November 11, 2013

Remodeling Can Increase Energy Efficiency – and Fun

Your basement is a goldmine of additional living space—something your family will need more of at one time or another. According to’s Renovation Wizard, homeowners recover nearly 80 percent of basement remodeling costs when selling their home. And, if that isn’t enough to convince you that your less than desirable basement space can become a Mecca for family fun, a basement is also a great way to increase the energy efficiency of your home. Below are a few tips to help you, and your family, get the most out of remodeling your basement.

Check Codes

Once you’ve created the look and feel of your ideal basement, it is imperative to determine if a permit is needed for the proposed renovation. If electrical work needs to be done or load-bearing walls are being affected, ensure that your newly remodeled space meets all code requirements. Skipping this simple step in the beginning can cause major headaches down the road.

Keeping It Cozy

Your home's heating system may have been installed based on main- and second-floor requirements. So, be sure to consult an HVAC contractor to ensure your heating equipment is correctly sized to keep your newly remodeled basement comfy.

One heating option is a natural-gas or propane fueled direct vent wall furnace from Rinnai, which can serve as a supplementary heat source for basements, reducing the demand placed on the central-heating system. Direct vent wall furnaces differ from conventional heating systems because the units do not rely on ductwork to distribute heat. Instead, the furnaces operate by dispersing warm air directly from the base of the unit. This creates a more consistent and comfortable room temperature and reduces troublesome cold spots. 

Look Up to a Finished Ceiling

To make the basement space feel complete, a finished ceiling can do the trick. Whether you select a drop ceiling or drywall ceiling with a texture, remember the lowest hanging pipe, duct or wire will determine the height of your basement ceiling. 

Also important to keep in mind, if you need access to electrical and plumbing systems in your ceiling, opt for a suspended ceiling, which will save you from needing to create access panels in a dry-wall ceiling. 

Insulate, Insulate, Insulate

Although hot air rises, according to, homes lose heat in all directions. By insulating your basement, you can reduce heat loss by up to 30 percent—which can result in savings of up to $170 per year. Whether you insulate the walls or the ceiling, taking this step can help to increase the efficiency of your home.

If you opt to insulate via the ceiling, installing sound insulation into the basement ceiling as well, can cut down on noise and help create a sound barrier.