Do you have an unfinished basement that you’ve wanted to finish? And did you know, a finished basement can offer you a great return on investment, up to 70%. Here are a few items to think about concerning your HVAC system before your start.
Heating and Air Conditioning Components
An unfinished basement usually has furnaces, water heaters and other HVAC units housed in it. When considering a floor plan for your finished basement take into account that you will want to find an aesthetically pleasing and practical way to encompass your units. Most basements have a mechanical room for their HVAC units that is away from the living area and easy to service.
This space will most likely be holding a gas furnace and/or other gas appliances, which means there are applicable codes to follow and one of the most overlooked problem is having proper ventilation and combustion air. To determine the amount of air needed to vent your furnace or other appliances, look to see what the BTU output of the appliance is. The BTU output of your appliance will be defined in the National Fuel Gas Code. Remember to make the space big enough so that if future problems occur a technician can get in and correct the problem.
System Size & Can I keep my old heating and air conditioning units?
One of our professionals will be able to help you choose what size heating and cooling system will be best for conditioning your home and/or the finished basement area. That additional finished square feet could add and additional load on your heating and cooling system. You will need to decide if your heating and cooling systems can take on the additional square footage or decide if you need to upgrade your system.
Add On Vs. Upgrade
If your existing units cannot handle the extra heating/cooling load of your new finished basement, there are two options for you: Add on a second heating and cooling system for the basement only, or upgrade your unit to a larger one to take on the added load.
Neither choice is better than the other; it is based on situation and personal preference. If you HVAC systems are fairly new, than upgrading may not be the route you want to go. If your current system is breaking down frequently, than upgrading to a larger system with better efficiency may save you money in the future.
Adding a second system in your basement will require additional ductwork to be run through your living area. Make sure when considering this option that you first check to see that the area has enough available space to house the new duct work. Additional things to consider are if your current mechanical room has enough space to house your second unit. Most of the time the existing system can handle the added load and does not need to be changed.
Indoor Air Quality Issues
One of the most overlooked items while finishing your basement Is keeping a clean filter in your HVAC system. The filtration system collects significantly larger amounts of dirt, dust and debris because of the nature of the construction work. Furnace filters should be changed every few days. If you have recently invested in a new HVAC system you will want to give special attention to this matter as it can shorten the life of your new investment and even cause a breakdown.
Moisture is a continuous problem in most basements. A finished basement should have moisture control solutions installed to help protect your health and newly done basement. A whole house dehumidifier is a great solution for your moisture problems and can remove humidity at maximum speed and efficiency. Talk with one of our professionals and we can help to determine what is the best solution for you.