Finished or Unfinished?

If your basement is unfinished — and you plan to keep it that way — you probably don’t need a permanent heat source. When you’re down there working on a project or keeping the laundry train chugging, a portable space heater is a great way to add some warmth without driving up your utility bill. Consider a convection heater that uses a fan to circulate hot air around the room. These electric heaters will warm your space quickly, so there’s no need to worry about turning it on to warm up before you need to.

If your basement is fully or partially finished, you’ll need more than just a single space heater to be comfortable down there in the wintertime. There are both portable and more permanent options that will work for you — no matter how many square feet you need to cover.

Best Space Heaters for a Basement

  • • Oil-Filled Radiators: These space heaters radiant heating by warming a chamber of oil. There’s no fan involved; all heat rise directly from the warm metal nodes of the radiator. Radiant heaters can provide a good deal of warmth to a space, but they do take time to warm up. They’re a good choice for a living room or family room where you need all-over warmth. Look for a model with a thermostat and a remote control for convenient warmth whenever you’re down in the basement.
  • • Baseboard Heaters: Like traditional electric baseboard heaters, portable baseboards are a low-profile heating option that takes up very little space. These units are easy to tuck along the wall and work well under windows to combat winter drafts. Look for a model with several heat settings and safety features like automatic shut-off so that you don’t accidentally leave them on when you leave the room.
  • • Ceramic Heaters: A small ceramic heater is a great way to heat a small space, especially in a home office or other corner of your basement. The heating element is encased in ceramic, which retains heat well and allows it to radiate throughout the room efficiently. While this isn’t usually the right heating source for an entire room, it will give a boost of warmth right where you need it.

Permanent Heating Options for Your Basement

  • • Baseboard Heating: Hardwired electric baseboards are a great way to add permanent heating infrastructure to your basement for a relatively low cost. Because they don’t require any additional ductwork, all you’ll need is an electrician to complete the wiring. They’re also easy to maintain as there’s no air filter or heat pump to worry about.
  • • Forced Hot Air: If you already have a whole-house heater and air conditioner combination, you may be able to add a register to your existing duct work to bring central air to your basement. This is not a DIY job, though, so consult a pro to see if this is possible in your home. If it is, it could be a great investment in year-round convenience for fully finished basements.
  • • Pellet Stoves: These stoves can be highly efficient and environmentally friendly, as they burn sawdust pellets to make use of lumber byproducts that would otherwise go to waste. They’re also powerful enough to heat your whole ground level with ease.
  • • Gas Fireplaces: For a homey touch and a beautiful focal point for a family room, a natural gas insert provides lots of warmth while requiring less trouble to install than you may think. These units can be directly vented through an exterior wall, so you don’t need a chimney to make your dreams of relaxing by a fire come true.
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