By National Refrigeration October 24, 2018
Finishing the basement of your home is one of the most rewarding home-improvement projects you can undertake because you gain both quality of life and financial return. All it takes is careful planning and trusted advice from knowledgeable professionals for you to achieve your goals with no stress and little disruption to your everyday routine.
Let’s look at the financial end first since budgets are always a cornerstone factor when improving your home. If you’re considering finishing your basement, you probably need more space. One option is to build an addition. There are many factors to estimating the cost of an addition, and getting a quote from several builders is an important step in the process. For this example, consider the average cost estimates given by HomeAdvisor, an online provider of tools and resources to homeowners:
|Avg. Cost for an Addition (Warwick, RI)||$32,145 to $80,178|
|Avg. Cost to Remodel Basement (Warwick, RI)||$10,529 to $27,090|
Generally speaking based on these estimates, you can treat yourself to a high-end reimagined basement ($27,090) for roughly $5,000 less than you can expect to at least pay ($32,145) to build an addition.
Keep in mind, when you go to sell your home, you can get as much as a 70% return on your basement remodel!
The second return you get on your investment is quality of life. To fully enjoy your remodeled basement and get the maximum return, the space needs to be as comfortable and livable as every other room in your house. You shouldn’t settle for the dank, dark, faux-wood paneling common in many basement remodels of yesteryear. Today’s building technology makes it completely within reach to luxuriate in a subterranean space and not even realize you’re underground.
Your planning process should include enough time to research and get estimates for the best heating and cooling system to fit your new living area. If you plan on doing it yourself, it’s especially important to get those estimates because the best HVAC installers will give you a tremendous amount of insight into answering the critical questions guiding your remodel.
This is also the time to seriously consider the air quality of the new space you want your family to use and enjoy. Basements can be a hazard to your health if the air quality is not managed. A remodeled basement may look amazing and still have up to 10x the pollution of above-grade living space.
The major cause of that characteristic smell basements have is mold, which is also the number one health hazard associated with poor air quality in these types of damp and dusty living spaces. A dehumidifier will help, but it’s not going to eliminate 100% of the moisture, and the dust and dirt particles floating in the air will find these moist spots and produce mold. It can happen in the washing machine, the carpet, on gym equipment, and in storage areas.
PRO TIP: If you’re splitting your basement into living area and workshop space, it’s imperative to manage your air quality if you’re creating dust and storing paints and strong cleaning liquids.
Whether or not you need a new HVAC system depends on the capacity of your current one. You may get lucky, and the best solution for you may be to simply expand the ductwork into the new space. If so, plan on doing it early in the building process while all the framing is still exposed.
If a certified and insured heating and cooling system installer determines your current system can’t support another room—don’t panic. Often, subterranean rooms have such different needs than above-ground rooms, it’s better to have them on a separate thermostat. While a whole new furnace can easily add up to $10,000 to a budget, there’s a minimally evasive solution for roughly half the cost.
From a big-picture perspective, you have two choices:
1. Upgrade your current system
2. Add a new heating and cooling system
Both choices can be the best option for you. If your system is relatively new, it may be more cost effective to upgrade it. On the other hand, if an experienced technician doesn’t see a lot of life left in your old HVAC system, perhaps installing a new heating and cooling system is a good investment.
Both of these options require new ductwork be installed. Not only does this add to the cost of the project, but it also may require more demo and rebuilding to get inside finished walls and ceilings.
Another popular option is to install a ductless mini-split system. These cost-effective, streamlined units have become the preferred strategy to regulate heating, cooling, and indoor air quality in finished areas below grade. Mini-splits are simple to install, require no ducts, and multiple room units can connect to the same heat pump on the outside of the house, typically through a discrete 2 ½” hole.
For you do-it-yourself builders, it may be worth your time to take guidance from a knowledge HVAC technician to ensure you get the right unit to meet your needs. This critical question will be answered when you get your estimates, which is why it’s important to schedule those appointments—even if you know you’re going to do it yourself. Whether you’re doing it yourself or with a contractor, have a clear understanding of how the finished area will look, including the type of insulation in the walls and ceiling, the layout (to assess airflow and ventilation), and any other unique features that may influence the climate-control solution for your new living space.
For you hardcore DIYers, here’s some meaty advice: the best way to determine the size HVAC system you need to meet your room’s heating and cooling needs is to use Manual J, the load-calculation technique developed by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). You need to really, really like math and purchase the associated software.
National Refrigeration is a unique family company: one where we share our focus on our family of employees with yours. That’s why we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. We know that our reputation is on the line with every job that we do and will settle for nothing less than perfection. It’s been that way since our modest beginnings in 1969.Visit our website.
If this article is useful to you, please Like it below.
If you know someone who can benefit from it, please Share it.
And, if your question isn’t answered here, contact the National Refrigeration team and we’ll find your solution.
Whether you need 24-7 emergency service or advice on improving your everyday air quality and comfort—at home and at work—call us at 401-737-2000 or email us.