out your basement, you will need to eliminate all the sources of extra moisture. You can seal any leaky vents with foil tape. You can also close the basement windows during humid weather. If you are still experiencing condensation, you can get a dehumidifier to help lower the humidity that originates indoors.

  • Insulate pipes

You can purchase inexpensive insulation foam for your cold pipes. As you know, frozen pipes can contribute to moisture build-up in your basement. To do this, you will need a pair of scissors. Some insulation foam comes with adhesive so you can install them quickly.

  • Insulate walls

You can also insulate the walls using insulation foam. You can buy foam insulation at different levels of thickness. You can refinish the walls with drywall, so the insulation foams are not visible.

  • Fix the cracks in the foundation

You can use hydraulic cement to patch the holes in cracks in the basement walls. Hydraulic cement can work even if the wall is damp so you can finish the job in the rainy season. After fixing the cracks, you can also waterproof the walls using a waterproof coating. Waterproof paint works more effectively on bare concrete walls.

PREVENTING FLOODS

Waterproofing your basement will not be enough to battle floods. Waterproofing materials and finishes will surely help. However, it is not enough to solve severe flooding. Here are additional tips for solving flood issues:

  • Properly landscape your yard

The slope of your front and back yard may be angled towards your home. As crazy as it sounds, it can contribute to the flooding in your basement. Make sure you properly landscape your lawn and backyard so that it is leveled. If the soil is inclined towards the basement wall, the water will seep into the cracks rapidly causing condensation.

  • Inspect for cracks on the foundation

Cracks in the foundation will cause water to leak in through the walls. You can visually inspect the interior and look for leaks. If you find any discoloration, it means that there must be a crack in the foundation. there

  • Clean and maintain downspouts and gutters

Maintaining the cleanliness of all your gutters and downspouts will help prevent any floods in your home. Make sure that the drains are free from any debris and leaves, so it does not get clogged. You can add extensions, so water flows away from the foundation.

  • Sump pump maintenance

Before a storm or heavy rains fall, make it a habit to check if your sump pump is working correctly or that it is plugged in. Some insurance companies do not cover a flooded basement in the agreement, so make sure you be clear on what your insurance terms are.

  • Install window well covers

Window well covers and other sealants can work well in preventing any water seepage and leaks. You may also want to inspect the walls of your basement for any signs of leaks such as discoloration.

  • Clean and inspect septic systems

Inspect your sewage and septic tank systems. Lack of maintenance may cause clogs and water overflow, which will later lead to puddles and leaks inside your home. Make it a habit to inspect all your water pipe systems at least once or twice a year.

PLUMBING SAFETY

You will need a plumbing permit if you will be working on the plumbing. Installing devices such as sump pumps and drainage systems will often require additional pipes and plumbing materials. Working with tubes can be dangerous in terms of water pressure, so you will need to get approval from your local building office. If you are considering doing the work yourself, make sure you have experience in plumbing work, so when the inspection occurs, your work will pass.

ELECTRICAL SAFETY

Electrical safety is relevant in terms of heating a basement. Installing ventilation and heating air conditioners will use electricity, so you will probably need to get additional wires for installing a new heating system. If you are planning on using natural heating methods such as sunlight, installing windows will require different permits for building.

Working with power can be fatal. Forgetting to turn off the breaker switch going down to your basement, you can easily get electrocuted by a live wire. It is only one of the reasons why legal permits are essential regarding your safety. You must include the overall electrical and plumbing diagram if you plan to submit a project proposal.

Adding a bathroom, hot tub, or sump pump in your basement finish, a Ground fault circuit interrupter outlet is needed. GCFI outlets is a safety kill switch that is used for appliances that involve the use of water. A GCFI outlet will automatically shut off whenever it feels a change in electric current. This method is an electrical safety parameter that is important for preventing electrical hazards.

CONCLUSION

When you choose a way to heat a man cave, make sure it is suitable for the size of your room. Any heater or air conditioner works best if you primarily eliminate the cold by treating the room first. To wrap it up, the best way to heat a basement is to insulate the walls and piping to reduce dampness and vapor. Then choose to install a device to further feel cozy heat such as a fireplace or portable space heater. If you spend too much time in damp weather, you might catch a cold, so make sure you treat your man cave with a suitable method that fits your basement.

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