In most cases no. When an HVAC system is installed the contractor can only size the system for the current livable spaces. We’ve included answers to some of our most frequently asked basement questions to give you all of the information you need to make your basement a year-round comfortable living space.
How do I know if my current system will work?
You need to send a professional contractor the original house plans or have them come measure your home and windows, so they can process a HVAC load calculation. The load calculation numbers will provide the information on how big your system needs to be.
Is a mini-split my best and most cost-effective heating and cooling solution for my basement?
Yes and no. Installing a mini-split system enables you to heat and cool an open space without the added expense of having to also install duct work. However, if your basement is not one open room you will have much better luck keeping all areas of your basement comfortable with a conventional HVAC system.
My current system is old, and I was looking to replace it anyway, what should I consider now that I have added a basement?
HVAC systems have come a long way in the recent years thanks to the amazing technology that is available now. Not only are the newer systems more energy efficient, HVAC systems can now be controlled by your phone or tablet and some can even learn your schedule and living habits and adjust themselves accordingly. With that said, don’t let this fun exciting technology make you forget what your end goal is: to have a system that is sized correctly and that will keep you and your family comfortable season after season in all your living spaces! Keep in mind that your new unit will more than likely need to be a bit bigger than your old HVAC system to accommodate the added living space. If you are considering upgrading your system, installing a zoning system on the new system can help you control your basement’s comfort level separately from the rest of the house.
Do I really need a dehumidifier?
This ultimately depends on your location. A/C systems are built to take out some humidity. However, since basements are usually naturally cool due to being completely or partially underground, your system might not be able to remove enough humidity. This is because during cool times (i.e. evenings) your system won’t need to run as much to cool the basement. The downfall to this is the system might not run long enough or even at all to remove the unwanted humidity. A typical humidity comfort level is 60% during the summertime.
What are the benefits of having a separate unit vs using the same system as the rest of my house?
There are a number of benefits when it comes to installing a separate unit for your basement. Benefits include being able to control the system separately from the rest of the house such as being able to turn the system off when the basement is not being used (making it more cost effective). Additionally, basements usually require a lower load calculation which results in being able to use smaller, more cost-effective units that are on the smaller side rather than upgrading to a bigger system. Using a separate system will also help your other system by not making it work as hard to heat or cool the entire house and basement at the same time, which can put too much strain on the unit.
What other important factors should I consider?
In addition to the benefits we discussed, it is key to consider some other very important factors before making your final decision. A few of these factors include your system location and how far away that is from the basement. Typically, your HVAC system will be installed in either your attic or crawl space. If, for example, your system is installed in your attic, then you many need to install a considerable amount of ductwork for it to reach down to the basement. Energy use is another important consideration. When thinking about your energy use, be sure to consider how much you are going to be using your basement. If you aren’t in the basement daily you can save energy by dialing back the basement unit or even turning it off with no impact to the main living spaces. With one system the energy is split between both the main living areas as well as the basement even when the basement is not being used.
Ultimately, the most important thing is to find a good contractor that will come to your house and go over all your options and their recommendations, so you can make a well-informed decision on your HVAC system.
At Andy Lewis Heating & Air Conditioning, we have worked hard to earn a reputation in the Charlotte, NC area of treating our clients the right way. We pride ourselves on separating ourselves from our competitors by never trying to sell you what you don’t need and making realistic recommendations that fit your family’s needs and budget. Give us a call today at 704-391-9191.