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Thread: I need heat in my basement

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Leominster Mass
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    183

    I need heat in my basement

    My shop is in my unheated basement. It is fine right now in the mid 60's probably but gets dang cold during the winter. What would be the easiest and least expensive way to heat this area?

    I have a oil Furnace int he basement and I could put another zone on it if I had to?
    I have gas available so I could add a gas heater?
    I have electricity so I could add an electric heater?
    I have tried a propane heater when working on my motorcycle in the garage, but after hours of use the air gets fairly bad.

    The only thing I do not have is $$$$

    What would be my best options?
    Any other ideas I have not thought about?

    Thanks
    Dan
    Dan Thibert
    Leominster MA

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Constantine, MI
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    7,065
    In the order I would consider: (After I insulated at least a little)
    1 - Electric is safe, and very cheap to install. You could probably pick up a few baseboard units and the local Habitat store or on Craig's List for very little $$.
    2 - An additional zone on the oil - why duplicate what is already there? (this is only #2 because of cost)
    3 - Gas - a viable alternative. Can be expensive to install and you need to be very careful if you use solvent based finished - especially if you spray.
    4 - Propane - ugh. stinks.
    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Mountain Home, Arkansas
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    11,702
    I would go with Rennie's suggestions.
    I don't agree with the problems stated about propane. That is what I use. No stink, no muss or fuss. Except, it is very expensive. My catalytic burners will go through a 20 lb. bottle in 4 to 5 hours of use. Depending on current prices that is $30.00 to $40.00, or more for half a day in the shop.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    579
    Invest in thermal underwear.
    Actually, what is the heat system in your house? You say oil fired - i'm assuming it's forced air? If so, you probably have a supply grill somewhere in the basement to keep it from freezing down there. You may be able to direct a heat source to where you would use it more with some circullar duct. It all depends on how the basement lays out, but you may get lucky.
    What we did in the house grew up in was to insulate the basement walls, redirect the air grill, and add a single electric baseboard unit. It worked really well.
    I agree with Rennie - if you need to add heat sources, electric is likely the cheapest way to go if there's power where you need it OR you still have some room in your electrical panel for another circuit.
    For such a small space, i'd think it's cost prohibitive to put in a dedicated gas unit.
    If you're anywhere near a Restore (selling used construction / home building materials and run by Habitat for Humanity - a great place to check out), you might find just what you need for not much cash.
    Good luck with it.
    paulh

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Leominster Mass
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    What is a habitat store

    I picked up a couple of oil filled electric units but they really could not put a dent into the area, of course I was looking for immediate satisfaction

    Maybe if I put them on hours before I needed them they would have worked better.

    The gas is expensive and installation is a pain since I would have to get a plumber in.
    Oil would be better since I have a friend who is a oil guy but still would be expensive for the unit itself and cutting in a new zone.

    I sort of like the electric route for its simplicity, are there any type of baseboards or heaters that are more efficient?

    Thanks
    Dan
    Dan Thibert
    Leominster MA

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    DSM, IA
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    5,714
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Thibert View Post
    What is a habitat store
    They are run by Habitat For Humanity...hit or miss on what is there, but some real good bargains sometimes...look for one close to you here....

    http://www.habitat.org/cd/env/restore.aspx
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -Henry David Thoreau
    My Website


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Bellingham
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    2,417
    I would also look into insulation. I don't what your basement looks like, but if you don't minimize your heat loss, heating that space becomes very expensive. Insulation is a very inexpensive compared to electricity, propane or oil costs.

  8. #8
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    Mar 2009
    Location
    Leominster Mass
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    Bill,
    I have done as much insulation as I can without emptying the basement. The basement is full of build in cabinets and there really is very little wall space open to work with.
    Dan Thibert
    Leominster MA

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Constantine, MI
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Fusco View Post
    I don't agree with the problems stated about propane. That is what I use. No stink, no muss or fuss. Except, it is very expensive.
    My bad - for some reason I was thinking of kerosene.
    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    London, Ontario
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Hubbman View Post
    Actually, what is the heat system in your house? You say oil fired - i'm assuming it's forced air? If so, you probably have a supply grill somewhere in the basement to keep it from freezing down there. You may be able to direct a heat source to where you would use it more with some circullar duct. It all depends on how the basement lays out, but you may get lucky.
    This.

    If you currently have a forced-air system I would be really surprised that there were no grills into the basement. How old is the installation? Mine is from 1984 and I've got 4 grills, IIRC.

    I had a furnace tech in my house once checking out the furnance and he gave some really good advice: In the basement you want the supply air to be at the ceiling, and the cold-air return grills to be at floor level, so that it sucks up the cold floor-level air and puts it into circulation.

    (on the second floor it's really important to keep the bedroom doors closed, to keep the conditioned air from just falling down the stairs, but that's a summertime thing.)

    Insulating the floor would probably help a lot with how things feel underfoot. You could look into something like Delta-FL or Dricore.

    best wishes,
    ...art
    There's usually more than one way to do it...
    www.wordsnwood.com ........ facebook.com/wordsnwood

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