Options for Heating and Cooling Your Basement

Ideas for keeping your basement cool in the summer, warm in the winter.

When it comes to overall comfort and efficiency, there is really no substitute to installing a complete HVAC system in your home. One of the best things about having a basement is that they usually stay cool all year long. That’s because they’re at least partially insulated by the ground around them. In the warmer summer months, you can regulate the temperature throughout your home and lower your energy bills by installing a furnace with variable speed ECM. These air handlers passively circulate air even when the system is not actively heating or cooling your home. When that’s not enough, you can explore a number of options to help keep your basement comfortable in the summer or winter.

Supplemental Heating and Cooling Options for Your Basement

Heating Options
  • Electric space heaters require zero installation. Instead, you can simply plug them in, which makes them an easy and affordable option to heat your basement in the winter. However, they are often expensive to operate and can be a fire hazard if not properly maintained. Electric space heaters are best for heating small areas that don’t require a constant heat source.
  • Baseboard heaters are quiet and easier to conceal than portable space heaters when heating your basement. They are generally 4 to 6-feet long and can be plugged in or hard-wired into an electric circuit. However, they may not be effective in heating large areas.
  • Electric wall heaters use a built-in fan to distribute heat in small, confined spaces, like a bathroom. They distribute heat quickly but can be noisy and have to be hardwired into your home’s electric circuits.
  • Ventless or vent-free gas fireplaces can be an effective and efficient way to heat your basement. However, you need to take certain precautions, such as installing sensors, to ensure they are operating safely. Gas fireplaces can vent carbon monoxide back into your rooms, which can reduce the amount of oxygen in the air and be harmful to your health. Be sure to check state guidelines for these fireplaces; some states have banned their use.
  • Radiant heating is a good option if you plan to install stone or tile floors in your basement. The system, which is installed beneath the flooring, will warm the floor and increase the overall temperature of your basement.


Remember, heat rises, so a warm basement is a good first step in keeping your entire home warm throughout the winter.

Cooling Options
  • Window air conditioning units are a budget-friendly option for cooling your basement. But you may need more than one to cool your space. Simply install them in your window wells for safe and effective use.
  • Box fans and ceiling fans help circulate the air in your basement to keep it cooler when it’s warm outside. Box fans fit in an open window and push the warm air in your basement outside while ceiling fans keep the air moving to make your basement less stuffy. Both can be easily installed and cost little to run. However, a ceiling fan may require electrical wiring installed by an electrician. And you have to be cognizant of ceiling height to ensure no one is injured while your fan is in motion.
  • Portable air conditioners sit on the floor of your basement and require an adapter kit to vent hot air through a window or wall. They operate similarly to a window unit, but they’re easier to install and can be moved throughout the space because they are usually on casters.

·       Mini-split systems or ductless air conditioners require a small condenser outside your home, which connects to an inside unit that’s mounted on the wall or ceiling of your basement. These systems, which are popular in Europe and Japan, offer an inexpensive, quiet way to heat and cool your basement.

Cooling your basement helps keep the rest of your home cool.

Contact an HVAC provider in your area to discuss the heating or cooling option that will work best to keep your basement comfortable all year long.

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