How to heat basement

BigAcres

New Member
Jan 2, 2019
44
Michigan
Hello, I'm looking for advice on heating/warming my basement when my fire place is on the first floor. Other than the heat zone kit, which is useless, is there a way to move the warm the basement? I've tried a few different things without success so before I go any further I'm hoping someone may have done this before and can offer any advice.

Sorry I didnt really know where to ask this question.
 

tadmaz

Feeling the Heat
Dec 21, 2017
436
Erin, WI
 

ShawnLiNY

Member
Dec 13, 2018
223
Ny
This is almost impossible to move heat to a lower level without a forced air furnace , I'd consider pellet stove in basement ( simplest to vent ) or a small wood burner down there
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
5,346
Northern NH
Heating with a fireplace is typically a zero sum game where the large volume of air going up the stack offsets most if not all of the gain from the actual fire. Sure it may be warmer in front of the fireplace but the rest of the house will be colder. Warm air going up the chimney needs to be replaced so cold air is going to find its way in via infiltration. Best idea is see if your utility has an energy audit and see where the best bang for money spent on infiltration gets you. Then consider insulating the basement walls and the floors.
 

Grizzerbear

Minister of Fire
Feb 12, 2019
575
SW Missoura
Warm air doesn't like to travel downwards. It's possible you could move that heat with your hvac fan, but I think most people don't have good results. I would cut my losses and buy a space heater or two if your basement isn't huge. If you are trying to heat a large area tho you might consider another smaller stove dedicated to the basement.....big investment tho. O yea and like maple1 said I would insulate basement before I did anything if it isn't already.

Edit: i completely missed that this is a fireplace lol. That's a major part of your problem. Insulate basement, put insert into that fireplace, or block fireplace off and put a stove in basement.
 
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BigAcres

New Member
Jan 2, 2019
44
Michigan
Sorry guys. It is a heatilator constitution insert. I used the wrong term in my original post. I built the house in 2018. It is pretty well insulated, although there are areas for improvement i think its pretty tight the way it is. The largest loss is going to be the concrete floor (not necessarily a loss but huge mass which is cold). I do have a heat zone kit which has a fan blowing air from the insert to the basement but, as i know, heat rises. Its basically impossible to push hot air down even with that fan, i doubt it does much. I'm doing some tests with running the furnace fan constantly at a higher speed. Default setting was 25% but ive got it set to 65% duty cycle right now to see if it helps. I'm going to try cold air returns in the basement next. I feel like pulling the cool air off the floor will help displace the cold air which I need to figure out how to displace it with warm air. I'm just curious if there is someone who has done this and how much luck there is to be had with this. Otherwise it'll be time to get the wallet out and do a separate zone in the basement, or a smaller insert down there, but honestly i dont want to deal with 2 inserts.
 

Sawset

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2015
898
Palmyra, WI
I'm going to try cold air returns in the basement next.
The most likely result will be cold air making it to the higher levels, pooling to the floor at those levels, finding a route down, till it gets back to the basement. The only way to truly heat a space is to heat that space and those above it.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,950
South Puget Sound, WA
Are the walls and sills fully insulated? Taking care of that floor will make a very big difference. I have a shop that I heat electrically. With the bare concrete floor it was a struggle to raise the temp 10º over several hours. I put down some interlocking foam flooring from Home Depot and the difference is amazing, much better than expected. Now I can warm the place up in about 30 minutes.
 

Sawset

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2015
898
Palmyra, WI
interlocking foam flooring
We put down the same on a 20 x 20 area in the basement.
And 2" pink foam board on the walls, then drywalled.
It went from cold concrete to warm floor and easy to heat.
 

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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,950
South Puget Sound, WA
Yes, that is the same stuff. It made a surprising difference.