Understanding Your Options for Cooling Your Home’s Finished Basement
If you’ve gone to the effort to finish your home’s basement, it’s important to make it a comfortable environment by installing top-notch cooling solutions. Otherwise, the hot Phoenix summers may turn your basement into an unpleasant place that’s rarely used. The good news, though, is that there are plenty of cooling solutions available from C & C Heating & Air Conditioning that can help you turn your basement into the room where everyone wants to hang out.
Add a New HVAC Zone
Chances are your finished basement is not going to have the same cooling requirements as the rest of your home. After all, a basement tends to be somewhat naturally insulated from the heat, meaning that it won’t need to be cooled as much to maintain an optimal temperature. Therefore, if you try to simply tie in the basement vents with your existing HVAC system, you could wind up with a frigid basement—even on the hottest days.
To overcome this problem, you can add a new HVAC zone to your home. An HVAC zone is essentially a separate HVAC system from C & C Heating & Air Conditioning with its own air conditioner, ductwork and vents. When installed properly, though, a zoned HVAC system can be controlled from one central location so you don’t have to wander around your home just to adjust the temperature of various areas. In addition to providing optimal comfort, a zoned approach ensures that you don’t overload your existing HVAC system by increasing the space it’s expected to cool.
Utilize a Ductless System
Unless you have a drop ceiling in your basement, it could be fairly difficult to add an HVAC zone after you’ve already added the finish materials. Therefore, a ductless mini-split system may be your best option. Ductless mini-split systems installed by C & C Heating & Air Conditioning consist of a small indoor unit that moves air throughout the room and a small outdoor compressor unit that serves both the heater and the air conditioner.
The most convenient characteristic of a ductless unit is that, as the name suggests, no ducts are required for the unit to provide conditioned air in the room where it’s installed. In fact, the only modifications that will be necessary are a power supply and a hole drilled through the exterior wall to create a space for the refrigerant line. With a ductless system in place, you can easily keep your basement comfortable—and at an affordable price.
Don’t Forget Humidity
Since basements are located largely below grade, they tend to have higher humidity levels than other rooms in a home. One reason for this is because moisture from the ground tends to work its way through basement walls, even in homes with a well-sealed basement. The other is because basements tend not to have as much ventilation as an above-grade room, especially in basements that are surrounded on all four sides by soil. Therefore, to help keep your basement comfortable, it’s vital to control the humidity levels in addition to controlling the temperature.
The best way to control humidity levels in a basement is with a standalone dehumidifier. Although C & C Heating & Air Conditioning can install a whole-home dehumidifier, it could be difficult for the system to capture as much moisture as necessary, given the lack of air circulation in a basement. That’s why a standalone dehumidifier located in the basement tends to provide the best results. The good news is that modern dehumidifiers can easily be set to turn off at a specific humidity level so you don’t have to think much about the dehumidification process.
Although it may seem kind of old-school, a fan can be a great way to keep a basement comfortable. When you consider the lower average temperature of a basement, it makes sense to save energy by cooling your basement through simple air circulation instead of using an air conditioner. Beyond keeping your basement cool, a major benefit of using a fan is that it helps circulate and freshen the air in your basement. This helps to keep mold and mildew from growing and ensures your basement doesn’t develop that signature musty smell.
Unlike ceiling fans in above-grade rooms, which should only be operated when the room is occupied, fans in a basement can be operated fairly frequently to aid in air circulation. Therefore, it may be best to install fans on a timer so they can run for a set amount of time each day.
Portable Air Conditioner
Although not as efficient as some of the other options on this list, we do occasionally recommend a portable air conditioner for basements when there’s a room that’s stubbornly uncomfortable. A portable air conditioner provides single-room cooling by drawing in hot and humid air and then venting that air outside through an attached vent.
Since the vent must be routed outside, a portable air conditioner can prove to be a bit of an eyesore. However, if you want to provide a comfortable space for friends and family to enjoy, a portable air conditioner can provide a good short-term solution until you work out the details of what’s causing a particular room to be so uncomfortable. Since a portable air conditioner draws quite a bit of power, it’s important to make sure the unit is powered by its own circuit.
As a safety measure, all basements are equipped with at least small windows. While it doesn’t make sense to open these windows on the hottest days, it can make a big difference as the summer heat dissipates. Opening your basement windows has multiple benefits over any other cooling method.
The most crucial benefit is that cooling your basement by opening your windows doesn’t require any electricity. Beyond that, when you open your windows, you allow fresh, dry air into your basement, which can reduce humidity levels and help kill mold and mildew. While this cooling method isn’t always viable, it’s certainly worth a try when the weather is nice.
Air Quality Improvement Is Crucial
No matter how you choose to keep your basement cool, it’s important to have tools in place to take care of the air quality. An air purifier that’s equipped with a HEPA-type filter can help to remove dust and allergens that would otherwise settle in your basement. Additionally, an air purifier often contains an activated carbon filter to attract even smaller particles. Together, these components help to keep the air clean and fresh so your family doesn’t suffer from respiratory problems when they use the basement.
We Can Help You With Your Basement Cooling Needs
When the technicians at C & C Heating & Air Conditioning work with a customer, they go to great lengths to find the best solution to a particular challenge. Whether it’s basement cooling, whole-home cooling, indoor air quality improvement or some other need, we’ve got the experience to serve you well.
That’s why homeowners around Roseville have trusted us to take care of problems with their furnaces, air conditioners and other home comfort equipment. For more information about how to efficiently cool your basement, contact us at C & C Heating & Air Conditioning today.