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Community and Q&A

heating a 100-year old basement

an123 | Posted in GBA Pro Help on

my house is 1200 sq feet in finished 2-floors, 100-years old, climate zone 7 (NS), the basement is unfinished but 2″ spray-foamed.  In basement (likely 500 sq ft): laundry, storage, heat-pump water heater, and oil boiler that heats water for cast iron rads in house (there are no rads in basement though). 
I want to get rid of the basement boiler all together (I put in ASHP on 1st and 2nd floor) – my problem is the boiler supplies a little heat to the basement when it cycles on a off (all year round!).  The heat is useful in the winter (especially for the water heater).  What would be a good replacement if I remove the boiler?  Infrared heater? convection heater? I looked at a mini-split there too, but that seems like overkill. 
Any thoughts?  Thanks.

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  1. Expert Member
    DCcontrarian | | #1

    Probably the easiest thing would be to pull some heat out of the living space and let your existing heating system supply it. Could you duct the water heater so it pulls its intake air from the first floor?

  2. an123 | | #2

    Thanks. I've thought of somehow directing some 1st-floor heat to the basement (especially since I have a epa-2020-catalytic wood stove on the first floor that I can burn when it's really cold). Reading some other articles today, it seems that some convectional space heating is the answer. Once i get rid of the boiler, I hope to get rid of the chimney which is a source of a lot of heat loss from the basement and house.

  3. nynick | | #3

    Your basement shouldn't freeze. It's below grade with insulated walls. What's it like in the summer down there? It should be 50-55 degrees or so year round without that boiler, maybe more. And you HPWH is spewing exhaust into it as well, right? Built in dehumidifier to boot.

    I have the same scenario here in CT without the HPWH or wall insulation. It's almost balmy down there in the summer, probably from all the humidity leaking through the walls and floor. But it's warm.

    I'm not sure how much heat you're looking for, but I would give it a go without anything or maybe with a simple radiant heater just in case. You only have the laundry down there, so you don't need it comfy. Put a couple of wireless temperature sensors down there and keep track.

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