10 Ways to Warm Up a Cold Basement
Shivering in your lower-level rec room or home office? Warm up with these clever solutions.
A finished basement adds significant square footage to a home, providing an additional living space that can be used as a TV room, home office, home gym, or children’s play area. The problem, however, is that basements tend to be chilly in winter, especially for those living in colder climates. Luckily, there are several ways to warm up a cold basement without major renovations. Consider the below products if you’re looking to create a warm and inviting atmosphere in your basement.
1. Space Heater
A powerful portable space heater is one of the easiest—and most economical—ways to quickly heat up a cold basement. Our favorite model, the GiveBest Portable Electric Space Heater, heats up to 200 square feet. While it won’t warm up the entire basement floor, it’s perfect for an enclosed room. The temperature is adjustable to up to 158 degrees Fahrenheit, and it operates quietly, making it perfect for subterranean home offices.
2. Electric Fireplace
Add both warmth and elegance to a basement with a sleek built-in electric fireplace, like this one from Antarctic Star. It can be recessed, semi-recessed, or wall-mounted, providing several installation options depending on your needs. It comes in six widths, ranging from 30 inches to 68 inches, to provide options for spaces of varying sizes. The fireplace can be operated using the device’s touch-screen buttons or included remote control.
3. Portable Baseboard Heater
Some basements come equipped with baseboard heaters, but if yours didn’t, it’s feasible to add one without undertaking a major renovation. This Fahrenheat portable baseboard heater simply plugs into a wall outlet and features nearly silent operation. For added safety, the unit will shut off automatically if its air intake is blocked. Its simple, unobtrusive design helps it to blend into any space.
4. Cozy Area Rug
If your basement floors always feel cold, a quick solution is to put down a high-pile area rug in the main living area. This plush rug from TWINNIS comes in a range of colors and four sizes, and its nonslip base makes the use of a rug pad optional. The fluffy microfiber material is soft enough to make it a great surface for a kids’ play area.
5. Thermal Camera
When the entire basement seems to constantly feel cold, it can be overwhelming to identify the actual source of your temperature issue. One way to get to the bottom of the problem is by investing in a thermal-imaging camera like the FLIR TG165-X, which can identify cold (or hot) spots in any space. Once you figure out which areas are the coldest, you can make informed decisions about sealing windows, installing additional insulation, or hiring a professional to tackle the problem.
6. Warm Throw Blanket
If your basement doubles as a den or TV room, it’s prudent to equip your couch with cozy throw blankets to stay warm while binge-watching the latest Netflix series. This throw blanket from The Connecticut Home Company—which topped our best throw blankets guide—comes in five sizes and a rainbow of colors to suit any décor style. The outer layer features faux fur, while the lining is made from a plush sherpa material.
7. Reverse Ceiling Fan
One reason basements are often colder than the rest of a home is because heat rises. Installing a ceiling fan can help address that airflow issue. Although it may seem counterintuitive, there’s a simple trick that allows ceiling fans to keep a space warm. Ceiling fans are generally set to spin counterclockwise and push cool air downward, but reversing their direction has the opposite effect, circulating warm air in a room instead. Choose a reversible model like this fan from Hunter Fan Company, which we rated as the best option for small rooms in our best ceiling fan guide. As a bonus, it serves as an additional light source.
8. Radiant Floor Heating System
In new construction, it’s popular to install radiant floor heating systems, which are an efficient way to heat a home in winter. However, it’s also possible to add radiant floor heating to a space during renovation. Electric heated mats from Warming Systems come in a variety of sizes, and they even include a temperature-sensing thermostat. While this is one of our more expensive suggestions for basement heating, it’s also one of the most effective.
9. New Furnace Filter
If your basement furnace is underperforming, it’s likely time to change the air filter. In fact, dirty filters are one of the most common reasons HVAC systems falter. This pack of six Nordic Pure filters boasts a MERV rating of 12, which is considered ideal for home use. To stay on top of replacing your furnace filters, also consider signing up for an air filter subscription to ensure new ones are delivered at regular intervals.
10. Radiant Wall Heater
While portable space heaters are a good choice for heating areas of a basement as needed, a wall-mounted panel heater is a more permanent solution. This flat panel heater from Amaze Heaters heats spaces of up to 150 square feet using convection. The 24-inch by 24-inch electric wall heater measures only half an inch deep, making it subtle and unobtrusive on white walls.
All prices are accurate as of publication on January 20, 2022.